In Russia—both in expert circles and in the corridors of power—the possibility of Saakashvili reentering Georgian politics, never mind returning to power, is seen as little short of a catastrophe. But putting emotions to one side, it’s clear that Georgian Dream’s foreign policy differs little from its predecessor’s.
Europe has a role to play in rebuilding the South Caucasus and promoting a sustainable future. One important dividend would be democracy promotion in the region. A Russian-enforced peace could be remarkably conducive to that end.
Despite the trauma of Armenia’s defeat in the recent Karabakh war, protests against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan have been underwhelming. He may not have lived up to expectations, but few believe his rivals could offer a significantly better future.
Biden’s rhetorical support for the region will make it easier for Central Asian and South Caucasus governments to bring their issues to Washington's attention. But a Biden administration may not have the bandwidth to take on many new problems.
With no end in sight to the renewed fighting in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, this episode of the Carnegie Moscow Center English-language podcast focuses on the roles of Russia and Turkey in the conflict.
Russia may have reasons to help its ally Armenia, but it has no reason at all to punish Azerbaijan, which has been an example of model behavior among the former Soviet states, as far as Russia is concerned.