CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal

Diverging Neighbors in the Near Abroad: The Sources of Conflicting Relations With Russia in Armenia and Georgia

Jake H. Fallek, University of Pennsylvania

Division: Social Sciences

Dept/Program: Political Science

Document Type: Undergraduate Student Research

Mentor(s): Rudra Sil

Date of this Version: 06 April 2020



When Armenia and Georgia exited the Soviet Union in 1991, massive popular majorities in both countries voted for independence in nationwide referenda. Over thirty-years later, Armenia and Georgia have chartered two radically distinctive pathways for their states within the near abroad. Tbilisi has become a reliable opponent of Russia within the post-Soviet space as it pursues integration into NATO and the European Union. Yerevan, by contrast, is closely associated with Russia, and has joined the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union. This thesis employs a comparative framework to evaluate the sources behind this divergence. The research identifies three determining variables behind this divergence. The first is shared elite geo-political visions for the state (“constructed realities”), informed by historical and post-Soviet developments, that shape the national trajectories either towards close association with Russia or defection to the West. The second is the extent of economic dependence between the subject country and Russia and the reaction of national elites to that linkage. Finally, the two variables are mutually reinforcing and serve to confirm the overall trajectory of relations.


Comparative Politics | International Relations | Political Science

Suggested Citation

Fallek, Jake H., "Diverging Neighbors in the Near Abroad: The Sources of Conflicting Relations With Russia in Armenia and Georgia" 06 April 2020. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania,

Date Posted: 07 July 2020




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