Disputed region between Azerbaijan and Armenia
Armenia’s velvet revolution poses long-term risks
On the surface, the overthrow of Armenia’s longtime ruler Serzh Sargsyan poses no threat to Russia’s geopolitical position in the South Caucasus. Opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan, elevated to the premiership by popular revolt, keeps stressing his exclusively domestic agenda and desire for close ties with Russia. But the long run, reforms that tackle corruption among the local political and business elites work against Moscow’s interests.
What’s next for the Caspian region
Situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, the Caspian Sea region plays an outsized role in geopolitical events. In recent years, global powers have made some significant changes in their policies toward the region. China is stepping up its activity, while the U.S. has backed away. Russia’s influence has greatly increased, while Turkey’s has waned. Now, states in the region face a growing threat from Muslim extremism. How well countries meet these challenges will depend on the strength of their state institutions. In Central Asia, that could mean increased cooperation and peace. In the South Caucasus, conflict could be on the cards.
The South Caucasus – a conflict zone
South Ossetia’s land grab by a vital east-west oil pipeline in Georgia and more fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh illustrate a key fact about the South Caucasus – Russia is just fine with the status quo.