ArmInfo. The major change in the South Caucasus geopolitics since Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a real prospect of Russia's strategic defeat, which will put an end to Russia being a regional actor or seriously weaken it, Gela Vasadze, an expert for the Georgian Strategic Analysis Center, said in an interview with ArmInfo.
"As the saying goes 'Nature abhors a vacuum', especially since the role of the South Caucasus as a logistic center has been enhanced since Russia was blockaded. I have doubts, however, that the Unites States, European Union, Turkey and Iran will be able to completely replace Russia in the South Caucasus. But each will certainly seek its share of influence on the situation. So we are now at the stage when a balance is being struck between the conflicting interests," he said.
Much depends both on the interest shown in the South Caucasus and on the countries themselves - the ability of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan to agree with each other and refrain from using external forces in their own interests. They should develop a common strategy of making the region more attractive.
The expert is aware it sounds somewhat utopian, but he is sure that it is the common goal the three regional nations should seek. As regards the prospects of normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations in the context of the agreements reached by the Armenian and Turkish special envoys, Mr Vasadze said it is along and rather painful process for both societies.
"What inspires some optimism is a rational approach and interest of both Armenia and Turkish leaders to pass the way to the end. And the fact that the process got off the ground is good. And the previously reached agreements need to be implemented as soon as possible, which would enable the parties to move on," Mr Vasadze said.
The Armenian and Turkish special envoys' meting this July was the first meeting there the parties reached agreements. The documents provide for opening the Armenian-Turkish border for residents of third countries and direct cargo transportation between Armenia and Turkey.
The special envoys discussed other steps to achieve the ultimate goal - rapprochement between Armenia and Turkey. The sides reaffirmed their commitment to continue the process without preconditions.