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Russia winner in Karabakh conflict

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, August 4
All the attempts at resolving the Karabakh conflict have proved fruitless. Recently, Russia has been very active in this heated issue, however no visible results have been yielded; moreover comments have been made on the situation which suggests that this tense situation could develop into confrontation. Russian analyst Pavel Felgengauer in particular predicts the possibility of military action in Karabakh. This analyst is famous for the fact that he had predicted the Russian attack on Georgia in August 2008 well in advance. Some Georgian analysts think however that in reality Felgengauer is a “spokesman” for Russian plans and with his prognosis he prepares the public for the forthcoming developments. In his interview to radio Liberty he stated that Armenia and Azerbaijan are actively getting ready for military confrontation. Today neither of these sides are ready to make serious concessions so the conflict could escalate into a serious regional war. According to the analyst all the mediators so far could only facilitate certain loosening of the tension, but nothing more. Both the EU and Russia take the position that everything must be done to prevent military action. Felgengauer thinks that Russia has been thinking of deploying its military forces as a peacekeeping mission between the conflicting sides. According to him Russia considers the region as a major sphere of its influence historically and this possible development of course will serve its interest. Felgengauer thinks that military confrontation will not start in 2011. He also considers that openly Russia will not take sides. There is a Russian military base located in Armenia but the Russians do not have land access to this base. The base is located on the border of Turkey so presumably it is not in place to deter Azerbaijan but rather to repel Turkey, thinks Felgengauer.

Georgian public organization Experts’ Club commented on Felgengauer’s statement and labeled it as the voice of Moscow interest. According to this opinion, the Kremlin wants to deploy peacekeeping forces between the rival sides. But nobody should forget the result of Russian peacekeeping forces deployed in Georgia’s breakaway territories. The Azerbaijani leadership knows about Georgia’s experience and it is against the deployment of Russian forces as peacekeeping units. Besides, Russia is openly recognized as a strategic partner of one of the conflicting sides – Armenia. Experts’ Club thinks that Felgengauer’s position reveals Moscow’s interests to confront militarily Armenia and Azerbaijan. In this case Russia will become able to further secure its dominant position in the south Caucasus. Moreover the Kremlin will try to involve Georgia into the conflict with possibly one eye on Georgia’s eastern regions.

Meanwhile Azerbaijan and Armenia are continuing to increase their military capacity. Armenia is sure that it will not lose the possible war, because it relies on Russian support. Azeris hope that Russia will not get involved in any possible conflict in pursuit of its own interests.

So, to summarize the current situation is very comfortable for Moscow because there is neither peace nor war in Karabakh and both sides appeal to Russia to be the master of ceremonies. If war breaks out again, Russia will remain a key player in exercising its influence in the region. Therefore, no matter what happens, Russia is the winner.