"Possible Armenia-Azerbaijan hostilities will further deplete Russian resources"
    Caliber.Az talks to German expert Sebastian Schäffer

    INTERVIEWS  07 April 2023 - 15:38

    Huseyn Safarov

    After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia and the West had a difficult path - from curtsey to slaps in the face. At the very beginning of the collapse of the Soviet Union, after the end of the Cold War battles, they had a real chance to become partners, if not allies, but relations have never developed. Initially almost enthusiastic about Western principles, Russia rejected them by the end of Yeltsin's reign and resolutely refused to play by the rules proposed to it. Eventually, even remnants of mutual sympathy began to fade, and Russia stepped up accusing the West of exporting color revolutions to the post-Soviet space in order to completely enslave it. The US and Europe lashed out at Russia, claiming it was trampling on human rights in a most uncivilized manner.

    Thus, the Cold War between the West and Russia (formerly, with the USSR) has not faded into oblivion - after a lull, it has flared up with renewed vigour. And today it is difficult to understand what the essence of the conflict is: if previously it could be explained by the confrontation between two ideological systems - communism and capitalism - today these two concepts, on the one hand, are closely intertwined, while on the other - they have fundamentally changed. And Ukraine, of course, is not the cause, but rather a reason for today's not a cold war, but a very hot one. Some politicians and political analysts explain it by the fact that the conflict is purely geopolitical - all states of the former Warsaw Pact have fallen under the influence of NATO.

    Is this really the case? If yes, is the current harsh confrontation between Russia and the West also reflected in the Armenian-Azerbaijani track?

    Caliber.Az asked Sebastian Schäffer, a German political scientist and Director of the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe (IDM), to answer these and other questions.

    According to Schäffer, it is still the West that, albeit indirectly, contributes to all kinds of conflict situations in the post-Soviet space.

    "Western foundations suggest an alternative, democratic and prosperous future, and this, as we know, contradicts Russian interests and causes interventions, hybrid wars up to full-scale invasions. If we take the war in Ukraine as an example, Russian politicians claim that the West allegedly does not want to stop the fighting because it pursues its own geopolitical interests. In particular, it is trying to eliminate such a powerful competitor on the world stage as the Russian Federation. In reality, Moscow is simply trying to justify itself for the unleashed bloodshed. Unfortunately, the rhetoric of the Russian military and political leadership is far from reality and all such statements are aimed at the internal audience.

    The Kremlin has been trying to justify this from the very beginning of the invasion of Ukraine. It is typical of Moscow to blame everyone else and resort to the role of a victim," the German expert said.

    In fact, he believes that no one but Moscow is responsible for the war, and it will end only if the Russian Federation stops attacking Ukraine and retreats from its territory.

    As for the question about the Armenian-Azerbaijani settlement in the context of the confrontation between the West and Russia, Schäffer
    finds it tough to give an unequivocal answer.

    "It is difficult to understand who is more interested in resolving the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan - the West or Russia. However, I would suggest that another conflict in the South Caucasus region is more in the interest of Russian President Putin than the West. On the other hand, possible hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan involving Russia could further deplete Moscow's resources. Such a scenario is in the interests of the Western coalition," Schäffer concluded.



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