Foreign Policy Blogs

Caucasus

Complications in Tbilisi’s Friendship with Kyiv: The Georgian Orthodox Church and Ukrainian Autocephaly

Complications in Tbilisi’s Friendship with Kyiv: The Georgian Orthodox Church and Ukrainian Autocephaly

  By Tamar Chapidze and Andreas Umland Over the last two decades, Georgia and Ukraine have become close geopolitical allies vis-à-vis both Russia and the West. In 1997, Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova created between themselves a multilateral consultative forum that, in 2001, was upgraded into the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, better known […]

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The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict 2.0.

The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict 2.0.

The fighting outbreak in Nagorno-Karabakh was the largest since the 1994 Bishkek Protocol ceasefire. However, the situation has now “normalized.”

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Nagorno-Karabakh: Expect Status Quo in 2013-14

Nagorno-Karabakh: Expect Status Quo in 2013-14

Two decades of international community administered talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijani territory, have failed to reach a resolution. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s petro-dollar aided exponential increase in defence expenditure amid pitched rabble-rousing and frequent sniper skirmishes in the region has led many to fear that the disputed landlocked mountainous […]

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Prisoner of the Mountains (1996)

Prisoner of the Mountains (1996)

The conflict between Russia and the territory of Chechnya is the backdrop for this film. In it two Russian soldiers are taken away to a Chechen village after their group is ambushed. The reason they are captured is so that a villager can use them as a trade for his son, who is being held […]

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Georgian Elections Again an International Affair

Georgian Elections Again an International Affair

Nestled among gorgeous mountains, blessed with exotic cuisine, and loved for its arts and outgoing people, Georgia has many suitors. Long courted by her northern Russian neighbor, she has in recent years been beset by foreign admirers, bearing gifts of “democracy” and “growth” that (they promise) will ensure she lives happily ever after. With parliamentary […]

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Peace Activist Threatened in Armenia, Azerbaijani Film Festival Cancelled

Peace Activist Threatened in Armenia, Azerbaijani Film Festival Cancelled

  When I first met Georgi Vanyan back in 2009, I couldn’t hide my excitement. For me that middle-aged man who smoked one cigarette after another and had sadness in his eyes, even when he smiled, was equal to a rockstar. I couldn’t believe I was talking to the person who organized Days of Azerbaijan as […]

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Baku Protests Foreign Policy’s Assertion of Airbase Access for Israel

Baku Protests Foreign Policy’s Assertion of Airbase Access for Israel

It’s just so hard to launch an international bash these days. Everyone’s a critic. Just ask Azerbaijan. Preparations for Eurovision, one of Europe’s biggest song contests to be held in May in Baku, are regularly sidetracked either by criticism of the country dismal human rights record, or allegations of the country’s silent involvement in Iran-Israeli […]

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UPDATE: Peaceful Activists Arrested, Amnesty International Reports Torture Fears

UPDATE: Peaceful Activists Arrested, Amnesty International Reports Torture Fears

The sanctioned peaceful protest that took place in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku on Saturday, March 17 resulted in arrest of three activists. Members of Bulistan band Jamal Ali, 24, and Natig Kamilov, 24, and another activist Etibar Salmanli, 25, were arrested after a fight that broke during Ali’s performance. The singer has used strong language in […]

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Azerbaijan: Blackmail Video Made Public, Possible Imminent Release of Political Prisoners

Azerbaijan: Blackmail Video Made Public, Possible Imminent Release of Political Prisoners

It was bound to happen, although I prayed that it wouldn’t. But at least one web site in Azerbaijan has now released the blackmail video involving well-known correspondent Khadija Ismayilova. In response, Khadija has issued a public statement, quoted in an RFE/RL article, saying that she will not be deterred: “If they meant to stop […]

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Azeri Journalist Alleges Blackmail Attempt

Azeri Journalist Alleges Blackmail Attempt

Azerbaijan’s best-known journalist (who also happens to be Azerbaijan’s best journalist, period) alleged yesterday that she is being victimized in a blackmail attempt. Khadija Ismayilova, who writes for a number of publications and hosts the popular “After Work” radio show for RFE/RL’s Baku bureau, made the allegations after receiving a letter containing photographs of a […]

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Sudden, Violent Demonstration Erupts in Northern Azerbaijan

Sudden, Violent Demonstration Erupts in Northern Azerbaijan

Thousands of protesters took to the streets early today in the northern Azeri city of Quba in what became a scene of violence as police fired tear gas and clubbed demonstrators. Radio Free Europe reports that four people were injured, according to authorities, and I have been told that a videographer from an opposition news agency […]

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South Ossetian Presidential Candidate Hospitalized After Police Raid, May Leave Politics

South Ossetian Presidential Candidate Hospitalized After Police Raid, May Leave Politics

After being hospitalized last Thursday under mysterious circumstances, the winner of November’s South Ossetian presidential election had, as of yesterday, told the press that she may leave politics and is reportedly considering asking for asylum in an unnamed country. Alla Dzhiolyeva, 62, was transferred on Monday from intensive care to a “regular ward” in a […]

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Car Bomb Defused in Tbilisi, Israeli Embassy Target

Car Bomb Defused in Tbilisi, Israeli Embassy Target

Georgian authorities report today that a bomb planted in the car of an employee of the Israeli embassy was defused by police. The employee was, according to Georgian TV news station Rustavi 2, a Georgian citizen by the name of Roman Khachaturian, a driver for the embassy and the luckiest man in Tbilisi. Khachaturian told […]

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Azerbaijan: Fallout from Tagi Murder, New Internet Protest Movement, and an American Ambassador Goes Home

Azerbaijan: Fallout from Tagi Murder, New Internet Protest Movement, and an American Ambassador Goes Home

There is no real progress to report on the investigation into the murder of Rafiq Tagi, although as I mentioned shortly after his death, a number of theories—some of them rational, others not—cropped up immediately on social networking sites and internet forums. My guess is that Tagi was killed by Islamists who were incensed by […]

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Jabbar Savalan released from prison!

Jabbar Savalan released from prison!

News out of Baku courtesy of Radio Free Europe and the viral Azerbaijan rumor mill is that Jabbar Savalan was released from prison today (26 December) in a general amnesty granted by President Aliyev. As noted earlier on this blog, clemencies for political prisoners are not uncommon, and usually take place to coincide with some […]

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