Policy Memos

The Russian-Georgian Crisis and Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan

Policy Memo:


Publication Date:




In the early fall of 2002, two developments concerning Georgia garnered a great deal of attention. The first was the groundbreaking ceremony for the long-awaited Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, which has been heralded as an important source of non-OPEC oil. The second was a confrontation with Russia, which had been building over the preceding months amid allegations by Moscow that the Shevardnadze regime was aiding and abetting Chechen rebels, who were allegedly taking refuge across the border in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge. Although each of these developments has occasioned extensive commentary in its own right, they have also been linked together as ostensible indications of Russia's "true" foreign policy interests. No one has made this linkage more forcefully than Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze, who asserted that Russian threats to invade Pankisi were actually calculated to undermine investor confidence in the pipelin. Many others have raised similar speculations, including the idea that Moscow's intention, if not to undermine BTC altogether, might then be to gain maximum control over the project. [...]

Read full text (PDF)

About the author

Professor of Political Science
Providence College