As a result of the war in Ukraine, Alexander Gabuev rightly notes that Russia is losing its ability to play the role of regional power broker (“Nagorno-Karabakh shows Russia has lost control of its near-abroad”, Opinion, October 3).
Gabuev’s analysis begs the question of which actors and what actions — if any — will replace Moscow’s diminished influence and stabilising role in the South Caucasus and Central Asia, and what are the consequences for local people if they do not.
While acknowledging that Azerbaijan’s recent offensive to end, once and for all, the de facto Nagorno-Karabakh republic is “a powerful illustration of the sad reality that ‘might makes right’”, Gabuev appears to accept the likelihood of large-scale violence and of increased suffering in regions long under Russia’s influence as the new normal. “The destabilising effects”, he concludes, “will continue to be felt across the vast Eurasian landmass”.
This raises the question of whether it may in fact be in the interest of the US and the west to see Russia continue to act as a stabilising force in parts of the region.
Read the full piece in Financial Times.