Nazim Muzaffarli (Imanov), D.Sc. (Econ.), professor, Editor-in-Chief, The Caucasus & Globalization academic journal (Baku, Azerbaijan)


After the breakup of the U.S.S.R., some of the newly independent states encountered the problem of aggressive separatism. Bellicose rhetoric soon developed into armed conflicts and a whole range of local wars over territory. In some countries (as in Georgia and Moldova), these warsat least formallywere a confrontation between the central government and armed groups of separatists from the same state. In other countries, they were even formally transformed into interstate wars. In particular, Armenia went into action on the side of the Nagorno-Karabakh separatists, but since it was far superior to them both in terms of the number of combatants and in terms of armaments, in actual fact Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh switched roles almost right after the outbreak of hostilities: from now on it was Nagorno-Karabakh that fought on the side of Armenia, which tried to annex (no matter whether formally or informally) a significant part of the territory of Azerbaijan.

Post-Soviet wars did not lead to a final resolution of territorial disputes. One of the main reasons for this was that in virtually all cases there was interference by third states which were stronger than the conflicting parties themselves. These states naturally pursued their own interests, mostly by means of assistance to one of the parties involved and sometimes by encouraging, supporting or preserving the conflict in question.

When the first wave of post-Soviet wars came to an end and gave way to a search for peaceful ways of conflict resolution, some newly independent states, prompted by the natural course of history, objectively came to realize that joint efforts based on essentially common positions are, as a rule, more effective than uncoordinated attempts by individual countries to solve their problem single-handedly. The global community is more attentive and considerate to joint political actions by several united states than if each of them had advocated the same ideas on its own.

The advisability of joining forces in the international arena in order to resolve or prevent territorial problems was exactly what induced Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova to create GUAM in 1997. It is no accident that ten years later (in October 2007) they once again emphasized in a joint statement of

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