Center for Security Studies

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An EU-Russia Modus Vivendi in the East?

Image courtesy of Etereuti/Pixabay

This article was originally published by the Carnegie Moscow Center on 17 January 2018.

There are signs that the EU and Russia are managing their relations better in their common neighborhood. Neither has achieved its ambitions in countries such as Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. Although a “grand bargain” is not possible at the moment, the two sides have a common interest in halting a deterioration in relations.

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Realignment in the Caucasus

Image: Travelpleb/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by the World Policy Institute on 22 April 2015.

An April 2 meeting between the defense ministers of Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan might have easily passed as routine. Yet in a region like the Caucasus, fraught with deeply entrenched interstate rivalries, this summit could hardly be described as inconsequential. At the meeting, Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov identified Armenia as a regional threat, remarking that it “is the only state in the region which lays territorial claims to our countries.” The same day, Russian fighter jets stationed in Armenia began three-day drills. Though these two events probably coincided by chance, they illustrate two distinct – potentially competing –  regional orders in the South Caucasus: a deepening Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan coordination and a historic Russian presence represented by the Kremlin’s close alliance with Armenia. » More

Conflicts and Conflict Resolution in the Caucasus

President of the Republic of Armenia visiting troops in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Photo: Republic of Armenia/Wikimedia Commons

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, conflicts ranging from Chechnya’s fight for independence to the ‘frozen’ Nagorno-Karabakh dispute have attracted the attention of scholars to the Caucasus region. Indeed, Russia’s rekindled presence in the region, Georgia’s disputes with the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the latest status of Nagorno-Karabakh provided the basis for the latest “Evening Talk” staged by our parent organization, the Center for Security Studies. The event, which was entitled Conflicts and Conflict Resolution in the Caucasus, brought together different experts to discuss the future trajectory of security in the region. In the following podcast, Oxford University’s Professor Neil Macfarlane explains, among other things, why Georgia will not be reclaiming the breakaway republics any time soon, and lays out the prospects for improved dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. » More

Russia’s War Games Make Georgia Nervous

Russian Military Exercise 2010. Photo by George Malets. Copyright Demotix (08/26/2010)

Russian Military Exercise 2010. Photo by George Malets. Copyright Demotix (08/26/2010)

In June and July Russia held several military exercises with its regional partners. There are more to come in August and September. Of course, none of the planned events are quite as extensive as the one that an Iranian news agency falsely reported on June 19th, in a bit of wishful thinking. There won’t be joint war games involving 90,000 troops held in Syria by Russia, China and Iran.

Even then, the exercises are numerous and heavily concentrated in Central Asia. In June there was Peaceful Mission-2012 [ru], held by five Shanghai Group countries (Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan) in Tajikistan. There were 2000 troops involved in the antiterrorist themed war game, of which Russia contributed 350. » More

ISN Weekly Theme: Nagorno-Karabakh

Landmines in Suarassy, Kashatagh Region, Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, courtesy of Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia 2006

Landmines in Suarassy, Kashatagh Region, Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, courtesy of Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia 2006

This week, the ISN focuses on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over this de facto independent territory has been running since the break-up of the Soviet Union. Mediation efforts by the ‘Minsk Group’, a group of OSCE member states, haven’t brought any substantial success. Some even argue that they’ve been counterproductive.

As other disputes stuck in a ‘no peace, no war’ situation for so long, Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to the ‘frozen conflicts’ species. But the dramatic meltdown of the South Ossetia conflict last summer showed that frozen conflicts should be taken very seriously indeed.

You might also want to check our resources on the whole Caucasus region or on mediation in peace processes in general.