Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as one of the mechanisms for implementing modern geostrategies in the South Caucasus
At the turn of the XX - XXI centuries there were significant geopolitical events that completely changed the balance of power in the world - a stable and strong bipolar system as a result of the collapse of the USSR changed a new multi-vector, new players appeared on the international arena and began to pursue their geostrategic plans - to establish favorable economic ties, to seek new military-political allies, to expand and create military alliances. But this system gave rise to another phenomenon - frozen military conflicts, which had specific features such as ethnopolitical nature, various separatist movements not only in the post-Soviet space, but also in the Balkans, Africa (Sudan, CAR), the Middle East, Moldova , Georgia, Ukraine, the Baltic States with the support of other states that are also to some extent religious in nature.
On the morning of September 27, the first military clashes between the military units of the two states began, and both blamed each other for the escalation. As of October 13, the Azerbaijani military forces were able to break through the advanced units of the Armenian Armed Forces onlines Chaili-Yukhari-Gyuzdyak-Horadilli-Suleimanli,,but also the Prime Minister of Armenia N. Pashinyan and the President of Azerbaijan I. Aliyev were able to agree on a truce for a certain period. On October 14, the 18th day of the war in Karabakh, Azerbaijan openly announced for the first time,which struck on the territory of the Republic of Armenia, and not in Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas. At the same time, the President of Azerbaijan I. Aliyev announcedcapture of eight more villageson the southern part of the front, and the leaders of Armenia and the self-proclaimed NKR (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic) acknowledged that the enemy had managed to advance during the armistice. The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan announced on Wednesday night that in the first hour of the night, local time, the Azerbaijani military struck long-range missiles "Elbrus", which were allegedly preparing to strike Azerbaijani cities from the territory of Armenia. Later, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijanposted a video, which allegedly reflects the moment when three missile launchers entered the combat position. There is no moment of impact on them on video. Russia, the United States, the OSCE Minsk Group, the EU, France, Germany, and NATO have called on the parties to cease fire and sit down at the negotiating table. Iran has traditionally offered its mediation, taking no one's side. The purpose of this article is not to cover the chronicle of hostilities, but to analyze the current geostrategies of those states that are relevant to the Karabakh conflict and the South Caucasus region.
At the heart of the geostrategic priorities of the two key participants in the armed conflict are geopolitical irrelevant conceptual projects aimed at creating a largely monoethnic regional state. Irredentism (Italian Irredentio unliberated) - a kind of national policy of a state (political party, movement), aimed at uniting the peoples, nation or ethnic group scattered around the world. In political circles of Azerbaijan, this geopolitical project is called "Greater Azerbaijan". The urgency of creating an irredentist regional state became after the collapse of the USSR in the early 1990s. A number of nationalist politicians called for the delineation of the territory of the "historical homeland", in addition to the modern republic, the northwestern regions of modern Iran, all of modern Armenia, part of Georgia and Russia, but there were some differences between historians and politicians in plans to implement this geopolitical project and the search for possible allies abroad. The idea of Greater Azerbaijan was formulated by P. Dilanchi in 1991 and defined within its borders by A. Elchibey (President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 1992-1993), in 1992. In 1991, P. Dilanchi founded the organization CAMAH and in 1997 he founded the organization Union of United Azerbaijan (Bütöv Azərbaycan Birliyi).His book on the idea of a united Azerbaijan entitled "Bütöv Azərbaycan yolunda"was published in Ankara in 1998. A. Elchibey stated that the borders of Azerbaijan should extend from Derbent (Russia) to the Persian Gulf and also claimed that in those territories where Azerbaijanis are not even a significant part of the population, they are territories of Azerbaijani historical ethnic presence. He suggested that Azerbaijan had the right to govern these territories, which he called the "United Azerbaijani Lands" (Birlmişmiş Azərbaycan Yurdları). A. Elchibey was also hostile to the idea of an independent Kurdistan. While in Iran, Mr. Dilenchi put forward the idea of the independence of South (East) Azerbaijan, its separation from Iran and unification with North (West) Azerbaijan. The idea of independence of Southern (Eastern) Azerbaijan and its unification with Northern (Western) Azerbaijan was accepted by A. Elchibey, and then G. Aliyev. "Go to the liberation of Karabakh, the road passes through Tabriz!", He openly supported the idea of independence of South Azerbaijan; In one of his speechesMr Aliyev said: "When I say Iran, I mean South Azerbaijan." saying that he is close to this point of view.In 2000, P. Dilanchi decided to run in the elections in North Azerbaijan from CAMAH, and this decision was approved by the authorities of the Republic of Azerbaijan. However, shortly before the election, his membership, which was supported by the people, was revoked, andIranian authorities began his political persecution for separatist statements. He later fled to Canada, where he continued his political activities. His party organization CAMAH continued to operate without him, but now its activity is constantly declining due to a number of factors, including a decrease in support from official Azerbaijan. At the moment, its main political goals are the following:
1) to declare the Southern Azerbaijan Republic.
2) to approve the constitution of Southern Azerbaijan on the basis of world values. Reflect in the constitution the status of a neutral and democratic state, formed on the basis of peace and cooperation with other countries in accordance with the UN Charter.
3) abolish the power of a despotic religious figure, divide power into independent democratic legislative, executive and legal bodies.
4) to ensure the existence of various kinds of philosophical and religious worldview.
5) formation of national defense troops.
6) to guarantee the independent and unhindered improvement of language and culture for all national minorities (Persian, Kurdish) who are citizens of the Republic of South Azerbaijan.
7) grant the right of dual citizenship to Azerbaijanis living abroad.
Southern Azerbaijan consists of Ardabil, East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, Zanjan, Hamadan Ostans (provinces) and adjacent areas of Astar, Kazvin and other territories. The area of these areas is estimated at about 170,000 square meters. km (the territory of Northern Azerbaijan is twice less - ie 86,600 sq. km). The ethnic composition of the Azerbaijani provinces of Iran is dominated by Turks, making up more than 90% of the population of these territories. The exact number of Azerbaijani Turks in Iran is difficult to determine.Official statistics do not indicate the national composition of Iran. According to a study based on official statistics, Azerbaijani Turks make up almost 40% of Iran's population.This is 75% of all Azerbaijani Turks in the world. In modern Iran it is possible to allocatethree main areas in solving the national problem of South Azerbaijan, representing three different groups and positions:
1. A group of religious leaders, industrialists, bureaucrats who hold senior positions in the Iranian state, and their ideologues. This group supports the idea of a united Iran; seeks to increase the share of power and capital in a united Iran, supports the idea of Turkification of all of Iran and some in this group support the accession of North Azerbaijan to Iran.
2. A group of intellectuals, industrialists and bureaucrats, who fear the fragmentation of Iran, supports the idea of granting South Azerbaijan (and at the same time other national minorities) cultural or national-territorial autonomy, which they see as the best way to solve the Azerbaijani problem.
3. The third trend is represented by new political organizations and groups that support the ideals of independence of South Azerbaijan and a united Azerbaijan. These radical forces do not believe that the national question in Iran can be solved by evolution; rather, they believe that in order to achieve their national goals, they must use all means, including military struggle (the aforementioned political organization SAMAN).
According to the Azerbaijani parliament (June 2001.), "historical Azerbaijani lands" in addition to the actual territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan are:
1) Part of the territory of Georgia,
2) The southern regions of n Dagestan,
3) The whole territory of Armenia,
4) North-western regions of Iran.
