Staunton, February 16 – The situation in Ukraine and the confrontation between Russia and the West over it are having a strong, negative, but varied impact on all the other so-called “frozen” conflicts in the post-Soviet space, including Transdniestria, Abkhazia, South Osetia and Nagorno-Karabakh, according to Sergey Markedonov.
Markedonov, who teaches at the Russian State Humanities University in Moscow, says that the Ukrainian crisis has the greatest impact on Transdniestria because it lies between Russia and that region. Moreover, “Ukraine and Russia were the guarantors of the peace process in Transdniestria,” and it is now hard to say what means (regnum.ru/news/polit/1895549.html).
The impact of Ukraine on the Karabakh conflict is of particular concern, he suggests, because in that case, “the West and Russia coordinated not badly their efforts in the format of the OSCE Minsk Group.” Given the tensions between Russia and the West, it is unclear whether that will continue, especially given outbreaks of violence along the ceasefire line in the last year.
Abkhazia and South Osetia have been affected as well, Markedonov says. On the one hand, events in Ukraine led Georgia to sign and ratify an association agreement with the EU more quickly than many expected. But on the other, it has led to a strategic partnership accord between Russia and Abkhazia and the preparation of one between Russian and South Osetia.
Moscow has insisted that there is “no universal approach” to these various conflicts, the Moscow researcher says. But that does not mean that it won’t be affected by east-west tensions and that increased support for one or the other side in these conflicts may not spark more support from the other, thus complicating further progress toward their resolution.