Deadlock of the Georgian Military Road: View from Armenia

Deadlock of the Georgian Military Road: View from Armenia

Not wishing to fundamentally resolve the problem of transport links with Russia through a settlement of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and opening the borders with Azerbaijan, Armenia is looking today for alternative ways routes to the Georgian Military Road. These alternative routes are getting more and more expensive to Armenia every day.

As Armenia's Ministry of Agriculture told Vestnik Kavkaza, Yerevan and Tbilisi agreed to run an additional ferry connection Poti - Novorossiysk for Armenian companies exporting food to Russia. Agricultural producers of Armenia have three ferries with a lodging capacity of 55 cars each. The cost of transporting one truck from the Georgian coast of the Black Sea to the Russian one is about $1,000.

Armenia does not have similar alternative route to replace the Georgian Military Road, and today they are taken from Russia to their home country by the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry planes. According to the North Caucasian Regional Emergency Center, several trips will be necessary to bring home 147 Armenian stuck right now at the "Verkhny Lars" checkpoint.

The Director of the Armenian branch at the CIS Institute, Aleksander Markarov, commented on the problem of Armenia's long-time dependence on the Georgian Military Roadin, which is essential for contacts with Russia. According to him, the republic has only two options today: to wait or to try to open the Abkhaz railway.

"Passenger traffic and cargo transportations cannot be stable without diversified infrastructure that would link Armenia with Russia through second or third country by land. So we can either wait until the road will open or try to build new land route. A logical option here would be opening Georgia - Abkhazia - Russia railway. However, it means political problems, of which everyone is aware. That is the reason why it remains in a “dormant” state. Although at the moment the condition the railroad is in poses a problem by itself," he noted.

That is why, as Alexander Markarov concluded, Armenia can only be satisfied with unstable and dangerous route via the Georgian Military Road, which is regularly damaged by different natural disasters, typical for the Caucasus Mountains.