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Correlation of War in the Former Yugoslavia with the Conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh and Ukraine. Part II
International Academy of Sciences, Arts and Security – MANUB Belgrade, Center for Strategic Studies of National Security – CESNA B Belgrade, University Business Academy Novi Sad
Russia undertook diplomatic efforts to stop the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Negorno-Karabakh within the Minsk Group  and then unilaterally and bilaterally in cooperation with Turkey, previously presenting the conflict as internal. Russia did not want to ruin the previously achieved relationship with Ankara, especially related to Syrian issues as well as military-technical cooperation issues. Given the size of the Armenian diaspora in Russia , cooperation within the Eurasian Economic Union, as well as the Russian military presence in the Armenian Shirak province, this attitude did not diminish the importance of Armenia for Moscow. On the other hand, along with economic and energy ties, Azerbaijan represented an example that state independence in the post-Soviet space does not automatically have to be anti-Russian. The first formalized diplomatic activity of Russia was released on October 1th and October 5th with the co-chairs of the Minsk Group, France and the USA, through joint statements demanding an immediate ceasefire and the opening of the negotiation process. Apart from the short-term ceasefires, this initiative was not successful, partly because of the “undermining” of Turkey, and partly because of the negative attitudes of the parties in the conflict towards the activities of the Minsk Group. Russia is intensifying its diplomatic activities after this failure, with the controlled involvement of Turkey at the initiative of Azerbaijan. This action resulted in the Ceasefire Agreement signed on the November 9th by Russia and both sides of the conflict, with the support of all regional and world actors. The “nine-point agreement” provides for:
* Ending the conflict from November 10 and keeping the parties in their current positions;
* Returning Agdam district to Azerbaijan by November 20th;
* Deployment of Russian peacekeeping forces along the separation line and in the Lachin Corridor;
* Gradual deployment of Russian peacekeepers with the withdrawal of Armenian forces from Negorno-Karabakh, for a mandate of five years with the possibility of extension;
* Establishment of the Center for Peacekeeping Forces to monitor the implementation of the Agreement;
* Returning Kalbahar to Azerbaijan by November 20th and Lachin by December 1th, creating a new transport corridor between Negorno-Karabakh and Armenia with a period of three years, as well as the safe development of traffic and communication through the Lacina Corridor in both directions;
* Return of internally displaced persons and refugees, with the participation of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees;
* Exchange of prisoners, wounded persons and bodies of victims;
* Freeing and establishing new transport and economic corridors in the region, including those between Azerbaijan and its exclave of Nakchivan.
Russia then signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Turkey (which is not a signatory to the Agreement) that provided for the establishment of a Joint Monitoring Center, which was supposed to monitor the ceasefire, and at the initiative of Russia, be located far outside the conflict zone. With this, Turkey is militarily and technically involved in the post-conflict processes, although at a much lower level compared to what Azerbaijan demanded, which requested that Turkish peacekeepers be deployed in the field as well. Russia has secured a primary position in the region, with immediate control of the South Caucasus corridor as a crucial geopolitical, trade and energy link between Europe and Central Asia. The cease-fire agreement imposed a much greater range of obligations on the Armenian side, especially in the aspect of returning previously controlled territory, which led to serious turbulence and political unrest in Yerevan, which can still be felt today to some extent. Azerbaijan, on the other hand, saw teritory events and the Agreement as a great victory, as well as a great step towards returning Negorno-Karabakh to its own sovereignty. Some solutions of the Ceasefire Agreement are very similar to the so-called the Madrid principles (OSCE Minsk Group 2007/2009), especially those related to regain part of the teritory to Azerbaijan which is in Armenian control, but they were never realised.
The policy of President Donald Trump was focused on foreign policy issues of American interest, such as the relationship with Russia and China. In addition, the upcoming presidential election required maintaining a balance between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities in the US. The US has a built-in relationship with both sides in the conflict. Joint military exercises are organized on Azerbaijani territory, and many American companies are present in the Azerbaijani oil industry. On the other hand, the Armenian community in the USA is politically very active (Gregg 2002: 21), although there was a temporary cooling of relations in 2010 due to the sale of Armenian weapons to Iran.