Even during Aliyev's presidency, close cooperation with the Azerbaijani diaspora in Russia, Iran and Turkey began. The political project of constructing the diaspora and transforming it into an irredentist movement abroad acquired clear contours by the early 2000s.In November 2001, the first congress of Azerbaijanis of the world was held in Baku on the initiative of Mr. Aliyev.As a result, in 2002, the "State Committee for Work with Azerbaijanis Living Abroad" was established. N. Ibragimov became its constant leader. The first congress initiated the creation of the "Coordinating Council of Azerbaijanis of the World", headed by Pan-Azerbaijani President Aliyev. From that moment on, the success of the geopolitical project began to be measured by the growing number of organizations that merged into a single subordinate structure. The current president of country I, Aliyev, inherited the already established institutions in 2003 and approved the styles of constructing the diaspora. The only symbolic innovation was the renaming in 2008 of the mentioned State Committee to the "Committee for Work with the Diaspora". Until the Second Congress of Azerbaijanis of the World (March 16, 2006), "documentarywith the eloquent title "We are a nation of fifty million." According to this version, 10 million are the diaspora, scattered across 70 countries. The entire population of modern Azerbaijan does not reach this figure. The solidarity of the 10 million transnational community (as, however, in the case of any other diaspora) exists only in the context of official diaspora discourse. This activism, in the absence of traditional legitimate institutions, produces and maintains a certain degree of solidarity (political parties or religious structures), is limited to a fairly narrow circle of ethnic entrepreneurs and members of their families.
In addition, the support of Azerbaijanis abroad creates the preconditions for their further involvement in the military conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is perhaps the main purpose of the above-mentioned body to support and involve the Azerbaijani diaspora. Authorities are openly trying to mobilize ethnic Azerbaijanis in exile for conflict with Armenians in a situation where both can live compactly in third countries, such as Russia, Ukraine, European countries, and the United States. It can be assumed that the existence of a large and influential Armenian diaspora was a significant help to the political regime established in post-Soviet Armenia in its victory in the information war.In order to overcome the enemy, it was necessary to create its own influential diaspora.American sociologist P, Brubaker notes that if all groups of migrants are described as diasporas, none of them will be. It is obvious that the phenomenon as the "Azerbaijani diaspora" is radically different from any "classical diaspora" (Jewish, Armenian, Ukrainian or Greek). The category of injury, mandatory for the diaspora, according to many researchers, in this case can not be applied.
On February 8, 2018, at the VI Congress of the Yeni Azerbaijan Party, President I. Aliyev stated thatpolitical and strategic goal of Azerbaijanis is to return to Yerevan, which is the historical land of Azerbaijan ". "This should be the direction of our future activities, as we are now working in this direction. Our historical lands are the Yerevan Khanate, Zangezur-Geycha. ", - Aliyev said, as the Azerbaijani edition Haqqin.az writes. Thus, the implementation of this geopolitical project is still at a fairly high stage and although some statements can be called populist, the implementation of Azerbaijani geostrategy around Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia shows that this military conflict is in the geopolitical plane. However, there have been attempts to resolve this conflict between the two sides. On December 1, 2010, a Joint Statement of the Heads of Delegations of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan was adopted on the sidelines of the OSCE Summit in Astana. The preamble to the statement expressed the agreement of its participants that "the time has come for more decisive steps towards a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict." January 23, 2012 in Sochi, during a series of trilateral meetings of the Presidents of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan have reached agreements on confidence-building measures in the conflict zone, on the need to create a constructive atmosphere in the negotiations, and in fact none of these agreements has been implemented. If in the first place in the Karabakh conflict external actors, within or outside the format of the Minsk Group co-chair, set the goal of preventing a new war, a similar goal is achieved, for example, by recent visits of Minsk Group co-chairs to the conflict region. , France about the inadmissibility for them of a new military escalation in the South Caucasus. Another problem is that Azerbaijan is not going to put up with the Armenian presence in Nagorno-Karabakh and Russia's presence in the South Caucasus. The point is, that the principles of a peaceful settlement of the military confrontation were laid down by the OSCE Minsk Group and enshrined in the so-called Madrid Principles. The main provisions of the updated version of the agreement were made public on July 10, 2009, in a statement by the heads of co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, made during the G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy. These principles reflect a compromise based on the Helsinki Final Acts on the non-exercise of force, territorial integrity and equal rights and self-determination of peoples. The main provisions of this document are as follows: These principles reflect a compromise based on the Helsinki Final Acts on the non-exercise of force, territorial integrity and equal rights and self-determination of peoples. The main provisions of this document are as follows: These principles reflect a compromise based on the Helsinki Final Acts on the non-exercise of force, territorial integrity and equal rights and self-determination of peoples. The main provisions of this document are as follows:
return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh to the control of Azerbaijan;
the temporary status of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is guaranteed by security and self-government;
a corridor connecting Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh is being created;
future determination of the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh by legally binding expression of will;
the right of all internally displaced persons and refugees to return to their former places of residence;
international security guarantees, which would include peacekeeping operation.
These principles were reiterated on June 26, 2010 in the city of Muskoka in a joint statement by the Presidents of Russia D, Medvedev, USA B, Obama and France N. Sarkozy. But official Baku continuesinsist that the conflict can only be resolved through war or the complete surrender of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Armenian diplomats hold a different opinion - war or surrender at the negotiating table will not resolve the conflict, the resolution of the conflict can only take the form of a mutually acceptable compromise. On October 2, the OSCE Minsk Group issued a joint statement strongly condemning the violence in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone and outside the line of contact with Nagorno-Karabakh, and expressed concern about the increase in civilian casualties. The Co-Chairs called on the parties to fully comply with their international obligations to protect the civilian population. The co-chairs also stressed that the participation of external parties in the escalation of violence threatens efforts to achieve lasting peace.The call also stressed the need for an immediate ceasefire and the resumption of "basic negotiations, in good faith and without preconditions."
On October 11, Aliyev stated that "We must see at the negotiating table a constructive approach on the part of the Armenians, so that they stop trying to imitate the negotiation process, so that they refrain from provocative actions, statements and are committed to finding a solution. Everything we have seen from the Armenian side over the last year has been aimed at undermining the negotiation process and holding Azerbaijan accountable. So let's watch. " Thus, Azerbaijan does not abandon the talks, but tries to present them in such a way as to show itself to be a victim of aggression and gain support from European states, despite Russia's strong geostrategic influence.
T. de Waal emphasizes that “escalation in Karabas is a big risk, and the leadership of Azerbaijan could go for it, despairing of achieving its goals as a result of negotiations. This decision could be caused by a stalemate in negotiations with Armenia and the refusal of its new leader Nikola Pashinyan to seriously negotiate on terms acceptable toAzerbaijan. "In January 2019, the foreign ministers of the two countries announced the need to prepare for peace. It seemed that the negotiations received a new impetus, but in a year and a half the only step in this direction was the exchange of delegations of journalists. Meanwhile, the rhetoric of the leaders began to diverge from the words of their ministers. In July 2019, during a visit to the capital of the unrecognized NKR, N. Pashinyan stated that Karabakh belongs only to Armenia. These words were regarded by Azerbaijan as a provocation and a refusal to negotiate. In February 2020, mutual accusations between the leaders of the two countries took place in Munich again. The relative calm, which lasted two years, ended with an escalation in July 2020, on the international border of Armenia and Azerbaijan.At least 16 people died then.The lack of reaction from outside players, especially Russia and the United States, to the COVID-19 pandemic led Aliyev to suggest that Armenia would be left without military support from Russia and the CSTO and would find itself between a rock and a hard place between Azerbaijan and Turkey. D. Kuchera, an international expert on geopolitics in the Caucasus region, is of the same opinion. "Unfulfilled hopes for Pashinyan gave the impression in Baku,that peace talks can give nothing and Azerbaijan will be able to return its territories only by forceIn addition, the partnership with the United States will make it possible to push the conflict more militarily and put even more pressure on the Armenian side in the talks, even if US interests in the Caucasus are reduced to a minimum in connection with the presidential election. The fact that Azerbaijan was preparing for a military operation in a few months can be assumed, according to the assistant to the President of Azerbaijan H. Hajiyev. "Our operation is of a defensive nature - to protect the population and force Armenia to make peace," Hajiyev said.
