The strategic lines of Russia’s policy in the South Caucasus
Two strategic lines are detected in the Russian foreign policy: the close relations with the United States over issues relating to brutal processes and the confrontation with the United States in the regions.
Aside from the U.S.-Russian agreements, at least over the issues relating to Central Asia, the fight for this region, as well as the Caucasus and Ukraine continues. At this point Armenia’s strategic interests are noticed (there are such interests too).
Everything is fine with the Americans and especially the Europeans. The United States and Europe have practically given up on any serious pressure against Armenia over the Karabakh issue. The energy companies have found out that the Karabakh conflict is not a threat to their infrastructures and projects. On the contrary, NKR is a crucial element of security in the South Caucasus.
The West has found out that the Karabakh issue cannot be resolved in any system. The best option for the United States and the West is the conservation of the issue.
The United States does not care for the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations. The Americans are somewhat interested in the Turkish-Armenian relations as a central issue in the region. The United States has reserved Armenia for the nearest future when Turkey’s “sovereignty” grows.
A key foreign political issue of the United States in our region is the neutralization of the confrontation with Russia. This is about lowering the level of confrontation in the Turkey-Iran-Russia triangle. The United States would like to stand higher than the fight of three “empires” and support the more vulnerable country, to maintain the balance of forces. However, this idea is already in the past though it has existed for at least 20 years.
In this context the future of the Russian-Armenian relations and the essence of normalization of the Russian-Azerbaijani relations are interesting. Russia always avoided demonstrating its binding relations with Armenia, and Russia is trying to present the recently signed “new” agreement as an ordinary document.
Moscow does understand that Armenia’s “plan” has been implemented, and now it is necessary to normalize relations with Georgia and Azerbaijan.
A strategic partnership has formed between Turkey and Azerbaijan which does not fit in the interstate relations. Both countries have stepped on the path of creation of confederation. The important thing that the political elites of Azerbaijan and Russia have realized is that Russia is not capable of solving the Karabakh issue for Azerbaijan.
The main issue is geo-economic and economic cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan. Oil-exporting Azerbaijan can hardly collect the state budget, has an electricity issue and is facing loss of the status of an industrial society. However, the economic issues have not occurred out of thin air. Aliyev’s sacral purpose is to get Russia’s support.
There are all the opportunities for eliminating Russia’s concerns about the Karabakh issue. Russia’s problem in Karabakh is to participate in this issue equally with other powers or no power participates at all.
But are the problems in the Armenian-Russian relations limited to this? Of course, not. It is obvious that a significant, dynamic but less pro-active anti-Armenian potential has occurred in Putin’s entourage.
The actual Armenian elite are under constant pressure. “Third-hand” fifth columns are created among different entrepreneurs who spend the cold winters in Moscow.
The right nationalism has ousted the leftists in Russia but it has not matured yet and is being formed in the furnace of military industry, energy and raw materials, financial and IT corporations. One has to understand that only the countries which participate in the struggle, including the struggle for the interests of Russia and its partners can have strategic relations. However, this is not happening, which is a sign of weakness of the strategic cooperation between Armenia and Russia.
It is true that currently such a definition is absolutely inadequate. Russia’s behavior towards Armenia, considering the existing agreements, is absolutely immoral. Although, such are Russia’s relations with Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Russia’s policy on the South Caucasus gradually stops being sovereignty and fits into the relations with Turkey.