In the light of the Karabakh problem, the author came to the conclusion that in the twelve years that have passed since the signing of the ceasefire agreement in 1994, the solution of this vitally important issue for both Armenia and Russia has not advanced one iota. Yet seventy years ago, Mandelstam wrote that «the emerging new international law does not in any way tend to recognize the right of every nationality to self-determination.»
With reference to the American President Wilson, who on May 27, 1916 put forward the principle of self-determination of nations in its absolute form, but soon abandoned it and recognized for all nationalities only the right to a certain minimum of cultural and social independence, Mandelstam wrote: “The resolution of conflicts between states and nations included in their composition, will not be produced according to the monotonous recipe for the self-determination of peoples. Sometimes the decision will have to be made in favor of states, sometimes in favor of nationalities, depending on what the highest interests of human society require in each given case. In the case of Karabakh, the author will specify, what will be required by the highest interests of the oil magnates.
Mandelstam’s “Introduction” spoke of a commission of lawyers created under the auspices of the League of Nations, which in its report noted: “The separation of the minority from the state of which it is a part, and its accession to another state, cannot be considered otherwise than as an extreme and completely exceptional means. applicable when that State is unwilling or unable to provide fair and effective guarantees.”