In the post-Soviet era, the Nagorno Karabagh conflict has been a major source of
tension in the South Caucasus. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia, the United
States, and France have all been involved in the mediation process between
Nagorno Karabagh, Armenia, and Azerbaijan over the resolution of the conflict.
Russia, given its historical ties, economic interests, political clout, and military
relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan, appears to be the most influential and vital
moderator in this conflict. This dates back to the outbreak of violence in early
1990s. Russia has tried to help the participants in the Nagorno Karabagh conflict to
maintain the status quo, and has provided a framework of dialogue for Armenia and
Azerbaijan. Russia has been the main supplier of arms to both sides, which calls
into question Russia's motive and goals in its role as a mediator, and its role is
subject of much controversy in the Nagorno Karabagh conflict. This paper argues
that Russia's role as a mediator is primarily focused on maintaining the status quo,
and ensuring the equilibrium of military capabilities between Armenia and
Azerbaijan, in order to discourage any military escalations between the two states.
We assert that despite the fact that this strategy has been successful for Russia in
maintaining the status quo, a different approach, which moves beyond military
balancing, is required in order to reach a long-term solution for the conflict
between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno Karabagh.
1-Gasparyan Gevorg PhD candidate, School of International and Public affairs, Jilin University, China.2-Wang Li Professor, IR and Diplomacy, School of International and Public affairs, Jilin University, China.