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
Opinion
Opinion: Historic developments are taking place in Armenia-Azerbaijan relations, but the signing of a peace treaty will likely take a longer time

Opinion: Historic developments are taking place in Armenia-Azerbaijan relations, but the signing of a peace treaty will likely take a longer time

On May 22, the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Brussels with the mediation of European Council President Charles Michel to discuss the peace process. It is worth noting that since the beginning of this year, the representatives of the two South Caucasian republics have met exclusively via the mediation of the EU, while the only Russia-mediated meeting – that of the foreign ministers held on May 12 –  took place on the sidelines of another major event and brought about no novelty in the negotiations. The Brussels summit, however, delivered some very important outcomes which, if implemented, will constitute a critical breakthrough in the peace process. The quick implementation of some of the issues agreed by president Aliyev and prime minister Pashinyan at their meeting in Brussels, can be described as truly historic, writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed. "But the signing of a peace treaty will likely take a longer time, and necessitate an agreement not only between Baku and Yerevan, but also between Moscow and Brussels", he adds.
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News
South Ossetia gets a young leader, but his message is old and rusty

South Ossetia gets a young leader, but his message is old and rusty

It was a piece of surreal political theatre of the sort that have become increasingly popular with the choreographers of the Kremlin. On Tuesday (24 May ) the liliputian self-declared Republic of South Ossetia, a de facto Russian protectorate, got a new president. Alan Gagloev was sworn-in at the theatre on Tskhinvali's main square. The choreography was perfect: a military guard of honour, a swearing in ceremony, and delegations of "foreign countries", except they represented other self declared entities such as Abkhazia, Lugansk, Donetsk, Nagorno-Karabakh etc. Most of the world still recognise South Ossetia as part of Georgia. Gagloev came to power unexpectedly, having defeated the incumbent Anatoly Bibilov in elections on May 17. The number of people who voted for him was 16,134 (representing 56.09% of the electorate). Bibilov left his successor a time bomb, due to go off on 17 July, in the form of a referendum calling for South Ossetia's unification with Russia. The Kremlin does not seem to be impressed. Gagloev made no reference to the referendum in his inauguration speech today, but he did heap praise on Russia and promised eternal friendship.

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Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: Armenia's options in the face of coercive Azerbaijani tactics are limited

Opinion: Armenia's options in the face of coercive Azerbaijani tactics are limited

The developments of the last year proved that assessments according to which by taking some 8500 square km of territories in the 2020 Karabakh war, Azerbaijan will be satisfied and an era of peaceful development will be launched for Armenians, were highly exaggerated, and had little semblance to reality, argues Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed.
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Editorial
Editorial Comment: Towards a crucial Eastern Partnership Summit

Editorial Comment: Towards a crucial Eastern Partnership Summit

The foreign ministers of the EU27 and the Eastern Partnership countries met in Brussels this week to take stock of the progress to date and actively prepare for the upcoming Summit. Various sources told commonspace.eu that it was a positive meeting.
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News
Tension and violence return to Armenia-Azerbaijan border (Updated)

Tension and violence return to Armenia-Azerbaijan border (Updated)

The European Union was among a number of international organisations and governments calling for an end to fighting and resumption of negotiations. "The EU urges Armenia and Azerbaijan to exercise utmost restraint, disengage their military forces on the ground and respect the commitments undertaken in the framework of the two trilateral agreements", a statement issued in Brussels said on Wednesday.
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News
Opinion: Burns visit to Russia indicates the willingness of Washington and Moscow to continue dialogue

Opinion: Burns visit to Russia indicates the willingness of Washington and Moscow to continue dialogue

The recent visit of the head of the CIA to Moscow had two objectives: first to renew the contacts between the CIA and the FIS on operational issues related to countering international terrorism; the second to pave the way for further high level contacts including possible meetings between Biden and Putin. Professor Lieutenant General (ret.) Hayk Kotanjian in this op-ed says the importance of the visit should not be underestimated.
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News
The EU remains committed to promoting a peaceful and prosperous South Caucasus

The EU remains committed to promoting a peaceful and prosperous South Caucasus

The European Union has issued a statement on the occasion of the first anniversary of the end of the 44 day Karabakh War. In the statement by the Spokesperson, the EU called for the strict respect for the ceasefire, the immediate release of all remaining prisoners, full cooperation on demining, and the de-escalation of tensions in border areas.
Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: In the South Caucasus, one year after a costly war, a glimmer of hope for peace

Opinion: In the South Caucasus, one year after a costly war, a glimmer of hope for peace

In a joint op-ed, Dr Benyamin Poghosyan and Dr Anar Valiyev discuss how Armenia and Azerbaijan have coped with the changed realities of the last year following the end of the 44-day Karabakh War and the signing of the Armenia-Azerbaijan-Russia trilateral declaration of 10 November 2021. They say the "war has redefined the South Caucasus, and it continues to do so. The heavy price paid by those who died should not be in vain. The opportunity for peace is now within the grasp of the people of the region. It will not be easy to achieve peace, nor is the risk of a spiral back to violence to be completely excluded. Which is why it is now time for cool heads, sober assessments, and careful but courageous steps, by the leaders, as well as by wider society.”
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Opinion
Opinion: On perception and interpretation, and the prospect of the Kaliningradisation of Armenia

Opinion: On perception and interpretation, and the prospect of the Kaliningradisation of Armenia

"When playing on Armenian vulnerabilities, both Azerbaijan and Turkey should take into account that each step aimed at increasing fears in Armenia leads to a new level of dependence on Russia", writes Alexander Petrosyan in this op-ed. "In the end, everything is a matter of interpretation and perception", he argues.
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Opinion
Opinion: One year after the  end of the 44 day Karabakh War there is hope for a more peaceful year ahead

Opinion: One year after the end of the 44 day Karabakh War there is hope for a more peaceful year ahead

A year has passed since the end of the 44 day Karabakh War. Relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan are generally stable despite periodic escalations, writes Vasif Husseynov. "The statements of the leaders from both sides along with some major developments promise a more peaceful year ahead", he argues.