Russia's power and influence in the South Caucasus has exponentially diminished due to its invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent failures of securing a swift outcome. As the entirety of the resources of the Russian state is being allocated to the Ukrainian front, the peripheries of the post-Soviet Space, traditionally placed within Russia's sphere of influence, are dealing with the consequences of Russia's decline. In the South Caucasus, the Russian-led security architecture collapsed after the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War, as Azerbaijan initiated hostilities against Armenia. Russia's failure to meet its obligations as the security guarantor of Armenia, and Russia's subsequent alliance with Azerbaijan prior to its invasion of Ukraine, has altered the reconfigurations in the region. Armenia, having democratized after the 2018 Velvet Revolution, has sought a pivot to the West, while a new Russo-Azerbaijani axis has formed to both curtail Armenia's pivot as well as keep the West out of the South Caucasus. With the regional hegemon in decline, and the West's attempt to fill this power vacuum, what are the trajectories of instability, democratization, and potential developments for the region?
Nerses Kopalyan, Ph.D., is an assistant professor-in-residence of Political Science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His fields of specialization include international relations, political theory, and philosophy of science. He has conducted extensive research on analytic philosophy, feminist theory, and paradigm building. He is the co-author of Sex, Power, And Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). He is also the author of World Political Systems After Polarity (Routledge, 2017). His current research concentrates on political violence and terrorism, and its impact on geopolitical and great power relations.
This talk is part of the Illinois Global Institute Speaker Series "The Global Impacts of the War in Ukraine. Co-sponsored by: Center for African Studies; Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies; Center for Global Studies; Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies; European Union Center; The Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies; Program in Arms Control and Domestic and International Security; and the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center.