The good news for Alex Salmond is that he has won full-blooded diplomatic support for his independence referendum. The bad news is that it comes from a state that nobody recognises.

Nagorno-Karabakh - a self-proclaimed republic in what most maps still show as part of western Azerbaijan - has jumped to welcome Scotland’s plebiscite.

The tiny landlocked territory has been in constitutional limbo for two decades and has little prospect of ever having an independence vote respected by its theoretical masters in the Azerbaijani capital Baku.

So it has seized upon the very fact Scots are going to be ‘allowed’ to settle their own future - and the rest of the UK has agreed to abide by their decision.

“London’s position proves once again that respect for human rights and nations’ self-determination is the priority for democratic states,” said Nagorno-Karabakh’s foreign ministry in an official English-language communique. “We can only hope that the position of Great Britain and other democratic states will positively impact Azerbaijan in accepting these realities and respecting human rights.”

The Edinburgh Agreement - and I am really sorry for repeating this blog after blog - has sent a powerful message to parts of the world where borders are usually settling by shooting rather than voting. The deal, signed by Mr Salmond and Mr Cameron last month, has sent out a global ripple effect that has heartened separatists and unrecognised states like Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) and horrified their enemies.

Why? Because of perception of Britain - or, frankly, England - as a place of democratic pedigree. Independence movements around the world quickly seize on the legitimacy of a British vote to browbeat those who would rather they never got to cast a ballot. And nowhere is this more true than in troubled Nagorno-Karabakh.

The tiny republic of around 138,000 people - called Artsakh by its majority population of ethnic Armenians - has been locked in conflict with Azerbaijan since the dying years of the Soviet Union. Rarely covered international media, this now cold war - it was “frozen” by a ceasefire in 1994 - has claimed at least 20,000 lives and displaced a million people.

Nagorno-Karabakh’s capital, Stepanakert, remains in a state of siege, supplied from Armenia across land seized from Azerbaijan during the ‘hot’ period of the war as the old USSR broke up.

Most Scots, I am guessing, would struggle to point to the city on a map. But people in Stepanakert know plenty about Scotland, thanks to our referendum.

Journalist Gegam Baghdasarian, who heads the city’s press club, talks of “excitement” about the 2014 vote, which is given considerable coverage on the republic’s single TV channel.

“Whatever the result of the Scottish referendum, the very fact is taking place is a big plus for the Karabakh problem,” he said by phone from Stepanakert. “Naturally we’d be delighted if Alex Salmond wins. Scottish independence would have an enormous political impact. It would be an ace in the hands of both Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. ‘Learn from the Scots’, we would say to them, ‘Look how civilized people settle their differences’. It would be super.”

The ethnic Armenians of NK, of course, now have little contact with Azerbaijanis. There are only sporadic diplomatic contacts between Armenia itself, which bankrolls Nagorno-Karabakh, and Azerbaijan. Last week the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, the son of the country’s Soviet-era strongman Heydar Aliyev, tweeted abuse at his neighbours.

“Armenia is a country of no value,” he said on the microblogging site. “It is actually a colony, an outpost run from abroad ...”

So Aliyev and his government is highly unlikely to ever do a Cameron - and recognise a referendum held in Nagorno-Karabakh (not least after the republic’s Azerbaijani minority has fled). Mr Baghdasarian admitted Scotland is far from a perfect parallel for NK. But he cited nationalist movements across democratic Europe as giving hope.

He said: “We are delighted to see in recent years the climate has become more favourable for the rights of nations to self-determination. This general trend pleases us and naturally does not please Azerbaijan. The Scottish example doesn’t quite suit us – Kosovo is probably a better precedent for our situation.”

The former Serbian province, after all, made a unilateral declaration of independence like that of NK - but has won some international recognition, although not that of key players like Russia and Spain.

Mr Baghdasarian continued: “The difference is British authorities allowed the Scots to hold a referendum on independence that the Scottish nationalists had wanted. There is an agreement between the Scottish and the British authorities. This is unimaginable for us, in our context. Because Azerbaijan will never be civilised enough to allow itself such a civilised development of events. We have no illusions, absolutely no illusions, about Azerbaijan.”

This view is echoed in neighbouring Armenia proper by Karen Bekaryan. He visited Scotland earlier this year for his NGO, European Integration.

“The important thing is not whether Scotland gets its independence,” he said. “It is the process itself.”

Bekaryan reckons a plebiscite without force or the threat of force would act as a kind of “straitjacket” for Azerbaijan, which he describes as “continually using a threatening language”.

So does Nagorno-Karabakh’s biggest newspaper, Azat Artsakh. Last month it printed an editorial on Scottish independence. Its title? “Obvious and incredible things Azerbaijan does not want to notice”.

But there is another Scottish angle to Nagorno-Karabakh and the two other (mostly) unrecognised states in the Caucasus, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the Russian-backed breakaway regions of Georgia. That is that international mediators, including Americans, had quietly tried to use devolved Scotland as a peace model for the three territories.

Politicians from Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia met for peace talks in Scotland in 2003, in arguably this country’s first ever attempt at international diplomacy since the Treaty of Union. The theory was that Scottish-style “asymmetrical devolution” might have been a possible compromise. Let’s be honest: the SNP’s landslide in 2011 and the coming referendum has made it hard for diplomats to suggest a devolution model to solve such problems.

Fiona Hill from the Brookings Institute in Washington DC has long watched ethnic tensions in the Caucasus.

She explained: “At one point under the Bush administration a ‘Scottish solution’ to Nagorno-Karabakh was being touted about – although not in Alex Salmond’s earshot. What they meant by that was maximum autonomy for Nagorno-Karabakh but inside Azerbaijan with Scotland being set up as a standard.

“Scotland, like Nagorno-Karabakh, was seen as an ancient country of fiercely independent people with a long history of antagonism, but able to find a modern 21st century solution. That option has now disappeared for those who were advocating it for NK.”

Ms Hill, however, was careful not to overstate the prospects of devolution in the Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan (although diplomatic sources suggest it may have been a “goer” for Abkhazia). Matthew Bryza, a former US ambassador to Azerbaijan, was one of those who tried to pitch Scottish solutions in the region. Now he just wants to see the sides talk, without tying their hands on what they should talk about.

“The key to obtaining a breakthrough with regard to Nagorno-Karabakh is to maintain ‘creative ambiguity’ regarding the nature of NK’s final legal status,” he said in an email.

Gegam Baghdasarian never thought devolution - a model not too different from the autonomy of the Soviet years (although without the accompanying Stalinistic ‘divide-and-rule’ machinations) would work.

“That is dead,” he said. “It was a still birth. It simply couldn’t have happened.”

In fact, Mr Baghdasarian is pleased to see Mr Salmond move towards full independence instead of devolution.

“We are very grateful to the Scots that they have put a completely different question on the agenda - independence, not autonomy.”

Mr Baghdasarian has one view he admits isn’t shared by all his neighbours. He reckons the republic - still more or less reliant on Armenia and the wider Armenian diaspora - must get its own voice. It needs, he believes, to be a “political-military factor” in its own right, whether other countries like Scotland or Catalunya hold independence referendums or not.

“The international climate is very important,” he said. “But if you don’t have a sense of your own state in your own society, you can’t expect anybody to recognise your independence.”

This article is about the view from Nagorno-Karabakh. I hope to look at how Scotland’s independence referendum is viewed in other parts of the Caucasus region, including Azerbaijan, in the future. I would be delighted to hear your thoughts on this.