Ossetia and the region: problems and trends

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Ossetia and the region: problems and trends 16.06.2017 12:01

June 7, 2017 the Institute of CIS countries held a round table "Ossetia and the region: problems and trends". It was jointly held by the Institute of CIS Countries and the Caucasus Geopolitical Club (Vladikavkaz). About twenty experts from the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, the Moscow State University took part in the round table. M.V. Lomonosov State University, IMEMO RAS, the North Ossetia Institute of Humanitarian and Social Studies, Abaev Institute for Political and Social Studies of the Black Sea-Caspian region, the public organization "Dialogue", the public association "Javakhk Diaspora of Russia" and a number of other scientific and public organizations were represented at the round table. Six presentations were made in the framework of this event.

The purpose of the event was to analyze the threats and challenges facing the Ossetia, Caucasian and Russian society at the present stage, as well as assessing the impact of current processes on the national security of the Russian Federation.

Within the framework of the round table there was a presentation of the book of secretary-coordinator of the Caucasian geopolitical club Yana Amelina "Not united and indivisible. Ossetia after Beslan and the "August war".

During the discussion, the following issues were considered: the macroregion of the Greater Caucasus and the Middle East: threats and challenges; Caucasus in the all-Russian system of coordinates: the dynamics of changes; South Ossetia after the presidential elections: first steps.

Opening the event, Deputy Director and Head of Caucasus Department of the Institute of CIS countries Vladimir Evseev showed a multifaceted and complex picture of the challenges that shape the situation in the macro region of the Greater Caucasus - the Middle East. In his opinion, the world has become extremely complex and unstable. This was confirmed by terrorist attacks in Tehran, which took place on June 7, 2017. Then, as a result of attacks on the Mejlis (Iranian parliament) and the mausoleum of Imam Khomeini, 12 people were killed and 39 injured. Responsibility for this was taken by the radical organization Islamic State. In addition, in the near future, the resumption of large-scale military operations in the zone of Nagorno-Karabakh is inevitable. This, in particular, contributes to the deterioration of the socio-economic situation in Azerbaijan.

June 8-9 in Astana the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is taking place. This organization should contribute to the strengthening of regional stability. However, it faces serious challenges, caused by the entry into the SCO of India and Pakistan as full members. In fact, one is talking about a qualitative update of the Organization, that is, the formation of its new core based on the Russia-India-China triangle (RIC). Such a format of interaction within the SCO is possible, but its implementation is hindered both by the Indo-Pakistani conflict and by the presence of territorial problems between India and China. We should not forget that Armenia and Azerbaijan are partners in the SCO dialogue.

Focusing on the numerous problems and contradictions in the Middle East, including the Kurdish question, V. Evseev noted that he does not see the possibility of resolving the Syrian crisis in the near future. This creates a very complex background for the Caucasus region. At the same time, from the side of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and a number of other regional players, there is obvious or hidden aggression.

According to the secretary-coordinator of the Caucasian geopolitical club Yana Amelina, the growing aggressiveness with the equally increasing inadequacy (individuals, political institutions, states and societies as a whole) is the main characteristic of the "current moment", and this will determine the trends in the development of world politics in Foreseeable future. Other speakers also voiced anxiety about this issue.

In her speech, Amelina confirmed that she considers Ossetia indivisible. However, speaking now about the reunification of South and North Ossetia is not so fashionable, especially among young people. Moreover, the tragedy of Beslan broke North Ossetia, and the people of South Ossetia could not survive the tragedy of the war, which occurred in August 2008.

Director of the Institute for Social and Political Studies of the Black Sea-Caspian region Victor Nadein-Raevsky made a survey report: "Macro-region problems and the safety", in which he described the situation in the Middle East and Turkey's domestic policy. From his point of view, Pan-Turkish ideas have now come to second place in Ankara (it is more concerned with its own internal problems). At the same time, both nationalist tendencies are intensifying both in Turkey and other countries (President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tried to use this, but he did not receive support from the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei).

Nadein-Raevsky noted that the external forces on the Caucasus and the Near and Middle East (USA, Great Britain, France) do not have their own strategy. And this is against the backdrop of the unresolved problems of Kurds, Baluchis, Talyshes, Lezgins and other peoples who do not have their own statehood. In particular, he dwelled in detail on the relationship between the Kurds and the representatives of the Zaza people.

Political scientist Aboszoda Fahraddin dwelt on the state of the Russian expert community, which he called it as "alarming." He noted that there are closed topics for analysts, the spectrum of which is very wide. From his point of view, the expert community discusses the activities of the ruling power, instead of offering its own solutions. Moreover, sometimes-Russian experts defend foreign national interests.

Speaking about the prospects of Iran's development, Aboszoda Fahraddin pointed out that this country will not remain in its current state. And before Russia begins centrifugal processes in Iran, Russia should be on the Araks. In this regard, he expressed surprise at the fact that Moscow does not impose its rights on the territories liberated by the "bayonet of a Russian soldier", including Nagorno-Karabakh.

As already mentioned, the presentation of the book by Y. Amelina "It is not one and indivisible. Ossetia after Beslan and the "August war" took place. A high estimation of this work was given by the political scientist Alexander Sergeev (is the author of the book "Modern South Ossetia: lessons and challenges"). As he believes, the strategic importance of the Republic of South Ossetia (RSO) is incomparable with the attention paid to it by Russian authorities and socio-political structures. At the same time, he pointed to the weakness of the South Ossetia elite and its lack of a development strategy for the republic. As a consequence, Ossetia youth needs a serious ideological and semantic recharge.

Ossetia continues to be an outpost of Russia on the southern borders, believes the editor-in-chief of the portal of the Scientific Society of Caucasians Andrey Areshev. He noted, in particular, the special role played by the RSO in the relations of the Russian Federation with the Donbas, and called for the fullest development of South Ossetia-Russian relations in all directions.

Member of the Council of the Association of Political Experts and Consultants Vladimir Goryunov drew attention to the parallels between the described in the book by Y. Amelina of the situation around the RSO of the 2000’s, which resulted in the Georgian aggression in August 2008, and the current situation in Ukraine. In his opinion, "Russian diplomacy has made a rake race", as a result, everything repeats itself. Such a point of view was agreed by the participants of the roundtable, which resulted in many own examples of inactivity and incompetence of Russian diplomatic missions in different parts of the globe.

Thus, the participants of the round table ascertained that the situation in the world resembles the position of a hundred years ago, that is, there is a sense of a change of epochs that never passes bloodlessly and smoothly. The main problem is that even the contours of a new era are not yet visible, which is aggressively knocking at the door, including in the Caucasus. And in the face of these challenges, not only Russia but also the United States is feeling their weakness. And both states alone cannot answer the challenges of a rapidly changing world. Therefore, they must coordinate their efforts both at the global and regional level.