A new study by RAND “Religion, Conflict and Stability in the Former Soviet Union” includes an extensive chapter on “Armenia-Azerbaijan: Rethinking the Role of Religion in the Nagorno Karabakh Conglict,” by the University of Minnesota scholar Artyom Tonoyan.
Tonoyan notes that the topic of religion has been largely ignored in the study of the Karabakh conflict. He argues that this has to do with “the “Western” secularization theory serving as an obstacle for studying the nexus of religion and conflict, [whereas] for Soviet and post-Soviet scholars it was the Marxist (Leninist) approach to the social sciences in general and religion in particular.”
But, as Tonoyan finds that “while religion was not initially a major factor in the conflict, it became gradually more important over time as it was used by both sides to build and sustain political support for continuing the fight.. The potential for an eventual return to active conflict, one that would be seen as more religious on both sides, remains.”