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Russia's New Peacemaker Role

President Dmitry Medvedev (right) with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (center) and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev
RFE/RL's Caucasus expert Liz Fuller wrote today about the three reasons why the recent "landmark statement" on Nagorno-Karabakh was a victory for Armenia. I asked her about Russia's role as a deal broker. Here's her response:

"It's not clear whether Medvedev twisted Ilham Aliyev's arm to get him to sign the declaration, or whether Ilham's advisers pointed out to him that he could score brownie points by doing so both with Russia and with the United States given that the last thing the U.S. wants, or the EU for that matter, is another war in the South Caucasus.

"It also makes Ilham look good -- a responsible mature statesman -- by contrast with Saakashvili, whom Ilham reportedly loathes. And strictly speaking the declaration affirms a shared belief that the Minsk Group is the only workable format for reaching a solution.

"In other words, Medvedev wasn't acting to subvert or circumvent the Minsk Group in any way, but simply taking advantage of a window of opportunity to pose as a peace-broker. The declaration doesn't enumerate or contradict the precise provisions of the draft peace deal now on the table, it simply narrows the existing loopholes."

-- Luke Allnutt

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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