Region

South Caucasus

Stories under this heading cover the South Caucasus – a region encompassing Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, as well as the unrecognised entities of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh.

For those interested specifically in Armenian-Azerbaijani relations and events and developments in and around Nagorno-Karabakh following the 2020 44-day war, check out our sister page, KarabakhSpace.eu.

Editor's choice
Interview
Art-Gene Turns Nineteen: In Conversation with Tamar Melikishvili

Art-Gene Turns Nineteen: In Conversation with Tamar Melikishvili

July 2022 saw the 19th edition of what has become a staple event in the Georgian cultural calendar. Founded in 2003 by artists Tamar Melikishvili and Giorgi Baramidze, musicians Zaza Korinteli and Niaz Diasamidze, sculptor Nika Anjaparidze, and photographer Maria Lanevski, the Art-Gene music and crafts festival has played a huge role in reviving Georgia’s now thriving traditional cultural scene since its dog days of the early 2000s. Looking forward to Art-Gene’s 20th anniversary next year, commonspace.eu’s Deputy Editor Patrick Norén spoke to Tamar Melikishvili about Art-Gene’s origins, ethos, community, and future. Melikshvili told commonspace.eu that ‘if a country keeps and loves its own culture, it will become very open and interested in the culture of other countries. The world is nice because we are so different, but we also make one big picture, like a painter. When I am working on the canvas, all of these different moods and colours become one symphony, and that is what makes the picture interesting.’

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Editor's choice
Interview
Art-Gene Turns Nineteen: In Conversation with Tamar Melikishvili

Art-Gene Turns Nineteen: In Conversation with Tamar Melikishvili

July 2022 saw the 19th edition of what has become a staple event in the Georgian cultural calendar. Founded in 2003 by artists Tamar Melikishvili and Giorgi Baramidze, musicians Zaza Korinteli and Niaz Diasamidze, sculptor Nika Anjaparidze, and photographer Maria Lanevski, the Art-Gene music and crafts festival has played a huge role in reviving Georgia’s now thriving traditional cultural scene since its dog days of the early 2000s. Looking forward to Art-Gene’s 20th anniversary next year, commonspace.eu’s Deputy Editor Patrick Norén spoke to Tamar Melikishvili about Art-Gene’s origins, ethos, community, and future. Melikshvili told commonspace.eu that ‘if a country keeps and loves its own culture, it will become very open and interested in the culture of other countries. The world is nice because we are so different, but we also make one big picture, like a painter. When I am working on the canvas, all of these different moods and colours become one symphony, and that is what makes the picture interesting.’
Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: The moment of the Minsk Group has passed

Opinion: The moment of the Minsk Group has passed

Since 1992, the OSCE Minsk Group had the mandate to facilitate a resolution of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Their failure to do so and the fact that there is no agreement between the parties in the conflict on its future role in the changed situation after the 2020 war leaves this process without any legitimacy, argues Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed. "The calls of the French and American representatives to give a second chance to the Minsk Group are perceived in Baku as more of geopolitical nature rather than as an honest attempt to contribute to the peace efforts", he argues.
Editor's choice
News
War anniversary reminds the world that Russia has seriously violated Georgia's territorial integrity

War anniversary reminds the world that Russia has seriously violated Georgia's territorial integrity

Georgia on Sunday marked the 14th anniversary of the start of the 2008 Georgia-Russia War which lasted five days.  2,232 Georgians were killed or injured during the fighting, of whom 1,045 persons were military personnel. After the August war, Russia recognized the independence of two regions of Georgia - Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. Only a handful of other countries followed, and most nations continue to strongly support Georgia's territorial integrity. The European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and a number of other countries issued statements on the occasion of the anniversary, once more reiterating their support for Georgia's territorial integrity. In a statement, the Georgian Foreign Ministry called on the Russian Federation "to cease illegal and provocative steps against Georgia, to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, to fulfil the obligations under the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, to withdraw its forces from the territory of Georgia and to reverse the illegal decision on recognition of the so-called independence of the occupied regions."
Editor's choice
Commentary
Commentary: War or Peace in the South Caucasus?

Commentary: War or Peace in the South Caucasus?

In their report “The South Caucasus from war to peace: 30 measures between now and 2030”, published last April, Armenian and Azerbaijani experts made a stark statement: “All the ingredients for peace exist in the South Caucasus. All the ingredients for war exist too. What is in front of us is a choice.” Never have these words sounded so pertinent as in these last days when in Armenia and in Azerbaijan the sounds of war and the sounds of peace competed with each other, with little sign of compromise. Yet neither war, nor peace, is inevitable. It is a choice, and one that both sides can neither make lightly nor take for granted. This week has once more shown that Armenia and Azerbaijan, and Armenians and Azerbaijanis, face a choice between war and peace. The death and injury of yet more Armenians and Azerbaijanis should focus minds, and increase mutual determination to work for lasting peace and to avoid any steps that can bring another war nearer.
Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: This unique and historic chance for peace should not be squandered

Opinion: This unique and historic chance for peace should not be squandered

"The negotiations between Baku and Yerevan  appear to be moving on the right path", writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed for commonspace.eu. "We can now expect that the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet in the near future, as envisioned by the agreements at the Brussels summit on May 22, he writes. "For peace and security in the South Caucasus, it is vitally important that this positive atmosphere is preserved, the commitments undertaken in the trilateral statement are fulfilled, and that this unique historic chance for peace and reconciliation between Armenia and Azerbaijan is not taken for granted."
Editor's choice
News
EU and Azerbaijan seal strategic partnership agreement on energy security

EU and Azerbaijan seal strategic partnership agreement on energy security

After years of uncertainty in EU-Azerbaijan relations, co-operation between the two sides has finally been put on a strategic footing with the signing in Baku on Monday (19 July) of a new "Memorandum of Understanding on a Strategic Partnership in the Field of Energy". The signing of the MOU comes at a crucial time when Europe is frantically trying to replace gas and other energy supplies from Russia, in the aftermath of the latter's invasion of Ukraine. A report on the website of the European Commission said that the memorandum signed by the two Presidents today includes a commitment to double the capacity of the Southern Gas Corridor to deliver at least 20 billion cubic metres to the EU annually by 2027. This will contribute to the diversification objectives in the REPowerEU Plan and help Europe to end its dependency on Russian gas. Based on the strengthened energy cooperation, Azerbaijan is already now increasing deliveries of natural gas to the EU, from 8.1 billion cubic metres in 2021 to an expected 12 bcm in 2022. commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment that "EU-Azerbaijan relations need to continue to be build, based on mutual respect and recognising the importance of people to people contacts for the future of the relationship. The EU on its part, especially now that the stakes are higher, needs to put more efforts in supporting lasting peace in the region. The energy agenda has its specific importance and aspects, but it cannot be seen in isolation of wider issues."