REBEL CAUCASIAN REGIONS ON THE BRINK OF ENERGY WARS

Arbakhan MAGOMEDOV, Ruslan NIKEROV


Arbakhan Magomedov, D.Sc. (Political Science), Professor, Head of the Public Relations Chair, Ulyanovsk State University (Ulyanovsk, Russian Federation)

Ruslan Nikerov, Ph.D. candidate at Ulyanovsk State University (Ulyanovsk, Russian Federation)


In Lieu of an Introduction

This article examines the problems associated with the struggle over Caspian energy resources (at different stages of the post-communist period) and the regional interests of the rebel Caucasian regions. We think that this approach might shed light on the reasons for the current conflict-prone nature of the region and help us to understand the true reason for the August 2008 war in South Ossetia and the motives of the sides participating in it.

1. The South Ossetian War and South Caucasian Oil Routes: Blow to the Caspian Energy Business

Control over the oil and gas pipelines in the Southern Caucasus is one of the reasons for the five-day war in South Ossetia (August 2008). During the conflict, Georgia, the West, and international information agencies were particularly concerned about preserving the integrity of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline. Georgia declared twice that the oil pipeline had been damaged and each time Russia immediately refuted these statements. We will take a closer look at this below.

During the first days of the war in South Ossetia, it was suggested that the conflict had oil underpinnings. This paved the way for an information war. One of the most memorable stories shown on the leading world television channels from the site of the tragedy was the burning Azpetrol petroleum tanks.

The Caspian oil business immediately reacted to the hostilities. For example, right after the hostilities began, British Petroleum (BP), the operator of the BTC oil pipeline, announced it was halting oil transportation along this route. Pumping of oil was also halted along the lower-capacity Baku-Supsa pipeline; the oil terminals of Poti, Batumi, and Kulevi came to a standstill.

Building the BTC oil pipeline (see Fig. 1) along the South Caucasian foothills and earthquake-prone Anatolian plateau was a real engineering feat, but more than that it was a geopolitical triumph for the collective West. The pipeline system was built circumventing Russia in cooperation with Turkey and..


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