Russia – predominant foreign power in Caucasus: Stratfor

Russia – predominant foreign power in Caucasus: Stratfor
# 17 November 2016 13:22 (UTC +04:00)

Baku – APA. Moscow has used the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh as a way to balance between Armenia and Azerbaijan and to remain the predominant foreign power in the Caucasus, reads an analytical article titled “For Russia, Some Conflicts Are Colder Than Ever”, published by geopolitical intelligence platform Stratfor .

The article tells about the ongoing conflict in the post-Soviet area.

“This was particularly true in areas where ethnic and cultural minorities were concentrated. As Moscow's control and authority over the Soviet republics weakened, tensions grew. And when the Soviet Union collapsed, these regions formed de facto states outside the control of the newly independent former Soviet republics,” reads the article.

According to the article, unlike the conflicts in Donbas, Transdniestria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russia's use of Nagorno-Karabakh is more complicated, since it lacks a direct military presence in the territory.

“Moscow has, however, used the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh as a way to balance between Armenia and Azerbaijan and to remain the predominant foreign power in the Caucasus. Though Armenia is strategically aligned with Moscow and Azerbaijan has a more balanced foreign policy, Russia sells weapons to both in a bid to keep each focused on the other and dependent on Moscow for its security needs,” the article says.

It’s noted that the standoff between Moscow and the West has also made the security situation within breakaway territories more dynamic.

“There was a significant escalation of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh in April; dozens of troops were wounded and hundreds were injured or went missing on both sides. Moscow and the West continue to compete for influence across the former Soviet periphery, the security situation could become more unstable in and near these territories,” reads the article.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict entered its modern phase when the Armenian SRR made territorial claims against the Azerbaijani SSR in 1988.

A fierce war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the war, Armenian armed forces occupied some 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory which includes Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts (Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli and Zangilan), and over a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced people.

The military operations finally came to an end when Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in Bishkek in 1994.

Dealing with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the OSCE Minsk Group, which was created after the meeting of the CSCE (OSCE after the Budapest summit held in Dec.1994) Ministerial Council in Helsinki on 24 March 1992. The Group’s members include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belarus, Finland and Sweden.

Besides, the OSCE Minsk Group has a co-chairmanship institution, comprised of Russian, the US and French co-chairs, which began operating in 1996.

Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of the UN Security Council, which were passed in short intervals in 1993, and other resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, PACE, OSCE, OIC, and other organizations require Armenia to unconditionally withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh.

Nagorno Garabagh