Russia would surely have wished to intervene and back Armenia in the recent Nagorno-Karabakh conflict if it had the strength, political analyst Karmo Tüür suggested. He believes that Moscow's recent weakening could kick off a chain of different events.
Tüür said on "Ringvaade" that Russia is trying to keep frozen conflicts going. He described it as controlled chaos Russia is using to try and control not just the near vicinity but also regions farther away.
Russia's involvement in the Ukraine war could weaken it to a point where it is no longer able to maintain that control, which could start a wider chain of events.
"These things are not quite analogous with Artsakh (an Armenian term for the Nagorno-Karabakh region – ed.) as it is a case of two countries competing for territory Russia controlled or guaranteed. It is not a perfect analogy, but who might want to take advantage of the situation? Georgia could try and reclaim at least South Ossetia, if not Abkhazia. Moldova could use the situation to reclaim Transnistria or rejoin Romania, which is another case where Russia was a kind of balancer," Tüür suggested.
"Thirdly, looking further away now, the Tuaregs might pull off their own country in Mali as Wagner, which used to support government forces, is weakening. Kurdish statehood in Syria might also see similar developments as Russia used to back government forces. The fifth example, which paradoxically is the most similar – Chechnya and Dagestan. The former has been taking bites out of the latter, which was possible because Russia's support for Chechnya has been stronger. Should it weaken, Dagestan might start biting back. Therefore, a whole chain of events is possible as a consequence of a weaker Moscow," the analyst said.
Tüür also said that Kazakhstan might be tempted to decouple itself from Russia. "Very conditionally. It has no territorial pretentions, at least not yet. While Kazakhstan has tried to distance itself from Russia, it remains a major mediator of foreign trade for Russia," Tüür remarked.
Azerbaijan wants to hold Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians hostage
Tüür said that ethnic Armenians living in the Nagorno-Karabakh region find it very difficult to travel to Armenia because Azerbaijan has closed the main road.
"Getting out is problematic. Another question is whether they all want to leave. Recalling what the Armenians did to the Azeris who used to inhabit the region, it is likely they do want to leave. But it is a question of whether they'll be allowed to leave, whether they get the chance and whether Armenia is willing to receive them all," the political scientist said.
Tüür believes Azerbaijan is attempting to hold Armenians hostage in the area.
"Azerbaijan is holding them hostage to be able to draw international attention to the matter. Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia have at times used their own and other countries' citizens, those who have refugee status, to attract the attention of international organizations to suggest there are problems and help is needed," Tüür explained.
He doubts whether Armenia and Azerbaijan are capable of finding common ground when it comes to Nagorno-Karabakh.
"It is a miracle that Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has tried to sell the idea that the country should give up Artsakh and remains in office after suggesting something like that. But broadly speaking, neither country's population is unwilling to give an inch," Tüür said.
Editor: Merili Nael, Marcus Turovski