Keeping the Balance of Power in South Caucasus

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-3-108-118

K. Kurylev (,
Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University), 6, Miklukho-Maklaya Str., Moscow, 117198, Russian Federation.;
N. Galoyan (,
Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University), 6, Miklukho-Maklaya Str., Moscow, 117198, Russian Federation;
D. Stanis (,
Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University), 6, Miklukho-Maklaya Str., Moscow, 117198, Russian Federation;
A. Bredikhin (,

Abstract. The issue of searching for an effective regional balance of power in the South Caucasus through the prism of Russia’s military and political interaction with Armenia and Azerbaijan is examined. The experience of the USA carrying out similar policy in relation to these states is demonstrated. Based on the quantitative analysis of military-political relations between Moscow, Yerevan and Baku, the scale and forms of the cooperation are estimated. Positive and negative consequences of the official Moscow’s “balancing” policy are reviewed. Difficulties that the Russian side has to face when implementing such a regional scenario of behavior are shown. The article says that for Russia, which represents itself as a backbone structural element in the CIS, the key to realizing its national interests is creation of a “good-neighbor belt” and counteraction to formation of the anti-Russian buffer zone in the post-Soviet space. This determines the foreign policy course of Moscow in the CIS region, where the Russian leadership strives to maintain a balance in the development of military cooperation with such regional rivals in the South Caucasus subregion as Armenia and Azerbaijan. The authors come to a conclusion that Russia is balancing between two countries – Armenia and Azerbaijan – in order to maintain its influence in the region and the balance of power between the sides. It is noted that Moscow tries to demonstrate the adherence to the principle of a dynamic balance of power maintenance in the South Caucasus. Unfortunately, Russia is not coherent in its political line in contrast to the USA. According to the authors, it is difficult for Russia to maintain the military and political parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan only because of the fact that it is a major weapons supplier for these two countries. So, any destabilization between Yerevan and Baku is not good for Moscow, and it can lead to serious problems regarding its reputation and regional interests. However, despite the fact that Russia has a regional and global status, an alternative political line will not be reconsidered in the near future. Moscow acts according to its age-old experience in the regional policy. 

Keywords: Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, the South Caucasus, military-political cooperation, arms traffic, balance of power 


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For citation:
Kurylev K., Galoyan N., Stanis D., Bredikhin A. Keeping the Balance of Power in South Caucasus. World Eсonomy and International Relations, 2018, vol. 62, no. 3, pp. 108-118.

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