The military doctrine of the Republic of Azerbaijan indicates that the leadership of Azerbaijan did not rule out a direct military conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. "The main source of military threat to the national security of the Republic of Azerbaijan remains the occupation of part of the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan by the Republic of Armenia. There are the following possible options for the resumption of military activity in connection with this threat: the deliberate resumption by the Republic of Armenia of the phase of active armed aggression; uncontrolled expansion of armed conflict - the growth of local skirmishes on the line of contact and their transformation into larger-scale hostilities;The main external military and political threats according to the doctrine are:
Occupation of part of the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan by the armed forces of the Republic of Armenia;
Any possible external military interference in the internal affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan;
Entry of the Republic of Azerbaijan into foreign military dependence;
Nomination of territorial claims to the Republic of Azerbaijan by neighboring states;
Any activities aimed at deteriorating the internal political and socio-economic situation of the Republic of Azerbaijan, violation of stability, including support for separatist and religious extremist movements, preparation of other states of illegal armed groups and terrorists to be sent to the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan;
Participation of neighboring countries in interstate conflicts or the presence in these countries of internal conflicts, military operations, armed uprisings or other forms of military or military-political instability;
Violation of the state border of the Republic of Azerbaijan by military units and armed groups, aggravation of border disputes or conflicts;
Proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction by individual states, organizations and terrorist groups.
Azerbaijan's geographical position in terms of strategic geography allows it to pursue a balanced foreign policy and at the same time increase its influence in a number of regions - the Caucasus, the Middle East and Central Asia. At the same time, Azerbaijan acts as a link between Moscow and Tehran, Moscow and Ankara, and provides more than Armenia, Russia's strategic access to the Middle East. Baku's special role in this process is also due to the unique position of Azerbaijan as a country at the crossroads of three cultures - Russian, Turkish and Persian, and historically connected with Russia, Turkey and Iran. Located in the South Caucasus, a region that connects Eastern Europe with Central Asia, Azerbaijan, according to Z. Brzezinski, a former US national security adviser under the Carter administration. Due to its geopolitical position, Azerbaijan has a "sensitive location", which is as a "protective shield" for the Caspian Sea: it opens or blocks access to many important subregional actors trying to be supplied with oil and gas. Deputy General Director of the Bureau of Strategic Communications O. Vasilievnoted: “Azerbaijan, which plays a leading role in the Caucasus, at the same time acts as a kind of geopolitical mediator between the world's centers of power: a link between the North and the South; Moscow and Tehran, Moscow and Ankara, which provides Russia's strategic corridor to the Middle East - the forefront of world politics and economics. At the same time, speaking of Russian-Azerbaijani relations, it must be acknowledged that they are still far from allied. " V. Kireev: points out that “Azerbaijan maintains an ambiguous position in the post-Soviet space. He is also a partner of Russia's enemies, a member of aggressive anti-Russian blocs, which have now lost their influence and purpose. " Another reason for rapprochement between Russia and Azerbaijan was Armenia's participation in NATO military exercises in 2016. Probably, Armenia is trying to put pressure on Russia in connection with its position on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijan is also trying to maintain strategic relations with the United States.The United States seeks to strengthen its influence in Central Asia for more than a year, so Azerbaijan seeks to pursue a careful policy of cooperation with the United Statesand in order to maintain the balance of power in the region relies on the support of Russia, including on arms supplies. In addition, it is possible that Baku will try to support US policy in the Middle East and continue to put more political pressure on Armenia through Russia to resolve the military conflict, while being wary of Russia's geostrategic actions in other regions.
Azerbaijan perceives the partnership with Euro-Atlantic structures as an environment that will provide overall support for the overall security of the Euro-Atlantic area, access to economic resources, new military technologies and weapons. Fixing the emphasis on NATO at the doctrinal level is reflected in concrete actions.In the spring of 2019, a military delegation led by the Director General of NATO's International Military Staff, Lieutenant General Jan Brooks, paid a visit to Azerbaijan.. At the meeting with the Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan, he praised the ties between Azerbaijan and NATO, especially noted the active participation of Azerbaijani servicemen in the Alliance's programs.Within the framework of the talks, the issues of operational training, exercises, development of the military level, achievement of cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO were discussed.In addition, on January 20, 2020, Adviser to the President of Azerbaijan H. Hajiyev visited NATO Headquarters, where he met with NATO Deputy Secretary General S. Joane and took part in a meeting of Allied countries in the format of 29 + 1. An exchange of views took place at the meeting. on the partnership between Azerbaijan and NATO, regional security. The western direction in this case is not the most important goal, but acts as a tool and serves only as a balancer in the "policy of balance of power."
Armenia's modern geostrategy is based, first of all, on two components - firstly, it is a military alliance with the Russian Federation (Armenia is a member of the CSTO), and secondly, on the geopolitical project of Greater Armenia. Greater Armenia is a project that emerged after the fall of the USSR, when all the countries of the post-Soviet space began to look for new forms of organizing their geopolitics. The basis of the geopolitical project - the countries that occupied and conquered the territory of old Armenia - Turkey, Azerbaijan, partly Syria and Iraq (Armenians lived in the same territory as the Kurds). The project was based on the historical memory of Greater Armenia - a historical territory inhabited by Armenians, much larger than the modern state of Armenia. The new state was to extend from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. However, the implementation of this geopolitical project has become less and less and this is due to the fact that that Russia in the north did not need a strong Caucasian state and therefore it was reluctant to support the geopolitical ideas of the Armenians, and in the west and east were hostile Azerbaijan and Turkey, moreover, being between two fires, Armenia did not dare to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh, but there may be that Yerevan will try to annex this Armenian-populated region to its "historical homeland." In addition, it should be noted that the statements on the possible recognition of the NKR inhabited by Armenians to the "historical homeland". In addition, it should be noted that the statements on the possible recognition of the NKR inhabited by Armenians to the "historical homeland". In addition, it should be noted that the statements on the possible recognition of the NKRhave already been heard by Prime Minister N. Pashinyan during the escalation of the conflict. In 2016 it was presented Foreign Minister Sh. Kocharian's bill on recognition of the NKR.However, it was rejected at the voting and sent for revision. And already during the new aggravation on September 27also stated that his government would consider recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh's independence. October 19, 2020 year, the President of Armenia A. Sargsyan saidthat the Armenian government is ready to recognize the independence of the NKR if Azerbaijan does not cease hostilities. Despite the fact that Armenia provides military assistance to the self-proclaimed republic and calls it "fraternal", officially neither it nor any other country in the world recognizes the independence of Nagorno Karabakh, and Yerevan is not formally a party to the conflict.
Considering the Armenian-Turkish relations through the prism of the geostrategic priorities of Armenia, the following should be noted. There is one ethno-political conflict in the history of these relations: the mass murders of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, which were recognized as an act of genocide by the parliaments of many countries. Turkey opposes such an assessment. However, events more than 100 years ago still determine how the two countries see each other. Turkey has closed its borders with Armenia, and diplomatic relations between the two countries have been severed. In 2008-2009, the leaders of the two countries tried to normalize relations, but Baku strongly opposed, mass protests took place in Armenia and as a result rapprochement failed.In general, in the geopolitical dimension, during the Karabakh conflict, Armenia was blocked by Azerbaijan and Turkey, and transport links through Georgia were quite limited. For Armenia, the border with Iran became the only means of establishing economic ties at a time when the country was effectively under siege.
