THE CASPIAN SEA
An overview of the lake/sea which for centuries stood amidst the major conflicts this region has known, today contested by Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Iran, with increasing US and American influence in the region and with Russia's continuos manipulation of conflicts the Caspian today seems to be one the world's major chessboards, and its toll on lives may not be over yet.
Azerbaijan is probably the richest and most stable country in the Caucasus, rich in oil and gas fields, supported by the West and by Islamic countries, a major player in the Caucasian Great Game, despite loosing the war with Armenia and having escaped Russia's destabilisation attempts its significant growth as regional power and key western ally is raising concerns in Armenia, Iran and Russia.
Will this young state much criticised from its human rights breaches survive international scheming and grow to become a major regional power?
It was in the Gorbachev era at the height of the glasnost policy when ethnic Armenians living in the Azeri region called Nagorny Karabakh started to request more autonomy and independence from Azerbaijan, that is probably the only part on which all sides agree on. Six years of war just become a matter of point of view based on false history, false information and powers' interests in the region.
Georgia is the greatest ethnic melting pot in the whole Caucasus, counting on such a diversified composition of languages, cultures and religions. With the collapse of the USSR and with Georgia declaring independence many of these regions had the same idea, such a non co-operative situation in the republic's territory which at times erupted in conflicts made Goergia also the most unstable country of Caucasus despite its high potential.
Used to be called Bessarabia, Walachia, Transylvania, used to be Romanian, then Turkish, then Russian, a history of invasions and of separation from their own linguistic group in Romania. A poor country, in an unfortunate position, trying to keep territorial integrity.