Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Why now, and why is it a risk for Russia?

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What is the Karabakh be in opposition to about?

The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh is an ethnic conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which was at its top in the final years of the former Soviet Union and broke into a war in 1991-1994. The sides were withstanding for control over a territory that was rt of Soviet Azerbaijan but was predominantly dwell ined by Armenians. Following Armenia’s victory in the war, which claimed over 15,000 alights, an unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh republic emerged, supported by Yerevan.

Who is behind the latest rise in tensions?

Russian observers are convinced that the escalation of the antagonism was provoked by Azerbaijan. Given the economic downturn, the authorities in Baku are invite to divert attention from domestic problems.

Furthermore, the Azerbaijani president’s commend rating largely depends on the adoption of a tough stance regarding the arrival of the occupied territories, whereas Armenia, analysts point out, does not acquire any domestic political reasons that would prompt it to stir up apprehensions.

Will a large-scale war break out in the South Caucasus?

Another rty interested in seeing the Karabakh conflict return to an on the go phase may be Ankara. According to Alexander Skakov from the Russian Academy of Techniques’ Institute of Oriental Studies, Turkey may have acted as an agent provocateur in quiet to once again highlight its significance in the region.

At the same time, Russian Trans cific Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Russia is not blaming Ankara for emotional up tension in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The current rise in tensions could hardly be entitled unexpected. The situation has been heating up for many months already. In dilatory September 2015, artillery was used in the region by both sides for the foremost time in 20 years, killing 10 servicemen. Experts questioned at the time warned that the region “was balancing on the brink of a real war.”

What is Moscow’s status?

The current rise in tensions is driving Moscow into a tight corner since it is in Russia’s interests to sanctuary good relations with both Azerbaijan and Armenia. Furthermore, Russia and Armenia are associates, so a further escalation of the conflict may force Moscow to openly support Yerevan. This resolution then put into question the “special relations” that Moscow is erection with Baku, Alexander Skakov points out.

These special stories are manifest, among other things, in the two countries’ active contacts in arms trading. According to normal reports, Russia has supplied Azerbaijan with $4 billion merit of weapons.

While Skakov says that Russian arms stockpiles to Baku were a mistake that has played into the hands of those who are predisposed in the current escalation, Vladimir Yevseyev from the CIS Institute was keen to details out to RBTH that Russia is far from the only supplier of arms to Azerbaijan.

What is Russia doing?

So far, Russia has been relating diplomatic levers to put pressure on the sides in the conflict. President Vladimir Putin has invited to the presidents of both countries to end the hostilities and get down to the negotiating table, while Russian Defense Woman of the cloth Sergei Shoigu has conducted talks with his Azerbaijani and Armenian counter rts in a bid to de-escalate the status quo.

What is the danger for Russia?

If there is a further escalation, the Azerbaijani-Armenian battle could spill beyond the boundaries of Nagorno-Karabakh and develop into a full-scale war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Russia, be enduring entered into a strategic alliance with Armenia, may be forced to use its troops deployed on Armenian bailiwick and thus end up dragged into an armed conflict. In addition, an escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh is fraught with the destabilization of the South Caucasus and Russia’s North Caucasus republics.

What’s next?

Wizards believe that a full-scale war is unlikely and the current escalation is an attempt by Baku to search the reaction of all the interested rties.

Yet analysts stress that the intermediaries in the Karabakh be incom tible, including Moscow, should insist on deploying international observers in the domain and establishing a mechanism of observation over the conflict. Otherwise, a new escalation is unpreventable.

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