This study examines the approach of five Caspian coastal states - Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan-toward the legal regime regarding the Caspian Sea in the 1990s. In particular, it tests the neorealist hypothesis regarding relative gains in explaining the approach of those five Caspian coastal states. This study demonstrates that concerns about relative gains matter, but not universally. Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan consistently pursued relative gains strategy. Yet, in the cases of three other Caspian states, Russia, Iran, and Turkmenistan, concerns about relative gains were not critical in determining the policy direction of these states.
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