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Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh: unfrozen conflicts between Russia and the West. OSW Special Report, 9 July 2008

Bartuzi, Wojciech and Pełczyńska-Nałęcz, Katarzyna and Strachota, Krzysztof and Falkowski, Maciej and Górecki, Wojciech (2008) Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh: unfrozen conflicts between Russia and the West. OSW Special Report, 9 July 2008. UNSPECIFIED.

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    The Southern Caucasus is the site of three armed conflicts with separatist backgrounds, which have remained unsolved for years: the conflicts in Georgia's Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and Azerbaijan's conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh (including the areas around Nagorno-Karabakh which were seized by Armenian separatists in the course of the war). Neither Georgia nor Azerbaijan have had any control over the disputed areas since the early 1990s. Both states are simultaneously in conflict with the separatists' informal patrons, respectively Russia and Armenia. After over a decade of relative peace during which the conflicts remained frozen, tension has recently risen considerably: in the case of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, large-scale fighting may break out in the coming months, whereas in the case of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azeri-Armenian conflict, such a threat may materialise within the next five years. The current formula for politically resolving the conflicts is ineffective and close to exhaustion, and the prospect of any alternative peace plans being developed is rather distant. The conflicts in the Southern Caucasus are of increasing concern to the West, mainly because of the Western actors' constantly growing political and economic involvement in Georgia and Azerbaijan (including support for reforms and development of the gas and oil transmission infrastructures), as well as its less intensive commitments in Armenia. An outbreak of open fighting over the separatist regions would destabilise the Southern Caucasus, largely undoing the results of the actions which the EU, NATO and the USA have taken in the region in recent years. Moreover, the situation in the Southern Caucasus, especially the separatisms themselves, have in fact become an element in the wider geopolitical game between the West and Russia. For Russia, the stakes are maintaining its influence in the region, and for the West, demonstrating its ability to effectively promote democracy and economic modernisation in the countries bordering it.

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    Item Type: Other
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-Caucasus
    Countries > Russia
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) > OSW Report
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2014 19:54
    Number of Pages: 7
    Last Modified: 06 Dec 2014 19:54

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