The perpetrators of violence have staked their claim to power, or at least a more active role in formulating the regime’s identity and methods. If we are to assume that the president is not directly linked to Nemtsov’s murder, it seems that someone else wants to push Putin in a more decisive and punitive direction.
It is impossible to imagine Ramzan Kadyrov calling his subordinates and directly instructing them to commit the murder of Boris Nemtsov. However, the xenophobia and fear of the West characteristic of some segments of Russia’s Muslim community, including Muslims in the North Caucasus, creates a favorable climate for such acts.
The Turkish government’s decision to hold a ceremony to commemorate the Gallipoli battles on April 24, in competition with the Armenian commemorations in Yerevan, looks like a political mistake.
Russia should be watchful of future Armenian-Turkish relations. It should begin to formulate a long-term strategy that could marry its own interests toward the two important states of Turkey and Armenia.
Many North Caucasus natives have joined the Islamic State, and some are returning home. If the socioeconomic and political situation in the region deteriorates and popular discontent increases, this may lead former Islamic State fighters to join the armed struggle.
Devaluing its currency, Azerbaijan follows its neighbors into a time of economic struggle.
A worsening pattern of violence on the Karabakh ceasefire line increases the danger of a war by miscalculation in 2015.
Israel’s interests in the Caucasus have three principal dimensions: strategically, as a means of encircling Iran; in the mid-term, as a zone of energy supplies; and in a short-term, as a market for selling high tech arms and ammunition.
Recently the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations has drawn the attention of both Turkish and world media. However, current activities around the “Armenian question” failed to create solid ground for real compromise between the two states.
The political fallout of the horrible murders in Gyumri will not result in a strategic re-orientation by Armenia away from Russia. However, it will undermine public support for Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and his government.