Nagorny Karabakh, the territory fought over by Armenians and Azerbaijanis, is a name that ﬂickered into the news in the late 1980s and early 1990s and is associated in most people’s minds with the torments of former President Mikhail Gorbachev as he failed to resist the nationalist pressures that tore apart the Soviet Union. Those with a more historical bent will remember it as a desperate conﬂict, forged by Stalinist border-drawing and a clash of impassioned national identities.
It has not gone away. Since 1994, the dispute has been quiet but unresolved, halted by a ceaseﬁre agreement that followed a de facto Armenian victory on the ground – and the deaths of some twenty-ﬁve thousand people. But its baneful inﬂuence continues to blight the entire region between the Caspian and Black Seas.