The Foreign Ministers of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet today to attempt a mediation of Armenian-Azerbaijani tensions.
Today’s meeting comes amid renewed border clashes in the Nagorno Karabakh region. Notably absent from the meeting is a representative from Turkey—a country that traditionally backs Azerbaijan in its conflicts with Armenia. The absence of Turkey may be an attempt by Russia to sway Azerbaijan towards its sphere of influence and away from Turkey. A closer Azerbaijan-Russian relationship could help Russia compensate for a reduced ability to act in the region due to its ongoing war with Ukraine. Russia’s strategy is likely an attempt to counter European and Turkish attempts to further isolate Russia by swaying traditionally pro-Russian Armenia.
Still, Putin’s strategy is unlikely to succeed. Azerbaijan and its Turkish allies are instead more likely to exploit Russia’s distraction and force Armenia into an unfavorable agreement or instigate clashes in Nagorno Karabakh. Following the 2020 Nagorno Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijan gained control over the majority of the disputed areas giving it the advantage in peace talks. While Russia maintains a peacekeeping force in the region which deters direct aggression, expect Azerbaijan to continue to test Armenian and Russian resolve through provocations.
Cian is a Research Analyst and contributes to both Analysis and the Daily Brief. He specializes in Australian and European geopolitics with a particular interest in the strategic autonomy of the EU.