The number of military equipment purchased and the indicators of the military budget testify to the fact that both sides were quite actively preparing for the war. Exact data on the armaments of the armies of Armenia and Azerbaijan are not publicly available. Both sides are also trying not to disclose the number, number and range of weapons and military equipment. The situation is aggravated by the fact that on the Armenian side part of the military equipment is located on the territory of Nagorno Karabakh, and even less is known about it.According to the CIA, in 2014, Azerbaijan spent 5.1% of GDP on military needs, Armenia - 4.29%. In both cases, these figures grew in all previous years, but the ratio remained the same - Baku was armed much more actively than Yerevan. This was especially noticeable in such an important area as aviation, where Azerbaijan had a significant advantage in combat aircraft.In the UN arms registerIt is said that from 2006 to 2011 up to 27 MiG-29 fighters were delivered to Azerbaijan from Ukraine, and up to 11 Su-25 attack aircraft from Belarus. It also deals with the supply of 12 Ukrainian Mi-24 attack helicoptersand the supply in 2013 of 25 unnamed helicopters from Russia.The Armenian part of the UN register refers to the supply in 2004 of 10 Su-25 attack aircraft from Slovakia and four L-39S training and combat vehicles from Ukraine in 2004 and 2010. Deliveries of military helicopters to Armenia are not recorded in the UN register. According to the same source, in 2016 Azerbaijan purchased 482 tanks (122 T-72s from Belarus, 48 T-72s, 50 obsolete T-55s and 100 unnamed ones from Ukraine, 162 unnamed ones from Russia, but it is known that Moscow supplied Baku with the latest at that time a version of the T-90 tank).Russia reported deliveries of 35 tanks to Armenia in 2013.Since 2016, Kyiv and Baku have been negotiating the possibility of joint production of the Corsair anti-tank missile system developed by the Luch Design Bureau. According to the Azerbaijani side, Baku is interested in purchasing high-precision anti-tank weapons from Ukraine, including the Corsair anti-tank missile system, as well as the Ukrainian-Belarusian Scythian anti-tank missile system.5 km. According to the Center, according to the Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan, Colonel-General Z. Hasanov, the Armed Forces of Azerbaijanplan to purchase a large batch of Turkish-made armed drones.The Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan did not specify which UAVs are planned to be purchased, but Turkish sources stated that Azerbaijan is interested in acquiring Bayraktar TB2. This UAV is manufactured by the Turkish company Baykar Makina, supplied by the Turkish security forces, as well as for export to Qatar and Ukraine.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute(SIPRI), the volume of Armenia's military imports from 2014 to 2019 - three and a half times more than from 2009 to 2014, despite the fact that in 2014-2015, according to the institute, the country did not make serious purchases. There is no information for 2020 in the SIPRI database, but according to press reports, Yerevan continues to be actively armed - in March it was concluded40 million contract with India to supply four Swathi Weapon Locating Radar artillery radars for counterbattery combat.
The South Caucasus has always been the object of Turkey's geostrategy. Ankara considers the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict to be another arena for realizing its growing foreign policy ambitions,at the same time addressing the nationalist, anti-Armenian blocin the domestic policy of Turkey. Turkey's closer embrace, in turn, has given Baku confidence in a tough stance against Russia, Armenia's closest ally in the conflict but which maintains close ties with both countries. R. Erdogan, who has always supported the Azerbaijani side at the level of politics and diplomacy, this year declared his readiness to provide military support to the Turkish military forces against Armenia. "The condition for lasting peace in the Caucasus is the liberation of every inch of the occupied land of Azerbaijan. We will continue to provide all possible support to our Azerbaijani brothers, "- promised the President of Turkey. On July 14, the country's defense minister strongly condemned the Armenian side and added that, if necessary, the Turkish armed forces would support Azerbaijan in accordance with the principle of "one nation - two states." On the same day, Armenia's actions against "friendly and fraternal Azerbaijan" were condemned by the President himself. According to him, the attack on Armenia was deliberate and aimed at disrupting the settlement process in Nagorno-Karabakh. Having lost its position in Syria and trying not to show its geopolitical failure, Turkey has criticized calls for peace from the leaders of the United States, France and Russia, who chair the OSCE Minsk Group. October 28Russian planes struck military training camps in northwestern Syria, killing 34 people. According to observers from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the camp belongs to Faylaq al-Sham, an alliance of Sunni Islamist insurgent groups linked to Turkey. It is also reported that about 70 people were injured, the search is underway. According to Reuters, air strikes on Monday were aimed at a camp near Kafr Taharim, around10 kmfrom the Turkish border in the province of Idlib. from 18 to 24 August, Russian and Syrian aircraft with the support of artillery and special forces killed 327 anti-Turkish rebels in Syria,according to the Russian Defense Ministry. The blows were inflicted in the area of the death of the Russian military adviser, Major General V. Gladkikh. These offensives forced anti-Turkish forces and Turkey itself to reduce its ambitions in Syria. During the EU summit in Brussels, European Council President Charles Michel called on Turkey "to stand aside and, on the contrary, to promote de-escalation." I. Kusa, an expert on international policy at the Ukrainian Institute of the Future, points out that"There is a possibility that Turkey may deploy its forces in Karabakh. But it will depend on the situation at the front for Azerbaijan. And also - from the reaction of the international community. It is one thing when Azerbaijan is at war with Armenia, citing UN resolutions on the country's territorial integrity. And the other thing is when a third country intervenes in the conflict: it may already be questionable from the point of view of international law. ". As noted by T. de Baal ""A new factor is that this year Turkey's support for Azerbaijan is much more open than ever. Russia, despite military alliance with Armenia, much more ambiguous due to close relations with AzerbaijanDespite the strategic defeat in northern Syria and the fight against the Kurds, Turkey is trying to prevent the strengthening of any state in the region, but there is a factor that Armenia can recognize the NKR and will even try to annex the territory, which will provoke a new conflict. between Russia and Turkey. According to recent sources, Syrian troops of Assad, together with the Air Force of the Russian Federation launched an offensive in the province of Idlib against anti-Turkish forces and opposition forces. This escalation may also affect Karabakh, given that the regular Turkish Armed Forces have begun to take part in the military conflict.
Russia's geostrategic interests in the South Caucasus are due to a number of factors and are related to its presence in the Middle East. First, it is a military-strategic partnership with Iran as opposed to Turkey and the United States and the creation of an analogue of the "Middle East" based on the neo-Eurasian concept.As Yu. Zverev notes, “Since 2015, Russia has been using transit airfields in Iran to transfer planes and personnel to Syria. On August 16-18, 2016, Russian Tu-22M3 long-range bombers and Su-34 front-line bombers struck terrorist targets in Syria from Iran's Hamadan air base. In March 2017, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Russia could use "on a temporary basis" bases located in Iran to fight terrorists in Syria. At the same time, there is no question of creating a permanent Russian base or bases in Iran. "According to the contract, in Hmeimim on the air base through the airspace of Iran and Iraq were transferred 32 fighter jets (four Su-30SM fighters, four Su-34 front-line bombers, 12 Su-24M front-line bombers and 12 Su-25SM attack aircraft), a radio radio 20M1, as well as 12 Mi-24P attack helicopters and five Mi-8AMTSh transport and combat helicopters. Secondly, Azerbaijan is at the crossroads of trade and transport links between the territory of Russia and the Middle East, which automatically includes affects the foreign policy of both Russia and Iran. In November 2017, between three parties - Russia, Iran and Azerbaijaneconomic agreements were signedconcerning the development of road, rail and air transport in order to modernize the transport infrastructure and the development of the international transport corridor "North - South". This corridor is designed to connect the Indian port of Mumbai with the Russian city of St. Petersburg.It will pass along the west coast of the Caspian Sea through the territory of Iran and Azerbaijan.In this regard, the need to implement the project for the construction of the railway line Rasht - Astara was stressed as soon as possible. With a view to sustainable regional development, the parties spoke in support of the project to connect the power grids of Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran and agreements on electricity trade. The document also stressed the special importance of the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan on Iran's nuclear program. This meeting allowed Russia to further strengthen its influence on Iran in the Caspian region.
