Zaal Margvelashvili – Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict

Author: Zaal Margvelashvili, Research Fellow at the Levan Mikeladze Diplomatic Training and Research Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia

October 2020

The conflict between Georgia’s neighbours Armenia and Azerbaijan escalated on the 27th of September of 2020 in Nagorno-Karabakh and its adjacent 6 regions, occupied by the Armenian armed forces, in the early 1990s of the 20th century, with the support of Russia. To this day under a million internally displaced persons from said regions reside in Azerbaijan, fuelling, among other challenges, great political, economic, humanitarian difficulties.
The international society does not recognise the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh, nor does it recognise Armenia’s jurisdiction over its adjacent 7 regions. Moreover, the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh is not even recognised by Armenia itself. Georgia, in keeping with the stance of the international community, supports Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and inviolability of its borders, calling for a peaceful resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.
The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict has numerous contributing factors. In 1991 the, majority ethnically Armenian, Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Soviet Republic, nominally a part of the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic, declared its independence. Demographics played a key role in the development of the conflict, however, destabilising the entire South Caucasus region was on the agenda of the then-Soviet leadership and military institutions, as the Kremlin attempted to retain control over the three Caucasian Republics (where, at that point in time, nationalist movements were brewing), by pitting various ethnic groups against each other. Thus, the then-Soviet leadership and, later, its legal successor, the Russian Federation, did little to nothing to, prevent, curb or regulate conflicts, which were emerging across the entirety of the territory of the former Soviet Union. Moreover, they further escalated the conflicts across the former Soviet Union that they had themselves willed into existence, simultaneously, expressing their official stance to be that of neutrality. Nevertheless, they covertly supported those parties more loyal to their interests, creating several “frozen conflicts”, exerting influence upon all states involved in said conflicts.