The steps that Russia will take in Karabakh in one year will determine its policy towards Azerbaijan for the next twenty years - Expert | Eurasia Diary -

2 March, Tuesday

The steps that Russia will take in Karabakh in one year will determine its policy towards Azerbaijan for the next twenty years - Expert

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Russian President Vladimir Putin shared new views about the situation around Karabakh at annual press conference. “Eurasia Diary” interviewed political scientist Engin Ozer on this issue.

At the annual press conference, V. Putin noted that the status of Nagorno-Karabakh should remain unchanged now, and the issue of its determination should be resolved in the future. What is Russia's planned status for Karabakh?

-Not only Putin, but also Lavrov stressed that status should not be changed. With that, they mean the “state structure”, and "the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh", which is not recognized by international law. Russian peacekeepers want to continue this model, in which governance exists without diplomatic relations in this unrecognized region, just like Transnistria, Republic of Moldova. However, it does not look realistic. Because Russia enter the region by signing a document wit Azerbaijan. However, the situation in Moldova is slightly different. Therefore, the chances of having the system they say are not so great. I think that, this opinion is for today and will change in the future by Russia. Russia makes such statements in order to explain its presence in the region to the Armenians and to win the approval of the Armenians there. These are not very convincing and will change over time.

-In what form a ceasefire in Karabakh should be ensured?

- No matter how harsh it sounds, it will be difficult to maintain the ceasefire in the region, if Pashinyan does not stay in power. Turkey has a great responsibility here. If peace can be maintained in the region, Turkey will take steps to liberalize all trade routes with Armenia and the movement of people, as well as the abolition of visa requirements. Peace can be ensured by this way. As long as there is no economic prosperity in Armenia, it will try such provocations with the support of France and other third countries. Because Armenia is isolated from the rest of the world. The continuity of this period will depend on Turkey. In the current situation, Pashinyan's ruling for another three or four years is beneficial for Turkey and Azerbaijan, and even for peace in the region.

Regarding the ceasefire violation in Hadrut, Russian President has said  that the negotiation process should begin. What is the main purpose of the negotiation process and what are the possible consequences?

- There are some changes in views of Kreml. An agreement has been reached to keep  Russian peacekeepers in Azerbaijan for a certain period of time. Russia is here to maintain peace. How to ensure this depends on Azerbaijan and Armenia. Such views will damage Azerbaijani-Russian relations. The continuity of the ceasefire is a matter of stability in Azerbaijan and it is no longer related to Armenia. However, Russia's recent position is questionable and needs to be clarified.

In general, focusing on the steps in its current foreign policy that Russia will take in Karabakh, we will be able to see its policy on Azerbaijan for the next 20 years in next year.  For Russia, the policy of the South Caucasus will be a new era, as it will completely lose its influence in the region or make relations based on mutual benefit. We will understand this in the next year.

Why did Putin mention the possibility of raising the number of peacekeepers?

- The number of peacekeepers can be increased only with the approval of Azerbaijan and Armenia. There are many mines in the area. This is possible if Azerbaijan supports it.

How could the current settlement of the Karabakh problem close to the most acceptable solution not in terms of the interests of individual countries but in terms of the development of the region as a whole? 

- World experience shows that if Nagorno-Karabakh is viewed as internal war  and if we look at how peace is ensured in the regions of internal conflict, Bosnia can be a good example. Despite the massacres in Bosnia in the civil war, Serbs and Muslims can live together peacufully. Lebanon is another example. Same things happened in Lebanon, but people live together. It is possible to make this happen in Karabakh too. Putin's views today are meant to soften the Armenians and make them feel safe. In fact, these ideas are right. The main thing is to put investments in this region and open all roads connected with the region, increase trade in the area. After couple of years, when the grief over the losses subsides, the two nations will be able to live together in Karabakh due to the demands of normal living conditions. I do not think there will be a big problem. This is not the first case in the world.

Reporter: Gulnar Selimova

Translator: Amina Balakishiyeva


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