Russia's attitude to Azerbaijani geopolitics has always been very cautious. Moscow is interested in undermining American hegemony in the South Caucasus and restricting the political course to the west of its post-Soviet neighbors. Russia continues to play an important political and economic role in Azerbaijan and is actively but subtly vying for influence in the region.Baku considered Putin's plans for the Eurasian Union, but has so far shown no interest in joining a "new supranational union" of sovereign states. The leadership of Azerbaijan is still against any further encroachment of Russian influence in the region, and therefore actively continues to cooperate with the EU and NATO.
Another aspect is related to the fact that after the invasion of the Crimea and Donbass, Russia needed to create new conditions to ensure its geostrategic dominance in the Caucasus and Eastern Europe. The introduction of more and more political and economic sanctions against Russia for openly aggressive foreign policy has led the latter to find either new allies or try to create new conditions for the normalization of relations with the EU and the United States. One such way is to try to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and ensure stability in the region. Moscow's new attempt to appoint leaders of the warring parties is more pragmatic than the advancement of its geopolitical goals, since Armenia is a member of the CSTO, it is important for Russia not to intervene in the new war first, because then a new field of instability may appear in the North Caucasus due to the possible support of Azerbaijan and Turkey for opposition and separatist movements in Chechnya, Dagestan and Ossetia. However, despite its influence, Russia is not a determining force in this conflict. Russia has no military presence in Karabakh, and has failed to implement a plan to deploy Russian peacekeepers there during the 1994 ceasefire. Several later peacekeeping initiatives put forward by Moscow or with its participation were rejected by Baku and Yerevan. On October 2, Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia M. Grigoryan met with Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation O. Overchuk in Moscow. They jointly chair the Armenian-Russian intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation. At the same time, Russia already has ideas for new platforms for negotiations - in addition to the above-mentioned Minsk. R. Balbek, illegally elected to the State Duma of the Russian Federation from the occupied Crimea,offered for this purpose actually Crimea. According to him, the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of the peninsula are alarmed by the fighting and call on the authorities to engage in dialogue.F. Temur, a specialist in geopolitics in Eurasia, argues that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the basis of Russia's geostrategy in the Caucasus. "It is important to emphasize that Russia's geostrategy has seen Turkey's policy in the Caucasus and Central Asia from 1991 to the present, and is largely Western-oriented, as an effort to undermine Russia's influence in the region. Official Moscow, fearing a weakening of its influence in the region, brewed porridge in Karabakh.As long as Moscow does not form its vision of a common future with Turkey in the Eurasian space, until the threat to national security is eliminated, it seems real.».
On the other hand, Russia is trying as hard as possible to weaken both sides diplomatically and economically and regain hegemony over its Caucasian "border guards." Armenia and Azerbaijan have been actively purchasing new weapons from Moscow in recent years, and each side has become increasingly ready for war. President of AzerbaijanI. Aliyev in January 2020 emphasized"We are one of the great recipients of Russian weapons. Some contracts that were signed in previous years are still being implemented. That is, we have not yet all received, but have already received a significant amount. Therefore, it was recently stated that both sides expect to continue such cooperation. " It should be noted that Russian troops are located on the territory of Armenia - the 102nd Russian military base in Gyumri and the airfield in "Erebuni" near Yerevan, where Russian fighters are based. In addition, Armenia is a member of the CIS Joint Air Defense System and is likely to receive information from Russian radars. The military of the Russian and Armenian air defense systems conduct regular military exercises.In February, it became known that Russia had provided Armenia with a $ 200 million loan to purchase Russian weapons over the next two years.Among the weapons purchased by Yerevan are the Smerch and Solntsepek systems, as well as the IGLA-C anti-aircraft missile systems, the Konkurs anti-tank missiles, the RPG-26 grenade launchers, the Tiger armored vehicles, and ground-based radio-technical reconnaissance systems. -M ", engineering means and means of communication, as well as various devices and units for the modernization of armored vehicles - T-72 tanks, infantry fighting vehicles (sights, engines, etc.). In the summer of 2020, joint Russian-Armenian exercises were held in Armenia. For several years before the war, Azerbaijan was one of the main buyers of Russian weapons, and Russia - the largest, main supplier. The total amount of executed contracts is 5 billion dollars, according to official data.Baku tried to buy Smerch multiple rocket launchers, TOS-1A Solntsepek, BMP-3 heavy flamethrower systems, the Msta-C self-propelled artillery division, two S-300 long-range SAM divisions, and several nearby Tor-M2E complexes. ". After 2016, supplies from Russia fell sharply, and Israel took first place among suppliers.
Acting alone, Moscow may face a number of significant limiting factors. From a military point of view, Russia does not have direct access to the war zone and, according to military analysis, it has nothing to effectively oppose Turkish military technology, which has reportedly shown its effectiveness in recent days. From a political point of view, the "proxification" of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict seems to imply a clear role for Russia as the patron saint of Armenia and for Turkey as the patron saint of Azerbaijan. But such a role will inevitably worsen Russia's important bilateral ties with Azerbaijan as a trade and geostrategic partner in the development of north-south ties.In addition, exchanging the role of informal leader of the international coalition for containment and settlement of the conflict for the role of patron of one of the parties in an uncompromising confrontation,Russia risks damaging its status in the South Caucasus. Russia's policy of core deterrence in the South Caucasus has been based on the idea that the Kremlin's influence is best to avoid having to make such a choice rather than directly interfering militarily.
Iran has a separate position on this conflict. the 1st of OctoberDuring the shelling in Karabakh in the Hodafarin district, three shells fell, civilians were wounded and six houses were damaged. Iran is already deploying troops and soldiers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps near the border. Iran also warns Turkey against transferring Syrian mercenaries to Karabakh (although it does not confirm the information that they are already there).According to Iranian Foreign Minister Said Khatibidze,"The transfer of the war to the Caucasus from Syria will lead to a much greater catastrophe than the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict itself." In addition, Iran disapproves of the activity of Azerbaijanis within its state, fearing an irredentist movement (the current Iranian regime is trying to bring Azerbaijan into its political orbit and eliminate influence on the Turkish population of Iran), which has already been mentioned in this article. Therefore, Iran is trying to balance between the two warring parties, while supporting the Russian side on a peaceful settlement of the conflict.
