“A Consensus Proposal for a Revised Regional Order in Post-Soviet Europe and Eurasia” newly-released by RAND, a Washington-based think tank, brought together twenty-one experts from the West, Russia and regional states to consider ways to repair existing and expanding fractures in international security.

According to its abstract, the proposal “would boost regional security, facilitate increased prosperity, and better manage the long-standing conflicts in the region while increasing the chances of settling them. The revised order would thus limit the major-power confrontation in the region, stabilizing the overall competition between Russia and the West. Most importantly, the proposal would not cross any state’s declared red lines, and thus might plausibly be acceptable to all of them.”

The proposal contributors included Diana Galoyan, vice-rector of the State Economics University of Armenia, and Olesya Vartanyan, Tbilisi-based analyst with the International Crisis Group.

On Karabakh, the study notes the convergence in Western and Russian approaches to conflict management and the depth of the conflict itself.

“While grievances partly explain the persistence of the Nagorno Karabakh dispute (and, indeed, the other conflicts in the region), there is an additional level of contradiction between the sides both there and elsewhere: deeply divergent narrative frameworks regarding the conflict… The opposing narratives of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are very influential and deeply embedded in the life of the respective societies.”

At the same time, “the parties [to the Karabakh conflict] have repeatedly refused to agree to a peacekeeping mission, in part to avoid further projection of the geopolitical competition onto the conflict,” amounting to implicit convergence in the parties’ interest to protect their sovereignty.

Among proposals for Azerbaijan, the paper suggest “multilateral security guarantees; major-power buy-in for nonalignment and greater restraint;  potential for mutually compatible arrangements with both EU and EAEU [Eurasian Economic Union]; implementation of status-neutral pain-reduction measures and CSBMs [confidence and security-building measures]; renewed settlement process.”

For Armenia, proposals include: “reduced tensions and increased stability surrounding current and future status; status quo plus enhanced links with EU via new EAEU-EU arrangements; and implementation of status-neutral pain-reduction measures and CSBMs; renewed settlement process.”