Caucasus and Moldova

Archive Profile

2014 Country Profile

Conflicts in the Caucasus and Moldova – largely frozen since the early 1990s (apart from Georgia in August 2008) – remain unresolved. On the other hand, relative to the shadow of the ferocious violence and unabated bloodshed in Ukraine, the intensity of these frozen conflicts has been largely contained, with the minor exception of an uptick in casualties in Nagorno-Karabakh starting in August 2014.

Background

Armenia and Azerbaijan The frozen conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh sparked into renewed violence in August 2014, with 60 casualties during the year. This marked the worst bloodshed since large-scale fighting stopped with a ceasefire in 1994. Nagorno-Karabakh, translated as “mountainous black garden,” is a region within Azerbaijan that is populated by an ethnically Armenian majority. Its calls for secession in 1988 led to several years of war between Azerbaijan and Read More...

Key developments

Kosovo Kosovo declared independence unilaterally in 2008. Serbia’s refusal to recognize Kosovo’s independence created a political quagmire in the north where Kosovo Serbs reject Pristina’s authority and remain largely under Serbian control. An EU initiated and UN approved dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo aimed at promoting cooperation began in March 2011. Initial talks produced various agreements, but a rift over border control threatened to unravel the process in the summer of 2011. Wit Read More...

Conclusion

The ongoing violence in Ukraine has cast a specter over the frozen conflicts in the Caucasus and Moldova. On the one hand, the over-two-decade duration of the status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh, and over six years in Georgia, suggests that the conflicts will remain bloodless into the future. On the other hand, the uptick in violence in Nagorno-Karabakh, annexation claims in Transdniestria, and the integration of Georgia and Moldova with the EU suggest that there is a serious risk of renewed violence Read More...

Background

At the close of the Cold War, Armenia and Azerbaijan were drawn into a war over Nagorno- Karabakh. Populated by an ethnically Armenian majority, this region within Azerbaijan unilaterally declared independence in 1991. Fighting stopped by and large with a cease-fire agreement in 1994, but the territorial dispute has yet to be settled. Since 1992, international engagement to settle the conflict has been coordinated primarily by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The o Read More...

Key developments

Armenia and Azerbaijan Since 1994, Armenian troops have held Nagorno-Karabakh and a significant part of southwest Azerbaijan. Though the front line has always been highly militarized, significant military buildup occurred in 2012, with both sides investing in sophisticated defense systems. Armed clashes increased markedly and the number of conflict-related casualties in 2012 was the highest since 1994. These developments notwithstanding, the French, Russian, and US co-chairs of the Minsk Group t Read More...

Conclusion

While new openings for a settlement of the long-standing frozen conflict in Moldova have begun to appear, the risk of continued violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh is high. Scheduled elections for 2013 in Armenia and Azerbaijan have fostered reluctance of political leaders to undertake diplomatic solutions that have a high likelihood to politicize the NagornoKarabakh conflict in the lead-up to the voting. Parliamentary elections in Georgia in October 2012, meanwhile, he Read More...