From the beginning, the USA emphasized the conflict in Negorno-Karabakh as an international one, and kept its diplomatic activities within the Minsk Group. US restraint on the Negorno-Karabakh conflict has been harshly criticized, and Russia and Turkey have proven that conflicts can be resolved without major US involvement, damaging the US’s reputation as a global power. The US supported the November 9th Agreement as an effort to stop humanitarian disasters and create the preconditions for a political solution, and called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to support the efforts of the Minsk Group by promising them financial assistance in the reconstruction process. The US has become involved in monitoring the ceasefire in an effort to downplay Russia’s role in ending the conflict. The agreed position of the Union is support for the activities of the Minsk Group. While Germany (chairman of the EU Council at the time) directed the parties to the conflict towards processes within the Minsk Group, France as one of the co-chairs of the Minsk Group criticized Turkey for including Islamic warriors from Syria in the conflict. The anti-Turkish policy resulted in the adoption of the Resolution by a convincing majority, first by the Senate on November 23rd, and then by the National Assembly on December 4th, where the Governments advocated for the recognition of the independence of Negorno-Karabakh. The adoption of the Resolution was the result not only of lobbying by the Armenian community in France, but also of strong anti-Turkish messages, among other things, due to the arrival of Sunni warriors in the conflict zone and alleged war crimes against Armenian soldiers and civilians, which is why French political representatives demanded an international criminal investigation, and the parliamentarians pointed out in point 5 of the Resolution that “there is an emphasized need for the defense of minority Christian communities in Europe, in the East, but also throughout the world”.
The EU welcomed the Ceasefire Agreement as the first step towards achieving a sustainable political solution for Negorno-Karabakh and invited all actors to join the processes within the Minsk Group. She expressed her readiness to provide finance for reconstruction as well as to be the coordinator of peace operations. Due to its own weak foreign policy and the disunity of the member states, the EU remained only a relatively passive observer.
The declaration of independence of Croatia and Slovenia in 1991 was the beginning of the end of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which was followed by three major armed conflicts: in Croatia (1991-1995), Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1995) and Kosovo (1998-1999). In addition, three smaller conflicts were fought in Slovenia (June-July 1991) and in the “former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (January-August 2001). Those conflicts were marked by severe violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law, the likes of which have not been seen in Europe since World War II. They are particularly associated with the establishment of the term “ethnic cleansing” and left behind hundreds of thousands of victims, many of whom are still without compensation for war damages for the pain they suffered.
The legacy of a violent past still hangs over the region and threatens the full enjoyment of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The lack of political vision, and until recently the determination of states to deal with human rights violations in the past, leads to the individual search of thousands of victims for the truth and compensation for damages, as well as unsuccessful domestic proceedings on war crimes, while some of those accused of war crimes are still in prison. True inter-ethnic trust and lasting peace in the region of the former Yugoslavia cannot be achieved without justice.
Post-war justice is not only judicial and retributive, aimed at punishing those who have committed crimes through a fair trial. It is primarily restorative and preventive, aimed at providing a legal remedy for victims and aimed at ending impunity, as well as ensuring that all people in the region accept the past and live in peace and security in cohesive, pluralistic democratic societies. The means that could be used for these purposes are both judicial and non-judicial, such as prosecution initiatives, truth-seeking processes, reparations programs, institutional reforms, or a combination of all of the above.
The Caucasus region, and especially the South Caucasus, represents the geopolitical hub of the interests of the great powers, the intersection of the influence of various religions, has traditionally been the longest within the framework of Russian statehood, while the peoples of this region have a series of mutual unresolved conflicts, which together represent a great challenge for the stability and prosperity of this region. The Caucasus region includes the southern and northern Caucasus. The North is under the auspices of the Russian Federation, while the Southern Caucasus consists of three independent states: Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. For the most part of the Modern epoch, the Caucasus region belonged to imperial Russia and the USSR, and this fact has its consequences even today, in the face of the great Russian political, cultural and economic influence in the region. In the post-Cold War period, Azerbaijan and Armenia became members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) where Russia is the most influential. In this area, there is a great expansion of the influence of Turkey and Iran as significant regional powers.
During its history, Georgia has found its support for Russia, with which it also connects civilizations, but through Saakashvili’s regime relying on the United States, as well as the conflict of interest with Moscow on the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, came, at least temporarily, to the opposite geopolitical position of Russians. By the war in the Caucasus in 2008, and subsequent exit from the Commonwealth of Independent States, as well as by the approaching NATO, Georgia was further distancing itself from traditional cooperation and civilization closeness with Russia. Armenia, as historicalally, and culturally close to Russia, continues this tradition, while Azerbaijan, having different historical experiences with Russia, with certain civilization diversity, occupies a compromise position with Moscow.
