Konflikt v Náhorním Karabachu.
The Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh
This contribution is an attempt to analyse the background and dynamics of the Azeri-Armenian conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. It focuses particularly on the genesis of Azeri and Armenian nationalisms in relation to the conflict, tracing its history back to the last decades of Tsarist rule. The article shows that initial seeds of discord were sown back in the last quarter of the 19th Century as Armenian bourgeoisie was increasingly growing in power and its dominance in the economic, as well as political life of Baku, the Empire’s oil metropolis, and other Azeri-dominated areas alienated marginalized Muslim masses. In the 1905 clashes, the conflict at the very first time overgrew its socio-economic roots, which resulted in extensive ethnically motivated clashes between Azeris and Armenians scattered through some ethnically mixed areas of Transcaucasia. The article then draws attention to the short intermezzo of 1918–1920, hen independent republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia clashed heavily for territories they both claimed. Portraying the rather silent period of Soviet rule, emphasis is put on its final years with Armenians’ irredentist aspirations – and Azeri efforts to withstand them – becoming a leading force of the national revival for both South Caucasian peoples. Analyzing a number of triggering factors, which gradually led to a full-scale war between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the dominance in Nagorno-Karabakh in the aftermath of the dissolution of the USSR, the article seeks to unveil the post-war state of affairs in both republics centering around the issue of societal preparedness for a possible war. It also undertakes a concise analysis of international involvement in the conflict focusing on the role of Russia as the major international player in the negotiation process. Finally, it discusses potential ways of resolving the conflict, both peacefully (with an emphasis on OSCE-mediated efforts) and via military means showing that a renewal of war, though rather implausible in the short run, would cause a serious regional conflict in which not only Azerbaijan and Armenia, but also Turkey, Iran and Russia would be likely to be drawn in.
Keywords: Nagorno Karabakh