In modern geostrategies in the South Caucasus, a special role is also given to such a geopolitical project as the Great Silk Road. Its purpose is to restore the ancient trade route from Europe to Asia in order to develop the global economy and increase the speed of trade. The main initiators were the EU, China and Central Asian countries. An attempt to revitalize the ancient trade route connecting East and West is the Europe-Caucasus-Asia international transport corridor TRACECA, called the “New Silk Road.” In the summer of 1998, twelve countries in the Caucasus, the Black Sea, and Central Asia with the support of the United States, agreed to create a rail, sea, air and road transport corridor from China and Mongolia to Europe, bypassing Russia.The main link was the Caucasus-Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. The program secretariat is located in Baku. Powerful trade routes and the struggle for economic influence have turned this project into an arena of geopolitical battles between various actors in geostrategy. Attempts to weaken Russia have prompted the EU, Turkey and Azerbaijan to open alternative routes. On December 13, 2015, the first Nomad Express container train from China arrived in Tbilisi. Estimated bandwidth -1 million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo. After the railway is put into operation, trade is expected to increasebetween Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey up to $ 10 billion a year. International passenger traffic on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway began in 2019. It is already known that between Turkey and Kazakhstan there are three freight trains a week, and once a week there are container trains between China and Turkey. According to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure of Turkey, by November 2019, 275,000 tons of cargo had been transported along this line, ie about 150,000 tons per year, which is in sharp contrast to the announced plans of 10 million tons per year.The first scheduled train from China to Georgia departed from Xi'an on September 102020 and arrived in Tbilisi on October 4. The train delivered 41 containers of goods to the capital of Georgia.In 2013, laying plans were announcedThe 224-kilometer Kars-Diluju railway line, which will connect the final section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars road with the Nakhichevan Railway (Azerbaijan) through the Turkish province of Igdir. It is planned to build a high-speed road for freight trains, which allows in the future to transport Iranian goods to Turkey (along with the newly opened in July 2019, the Van Tabriz section) andto the Black Sea ports of Georgia (bypassing Armenia) via Julfa station (Azerbaijan), which has a direct railway connection with the Iranian Tabriz. Azerbaijan and Iran are expected to participate in the project.In June 2018, preparatory work began, and in January 2019, a tender was announced for the design of the road.
For trade between Azerbaijan and the EU, the "new Silk Road" plays perhaps the most important role. In January-August 2013, the trade turnover of Azerbaijan with Italy amounted to $ 3.956 billion, or 17.14% of the total trade turnover of Azerbaijan for 7 months of this year. Indonesia is on the second step, accounting for 8.52% of the total trade turnover of Azerbaijan. The trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $ 1.965 billion.Russia closes the top three with a trade turnover of $ 1.756 billion, or 7.61% of Azerbaijan's total trade turnover. The top ten trade partners of Azerbaijan also include Germany - $ 1.379 billion, Thailand - $ 1.348 billion, Turkey - $ 1.341 billion, France - $ 1.174 billion, Britain - $ 1.134 billion, the United States - $ 885.276 million, Israel - $ 787.58 million In January-July 2014, Italy retained the lead in the list of trading partners of Azerbaijan. According to the State Customs Committee, during the analyzed period the trade turnover of Azerbaijan with Italy amounted to 3.207 billion dollars. Or 17.7% of the total trade turnover of the country. The top ten trade partners of Azerbaijan also include Russia - 1.081 billion dollars (6%), France - 996.961 million (5.5%), Turkey - 970.315 million (5.4%), the United States - 814.373 million dollars ( 4.5%) Israel - $ 781.507 million (4.3%), India - $ 605.69 million (3.34%) and Spain - $ 466.187 million (2.6%)and every year the statistics either do not change or on the contrary increase in connection with the opening of new highways and concluded contracts. Therefore, it is also important to point out that for Russia the loss of control over major economic highways pushes it to more aggressive foreign policy actions, including support for both sides in the Karabakh conflict, aimed at economically weakening the region and restoring economic hegemony over the project in the South Caucasus. .
The situation around the Caspian Basin should be considered separately within the framework of the Great Silk Road through the prism of Azerbaijani-Turkmen relations. The Turkmen embassy in Baku was closed in the late 1990s. The rupture of relations was the result of political differences over the status of the Caspian Sea, as well as the controversy over the large oil field "Kyapyaz" (Turkmen name "Serdar"). The problem is that the field is located on the sea border of the two states. Its reserves are estimated at 80 million tons of oil and 32 billion cubic meters of gas. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan failed to agree among themselves and with Iran on the delimitation of the Caspian border. Baku insisted on the division of the sea in the middle line from the shore, which gives him a clear advantage in the possession of oil reserves, and Turkmenistan considered the division of the Caspian Sea, taking into account the coastal oil wells. After 1991, Turkmenistan was the second largest producer and exporter of gas in the post-Soviet space after Russia. However, in the following years, Turkmen gas was deprived of access to markets. One of the main reasons for this was the high cost of transportation through Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia, which made Turkmen gas uncompetitive. As a result, its sales during the first years of independence decreased several times. The situation changed with the coming to power in Turkmenistan G. Berdymukhamedov. Not only did diplomatic relations resume in 2007, but the negotiation process on contentious issues intensified, the resolution of which brings new benefits to the two neighboring states. Baku responded with a proposal to jointly develop the Kyapyaz field. However, in the following years, Turkmen gas was deprived of access to markets. One of the main reasons for this was the high cost of transportation through Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia, which made Turkmen gas uncompetitive. As a result, its sales during the first years of independence decreased several times. The situation changed with the coming to power in Turkmenistan G. Berdymukhamedov. Not only did diplomatic relations resume in 2007, but the negotiation process on contentious issues intensified, the resolution of which brings new benefits to the two neighboring states. Baku responded with a proposal to jointly develop the Kyapyaz field. However, in the following years, Turkmen gas was deprived of access to markets. One of the main reasons for this was the high cost of transportation through Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia, which made Turkmen gas uncompetitive. As a result, its sales during the first years of independence decreased several times. The situation changed with the coming to power in Turkmenistan G. Berdymukhamedov. Not only did diplomatic relations resume in 2007, but the negotiation process on contentious issues intensified, the resolution of which brings new benefits to the two neighboring states. Baku responded with a proposal to jointly develop the Kyapyaz field. As a result, its sales during the first years of independence decreased several times. The situation changed with the coming to power in Turkmenistan G. Berdymukhamedov. Not only did diplomatic relations resume in 2007, but the negotiation process on contentious issues intensified, the resolution of which brings new benefits to the two neighboring states. Baku responded with a proposal to jointly develop the Kyapyaz field. As a result, its sales during the first years of independence decreased several times. The situation changed with the coming to power in Turkmenistan G. Berdymukhamedov. Not only did diplomatic relations resume in 2007, but the negotiation process on contentious issues intensified, the resolution of which brings new benefits to the two neighboring states. Baku responded with a proposal to jointly develop the Kyapyaz field.In 2012-2014, Azerbaijan has consistently stepped up efforts to create a pipeline architecture for its gas, which should be extracted as part of the second stage of development of the Shah Deniz field.The TANAP gas pipeline project with a capacity of 16 billion cubic meters is aimed at solving this problem. m, designed to transport Azerbaijani gas from the Shah Deniz field. The pipeline should run from the Georgian-Turkish border to Turkey's western border. TANAP together with Nabucco West is actually reviving the idea of the Nabucco project. In addition, it was decided to deliver gas extracted in the second stage of development of the Shah Deniz field via the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline. At the first stage, its capacity was 10 billion cubic meters. Thus, Azerbaijan's efforts are aimed at further formation of the pipeline architecture, which will strengthen Baku's involvement in the supply of hydrocarbons to Europe and expand opportunities for oil and gas exports and the creation of a new competitive market,
