The ceasefire signed by Azerbaijan and Armenia on 9 November will be a defining moment for both countries. The victory is huge for Azerbaijan and their Turkish allies, the defeat equally so for Armenia. Azerbaijan has regained swathes of land lost in the early 1990s. The Armenian defeat, meanwhile, has rocked the government of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. The country’s President has demanded snap elections, while protestors stormed the parliament in Yerevan and hospitalised its speaker. A steady stream of ministers have resigned since then, but Mr Pashinyan is holding on, for now.

One of the other winners from the short war has been Russia. Despite keeping their troops out of the fighting, the country scored a pragmatic victory with the ceasefire that will surely be toasted in the Kremlin. The core of the peace deal was Russian: based on the long-rejected Lavrov plan now tilted towards the facts on the ground favouring Azerbaijan. It calls for a five-year deployment of Russian troops that Baku has previously resisted, giving the Kremlin expanded leverage in the region. Seeing the government in Yerevan in a tailspin won’t bother the Russians much either: a pro-democracy figure rising to power following a revolution in 2018, Mr Pashinyan never was very popular in Moscow.

This war has left the embers of democracy starved of oxygen. As Mr Pashinyan holds on by his fingernails, the optimism of the Velvet Revolution has all but evaporated. Meanwhile, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev rides a wave of euphoria having delivered a long-promised victory, discrediting anyone who had called for a negotiated settlement and marginalising democratic opposition. What’s more, this outcome has proved once again that strategic wins go to those countries willing to put boots on the ground. These days, fewer and fewer of those countries are Western democracies, as the world once again divides into spheres of interest. That lesson should provide comfort to authoritarians everywhere.

As displays of force affect geo-politics in many regions around the world, insurance companies will need to turn to insurance industry experts to stay on top of the latest developments that affect their industries. Learn more about how to adapt to these and other unstable markets with Axco.