Putin can do more to address the Karabakh conflict

27.03.12

Putin can do more to address the Karabakh conflict

Эксперты МГИМО: Муханов Вадим Михайлович, к.ист.н.

News. Az interviews Vadim Mukhanov, senior researcher at the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Relations' (MGIMO’s) Caucasus Studies Centre.

What changes can occur in Russia’s policy in the CIS and South Caucasus in particular, taking into account that expert community considers Putin to be a supporter of a tougher line than ‘more diplomatic’ Medvedev?

Changes may indeed occur but not as drastic as you may assume. Don’t forget about the word «tandem»: in spite of all the external and conceptual differences, the both leaders are in the same team, and it is obvious that almost all major decisions, including in respect of the Caucasus region, are concordant. In this regard, the foreign policy pursued in recent years by Medvedev will be continued, perhaps with minor modifications.

A representative of Azerbaijan Presidential Administration has recently stated that Russia was the only external force that could contribute to the settlement of the Karabakh problem. According to him, no one else — neither the UN nor the OSCE, nor any other organization or country will not help to address the problem. What do you think about this clear enough statement?

My head is already spinning from the huge amount of direct and explicit statements made by experts and analysts regarding the Karabakh issue in the last decade. It is unclear to what statement we should cling and treat it as the important one.

As for this statement, it is another nod to Russia and nothing more. You cannot ignore the activities of such serious and authoritative organizations as the UN and the OSCE, whose activity in the region can vary in different directions, depending on political developments in the world.

Russia is, indeed, an important player in the world and in the region, which has great influence but it has its clear limits. Therefore, it’s naive to believe that Moscow can address such a complicated conflict without corresponding interests of the opposing sides. This issue will not move forward without the willingness of Baku and Yerevan to go to compromise.

Russia during the presidency of Medvedev and he himself actively played in addressing the Karabakh conflict. What to expect from President Putin in this sense?

The active mediation of Russia will continue. There are even some positive progress in the settlement process, probably due to a higher authority and influence of Putin. He, in contrast to Medvedev, is a more recognizable figure on the international scene.

What are the prospects for an early completion of the Azerbaijani-Russian talks on the Gabala radar station, going on the background of conflicting media reports on the proximity of the talks to an end and an excessively large Baku requests for the rental of this station?

The requested by Baku USD 300m compared to USD 7m looks fantastically exaggerated and completely groundless, that raises questions about the degree of interest of Azerbaijan in the development of bilateral relations. The unacceptability of these conditions is not about the economic component of this issue, but only about its obvious political bias. So we can agree with many Russian experts considering such exorbitant demands of Baku a simple pretext to expel Russia from Gabala and thus, reduce its impact on the situation in the region.

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Источник: News.Az
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