After the Sochi Summit: Road to Peace or a Frozen Problem?

Similar Posts

This post is also available in: Türkçe Русский

The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, which is the most important problem of the post-Cold War period in the geopolitics of the South Caucasus, and the occupation of “Karabakh and 7 districts”, took a new form with the Second Karabakh War, which started in September 2020 and lasted for 44 days. This new situation brought about the liberation of some of the Azerbaijani lands occupied by Armenia and brought the geopolitics of the region to a new status quo.

As it is known, the clashes that started on September 27, 2020, were the beginning of a war that lasted for 44 days, and the Azerbaijani Armed Forces achieved great heroism and success throughout the war; on the other hand, the Baku administration demonstrated successful diplomatic performance. Thus, when the ceasefire was signed on November 10, 2020, Azerbaijan not only liberated a significant part of its occupied territory for nearly 30 years but also became a center of attraction for regional geopolitics and regional peace in the eyes of both states of the region and non-regional actors.

After the ceasefire, the Baku administration showed a sincere and persistent will to implement a peace projection that includes Yerevan. However, both global and regional equations and developments have shown that; the will of the Azerbaijani side alone is not sufficient for the establishment of peace.

The first point that should be mentioned at the point of peace-building in the post-war periods is the necessity of the parties to show their will at the point of peace-building. If any of the warring parties refrain from peace, any attempt is unlikely to yield results. Another issue is that the parties agree on the conditions of peace and their expectations regarding the post-peace order. Because if one party’s proposals for the conditions to be put forward for peace and the order to be established afterward are perceived by the other actor as a situation contrary to their interests, the process is not likely to be successful. The last point is that to bring the warring parties together at the peace table, either initiative by international organizations or a global political will should be formed or an effective actor that will play the role of a mediator should step in.

While it is observed that in the Armenian-Azerbaijani normalization efforts, the parties have demonstrated their will for the establishment of regional peace in the South Caucasus; it is also obvious that there are some serious differences in terms of the conditions of peace and the future of peace. At this point, the role of third actors becomes important. However, an important question needs to be answered here: Does the third actor who brings the warring parties together want peace? For this reason, the summit held in Sochi, Russia on October 31, 2022, is very important.

First of all, it is useful to take a look at the statement published by the Kremlin after the Sochi Summit. The statement in question includes the following statements:[1]

“The meeting took place at the point the three leaders discussed the implementation process of the declarations adopted in 2020 and 2021, the parties reiterated their commitment to strictly adhere to all these agreements to comprehensively normalize Azerbaijan-Armenia relations, ensure peace, stability, security, and sustainable economic development of the South Caucasus. Also, that meeting happened about the agreement on the settlement based on mutual recognition of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of borders by the United Nations (UN) Charter and the Almaty Declaration of 1991 and emphasizing the importance of active preparation for the signing of a peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia for the establishment of sustainable and long-term peace in the region.”

If an evaluation should be made between the lines of the declaration, in which the contribution of the Peacekeeping Force of Russia to the provision of regional security and efforts to stabilize the situation in the region should be made, it is necessary to evaluate the lines, which Moscow clearly and treats as its backyard and defines it as its immediate environment within the framework of the “Primakov Doctrine.” It can be said that Russia will not tolerate the existence of an actor other than himself in the shaping of the geography.

Russia, which became isolated in international politics due to the Ukraine War and faced the risk of losing its superiority in regional subsystems to different actors, while designing the geopolitics of the region with the Sochi Summit; on the other hand, it does not allow any power vacuum and tries to prevent other actors from finding space for itself.

At the point of establishing peace, the Sochi Summit is important in terms of seeing how much Moscow wants for regional peace, as well as this preference in the regional leg of its global strategy. Although the declaration published after the summit refers to the UN Founding Agreement and the Almaty Declaration of 1991, in the point of realizing that, the absence of any concrete statements about the responsibilities of the parties and Moscow, the steps to be taken and the mechanisms that need to be functionalized is a point that should not be overlooked.

As a result, the establishment of regional peace, which the Azerbaijani side sincerely and persistently brought to the agenda, emerges as a phenomenon that cannot be realized only as a result of the will of the states in the South Caucasus geopolitics. Because the Putin administration sees the region as its backyard and does not want to lose it to anyone. In addition, the aim of Moscow, which does not take a serious step toward peace, is rather than peace; it can be argued that the problem is the preservation of the assets of the potential risks by freezing. Thus, it should be noted that the aim is to make regional states establish good relations with Moscow and to punish the states in question if they turn to different options. Therefore, real regional peace in the South Caucasus does not seem very likely to happen in a short time.

[1] “Putin, Aliyev, Pashinyan Agree on Joint Statement”, TASS,, (Date of Accession: 01.11.2022).

Dr. Kadir Ertaç ÇELİK
Dr. Kadir Ertaç ÇELİK
ANKASAM International Relations Advisor Dr. Kadir Ertaç ÇELİK completed his bachelor's degree at Uludağ University, Department of International Relations, and his master's and PhD degrees at Gazi University, Institute of Social Sciences, Department of International Relations. Currently a faculty member at Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli University, Department of International Relations, Çelik's main research interests are theories of international relations, American foreign policy, the Turkic world, security and strategy.