TODAY.AZ / Politics

Alexei Vlasov: "The Nagorno Karabakh problem has been neglected so much that many years of joint efforts are required to overcome a deadlock, while West's intention to settle everything through "standard models" will do no good"

22 September 2008 [11:48] - TODAY.AZ
Day.Az interview with Alexei Vlasov, Russian political scientist and general director of the information and analytical center of study of sociopolitical processes in the post-Soviet area.

- Which changes can the analogy, drawn by President Medvedev between the events of September 11 in the United States and August 8 in Georgia, bring in Russian external policy?

- The talks about the geopolitical importance of the August events are rapidly growing into the talks about nothing. All participants of "big game" speak of new realities but neither Russian nor western experts are able to specify these realities so far.

It is clear that Russia has demonstrated determination for active actions by force and all around have been strongly surprised and do not know how to treat this new feature of the Kremlin. On the background of the total financial crisis and panic on the securities markets, Russia's actions have become an additional source of risks, if we take the outlook of investors, but it is still impossible to speak of the fundamental ties between the crisis in the system of international relations and global economic crisis, and, especially, bind it to the "Georgian issue".

I think it is impossible to give a clear answer to your question. All tendencies are on the stage of growth. Let's see how the events will further develop. I would only say that we treat September 11 absolutely differently than directly after those tragic events. Systemic conclusions and assessments take time.

- How will the Kremlin's policy affect the Caucasus on the whole and in particular the Karabakh conflict settlement?

- It is now early to speak of a formation of a new "Caucasus vector" in Moscow's policy. In fact, Moscow should now intensify its peacekeeping efforts on Nagorno Karabakh, demonstrating ability to hold "diplomacy of words" but not only force. But where is the plan, which is able to lead to an agreement on this extremely painful issue? Yerevan is not signaling readiness for compromises and in order to persuade its ally in CSTO, Russia may need time.

Furthermore, how perspective is Russia's participation in the peacekeeping process on Karabakh without participation and support of other leading countries? Relations with the West may even oblige Yerevan and Baku to assume mediation.

While compromise on Transdniestria is possible via the Russian initiatives, it is hardly possible on Karabakh.

Therefore, it is likely to remain the same, that is in the state of deep freezing.

- Official Moscow states that the situation with South Ossetia will not set a precedent for Nagorno Karabakh. Does it mean that Russia supports resolution of the Karabakh conflict in the framework of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan?

- Certainly, Russia supports the principle of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Certainly, we need friendly relations with Baku in all spheres. But let's recall Ilham Aliyev's words: "We want the end of confrontation. Georgia and Russia are Azerbaijan's friends. We want out friends to become friends with each others. The recent events proved again that the stability in the region is a very sensitive issue", said the head of state.

And now put Armenia and Azerbaijan in Russia's and Georgia's places and imagine that these are Dmitri Medvedev's words. By the way, it is a wonderful phrase. But can we hope for the fulfillment of this wish in the future? Hardly can it be...

- Can the crisis in the US-Russian relations affect the Karabakh conflict, taking into account the fact that the United States and Russia are mediators in the resolution of this conflict?

- In fact, the mediation efforts of Russia and the United States, mostly play a decisive role in the resolution of conflicts in the post-Soviet area. But the deeper the differences between Moscow and Washington are, the more faint are the hopes for joining efforts.

I am pessimistic in this sense, especially in case Republicans win the presidential elections in the United States. The policy of "factoring Russia out" will continue which means that no effective mediation would be possible.

Unfortunately, the Nagorno Karabakh problem has been neglected so much that many years of joint efforts are required to overcome a deadlock while West's intention to settle everything through "standard models" will do no good.


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