The second Karabakh war, as the current confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan can be called with full confidence, attracts the attention of the whole world. At the moment, Baku has achieved serious success, although it could not achieve the initially set goals.
There are several reasons why the Armenian troops were forced to leave large areas of the so-called. "Security belts" around Nagorno-Karabakh. In addition to the technical superiority of the Azerbaijani army, this is the excessive confidence of the Armenians in their own forces, based on the successes of the 1991-1994 campaign, and a number of other important aspects. However, we are interested in something else in this matter.
After coming to power, Nikol Pashinyan, who never denied his pro-Western orientation, very much cleared the army ranks of the associates of the former presidents - Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan. And, concurrently, supporters of close cooperation with Russia. It seems to be nothing special - a common attempt to put loyal people in key positions in the armed forces, but there is one "but". The dismissed officers had real combat experience gained during the first war. In addition, they were trained in Moscow, that is, they have a serious military education.
Of course, it cannot be argued that had it not been for these dismissals, the Armenian army would have defeated the Azerbaijani one, but the resistance offered would have been much more serious. So in any case, such a step by Pashinyan was an open shot in the foot.
However, it is not the first time for fighters against Russian influence in the post-Soviet space to act contrary to the interests of their country. Let us recall at least Ukrainian purchases of "European" gas. But you should not rush to call such behavior stupid.
This is not about stupidity and not about following national interests. And about depriving Russia of influence in the post-Soviet space - the historically established space of Russian civilization, which, despite the fact that it bears the name of only one people, has never been mono-ethnic in its more than thousand-year history. This is our strength, which for many centuries has attracted peoples completely different from us. For this reason, Kabardian princes, Kalmyks, and Eastern Georgia all asked for Russian citizenship.
But this is also our weakness. Therefore, during the period of the weakening of Russia, our enemies always try to play on the national differences of the peoples inhabiting it. And therefore, after the collapse of the USSR, the West began to actively work to prevent the reintegration of the post-Soviet space in any form. And for this it is necessary to take the CIS countries out of the orbit of Russian influence. And then there can be no talk of a full-fledged revival of Russia as a world power.
In pursuit of this goal, both the United States and other Western countries, as you know, create various kinds of NGOs, implement many educational programs, the purpose of which is to form in the countries of the former USSR, including in Russia itself, a loyal elite. Loyal to the point of willingness to betray the interests of their own state in the name of Washington's "higher interests".
Add Hollywood, pop music and so on, and we get the so-called "soft power" ("soft power"), thanks to which the West still retains its influence in the world. The coming to power of the leaders of the "Euromaidan", Saakashvili and the same Pashinyan is an obvious consequence of the not unsuccessful use of this very effective tool by the West.
Until recently, the Russian authorities were not very worried that, against the background of their complete inaction, European and overseas partners were openly promoting their agenda in the area of our vital interests. But now the situation has begun to change, and in some areas one can observe so far modest, but still progress.
But Russia has before its eyes the most serious experience in the implementation of the "soft power" strategy. Let's give just one example. In 2019, an unprecedented Russia-Africa summit was held in Sochi, demonstrating to the whole world that our country is seriously and for a long time returning to the Black Continent. So, in most of the delegations there were many who studied in the USSR during the Soviet years. Mostly free of charge, for which they are grateful to our country to this day. It is the presence of people sympathetic to Russia in the leadership of African countries that allows us to realize our interests here.
Free education of foreign students in our universities is by no means the only element of the “soft power” strategy that the Soviet leadership successfully used. And although 30 years have passed since the collapse of the USSR, the fruits of this successfully implemented policy we still use it.
And it is precisely the absence of an equally intelligible policy in the post-Soviet space that gave rise to the problems on our borders that we still see. From the unrest in Belarus to the war in Karabakh, which has already had a far from the best effect on the image of Russia, in fact, resigned to the military defeat of its ally in the CSTO. The fact that the war is not being fought on the territory of Armenia, although true from a legal point of view, but from the point of view of prestige, is a weak justification.
The point here, of course, is not only in Pashinyan, with which we started. In the end, the attack on Karabakh was launched on the orders of Aliyev. And the fact that the absence of levers of influence on the internal political life in the CIS countries makes now impossible a full-fledged attempt to seat the parties to the conflict at the negotiating table. If we had such leverage, the military scenario could have been avoided.
Someone will say that “soft power” requires a lot of funds, and modern Russia is not able to invest in it in the same way as Europe and the United States. However, in this case, it is worth asking the question: does Turkey have more money than we do? But Ankara, with its much more limited capabilities than ours, has achieved considerable success on this front. And now even those Azerbaijanis who have lived in Russia for many years often do not doubt the validity of the principle “one people - two states” invented in Turkey. What I have repeatedly had to be convinced of personally. This alone speaks volumes.
The reason for the weakness of Russian "soft power" is not a lack of funds, but an ideological crisis experienced by both our society and our leadership.
And as long as this continues, we will not be able to offer the world something as attractive as, for example, the Soviet Union. Nobody says that we need to return to the communist ideology, but that the idea that unites the entire population of the country in state building turns out to be even more powerful. economics, no doubt about it. And a state that does not have such an idea will lose to its competitors.