Could Russia and the West collide in the Caucasus?
As the Ukrainian conflict worsens, the confrontation between Russia and the West is also growing. The center of this dispute can be transferred from the Ukraine to the Caucasus – Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan – experts of the US private intelligence and analysis company Stratfor believe.
The study's authors write that after the Georgian-Ossetian military conflict in 2008, Russia has strengthened its military presence in Armenia and achieved a strong economic and political position there. This military presence in Armenia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as security cooperation with Azerbaijan, provides Russia with the position of the dominant foreign power in the region, the analysts consider.
"However, the West doesn’t intend to allow the expansion of Russian influence in the former Soviet periphery. The Western countries made it clear that they will support not only Ukraine. The West began to build military bases in Central and Eastern Europe, as well extend cooperation in the sphere of security with several other countries of the former Soviet periphery," Sputnik Georgia cites an article.
"This is bad news for Kiev, which is waiting for military aid from the West. Above all financial aid. In this regard, they can only sympathize with them. Certainly, the focus can be moved to the Caucasus, but only in one aspect. There are the difficult relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the general director of the Center for Political Information, Alexey Mukhin, said in an interview with our correspondent.
‘‘It is absolutely obviously supposed by Western analysts that Russia will fight instead of Armenia. But there is one problem. The matter is that there is a Russian military base in Armenia. It means that any aggression against Armenia will be stopped rather harshly. And it's not even the Georgian version of possible events. Therefore, I have doubts that such a prospect can exist in the near future," the expert said.
"If the American Stratfor analysts consider themselves informed, perhaps they should have some foundations," the Deputy Chairman of the Editorial Board of Vestnik Kavkaza, the general director of the Caspian Cooperation Institute, Sergey Mikheyev, expressed the assumption.