Rational or reckless? Georgia's zugzwang in the Caucasus

David Siroky, Valeriy Dzutsev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Although the 2008 Russian-Georgian war was a military defeat for Georgia, it has only reinforced Georgia's westward trajectory. One noteworthy difference from Georgia's pre-war policy is a new regional strategy - the North Caucasus Initiative - that seeks to create a soft power alternative to Russia's military dominance in the region. We suggest that this approach is rational rather than reckless, as some critics have claimed. It represents a carefully calculated strategy that is already benefiting Georgia and from which all concerned parties, including Russia, stand to gain. If the South and North Caucasus were more open and less divided - a direction in which this new initiative appears to point - the Caucasus could become more prosperous and more stable. That would serve Russia's long-term interest by significantly reducing the cost of subsidies to sustain and stabilize the volatile region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-314
Number of pages12
JournalNationalities Papers
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2012


  • Georgia
  • North Caucasus Initiative
  • Russia
  • asymmetric strategies
  • foreign policy
  • soft power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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