Special podcast: View from "fully blockaded" Nagorno-Karabakh during Armenia's conflict with Azerbaijan
Listen: The people of the small Armenian enclave known as Nagorno-Karabakh have no way to get out. Recently, the long-simmering conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh has once again heated up with Armenia accusing Azerbaijan of blocking the only road that connects the disputed region with Armenia. The Azeris deny this and blame Russian peacekeepers. There are extremely heated opinions on both sides to this issue. Regardless of where the blame lies, the humanitarian risks to the region are growing. 30,000 kids cannot go to school as roads and gas have been cut off.
Food can't be brought in because the airport is closed. In a special edition of the GZERO World podcast, Ian Bremmer speaks to Ruben Vardanyan, who last month became state minister in charge of Nagorno-Karabakh, which the Armenians refer to as Artsakh.
Vardanyn discusses the blockade and reality on the ground, his region's hope for democracy, and the history of Artsakh's 30-year struggle to break free of Azerbaijan, whose government does not recognize the territory as independent. Before the fall of the Soviet Union, people living in the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast voted in a referendum to become free from the Azerbaijan Soviet Republic. Now, Russian peacemaking forces won't commit to staying very long in the region, and the European Union and the US have called for an end to the blockade. How will a resolution be reached, and what impact might this have on the Armenia/Azerbaijan peace agreement?