Since the region’s dissolution from Donovian influence, divisions within the Caucasus have hardened to create deep animosity between some of the countries.
A long history of conflict created borders that are often illogical, with contested boundaries that divide ethnic groups, rupture trade and communication routes, and split previous economic and political interdependencies. Internal and external forces destabilize the relatively weak Caucasus governments, making them subject to potential breakdown. Despite some advances in the creation of parliamentary and electoral mechanisms, enactment of limited liberal legislation, and the development of new leaders, the legitimacy of the region’s government’s remains limited. These governments often resort to authoritarian methods to retain control of the state: manipulating elections, stifling opposition, clamping down on dissidents, violating political freedoms, and abusing human rights.
As a result, the prospects for long-term political, economic, and social stability remain uncertain. Oil and natural gas resources draw outside interests to the region, but its history of outside interference and ethnic conflict makes the nations wary and prone to vendettas and grudges, whether in the their best interests or not.
Because of ties to Donovia, most Caucasus countries use primarily Donovian-sourced military doctrine and equipment.
Some of the countries recently purchased Western hardware, and their interactions with NATO forces in operations around the world caused them to adopt more Western doctrine and technologies, principally these systems include unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and advanced anti-armor capabilities. Several factors threaten security and stability throughout the region. For the most part, there are no functional border guard units, so the borders remain quite porous.
Secessionist conflicts, limited political and economic reforms, and increased social problems provide a fertile ground for germination of radical groups, infiltration of foreign networks, and formation of militant organizations. Overall, unresolved territorial conflicts pose the most dangerous and immediate threat to the region’s security.
Oil and gas resources drive the region’s economy.
All international commerce centers around oil drilling and refining and development of a transportation corridor. Significantly, the corridor serves as the main outlet for hydrocarbon resources from both the Caucasus region and the Central Asian countries. Caspian energy projects continue to attract financial involvement as other countries try to gain influence in the region.
The contractions of domestic markets and constrained trade opportunities, cause all five Caucasus nations to have limited potential for economic development outside the energy sector. The economic challenge is to identify ways to diversify the region’s economies through restoration and development of critical water resources, agriculture, and the ailing manufacturing sector.
The region’s relatively weak central governments focus more on control than developing the fledgling market economies. In this environment inefficiency and criminal elements freely flourish. The minimal diversity places the region’s economies in danger of stagnating, with daily commerce and utilities degrading and the general standard of living falling. Because of this threat, many of the region’s inhabitants are returning to the countryside to survive from the land or seeking permission to migrate abroad.
The region receives the majority of its news and information through television, but Internet and mobile phone usage are growing.
The region continues to evolve slowly from state-controlled media and information delivery. While governments still attempt to control information, satellite and the internet enable many of the region’s people to bypass governmental controls. Information-based technologies sustained by the use of satellites will become more and more important as the need to communicate quickly, easily, and reliably increases. Satellites not only enable telecommunication across a wide spectrum, but also support economic growth and development, support transportation sectors, and assist with meteorological forecasting. Additional use of commercial satellites supports navigation accuracy, enabling both public and commercial sectors to capitalize on its use.
The mass public use of television keeps perception management at the forefront of all political and military operations. Computer attacks have occurred in the region and each country continues to expand both its intelligence and information warfare (INFOWAR) capabilities.
The Caucasus countries face several hurdles to infrastructure development. Aging infrastructure is affected by natural disasters such as landslides, mudslides, and floods, which routinely cause evacuation of local populations, loss of life, infrastructural damage, and heavy material losses. Development of the region as a transportation corridor will not only increase incomes and economies, but will also expand pollution issues.
Construction of roads, railways, and pipelines will cause the loss of valuable agriculture land. Waste dumping along the transportation routes will become a growing issue.
Terrain features across the region is similar—dominated by mountains but with deserts and lowlands as well. Of note are the tunnels that exist to facilitate movement of supplies for the military as well as smuggling by criminal organizations and irregular forces.
There are several underground facilities used to house nuclear training and enrichment programs.
For the most part, the regions countries do not believe in the sensitivity of time and do not view punctuality or the importance of time as in most Western countries. The people do not look at time in the short term, but look toward the long term.
The more a country interacts with Western nations, however, the more accepting the country becomes to Western ideas on time.