Quo Vadis, Armenia? The South Caucasus and Great Power Politics

  • Lilia A. Arakelyan


Throughout its history, Armenia, which emerged as an organized state by the middle of the second millennium BC, and was situated at the ancient crossroads of Orient and Occident on the highland located between the Mediterranean, the Black, and the Caspian seas, has come under the attack of rival empires. These include Assyrian, Mede, Achaemenian, Parthian, Sasanian, Arab, Seljuk and Mongol from the south and east; and Seleucid, Roman, Byzantine and Crusader from the west, who sought to absorb the land and its people into their dominions (Hovannisian, 1997, p. vii). For instance, present-day Armenia lies in the area which came under Persian rule after 428, it again became a battleground between the Ottomans and Persia until, in 1639, the two powers agreed that Western Armenia would be controlled by Turkey and eastern Armenia by Persia (Holding, 2011, pp. 16–17). Persian rule ended in eastern Armenia in 1724, when most Persian territory was divided between the Ottomans and Russia. The latter eventually established its hegemony in the South Caucasus by the early 19th century, when Tsarist Russia sought to strengthen its presence on the Black Sea coast in order to have a gateway to the Mediterranean (Trenin, 1996). According to Trenin (1996), Russian expansion in the Caucasus coincided with the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the fading power of Persia.


Foreign Policy Former Soviet Union Military Institution Association Agreement Grand Strategy 
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© Lilia A. Arakelyan 2015

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  • Lilia A. Arakelyan

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