(Jacobin) Last fall, Armenia was devastated by a six-week war with its neighbor Azerbaijan, ending in the deployment of Russian peacekeepers across the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh. Yet the “peace agreement” has done nothing to resolve the deeper reasons for the conflict, in the ethno-nationalist strife which has simmered since the fall of the USSR. Last September, while most of the world was preoccupied with the latest upsurge in the COVID-19 pandemic, a region of the Caucasus known as Nagorno-Karabakh exploded in a six-week war. Backed by Turkey, Azerbaijan fought Armenia and the unrecognized ethnic-Armenian Republic of Artsakh over territories that these latter had controlled since 1994.
This was just the latest in a series of armed conflicts over the region, which began in the last days of the USSR and have boiled over repeatedly ever since. After costing thousands of lives and widespread destruction, the ceasefire signed between the belligerent parties and Russia on November 10, 2020 forced Armenia to give up several territories to Azerbaijan and authorized the deployment of two thousand Russian peacekeepers to the region. Since the war ended, Armenians have been taking to the streets against the government and decrying what many viewed as its surrender to a belligerent invading force.
Georgi Derluguian is an Armenia-based sociologist specializing in macro-historical change and ethnic conflicts in the Caucasus. He spoke to Jacobin’s Loren Balhorn about the background of the conflict, the balance of forces in Armenia and the region, and whether Nagorno-Karabakh will ever find stable peace.
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