Analysis & Opinions - Russia in Global Affairs

Is Stopping the War Between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Russia’s (Vital) Interest?

| Oct. 06, 2020

The benefits, which discontinuing the war on Russia’s terms can generate for defending or advancing Russia’s vital interests, will exceed the costs of doing so.

They say one of the follies that practitioners of foreign policy commit is to tell another country’s diplomats that it is in their country’s national interest to do something the practitioners want them to do. Well, I am not a practitioner, but merely an observer of Russia’s foreign policy. Moreover, my view of what Russia’s vital interests are has been formed by reading Russian leaders’ actions, words and documents. Therefore, I think it is permissible for me to ask whether it would be in Russia’s interest to stop the ongoing war over Karabakh. My answer to that question would have been an unequivocal yes even if I did not hail from that region. This war is already impacting six of the eight conditions whose maintenance is of paramount importance to ensuring Russia’s secure and unhindered development, and, therefore, can be classified as vital interests. 

Russia’s vital interests that are or will be impacted if Russian does not intervene to stop the war 

One of Russia’s vital interests that is already being impacted by that war is the need to prevent, deter and reduce threats of secession from Russia, insurgency within Russia or in areas adjacent to Russia, and armed conflicts waged against Russia, its allies or in the vicinity of Russian frontiers. Anyone following the war in Karabakh and familiar with the geography of post-Soviet Eurasia would conclude that this interest is put at risk by an armed conflict fought less than 130 kilometers away from Russia’s borders, with one of the warring countries bordering Russia and the other a founding member of a Russian-led military alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).  

Two more of Russia’s vital interests are not impacted yet, but may be seriously undermined in the future if this war continues.


For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Saradzhyan, Simon.“Is Stopping the War Between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Russia’s (Vital) Interest?.” Russia in Global Affairs, October 6, 2020.

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