Policy Memos

Sochi Surprise: Imagining Change in Moscow's Caucasus Policy

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Let us imagine... at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the United Nations Secretary General announces a new peace deal for the Caucasus, surprising everyone. The details are that the governments of Russia and Georgia agree on a visionary and innovative Georgia-EU Pooled Sovereignty Framework for Abkhazia and South Ossetia, with special recognition of the rights of Russian citizens in the territories. A cross-border free trade zone is enacted between Russia and Georgia. It turns out that Gazprom had offered a 30 percent discount on natural gas to Germany, France, and Italy for a three-year time period in exchange for getting the EU to approve the deal in time for the Olympics. Amid the euphoria, a YouTube video appears of Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin1, making a toast with Saperavi, a Georgian wine, and singing a rendition of “Georgia on My Mind.” A U.S. government spokesperson compares the mood to Gorbachev’s declaration of the “Sinatra Doctrine,” which heralded the Cold War’s demise. [...]

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About the author

Professor of Political Science
San Diego State University