Nothing “Frozen” Around Frozen Conflicts

Welcome to the 9th edition of the Russia/CIS RiskWatch newsletter. The theme of this edition is the countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan, lying to the south of the mighty Caucasus mountain range between regional powers Russia, Iran and Turkey, at a key geopolitical junction on the historic Silk Route.

Serine Ayriyan, a researcher in our Compliance, Forensics and Intelligence  team in Moscow, is a native Armenian speaker and regular visitor to the country. She outlines in her piece just how recent local and regional developments are leading to a shift in public opinion which together have the potential to change long-held allegiances.

Eimear O’Casey, an associate analyst for political and security risks covering the Caucasus and Central Asia, has just returned from a research trip to Azerbaijan. She discovered a significant change in mood following the economic crisis caused by the drop in oil prices and devaluation of the manat, and asks whether the country can continue to keep the lights on.

We began planning this edition before the recent renewal of hostilities between the two countries over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, one of the region’s so-called ‘frozen conflicts’. As events over the last couple of weeks have shown – and residents and regional analysts have always known – there is nothing ‘frozen’ about this conflict. We soon realized we would be seriously remiss in publishing a newsletter on the two countries at this time without addressing the resumption of conflict. In the linked podcast, Charles Hecker, Global Research Director, interviews the head of our Europe desk and long-term regional analyst, Anna Walker, about the background to the conflict, and the potential implications for peace, stability and further economic development.

Sincerely yours,

Tim Stanley 

Tim Stanley, Senior Managing Director, Russia/CIS