But let us review the events one at a time. In 2008 elections were held in three South Caucasus countries, Russia and the USA. On January 5 presidential elections were held in Georgia, and on November 4 in the USA. Rather many events occurred between these two dates, and some of them were fairly unpredictable. On February 17 the United States recognized the independence of Kosovo, which immediately produced a «domino effect» and caused obvious discontent in the self-proclaimed republics of the former USSR. In spite of all the claims of the United States that "Kosovo cannot be a precedent", it turned out that South Ossetia and Abkhazia had chances to gain independence too, but from another world power, Russia.
As for the regional events, probably the most important of them was not the meeting between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in St. Petersburg but Turkish President Abdullah Gul's visit to Yerevan on September 6. It is quite likely that the August crisis might have played a role in this visit, but the latter became a reality also due to the change of power in Armenia, as the former leadership in the person of President Robert Kocharyan and FM Vardan Oskanyan saw absolutely no chance of meeting on this level. By the way, backstage talks between the diplomats of the two countries have rather a long history. Gul's visit to Yerevan cannot be considered a burst in the Armenian-Turkish relations, but the first step seems to have been made. After the «football» diplomacy the meetings between Foreign Ministers of the two countries are perceived as a usual thing. However, the situation is not as simple as it may seem. As it has been repeatedly mentioned, Turkey is determined to gain a dominant position in the region, the proof of which is the "Caucasus Platform of Stability" suggested by Recep Tayyip Erdoрan. Naturally Iran has no place in this platform. Turkey, as well as the whole world perfectly realize that the Caucasus Platform is condemned to collapse without Iran, but the position of "outcast state" that Iran acquired at former US President George Bush's will, does not give promise that it has chances to integrate into the system of regional security. This, however, gives the Russian side an additional trump-card in next year talks with the new US President.
It would be no exaggeration to say that another major event of 2008 was the election of Afro-American Barack Obama to the post of US president. Against the background of the political and financial crisis caused by the untalented actions of President Bush and his Administration, Americans were ready to elect anyone who would be totally different from the «lame duck». By the way, skin colour had nothing to do in this case.
Shortly before the US Presidential Elections in Maindorf, Moscow the Presidents of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan signed a declaration on peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. A month later another declaration with identical contents was issued at the summit of the OSCE Foreign Ministers. Neither of the declarations though drew the regulation of the conflict nearer in the way it was expected by the «masters of fate» of Karabakh people. The latter do not truly understand why there should be solved what was already solved back in 1994. Thus, all the statements on "great opportunity", "bright spot", "burst of relations" are just diplomatic labels that are called to conceal the negligence and in most cases the unwillingness to read the labyrinths of the Caucasus policy.
And, finally, towards the end of the current year we all witnessed the unprecedented venture of Turkish intellectuals "Armenians, we apologize" which once again proved the reluctance of Turks to reconcile themselves to their own history, as well as showed the profound hatred that Turkish society feels for Armenians.