Winners and Losers of Karabakh Crisis

Giorgi Kanashvili,
Executive Director of Caucasian House

Azerbaijan
Gains

  • Gaining confidence. Despite the fact, that in the end Azerbaijani troops could not maintain the largest part of seized territory, after these several days of confrontation Azerbaijan, to some extent, managed to rehabilitate psychologically.
  • After the crisis Russo-Armenian relations became substantially tensed and Azerbaijan can also keep it in his assets.
  • It reminded the international community that it is dissatisfied with the current status.

Losses

  • After the crisis Russia’s positions in the region became stronger, which in long-term perspective should not be in the interests of Azerbaijan.

Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh
Gains

  • It is quite hard to talk about any kinds of gains in the cases of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh

Losses

  • It was first time after armed conflict that Armenian side, although small, lost some territory. Such precedents, in general, are dangerous.
  • After the crisis relations were seriously strained between Armenia and its closest partners, with whom it has a military alliance. I mean – the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

Russia
Gaines

  • It has shown once again to everyone both at home and in the region and beyond its borders who is able to manage the crisis. Particularly effective were the parallel visits to Baku and Yerevan (the fact that Russia gives great importance to effects, can be proved by the bombing of the positions of the Islamic State from the Caspian sea).
  • It showed Azerbaijan, that despite Armenia’s membership to CSTO, it is not putting Armenian interests into effect unconditionally.
  • With its active involvement Russia clearly surpassed and left no room for the West. However, it is a different matter at what extent was the West showing its readiness to effectively engage in the conflict.

Losses

  • Armenia is not hiding its resentment over Russia’s position and actions. But the question is how, and at what extent will this emotion be reflected on Armenian foreign policy. Most likely it is the limited choice (of Armenia) that allows Russia to “flirt” with Azerbaijan in such manner.

Turkey
Losses

  • The crisis clearly damaged an already difficult process of the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations.
  • Russia once again demonstrated its leadership in South Caucasus, which in the context of strained Russo-Turkish relations should not be coinciding with Turkish regional ambitions.

Iran
Gains

  • It is hard to imagine someone replacing Russia as a guarantor of Armenia’s security, but Armenia, irritated by Russia, will not be against the intensification of relations with Iran.

Georgia
Gains

  • Against the background of what is happening – in Ukraine, in Middle East, in Turkey and in/around Karabakh, Georgia is the subject of the most peaceful and stable look, which in the long run should be reflected on its development.
  • Georgia’s modest position and frustration with Russia during the crisis, possibly expanded Tbilisi’s circle of friends in Armenia.

Losses

  • Russia becoming stronger in the region, while West is fading should not be in the interests of pro-western Georgia.
  • Rapprochement between Russia and Azerbaijan in any, even slightest form is perceived with suspicion in Tbilisi (just like Baku looks at the “normalization” of Russo-Georgian relations).

 
The West
Gains

  • Change of public attitudes towards Russia in Armenia, allegedly raises some prospect of relations between Armenia and the west. However, it is too early and groundless to talk about any tangible results.

Losses

  • The crisis clearly demonstrated the weak Western positions in the region which will be reflected accordingly on the political elites in Baku and Yerevan, as well as in Tbilisi.

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