Georgia and Azerbaijan have already expressed their strong interest for NATO admission and have received a positive attitude by the latter. However, Russia appears quite apprehensive to such a case and is expected to present great resistance before such an event happens since the Soviet national interests in the territory would start to lose ground.
Key factor for NATO’s attention to the far east region of the former Soviet Union is the two countries’ abundance in oil resources. Analysts already predict that their admission is feasible yet stress the need for substantial amendments in their governmental structure and functions. Bringing the two nations’ military levels to NATO standards consists of an obligatory task and the US military presence in Georgia is justifying that. Russia, on the other hand, may well try to prevent the closeness of these countries to the west, mostly out of fear that both countries, Azerbaijan mostly, will use their NATO membership as their “getaway passport” from their long-existed exclusive ties. And when it comes to oil matters, then things become even more complicated, not to mention threatening for Russia’s dominance in the wider region. Keeping in mind Georgia and Azerbaijan’s strong and non-retreating determination for NATO accession, the former Soviet Union has been trying to diplomatically tackle possible “rebellious” attitudes. To begin with, Russian military bases have maintained their presence in Georgia, whilst Putin has appeared strongly supportive to Azerbaijan’s neighbour-in-conflict, Armenia. Meanwhile, the presidents of both countries are currently facing strong internal opposition as elections are pending. So, this could give Russia the chance to use its influence and promote Russian policy affiliate successors to the posts. (649)