EU relations with Azerbaijan are regulated by the Agreement on Cooperation signed in 1996, which came into force in 1999. In May 2009, the EU officially launched the “Eastern Partnership”, which allowed for greater financial support and cooperation between the EU and the former Soviet republics, despite the great Russian influence. A new phase in the development of relations between the EU and the countries of the South Caucasus, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, was launched at a Prague summit in May 2009.
Several conclusions can be drawn from the analysis of key regional and international actors. First, the temporary change in the “aggregate state” did not provide answers to all the imposed questions about this South Caucasian area. A relatively acceptable and sustainable solution for all parties, which depends on the key regional and global actors of international relations and much less on the participants in the conflict, is still a distant goal. Russia wins a diplomatic victory as an indispensable authority without whose involvement no issue in its wider environment can be resolved. Its greatness is reflected in the acceptance of the document on the termination of the armed conflict, which is a product of Russian diplomacy, the deployment of Russian peacekeeping forces and the establishment of control over key points in the region, as well as the reduction of Turkey and other actors of international relations in the post-conflict phase. The issue of Negorno-Karabakh, in addition to other open territorial and political issues at the global level, indicates the loss of US power. Russia assumes responsibility for maintaining the achieved peace, with the provision that the reconstruction must be supported by multilateral programs of the OSCE, the EU or the UN. Through the mediation of Azerbaijan, Turkey achieved that important issues in the region are not resolved without its participation, that is, by the Minsk Group. Moscow made it possible for Turkey to monitor compliance with the obligations of the Agreement because it assessed that Turkey’s controlled role in the post-conflict period was significant. The US has shown significant vulnerability in relation to the crisis in Negorno-Karabakh. Two key factors have influenced the restraint of the US, namely the new policy of President Trump and the upcoming presidential elections. The EU showed a partial weakness, first because it did not impose itself as a relevant actor in solving the crisis, and because it failed to establish the unanimity of the member states on this issue, which caused damage to its credibility. Azerbaijan, as one of the participants in the conflict, managed to recover parts of its territory, while Armenia suffered significant losses. Considering that the return of territories to Azerbaijan was foreseen earlier in the negotiations on the final status of Negorno-Karabakh, including the document from Madrid, it indicates that the control of the Armenian forces over the entire conflict territory was not even a realistic outcome. The most important guarantee for the Armenian population in Negorno-Karabakh is the Russian peacekeeping forces on the ground. The result of the conflict in Negorno-Karabakh is thousands of dead and wounded members of the military as well as civilians on both sides, destroyed infrastructure and homes, and thousands of refugees and displaced persons. When we look at the dimensions of the destruction and the fact that a final political solution is very far away, as well as the possibility that the frozen conflict will escalate again, it seems that both Armenia and Azerbaijan are at a loss. Therefore, it is necessary to start the negotiation process as soon as possible among the relevant actors of international relations in order to conclude a permanent solution as soon as possible. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan seem to be on the losing end. Therefore, it is necessary to start the negotiation process as soon as possible among the relevant actors of international relations in order to conclude a permanent solution as soon as possible. both Armenia and Azerbaijan seem to be on the losing end. Therefore, it is necessary to start the negotiation process as soon as possible among the relevant actors of international relations in order to conclude a permanent solution as soon as possible.
Global crises, be they financial, general economic or health, point to new conceptual elements of globalization. Without a developed public health safety culture, and without lessons learned from previous pandemics and epidemics, different countries applied different measures. And while certain states were more affected than others regardless of the actions taken, what is common to almost all states is that the economy takes the biggest hit. Therefore, almost all countries adopted programs of measures that related to economic activities in new, very difficult, business conditions. The first-class problem is the current war in Ukraine as a product of the permanent global conflict of great powers and triumphalist politics, primarily the USA and the Russian Federation. It is followed by enormous destruction, brutal sanctions and an economic collapse that affects all European countries.
 The Minsk Group was established within the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) in 1992, with the aim of encouraging a peaceful solution for Negorno-Kabah. The presiding countries are Russia, France and the U.S. It includes the following participating states: Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Belarus and Finland also participate in the work.
 Depending on the source, data on the number of the Armenian diaspora in the Russian Federation range from 1.3 to as many as 2.5 millions.
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