Russian experts substantiate plans to open a consulate in Karabakh

Russian experts substantiate plans to open a consulate in Karabakh

In a move that has sparked significant debate and controversy, Moscow has announced its intention to open a Consulate General in Karabakh, citing the "intention to stay." This decision, perceived as a strategic effort to maintain a Russian presence in the volatile South Caucasus region, has been met with widespread rejection from experts in Azerbaijan, according to a report by “the Caucasian Knot.”

Dr. Andrei Koshkin, a prominent political scientist and head of the Department of Political Science and Sociology at the Russian University of Economics, explained that this initiative is deeply rooted in the current geopolitical climate. "The geopolitical situation is escalating, particularly in the South Caucasus. The opening of a consulate in Nagorno-Karabakh, a region that recently witnessed intense conflict, is a move towards political stabilization," Koshkin told the Caucasian Knot.

Koshkin emphasized that this diplomatic mission would allow Russia to maintain its influence in Nagorno-Karabakh even after the withdrawal of its peacekeepers. "This consulate will enable Russia to continue negotiations on critical regional issues, reflecting Moscow's strategic interests in Karabakh. While Russia aims to bolster its regional position, this move could also foster stronger ties with Baku," he added.

Military expert Vasily Dandykin concurs that the initiative likely originated from Moscow. However, he noted that Azerbaijan might also see benefits in this arrangement. "This appears to be part of a broader agreement between Russia and Azerbaijan regarding the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers. An agreement was reached that, while peacekeepers would leave, a diplomatic mission would remain," Dandykin said.

Dandykin highlighted the strained relations between Russia and Armenia, suggesting that Moscow is seeking to solidify its presence in the region amid Armenia's pivot towards the West. "By establishing this consulate, Russia signals its continued engagement in Nagorno-Karabakh and the broader South Caucasus, even if major issues remain unresolved."

Alexey Gunya, a senior researcher at the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, echoed these sentiments, describing the consulate's establishment as a politically rational move. "Labeling the Russian presence in this region through a diplomatic mission has practical significance, such as creating a platform for addressing Karabakh's cultural heritage," Gunya noted.

Grigory Karasin, head of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, announced the plans for the Consulate General during a meeting with a delegation from the Azerbaijani parliament on May 27. Karasin stated that preparations would commence shortly, with the goal of opening the diplomatic mission by the end of 2024.


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