V. Davtyan (firstname.lastname@example.org),
Russian-Armenian University (RAU), 123, Hovsep Emin Str., 0051, Yerevan, Republic of Armenia
Abstract. The railway systems of four South Caucasian countries – Armenia, Georgia, Abkhazia and Azerbaijan – are analyzed. The political issues that prevent the full integration of abovementioned countries into major transport projects across the territory of the South Caucasus are identified. In this context, a special attention is paid to the level of involvement of the South Caucasian republics in two major transport projects competing to each other – the international transport corridor (ITC) Europe–Caucasus–Asia (TRACECA) supported by EU and ITC “North-South” supported by Russia. In this regard, the main problems and specifics of some regional projects considered to be the integral part of international transport corridors are studied: some of them are railways Baku–Tbilisi–Akhalkalaki–Kars (Azerbaijan–Georgia–Turkey), Gyumri–Kars (Armenia-Turkey), Sochi–Sukhumi–Tbilisi–Yerevan (Russia–Abkhazia–Georgia–Armenia), Qazvin–Rasht–Astara (Iran–Azerbaijan), Iran–Armenia and others. It is figured out that military-political and ethnic conflicts in the South Caucasus continue to hinder the implementation of major communication projects capable to perform a key integration role in the region. Moreover, these conflicts directly affect the economic efficiency of abovementioned projects. As a result, the main transport corridors projected through the territory of South Caucasus are forced to bypass around certain areas despite the fact that the passage through those areas would be most effective both technically and economically.
Keywords: South Caucasus, transport and logistics, railway strategy, TRACECA, ITC “North-South”, regional conflicts, Russia
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