For China, an important geopolitical goal over the past 10 years has been to create a strong logistics infrastructure from China to the EU. The main routes are water through the so-called "Burmese corridor" and land through Central Asia and the Caucasus.According to the Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Almaty C. Wei, the Chinese side will prefer the development of infrastructure, in particular, railways from Kazakhstan to the Chinese cities of Lianyungang, Urumqi, Lanzhou, as the trade turnover between Kazakhstan and China alone exceeded $ 17 billion in 2015. The emergence of new logistics routes will increase the flow of trade from China through the Caspian Sea to Europe several times.The last put into operation transit route was "lazurite corridor", Which united Afghanistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia, and provided the opportunity to supply Afghan goods to European markets. Its construction began in 2018 and connects the city of Turgundi in the Afghan province of Herat with Ashgabat, then through the port of Turkmenbashi in the Caspian Sea through the sea to Baku, from there through Tbilisi to Ankara with branches in Poti and Batumi, and then to Istanbul. Cooperation between Turkmenistan and Iran in the field of electricity reached new heights in 2003, when both countries signed an agreement on cooperation in the electricity sector. The signing of the agreement allowed Iran to import electricity from Turkmenistan and to build the Turkmenistan-Iran-Turkey energy corridor through its territory. Turkey receives 600 million kWh of electricity annually from this corridor, produced in the western regions of Turkmenistan. Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company CJSC and Kazakhstan Railways JSC established a joint venture in the field of freight transportation on the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route in April 2017. In June 2017 in Astana, the TMTM International Association as part of a meeting of the TMTM corridor Chinese Transport and Communications Association: The presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iran signed the Caspian Sea Convention in Aktau on August 12, 2018, ending more than twenty years of difficult negotiations on the waters and bottom of the Caspian Sea and the Caspian Sea. security in the Caspian region. However, the document does not put an end to a number of economic and political issues of cooperation in the Caspian Sea, but launches a mechanism for further development of concrete decisions. The political component of the Convention enshrined the principles reflected in the Declaration on Security signed by the heads of the five Caspian countries in 2007 in Tehran. First of all, it concerns the absence of armed forces outside the regional states in the Caspian Sea. In addition, the parties undertake to resolve all disputes peacefully, not to provide their territories for aggression against neighbors. However, work on security issues in the Caspian Sea is planned to continue, as the positions of some countries differ on some of them. This convention opened another possibility - the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline. The political component of the Convention enshrined the principles reflected in the Declaration on Security signed by the heads of the five Caspian countries in 2007 in Tehran. First of all, it concerns the absence of armed forces outside the regional states in the Caspian Sea. In addition, the parties undertake to resolve all disputes peacefully, not to provide their territories for aggression against neighbors. However, work on security issues in the Caspian Sea is planned to continue, as the positions of some countries differ on some of them. This convention opened another possibility - the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline. The political component of the Convention enshrined the principles reflected in the Declaration on Security signed by the heads of the five Caspian countries in 2007 in Tehran. First of all, it concerns the absence of armed forces outside the regional states in the Caspian Sea. In addition, the parties undertake to resolve all disputes peacefully, not to provide their territories for aggression against neighbors. However, work on security issues in the Caspian Sea is planned to continue, as the positions of some countries differ on some of them. This convention opened another possibility - the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline. the parties undertake to resolve all disputes peacefully, not to provide their territories for aggression against neighbors. However, work on security issues in the Caspian Sea is planned to continue, as the positions of some countries differ on some of them. This convention opened another possibility - the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline. the parties undertake to resolve all disputes peacefully, not to provide their territories for aggression against neighbors. However, work on security issues in the Caspian Sea is planned to continue, as the positions of some countries differ on some of them. This convention opened another possibility - the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline.The TKG, which has the special support of the EU and the US, should connect the gas transmission systems of Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan to export Turkmen gas through Georgia and Turkey to Europe. Thanks to Europe's access to Turkmen resources, this route should create an alternative to Russian gas. It was assumed that TCG, length 300 km, should be part of the Southern Gas Corridor (PGC), created to transport gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, but opposed by Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan, as a new energy competitor weakens their leverage in the region.
The East-West Energy Corridor, commonly referred to as the energy version of the Silk Road, was first introduced to the Turkish Foreign Ministry by US officials in December 1997 after the Iran-Turkey pipeline was resolved. Efforts to open such a corridor have mainly focused on linking the hydrocarbon resources of the Caucasus and Central Asia to Europe, which essentially diversifies the EU's energy sources. The corridor was designed to export oil and gas from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to Turkey and then to European markets. Turkey made the project a priority and began to develop and implement a coordinated effort following the decision of the Turkish National Security Council (MGK-Milli Güvenlik Kurulu) on 22 January 1998. March 1-2, 1998 Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Georgia,In a joint statement, they expressed support for the development of the East-West Energy Corridor. In addition to agreeing to a feasibility study for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline project, the foreign ministers also expressed their views on the possibility of transporting Kazakh and Turkmen gas to international markets.As the East-West Energy Corridor continued to develop in February 1999, Gazprom and ENI signed a Memorandum on the construction of a gas pipeline known as the Blue Stream to transport Russian gas to Turkey. This Memorandum was based on an agreement signed between Turkey and Russia in 1997 on the construction of an underwater pipeline between the two countries. According to Gazprom, the main purpose of the pipeline was to avoid third countries from transporting Russian gas to Turkey, as the existing gas route ran through Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria. In this regard, the Blue Stream will avoid transit costs, as well as any illegal gas pumping by the above-mentioned transit states. On November 16, 1999, Gazprom and ENI established the Blue Stream Pipeline Co. which started construction of the pipeline in 2001 and put it into operation in 2003. The Blue Stream project was a partial competitor to the East-West Energy Corridor, which also included the Trans-Caspian Pipeline to bring Turkmen gas to international markets other than BTC.According to a number of experts, Turkmen gas has never crossed the Caspian Sea as a result of Russia's successful strategies. During this period, the West lost because it donated the natural gas component of the East-West Energy Corridor for BTC. On the other hand, Turkey has benefited from both the pipeline and the pipeline.
With the opening of new economic energy ways prices for European fuel market declined, and therefore the main geoeconomic highway in the South Caucasus has become an alternative link between China and the EU. China is actively looking at infrastructure projects in Azerbaijan. In particular, the review of the SAM (Center for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan) notes that the BTC will be “a tool for successful regional cooperation between the South Caucasus and its neighbors from Central Asia, Russia. China has shown interest in the project and discussed opportunities for cooperation. "In turn, Chinese Ambassador to the AR W. Jinghua stressedthat Azerbaijan plays an important role in the development of international routes, significantly expanding China 's economic cooperation with Central Asia, the South Caucasus and Europe. According to Azerbaijani data, the total volume of investments from China to Azerbaijan in 2018 amounted to 7.8 million dollars. Chinese companies are participating in 12 projects worth more than $ 640 million in Azerbaijan. There are 113 companies with Chinese capital in the AR, working in the fields of construction, agriculture, communications, services, and trade.
The trade turnover between China and Europe in 2018 amounted to more than $ 1 trillion. The head of the Chamber of Commerce of Azerbaijan N. Alizadeh noted that the volume of trade between the two countries in just one half of 2019 is $ 1.3 billion, and each quarter increases by 10%."At the same time, imports of goods from China increased by 40 percent. Azerbaijan is considered China's main trade and economic partner in the South Caucasus region. Azerbaijan has become one of the important international transport centers located on the historic Silk Road. Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway Corridor (BTC) is currently the shortest transport route for freight to China and Europesaid Alizadeh. Today, China has created seven channels of accelerated customs clearance for trade in agricultural products. Here, the key partners are Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Mongolia. Another effective solution was to launch special freight trains from China to Europe for postal services. Thus, we can assume that if this geoeconomic trade route is blocked by another subject of geostrategy, the losses could reach from 1 billion to 1.5 trillion. dollars and will effectively block trade with Europe for Central Asian countries. Therefore, for Russia, the subordination of this alternative route will eventually become one of the main goals in the South Caucasus and "thawing" the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan will allow Moscow to increase economic influence by redirecting trade and economic ties from the Caucasus to Russia and Kazakhstan.
