Whose side Russia in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict?
On Armenia-Azerbaijan border once again go shooting for the past 30 years, this news had the order a bit to our citizens. Meanwhile, for the first time artillery fire began on the border of the two republics when it was not a state border. When we lived in the same state, and it was the first flames of war, full played in the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now, Armenians and Azerbaijanis shot at each other not in Nagorno-Karabakh, the dispute which was the cause of their conflict, and in the far North — but this conflict still has direct relevance to Russia and our national interests. Is there a risk of a major war in the Caucasus? And what should Russia do?
At least be aware of the fact that the Karabakh issue was the first severe blow to the unity of the Soviet Union — that is, from February 1988 begins the process of disintegration of our country. Up to this moment for several months in Karabakh was restless, began the ethnic conflict and the Nagorno — Karabakh Autonomous region appealed to the Union leadership to Gorbachev with a request to transfer autonomy from the Azerbaijani SSR to the Armenian. Precedents of transfer of autonomy from one Republic to another in the USSR was not long ago, especially under the pressure from below, and the center tried to settle — but acted clumsily, on the ground was not seen to be serious about Moscow, and Armenians hoped to take advantage of the restructuring and to recover what they considered "historical justice", that is to reunite the Armenian land and Armenians of Karabakh and Armenia into one country.
Passions ran high, soon the first blood was shed, the Azerbaijanis to flee from Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenians from Azerbaijan. In the end, if earlier in Azerbaijan the Armenians lived, but now they are there almost no. If Karabakh were a lot of Azerbaijanis — they were gone. Armenia won the war of the early 90s — separating from Azerbaijan, not only the bulk of Karabakh but also several regions located between it and Armenia proper (without this, to ensure the security of Karabakh would be impossible). Formally Karabakh is not a part of Armenia and not recognized it as an independent state (Republic of Artsakh). Azerbaijan, of course, did not accept the loss of their lands — especially from the standpoint of international law, Karabakh and other Azerbaijani territories remain. Azerbaijanis believe that sooner or later will return the lost ground — and the Armenians are sure that you will be able to keep them away. Periodically flare up on the border skirmishes, sometimes they escalate into more serious fighting — the last time this was in 2016, and now we are again witnessing the escalation of the conflict. What to do about Russia?
Russia over the years have sought to reconcile the two former Soviet republics — and all to no avail. Because we need the will to compromise, at least to the first steps on the way to it — which does not want to go primarily by the Armenian side. She's afraid to give Azerbaijan even part of those areas that lie between Karabakh and Armenia — fearing that in the future they will become a springboard for attacks on Karabakh. Azerbaijan is confident that time is on its side — a fourfold superiority in population, even more in the GDP, large military budget and even formal, but the support of the international community: so weak Armenia will not be able forever to keep the occupied territories. In Armenia also understand that the balance of forces is not in its favor — but they have the trump card. Without it, a new war would long ago have become a reality. The trump card — Russia. Armenia is a Russian military base, Republic of is included into the Organization of Treaty on collective security, that is a military ally of Russia.
However, it is the opinion of the Armenian side — the interests of Russia in Transcaucasia does not boil down to, to act as a guarantor of Armenia's security. Russia needs a close relationship with both the conflicting parties — Azerbaijan and Armenia should not even think about a military conflict between them. After all, it is not enough that will be suicidal for both sides so also did not need Russia. No war in the Caucasus is not in our national interest — both in Baku and in Yerevan understands it very well. Russia is for both countries not just a key ally and partner — she is, in fact, is the guarantor of their existence as such. Take Russia — and tomorrow the two republics together in a mad scramble, a battle of mutual destruction. Karabakh has become a trigger for destruction of the USSR — whether to allow disputes for him to pull down two fragments of a great state?
But where is the way out of this impasse? The only reasonable way is the gradual reintegration of Armenia and Azerbaijan not only with Russia, but also among themselves — that is, their convergence via the Eurasian Union. Armenia enters the Eurasian Union, Azerbaijan yet stands apart — but then the question, of course, not the economy, and in the future the post-Soviet space as such. In the framework of one state, which sooner or later will become the Eurasian Union will have a chance to find a compromise on Karabakh: through the exchange of territories, a partial return of refugees, a common defence policy. Armenians and Azerbaijanis are not doomed to perpetual enmity — despite the mutually shed blood and millions of refugees, there is a place where they peacefully coexist with each other. Yes, it's not Karabakh, and Russia, whose territory is home to many millions of Armenians and Azerbaijanis, both Russian citizens and citizens of these republics.
Baku and Yerevan can, of course, more than a decade waiting for the right moment to start the war among themselves — but it's a dead end road. While there is Russia — a war between them. If not Russia — or Russia all of a sudden, it is not clear for what reasons, withdraws from the Caucasus, both people will bitterly regret it. No external players will not only reconciliation, but a sustainable truce the two republics — the Transcaucasus for them will always be only a field for play against the neighbouring great powers: Russia, Turkey, Iran. But three of these countries, only Russia can be the guarantor of peace in the region — Turkey too is not indifferent to Azerbaijan.
What are the last statements of Turkish leaders — if that Erdogan accused Armenia in the current aggravation, it is not surprising (especially to blame, most likely both parties), then the words of the Minister of defence of Turkey Hulusi ACAR is extremely inappropriate. "We will stand with the armed forces of Azerbaijan, we support our brothers in accordance with the principle of "one nation, two States", — said the Minister, and it is difficult to assess as a peacekeeping position. Despite the proximity of the Turks and the Azerbaijanis, Baku has no need for such demonstrations of solidarity and aid to prevent war in the Caucasus, enough weight and influence of Russia, which is deliberately not going to take sides in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. And thereby prevent him from lighting up.