Ethnic Conflicts in the Caucasus

This section provides detailed analysis of modern ethnic cnflicts in the area, explanes their backgrounds and offers possible ways of their resolution.

Program Director: Dr. Andrew (Andreas) Andersen

Research Associates: Heathe Blair
                                    Erin Brocklebank-Johnson

Le produit de la zone du conflit


L’idée de la mise en place d’un livre similaire existait depuis longtemps dans les milieux scientifiques et politiques. Tout cela était conditionné par la montée de l’agression de la Russie envers la Géorgie après le démantèlement de l’URSS, la provocation des conflits intérieurs, la violation des Droits de l’Homme dans les deux régions annexées et l’échec de la médiation internationale pour régler les conflits. Le présent livre couvre le parcours des situations similaires connues dans les différents pays du monde entier. On analyse les processus et les faits importants pour la Géorgie, ainsi que les démarches faites par les organisations internationales pour régler les conflits et protéger les Droits de l’Homme.

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Conflicts, Forecasts, the International Judiciary and Economic Aspects


The idea of putting together a book similar to this monograph has long been around in the scholarly and political community of Georgia. In fact, this is due to several reasons, including Russia’s aggressive policies toward Georgia it pursued ever since dissolution of the Soviet Union, the instigated internal conflicts in the territory of Georgia,  violation of human rights in the two occupied - factually annexed - territories, and the lack of effective international involvement in regulating the mentioned conflicts. The present Monograph describes how  similar developments have evolved in other parts of the world over the recent decade. It analyses significant facts and processes bearing a relevance to Georgia and demonstrates what steps the relevant international organizations have taken so far to assist in resolving the conflicts and protecting human rights.

Read more: Conflicts, Forecasts, the International Judiciary and Economic Aspects

Money laundering and Money Corporate Relations in Abkhazia

During the last period, legalization of illegal incomes and criminal activities connectedwith it are under important transformation. The „centre“ of their realization has been movedto spheres and regions, where the situation created under the influence of variouscircumstances and factors makes it possible to realize the mentioned activities (financialoperations of questionable function) relatively without restriction and in other cases ratherfreely. This especially refers to the regions formed in the result of separative activities, armedconflicts, non- legitimate and illegal armed formations. Norms established under Georgianjudicial acts does not operate on this territory (among them are international norms directedagainst financing money laundering and terrorism facts). 



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Organized Crime and Smuggling Through Abkhazia and South Ossetia

Uncontrolled territories as crime zones 


The current situation demonstrates that the conflicts in Abkhazia and SouthOssetia are not simply in deadlock. They have gradually transformed into crimezones that nobody is able to fully control—not the Government of Georgia, theAbkhaz and South Ossetian governments, or the international community.On the one hand, Georgian authorities declare that they cannot establish BorderGuard and Customs Service checkpoints on the Inguri River and the Rokitunnel because secessionists would immediately interpret it as an attempt to establisha new border. The border remains open for smuggling into Georgia andfor the movement of criminal groups from one side of the conflict zone to another.On the other hand, de facto governments in Sukhumi and Tskhinvali are notable to control their territories and prevent activities of the different (Abkhaz andGeorgian) crime groups. Frequent assassinations and kidnappings have becomeusual practice in these regions. 


Read more: Organized Crime and Smuggling Through Abkhazia and South Ossetia

A Strategic Conflict Analysis of the South Caucasus with a Focus on Georgia



General Conflict Development Since Independence 

Since before independence, the South Caucasus region has been plagued by conflict and instability. The ethnopolitical conflicts in the region that raged in the early 1990s led to the death of over 50,000 people, great material destruction, and contributed significantly to the political instability, economic hardships, and the increase in transnational organized crime that has characterized the region in its first decade of independence. In short, ethnopolitical conflict was the root of the problem of state weakness that has continued to plague the South Caucasus; and the failure to resolve the conflicts has forced the region into a deadlock impeding the building not only of durable peace but also of accountable and functioning state institutions. 


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Russia versus Georgia: One Undeclared War In the Caucasus


On September 30, 1993 Georgian troops retreated across the Inguri river, leaving behind Abkhazia, one of the richest provinces of the former Soviet republic whose independence was regained in April, 1991 as a result of the collapse of the USSR. Simultaneously with the evacuation of Georgian troops, Abkhazia was abandoned by almost 80% of its civilian population (Georgians, Greeks, Armenians and others). This was one of the results of an “unknown war” of 1991-93, that added one more destabilizing element to the whole bunch of conflicts in the troubled Caucasus. Another result was the establishment of a self proclaimed “Republic of Abkhazia” – an isolated territory under loose control of a violent, non-democratic regime, officially recognized by no government in the world. 
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Politics of Oil in Trancaucasia


 The newly independent states of the Transcaucasia region have recently found themselves to be at the centre of a commercial triangle which involves the United States, Russia, and oil.  This region which encompasses Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia is important internationally because of its ‘virgin’ oil fields and its ‘vulnerable’ governments.  Following the collapse of the Soviet empire, these states gained a shaky independence from Russia.  As a result of proximity and history, the influence of the Russian Federation is prominent and on going in this area.  The United States has found itself trying to maintain a precarious balance between not stepping on the toes of the Russian government and supporting (fiercely at times) its commercial interests in the Caspian[i] region.  And not surprisingly, Transcaucasia has its own policies regarding the extraction and transportation of oil.  It looks to the US for economic and military support, yet is also engulfed in the contradictory foreign policies of the Russian Federation. 

This essay seeks to examine the nuances of this triangle, particularly with reference to the geopolitical obstacles to oil extraction and transportation and the shared responsibilities of the three governments and various investors involved.  I will argue that no matter how much money is pumped into and how much oil is pumped out of the region, the geopolitical problems in Transcaucasia will still exist and may even worsen.  Therefore, the political problems, which investors call ‘obstacles’, must be dealt with pre-investment.  It is not feasible to invest first, and look to the accumulation of wealth as a precursor to solving complex ethnic conflicts.   It is certainly not the intent of this essay to say that investment must be halted.  Instead, these countries must be given a chance, between now and the actual ratification of oil deals, to work with non-governmental institutions, other governments, and international organizations in an attempt to stabilize their governments and find suitable arrangements for long term solutions to the ethnic conflicts in the area.   

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Ethnic Conflict as a Tool of Outside Influence

Ethnic Conflict as a Tool of Outside Influence: An Examination of Abkhazia and Kosovo
In the 1990’s the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia led to a series of internal skirmishes within these former empires for territorial and political control. These political struggles often times resulted in ethnic conflict, and is some cases ethnic cleansing. Religious and cultural differences between Georgians and Abkhazians, and Kosovars and Serbians, namely Islam vs. Christianity, are often cited as the cause of ethnic conflict and cleansing, however, in actual fact it was a construction of the Serbian and Russian leadership. Samuel Huntington’s “Clash Of Civilizations” suggestion, that different cultures will inevitably come to blows, does not hold any explanatory weight in an analysis of these ethnic conflicts.

Read more: Ethnic Conflict as a Tool of Outside Influence


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