Russia tries to make peace between Armenians and Azerbaijanis

On May 16th, the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet in Vienna. The main issue on the agenda is the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. The meeting will also by attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia. Russia will seek to normalize relations between the two countries which are currently standing on the brink of war.

The Karabakh conflict

Nagorno-Karabakh has been a disputed territory since the 1920’s which Armenia and Azerbaijan have sought to divide amongst themselves. The climax years of the conflict featured a large-scale military conflict between 1991 and 1994. On April 1st, 2016,  fighting resumed in Nagorno-Karabakh and lasted for 4 days. The two sides of the conflict continue to accuse each other of violating the ceasefire which was attained over the course of talks in Moscow on April 5th.

Who benefits from the war

The only country which benefits from a new conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh is the United States of America. On the one hand, the conflict would complicate the position of Russia, which will have to choose which one of the parties to support. On the other hand, Russia would be faced with a war near its own borders which would distract it from other international problems. Turkey’s position would also be further complicated, which would make it even more compliant in Syria and dependent on US aid.

The US is using its networks of influence in both Azerbaijan and Armenia to push aggressive actions.The pro-US parties in the Armenian parliament were the ones to initiate discussion on recognizing the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. Although the Armenian government has postponed consideration of the issue, the discussion itself has added fuel to the fire of the conflict.


Russia will most likely try to reconcile the two states. To achieve this, Russia can exert serious pressure on its ally, Armenia. However, if Azerbaijan will continue its attempts to flirt with NATO (for example by joining a joint Georgian-Turkish exercise in the framework of NATO programs, as has been now proposed by Georgia), then Russia may tacitly support a number of Armenian initiatives.