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Armenia and AzerbaijanAnatomy of a Rivalry$
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Laurence Broers

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474450522

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474450522.001.0001

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An Exception in Eurasia

An Exception in Eurasia

(p.213) 7 An Exception in Eurasia
Armenia and Azerbaijan

Laurence Broers

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter addresses the international politics of the Armenian-Azerbaijani rivalry, arguing that it is a significant exception to the wider pattern of Russian-Western geopolitical competition in Eurasia. While other post-Soviet conflicts feature cross-border linkages reinforcing the axes of conflict, the Armenian-Azerbaijani rivalry shows patterns of multi-directional, fragmented and crosscutting linkages with a wide range of external actors. This pattern has diffused leverage potentials of external actors, accounting for the lack of decisive shifts in the direction of either conflict escalation or resolution, or (until 2018) regime renewal. The chapter examines Armenian and Azerbaijani alliance and alignment strategies, and the diffusion of the rivalry across regional and international environments. It then examines Russia’s policy towards the rivalry, arguing that while Russian policy is pluralistic and inconsistent, it is best explained as an example of ‘pivotal deterrence’, where a third party, or ‘pivot’, seeks to prevent two adversaries from going to war.

Keywords:   Armenia, Azerbaijan, Eurasia, Russia, Pivotal deterrence, Linkage and leverage

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