(Asbarez) In its fifteen-year young history, the AGBU Asbeds has succeeded in engaging the Armenian-American community through a range of culturally, educationally, and socially enriching events, perhaps the most highly regarded of which is the “Evening with a Scholar” series which brings together some of the brightest minds for dialogue on relevant and timely issues of concern to all Armenians.
This year’s “Evening with a Scholar/Ambassador,” held on Friday, November 18, 2016, at Skirball Cultural Center, shed light on the current realities and future of Artsakh from the U.S. and Russian points of view, offered respectively by the Honorable John Evans, distinguished statesman and former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, and Dr. Sergey Markedonov, Director of the Department for Problems of Ethnic Relations at the Institute for Political and Military Analysis in Moscow and Associate Professor of the Department of Regional Studies and Foreign Policy at Russian State University for the Humanities. The panel discussion was moderated by former Asbeds Chairman Kurken Berksanlar.[…]
Professor Sergey Markedonov presented the Russian approach to regional relations and conflicts following the collapse of the U.S.S.R., stating that Russia’s foreign policy and interests are focused first and foremost in its immediate surroundings, on Soviet space, the Caucuses. Contrary to some opinions, the conflict in Artsakh is not a Russia versus the West situation; there are lots of particularities involved, a high level of international engagement, and complicated inter-related conflicts in Ossetia, Abkhazia, and the like, he said. The situation is further complicated and made controversial by the fact that Russia has interests in both sides, and that the largest population of Armenians outside of Armenia is in Russia, while the second largest population of Azeris outside of Azerbaijan is in Russia. Markedonov explained that Russia officially characterizes its relationship with Armenia as a strategic alliance and its relationship with Azerbaijan as a strategic partner, the difference being that with Azerbaijan the relationship is a business one, based on market principles, while with Armenia it shares membership in integration projects, like the Eurasian Economic Union. It does however supply arms to both sides. The Turkish factor in the conflict is also dangerous and unpredictable, he said. […]
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