By Alexander Yeo and Emil Souleimanov
Russia has long been a regional hegemon, able to actively exert hard and soft power over many of its neighbors, the Central Asian and South Caucasian states among them. However, since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, this influence has weakened, with military and economic resources being diverted to an increasingly protracted and unpredictable war effort. This has led to a shift in regional power balances, as showcased by Azerbaijan’s ascendancy in the South Caucasus, as well as economic challenges including the difficult choices faced by the allies of an increasingly isolated Russia.
By Robert M. Cutler
June 26, 2023
Intensive rounds of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the past few months seem to be hitting a pause. Some progress has been made via each of the now-existing three tracks sponsored respectively by Russia, by the EU, and by the U.S. These have shown a certain limited mutual complementarity, yet crucial issues still await authoritative resolution. At present, only the U.S. would appear to have the goal of a final peace treaty firmly in sight. The process presided by Council of the EU President Charles Michel in Brussels may potentially still be helpful, but the activity of other EU institutions has become obstructive. U.S. diplomacy should not allow the current momentum to dissipate.
By Vali Kaleji
June 15, 2023
Despite some similarities in Iran’s and Russia’s approaches towards the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Tehran and Moscow have diverged in recent years regarding the Zangezur Corridor, its possible effects for Iran’s border with Armenia, and Israel’s relations with Azerbaijan. Russia’s relations with Israel and its need to retain economic ties and transit options with Azerbaijan and Turkey after the Ukraine war, have led Moscow to take a flexible approach to developments in the South Caucasus, which is not favorable to Iran. This has disrupted the unwritten alliance between Iran, Armenia and Russia and has created a security and strategic dilemma for Iran along its northwestern borders.
By Robert M. Cutler
May 9, 2022
Constructive developments in negotiations for peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, particularly those mediated by the European Union, have produced a further radicalization of the opponents of such a peace. Russia is unhappy with EU and Western attempts to take the initiative for the peaceful normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Russia is seeking to use the Karabakh Armenians to maintain its geopolitical position in the South Caucasus. Threats have been voiced, in both Moscow and Khankendi [Stepanakert], of the intention to seek an annexation to Russia of areas in Nagorno-Karabakh where Russian troops are located.
By Beka Chedia
November 26, 2021, the CACI Analyst
On August 31, Georgian authorities announced that they declined a loan of 75 million Euros from the EU, since they already had sufficient resources and did not the assistance from the EU. This was preceded by a warning from the European Council President Charles Michel about the potential freezing of macro financial aid unless Georgia makes progress in democratic reforms. The Georgian authorities thus sent a tough political message to Brussels, objecting to Brussel’s interference in the country’s domestic political process. Due to the crisis in relations with the EU, Georgia faces a real danger of losing its European perspective.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.