Transformation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict: Historical Experience and Current Developments

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-12-93-103
S. Markedonov,
Institute for International Studies at GIMO University, 76, Prosp. Vernadskogo, Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation.

Received 20.08.2023. Revised 04.09.2023. Accepted 04.10.2023.

Acknowledgments. The reported study is funded by MGIMO-University, project no. 1921-01-05.

Abstract. The Nagorno-Karabakh issue is well-studied in the schorarly literature. However, most works cover the dynamics of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict or genesis of a South Caucasus de facto state. This article is devoted to the consideration of the phenomenon of Nagorno-Karabakh for the nation-state project of post-Soviet Armenia, its domestic and foreign policy agenda. The author considers it in the two historical contexts: the genesis of the Armenian state during the last years of the Soviet Union and in the first years after its demise, as well as the current socio-political situation. The article explains why the factor of Nagorno-Karabakh, which became the trigger for the struggle of the late Soviet Armenians for “miatsum” (the unification of the former Armenian SSR and the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region of the Azerbaijani SSR), has ceased to be a cementing element for the elite and society of today’s Armenia. The Nagorno-Karabakh consensus, around which the authorities and the opposition, as well as civil society institutions united, becomes the past. The informal taboo on the discussion of the Nagorno-Karabakh status beyond any form of state integration with Armenia has been lifted. It has become one of the publicly discussed issues. The author analyses these transformations with the help of updated methodological tools, rejecting “geopolitical determinism” and linking the fundamental transformation in the Armenian current agenda not only with radical military changes on the “line of contact” between the two conflicting states of the South Caucasus but, above all, with the value and generational shift within Armenia. Addressing the theory of “paradigm shift” by T. Kuhn and the “method of generations” by J. Ortega y Gasset, he concludes that the current unprecedented concessions to Baku on the part of Yerevan are not only a manifestation of weakness, voluntarism and a foreign policy U-turn of the current Armenian leadership to the West. In many ways, they are determined by the transformation in the moods of the elites and society of Armenia throughout the entire post-Soviet period. This approach allows us to trace and explain how and why the Republic, constituting its statehood around the “Karabakh idea” in the process of national self-determination, took the path of revision of the original goal-setting.

Keywords: Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia, “miatsum”, conflict, South Caucasus, Azerbaijan, state-building, values, generations


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For citation:
Markedonov S. Transformation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict: Historical Experience and Current Developments. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2023, vol. 67, no. 12, pp. 93-103. EDN: QZIJJN

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