The South Caucasus Republics and Israel

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8 Scopus citations


With the breakup of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War, three republics in the South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan) achieved independence for the second time during the twentieth century. Their first experience was contentious and short-lived, had little or no support from the Western powers and was brought to end by the newly formed Soviet Union with the tacit approval of Turkey. While Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani national aspirations were quashed in the early post-First World War era, Zionism was given encouragement with the establishment of the Palestine Mandate. When Israel was established it was given immediate recognition by the Soviet Union, but most Jews from Georgia and Azerbaijan - Armenia's population was very small in comparison - only made their way to Israel during the last years of the Cold War. On the other hand, following the Second World War, some members of the Armenian Diaspora, including those in the Arab world, immigrated to the Soviet Union. While Soviet-Israeli relations had been strained since the Six-Day War, the end of the Cold War not only brought better ties between Russia and Israel, but it allowed Israel to establish relations with the other successor states of the former Soviet Union. Many of those countries sought ties with Israel (and the other Western states) to insure their continued independence from Russia, while, at the same time, Arab-Israeli relations improved and Turkey and Israel drew closer together. Iran was regarded with suspicion by Azerbaijan and along with Georgia, which wanted to enhance its ties with the West, drew closer to Turkey. Both countries have benefited from the transport of oil. Jews from Georgia and Azerbaijan have kept close connections with their former countries, where anti-Semitism was never the problem it was in Russia. Armenia has remained the closest to Russia with its conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno Karabakh and its distrust of Georgia. However, Armenians experienced genocide at the hands of the Ottomans and have sought support from Israel over that issue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-314
Number of pages20
JournalMiddle Eastern Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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