Ep.1 – Assessing current Caucasus’ geopolitical dynamics

SpecialEurasia Podcast
Geopolitical Report - SpecialEurasia
Ep.1 - Assessing current Caucasus' geopolitical dynamics


Welcome to the world of geopolitical analysis with SpecialEurasia’s latest podcast series, the Geopolitical Report. In an era defined by rapid and intricate global shifts, understanding the dynamics that shape our world has never been more crucial. This podcast series emerges as a powerful tool offered by our organization, providing followers and customers alike with a nuanced lens to decipher the complexities of contemporary geopolitics.

The episode kicks off with an in-depth exploration of the recent elections in Azerbaijan, which secured Ilham Aliyev’s presidency despite concerns raised by the European Union and international organisations about democratic processes and human rights in the country.

A significant portion of the podcast is dedicated to Moscow’s steadfast support for Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as articulated by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ representative Maria Zakharova. Zakharova’s statements underscore Russia’s strategic interests in these two republics, emphasising Moscow’s influential presence in the Caucasus.

Towards the conclusion of the episode, the focus shifts to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent comments about the United States. Putin accuses the U.S. of supporting terrorism and separatism in the North Caucasus, revealing a strained relationship between the two global powers. The podcast underscores how these accusations not only align with Moscow’s narrative regarding external interference in the North Caucasus, but also highlights the pivotal role the region plays in Russia’s domestic and foreign policy.

In summary, the Geopolitical Report podcast by SpecialEurasia serves as a valuable tool for followers and customers who are seeking nuanced insights into current geopolitical dynamics. The inaugural episode, centred on the Caucasus, skilfully dissects the recent elections in Azerbaijan, Moscow’s support for Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the geopolitical implications of Putin’s accusations against the United States. The podcast provides an analytical examination of these critical issues, contributing to a better understanding of the complex geopolitical landscape in the Caucasus region.

Adjusted Transcript of the Episode

Welcome to the first episode of “Geopolitical Report”, the postcards published by SpecialEurasia. Today we want to discuss the issues related to the Caucasus.
The first issue will be, for sure, the re-election of the president of the Ilham Aliyev. He won this presidential election with 92% of the votes.

It was an announced election and a victory for Ilham Aliyev, and according to Baku’s version, for the first time in 30 years or more than 30 years, people from the Nagorno-Karabakh or what Baku considered the liberated territory of Karabakh could vote for in this presidential election.

Why does this matter? Because before the election, there were many rumours regarding the human rights abuse and also democracy in Azerbaijan, also some member of the European Parliament, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Union accused Azerbaijan of not respecting the human rights and democracy inside the country. They also accused the Ilham Aliyev’s government to put in jail opposition leaders and journalists.

This election, for sure, confirms Aliyev’s leadership and also confirms the fact that Azerbaijan has a strong rule which can control the country. In this case, we can assess the governance is strong and also has the political and popular support, even though there are some voices of opposition which are in jail because they are against the Aliyev’s regime.

It is also interesting to see how the European Union will face all the allegations or concerns regarding Aliyev’s government and accusation of the fact that Ilham Aliyev created a regime inside this country, and also the fact that Azerbaijan was accused of humanitarian blockade against the population of Nagorno-Karabakh or Artsakh in Armenian language for nine months before September 2023, when Azerbaijan started a military operation against the Nagorno-Karabakh and conquest of Stepanakert, and in this case fully annexed the last piece of territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

There are some allegations and reports from independent NGOs and journalists regarding also the military offensive of Baku, which has been accused of using huge force against civilians and also perpetrating some war crimes. It is hard in this case to see where is this true, what we know is also if we check the ranking of Azerbaijan and some specific international organisations which covered human rights, democracy and freedom of expression, we know the Azerbaijan has a low level, and also a level lower than Russia…as we know the West started this confrontation with Russia after February 2022 when Moscow begun its special military operation over invasion of Ukraine.

Read more | OSINT Report: Nagorno-Karabakh Crisis, Armenophobia and the so-called ‘Azerbaijani Telegram Channels’ in Russian language

This is a really important matter because now Azerbaijan, after achieved the conquering of the entire territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, wants to promote itself as a logistic hub, an interconnector country between Europe and Asia, and was also to push its oil and gas production to reach important agreements with Europe. On the other side, there are some accusations regarding the Azerbaijan which is really close to the Russian Federation and it is very hard for the European Union to balance itself between the necessity to acquire oil and gas from the Azerbaijani also to defend its communication regarding democracy, regarding  and Brussels’ continue support of the democratic values against regimes.

Talking about the Caucasus, we have also to analyse the recent words of Maria Zakharova regarding South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Indeed, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry, Maria Zakharova, stated that Russia continued to provide assistance to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, calling them as friends.

I want to remind that Abkhazia and South Ossetia became de facto independent after the Georgian-Russian war in 2008, and now they are recognised by just a few states and among them the major player is the Russian Federation which has been supporting these two republics. SpecialEurasia team visited Abkhazia last summer and had the opportunity to talk with the local representatives of foreign ministry, also local politicians and business entrepreneurs.

We can say there is a difference between these two republics because Abkhazia has a strategic role also because it is on the Black Sea and recently Russian Federation established a maritime military infrastructure in the country near the capital Sukhum. Also South Ossetia is important because it is the middle of the Caucasus, but regarding Its economy, there are less opportunities than Abkhazia.

What is important the most is Moscow continues to support the independence of these two republics and, in this case, to face Georgia, because according to Tbilisi’s government, these two territories are part of the Georgian Republic and now are under occupation on the Russian military forces.

Read more | Abkhazia: Between Regional Geopolitical Dynamics and Domestic Politics. An Interview with Irakli Tuzhba

We can conclude this podcast with the words of Vladimir Putin during his interview with Tacker Carlson. It was a long interview, but what we want to focus on his words regarding the North Caucasus. Vladimir Putin accused the United States of supporting terrorism in the North Caucasus. He says that particularly during the 90s, when the Russian Federation faced at the beginning the ethnic-independent movements in Chechnya, then the local militancy, which was transformed in terrorist activities in the North Caucasus, Vladimir Putin accused the United States to support these separatist forces and terrorists.

It is an important accusation and also allegation by the Russian president, because it support Russia’s narrative regarding the threats coming from external forces which tried to undermine the Russian security and safety.

Why does it matter? Because it adds another layer of confrontation between Russia and the United States, and also because it confirms what SpecialEurasia often stated regarding the the North Caucasus’ special role in Russian domestic and foreign policy.

Thanks for your attention. See you the next time with “Geopolitical Report” podcast episode.”