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De-colonising the Azerbaijan-Armenian Conflict: Breaking the Knot of Security and Dependence


The recent military operation in the Nagorno Karabakh area reflects a broader regional transformation. Its essence is in the second attempt (with the first one in Azerbaijan 30 years ago) of changing the security paradigm, this time in Armenia, leading to de-colonisation of relations in the region. The core of this change is liberation from the dependence on Russia’s almost two centuries old patronage, with Nagorno Karabakh conflict evolving as a tool of this dependence. With all the contradictions over the territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and difference in current political systems, the countries seem at last to arrive to the same conclusion of Russia and her control of the Karabakh elite being one of the obstacles to the peaceful relations, reforms and integration in the West. The power balance in the region, affected by such factors as Turkey’s greater involvement, distraction of the West, Russia’s increasing isolation, besides power change in Armenia, has also contributed to the “window of opportunity” for a change of paradigms. The role and influence of the EU and the US in this process, including in deterring potential military developments, will be dependent on the perception of them by the parties as non-partisan brokers, promotion of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan as independent subjects of international relations and consistency in support of democracy.