War and Peace in the Caucasus


Armenia’s Changing Culture of Protest

The armed seizure of a police station in Yerevan conceals wider problems in Armenia. The country is used to public protests, and the Armenian authorities are used to overcoming them. But a younger generation is both more radical and more hostile to Russia than its predecessors.

Referendum Fails to Unite Divided Abkhazia

The main debate in Abkhazia today isn’t about whether partnering with Russia is good or bad; it’s about the quality of independence (albeit, only partially recognized). Abkhazia has escaped Georgia’s political sphere of influence, but it hasn’t resolved the stalemate between the quest for statehood and factual dependence on Russia in the financial, defense, and security sectors.

The South Ossetia Referendum: No Rush for the Russians

A referendum on South Ossetia’s incorporation into the Russian Federation has been postponed until after the presidential election in the region due in early 2017. This means that there is still a large question mark over the optimum relationship between Russia and South Ossetia.

Unfreezing the Status Quo in the Caucasus

The warring parties in the Karabakh conflict, especially the Azerbaijani side, have decided to shake the status quo in the Caucasus. Violence could recur at any time and the latest fighting clearly demonstrates that the combined goodwill and cooperation of Moscow and Washington is no longer sufficient.

Dangerous Days in Karabakh

The twenty-one-year ceasefire in and around Nagorny Karabakh had been looking very precarious. A tragic outbreak of fighting there could be dangerous for the whole region.

Will Kadyrov Actually Step Down?

Putin has little choice but to ask Ramzan Kadyrov to remain as head of the Chechen Republic. But doing so will reveal how indispensable Kadyrov is to the Kremlin and betray Putin’s weaknesses in Chechnya.

Gazprom Sets Its Sights on Georgia

With parliamentary elections slated for the fall, Georgia’s ruling party is hoping that low energy prices will ensure victory at the polls. Once relatively independent of Gazprom, the government in Tbilisi is weighing importing natural gas from the Russian energy giant

Kadyrov’s Calculated Provocation

Pro-Moscow Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has begun 2016 by picking fights with Russia’s opposition. Although they see it as a sign of his political strength, the new row reveals his weakness: Kadyrov is anxious to get renewed political and economic support from the Kremlin for Chechnya’s “special status.”

Islamic State Menaces Dagestan

The Russian authorities have been reluctant to admit that an attack in southern Dagestan on the eve of New Year was the work of Islamic State. The organization is making a bid to play a role in the North Caucasus.

Azerbaijan in an Era of Cheap Oil

The double blow of falling oil prices and a decrease in remittances from Russia is making Azerbaijan economically fragile. Azerbaijan’s leaders have not prepared the country for future shocks.
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