Religion and the conflict over Nagorno Karabakh.
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Tonoyan, Artyom H.
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The Armenian‐Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno Karabakh has been one of the bloodiest and most intractable conflicts in the post‐Soviet space. Although there have been a number of recently published important works regarding the conflict they have almost exclusively dealt with economic and political aspects of the conflict. Important as these factors are, the present study argues that by focusing exclusively on rational choice models conflict analysts and historians have unjustifiably neglected another important aspect of the conflict, namely its religious dimension. By drawing upon the historical experiences of the Armenians and Azerbaijanis, in which religion has played an important role in their respective identity formation, I propose that despite extensive arguments to the contrary religion was an important factor in the conflict as it served a complex set of sociological, political, and cultural roles. I further argue that although religion was an important factor, the conflict itself did not develop into a fully religious one. To accomplish the task at hand I reassess and reinterpret the available data utilizing a variety of intermeshing theories employing an interdisciplinary approach.