The roots of the insurgency in the North Caucasus remain: local muslims, especially in Dagestan, still experience rule by Moscow as brutal and corrupt and feel they have no stake in Russian society. These roots are only likely to get deeper as Russia becomes more autocratic.
With the conflict reaching Iraq, which reflects to the same religious divisions as in Azerbaijan, the risk is greater that Azerbaijanis Shia and Sunnites will be affected by the sectarianism of the Middle East.
An exertion of soft power by stealth is Russia's best chance of re-establishing influence in Georgia. And its only chance of success is if the new economic relationship between the EU and Georgia fails to deliver results.
The coup d’état in Abkhazia attracted virtually no media attention in Russia, and even less attention was paid to the parliamentary election in South Ossetia. It seems that after almost six years of Abkhazian and South Ossetian “independence,” these territories stopped being Russia’s headache, only to be replaced by Crimea.
Azerbaijan has picked a fight with the U.S. government. The simplest explanation for this may be that President Aliyev is as paranoid and isolated as their actions suggest. If United States want to maintain influence in Azerbaijan it should find messengers who can get through some thick palace walls.
On June 1 Abkhaz President Alexander Ankvab was forced to resign. The next Abkhaz leader will rule a state that most of the world does not regard as legitimate. He will also struggle to win the same legitimacy at home as his predecessors enjoyed.
The ceasefire, which halted the war over Nagorny Karabakh 20 years ago, has been broken with grim regularity. Ordinary soldiers and civilians are the ones who pay the price for a lack of agreement on the front line, which is called Karabakh’s Line of Contact.
For the first time in many years, the U.S. government made its own policy statement on the Nagorny Karabakh conflict on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the 1994 ceasefire. In his speech, the American co-chair of the Minsk Group of the OSCE issued an invitation to the governments in Baku and Yerevan to step up their commitment to the peace process.