The geostrategic priorities of the United States and France around this military conflict should be described separately. In recent years, US participation in the processes taking place in the South Caucasus has contributed to important positive changes in the region, especially in Georgia. However, some of the initiatives supported by Washington proved too ambitious because the United States underestimated the challenges facing countries in the region and did not have adequate resources. The US presidential election has severely weakened Washington's geopolitical interest in the Caucasus region. Azerbaijan is an important strategic partner for the United States for possible pressure on Russia, which is quite active in geopolitical games in the Middle East, in addition, military-political cooperation between these countries to force Iran through the support of the Azerbaijani diaspora, make some political concessions and reduce its geopolitical activity in Syria in Yemen. This actually means the blocking of the latter's ties with Russia, and hence indirect pressure on Russia itself. The only problem for American geostrategy is the Kurdish issue, which puts it in antagonistic relations with Turkey, and therefore the broad support of Azerbaijan by the United States may change many times. The United States cannot leave the South Caucasus. However, Washington's success will depend on a balanced approach to commitments and real opportunities, on the one hand, and a sober assessment of the limits of the structural changes it can contribute, on the other. US geostrategic interests in the region extend far beyond the borders of the South Caucasus. and hence indirect pressure on Russia itself. The only problem for American geostrategy is the Kurdish issue, which puts it in antagonistic relations with Turkey, and therefore the broad support of Azerbaijan by the United States may change many times. The United States cannot leave the South Caucasus. However, Washington's success will depend on a balanced approach to commitments and real opportunities, on the one hand, and a sober assessment of the limits of the structural changes it can contribute, on the other. US geostrategic interests in the region extend far beyond the borders of the South Caucasus. and hence indirect pressure on Russia itself. The only problem for American geostrategy is the Kurdish issue, which puts it in antagonistic relations with Turkey, and therefore the broad support of Azerbaijan by the United States may change many times. The United States cannot leave the South Caucasus. However, Washington's success will depend on a balanced approach to commitments and real opportunities, on the one hand, and a sober assessment of the limits of the structural changes it can contribute, on the other. US geostrategic interests in the region extend far beyond the borders of the South Caucasus. However, Washington's success will depend on a balanced approach to commitments and real opportunities, on the one hand, and a sober assessment of the limits of the structural changes it can contribute, on the other. US geostrategic interests in the region extend far beyond the borders of the South Caucasus. However, Washington's success will depend on a balanced approach to commitments and real opportunities, on the one hand, and a sober assessment of the limits of the structural changes it can contribute, on the other. US geostrategic interests in the region extend far beyond the borders of the South Caucasus.Despite current tensions between Istanbul and Washington, Turkey remains a member of NATO. The resumption of conflicts in the South Caucasus could pose a threat to Turkey and other NATO allies on the Black Sea coast. The strife and general destabilization of the situation in the South Caucasus could turn it into a transshipment point for militants heading to Syria or Iraq to join armed groups, as well as returning from there to Central Asia and Russia's North Caucasus.As a result, US interests in the region can be represented as follows: peaceful relations between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, as well as their neighbors, economic development, the formation of an effective system of governance and integration into international structures at their discretion. To summarize, the main directions are:
Conflict prevention in the region:
Development of fuel and energy complex:
Combating illegal transnational activities:
Maintaining sustainable trade within the New Silk Road project:
Prevention of the creation of new anti-democratic regimes
France's geostrategy in the Caucasus is linked exclusively to the EU's economic policy. Having lost ground in the Middle East and competing for influence in North Africa between Russia, Britain and Egypt, it is trying to regain its position by supporting a diplomatic settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, securing a settlement of the Madrid Protocols, reducing Turkey's economic pressure on the EU. diplomatic tensions in the South Caucasus.
Since the beginning of the armed conflict, Ukraine has consistently supported the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and provided both military and humanitarian assistance. This was especially important at the beginning of the conflict, when Azerbaijan found itself alone with a well-armed and motivated Armenian army. Ukraine calls on the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict not to inflame additional emotions and to resolve the conflict in accordance with the principle of territorial integrity of states.This was stated by Foreign Minister D. Kuleba during an online briefing on September 30, Ukrinform correspondent reports. "We are all closely watching these developments. War is always grief, casualties, destruction ... In our opinion, the main thing in the Caucasus now is not to inflame additional and already very high emotions.One of the cornerstones of Ukrainian foreign policy is to support the territorial integrity of states. We have consistently supported the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, just as Azerbaijan has maintained our territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders, and this principle remains completely unchanged for us. " He added that Ukraine continues to monitor the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and is negotiating with partners to have a coordinated position. According to Kuleba, the current situation in Nagorno-Karabakh eloquently shows that "so-called" frozen conflicts "are not really frozen" and could erupt at any moment.
For Ukraine as a whole, resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict may have one significant negative factor. If this conflict ends in victory for Azerbaijan and Turkey, Armenia could find itself in geostrategic isolation and fall victim to a double Azerbaijani-Turkish coup. Russia in this case will be forced to support its ally, but will not be able to radically change the situation and the object of its attention will be Ukraine, or rather its Left Bank, Belarus and the Baltic countries. From Turkey's point of view, there is no rule in geostrategy that "my enemy is my friend." R. Erdogan adheres to the geopolitical project of Pan-Turkism and pays special attention to Ukrainian-Russian relations, because for Turkey the Crimean Tatars are ethnopolitically close to the Turks. The Ambassador of Turkey to Ukraine J. A. Guldere assured,According to the Turkish Embassy in Kyiv, “Our position is the same as before. We have not recognized the annexation, our policy towards Crimea has not changed, we support the territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea and Donbass». After his visit to the Ukrainian capital, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country would continue to work to protect the rights of Crimean Tatars. According to Erdogan, the President of Ukraine V. Zelensky proposed to build 500 housing units in the Kherson region, and the Turkish side supported this idea. The Minister of Environment and Urban Planning of Turkey will visit Ukraine for a specific discussion."It is very important for us that Crimean Tatars gain independence. We will provide support to our Crimean brothers in the fields of politics, economics, diplomacy and culture. We attach special importance to the steps that will be taken in Kherson. "- said the President of Turkey. Crimea has always been one of the directions of Turkish geostrategy, and by supporting Ukraine, Erdogan is simultaneously trying to weaken Russia, and then to raise the question of the Crimean peninsula's belonging to the sphere of Turkish influence. The point is that Turkey does not recognize Crimea's accession to Russia in 1774, and Ankara's new geopolitical vector shows that with Russia's weakening and NATO's tacit consent, Turkey can begin to dictate its terms to Ukraine and support Crimean Tatars, effectively creating another separatist region. Regarding the comparative characteristics of the conflict in Donbas and Nagorno-Karabakh, they have some fundamental differences. First, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a classic ethno-political conflict between two different nations, and secondly, in contrast to Donbass, which Russia sees as a buffer territory, the NKR is fully supported by Armenia and may become part of Armenia in the future. Third, both sides were preparing for a "hot" phase, namely a direct military confrontation, where not only the status of the NKR but also geopolitical dominance in the South Caucasus was at stake.
Therefore, the following conclusions can be drawn. The South Caucasus region is at the crossroads of different ethnopolitical cultures, economic ties, geopolitical and military contradictions, so it is not surprising that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is used by a number of states to ensure its geostrategy. The key players are direct participants in the conflict or those who support one side or the other - first of all, Azerbaijan with its military ally Turkey, on the other hand Armenia, which Russia is trying to support with diplomatic and military support. If Azerbaijan and Armenia build their geostrategy focusing on resolving the military conflict, actively purchasing military weapons and equipment from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Turkey, creating new geopolitical states based on irredentist concepts, and the military influence of others - the states-subjects of geostrategy. Fourth, strengthen the position of loyal political forces in the region. Lastly, use this military conflict as a military-diplomatic alternative to foreign policy bidding on geostrategic priorities in other regions, such as the Middle East. For Ukraine, which adheres to neutrality, this military-political conflict can be used as a mechanism of Russian influence in Donbass, improving and creating new strategic partnerships, both with participants and with other players, but the victory of Azerbaijan, especially Turkey, can have some negative consequences, because in the version of weakening Russian influence in Crimea, the latter can actively begin to support the Crimean Tatars to full independence,