The second Karabakh war: background, causes, consequences

The second Karabakh war:
background, causes, consequences

Lantzov S.A.,

Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia,

elibrary_id: 364735 | ORCID: 0000-0001-8428-7755 | RESEARCHER_ID: G-4678-2015

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2022.03.08

For citation:

Lantzov S.A. The second Karabakh war: background, causes, consequences. – Polis. Political Studies. 2022. No. 3. P. 96-107. (In Russ.).


The article analyzes the preconditions, causes and consequences of the resumption of hostilities in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the fall of 2020. The structure of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the stages of its development in the late XX – early XXI centuries are considered. The paper considers the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group and its efforts for the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The danger of the existence of unresolved, “frozen” conflicts is conditioned by the potential for a renewed armed confrontation. The reasons for the resumption of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh are analyzed at three levels in accordance from a neorealist perspective. At the level of interpersonal relations, the regress in mutual understanding between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, which has manifested itself in recent years, is analysed. Their careers and political experience are compared. At the level of analysis of interstate relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a comparative characteristic of the potential of these states is presented. From the very beginning the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh was asymmetric but a gradual change in the balance of military power in favor of the Azerbaijani side is perceptible. When analyzing the internal political processes, attention is drawn to a weakening of state institutions in Armenia after the events of 2018. At all stages of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the influence of nationalism on the mass consciousness of the population of Armenia and Azerbaijan remained, which impacted the policies of both parties involved in the conflict. Analyzing the processes taking place at the level of the system of international relations, the author notes the growing activity of Turkey, striving for leadership and hegemony in the region. There is a significant increase in the level of political and military support to Azerbaijan from this country. The article emphasizes the role of the Russian Federation as an effective mediator that managed to broker an agreement between the two sides to end the armed struggle in Nagorno-Karabakh. The deal reached on November 9, 2020 is analysed as well as the consequences for Russia’s foreign policy of “unfreezing” the conflict. 

Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia, Azerbaijan, conf lict, war, Russian Federation, Turkey, neorealism.


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Content No. 3, 2022

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