عنوان مقاله [English]
Moscow's long-standing absence from international arena has led the United States to dominate many parts of Eastern Europe with the NATO tool and close itself to the Russian borders. With the further expansion of NATO and the European Union towards the borders of the Russian Federation, the conflict between Russia and the Western powers including US government has intensified. Meanwhile, the rise of Putin and his efforts to revive the country's position in international arena have increased the conflict between the West and Russia. Putin seeks to recover its lost position in the international system. From Kremlin’s point of view, the emergence of Russia in the international system, formation of one of the poles of the international system around Russia and creating a strategic balance against the West require Russian influence in the near abroad and the creation of regional structures and arrangements under Russian leadership. Russia sees the presence of Western institutions in the republics separated from the former Soviet Union as a threat to its national security and interests. Kremlin considers near abroad as its backyard and exclusive sphere of influence. On the other hand, the Kremlin's threatening perceptions of the periphery Environment of the country have been influenced by the logic of the Russian historical insecurity. According to this logic, Russia is a vulnerable country and foreign threats or internal riots supported by hostile and foreign powers can threaten its political or territorial integrity. As a result, the Russians call their activities in the Eurasian region, and especially in near abroad as a defensive action. Therefore maintaining the regime and the territorial integrity of the country, exercising influence over the near abroad, emphasizing Russia's strategic position as a major power in the structure of the international system, adopting economic and political cooperation with major powers of the world as an equal partner and ultimately preventing interference from foreign actors in the internal affairs of Russia can be considered key principles that guide the foreign policy of the Kremlin after the end of the Cold War.
This paper aims to examine the policies of Russian foreign policy in the Caucasus and in relation to the crisis of Nagorno-Karabagh. The main research questions can be formulated as follow: What is Russia’s foreign policy approach toward the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict and what are the reasons for adopting such approach? In response, it has been hypothesized that Russia for political, military and economic reasons, wants the status quo to continue. Based on the findings of the research, the unresolved territorial conflicts in the Eurasian region, such as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, are key tools in securing Russia's strategic interests in Eurasia. Russia believes in regional security, coalition between the countries of the region and the creation of collective security is better than NATO. The Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Eurasian Union are Kremlin-led regional arrangements to keep foreign actors out of the region and are, in fact, a fundamental plan for reintegrating republics detached from the Soviet Union. The crisis in the Nagorno-Karabakh has strengthened the Russians in the South Caucasus region and removed the economic and military infrastructure of the West from the region. The parties involved in the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict know that Moscow's satisfaction is a prerequisite for any favorable political agreement. Therefore, they have to coordinate their macro policies with the interests of the Kremlin in the region, or at least their foreign policy approach should not be in conflict with the interests and goals of Russia in Eurasia. The fear of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Armenia from the Russian game with the card of the political situation in Nagorno-Karabagh has caused the two countries to expand their cooperation with Russia and do not welcome Western institutions in the region. The Republic of Azerbaijan has also extended its economic, political and military cooperation with the Russian Federation. This country is today the most respected Russian economic partner in the South Caucasus region. On the other hand, cooperation between the two countries has been dramatically developed in military sector, so that Russia is the largest supplier of military equipment to the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Republic of Azerbaijan has repeatedly emphasized its unwillingness to join NATO.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Armenia have been relatively stable. Nevertheless, the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict seems to be the source of political influence and the military presence of Russia in Armenia. Armenia is the only country in the Caucasus, which hosts Russian troops and bases in the region. Not only is this country an active member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, but also the only member of the treaty in the South Caucasus. Russia has a serious military presence in Armenia and it is undoubtedly the dominant power in Armenia's politics. The economic and political influence of Russia in the Republic of Armenia has increased dramatically with its membership in the Eurasian Economic Union and the withdrawal of the signing of the EU- Armenia cooperation agreement. The continuation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can be regarded as the root of Russian influence in this country. Russia's influence in Armenia is such that it should be regarded as a first-class concern of ensuring political independence and national sovereignty. The control of Armenia's national borders with Iran and Turkey by Russian forces and controlling Armenia's major economic infrastructure reflects the undermining of Armenia's sovereignty and political independence. In this article, the authors attempt to analyze Russian foreign policy in relation to the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict using a geopolitical framework.