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Its analyse is however limited to the example of Georgia during the years of to Two reasons determine this choice. First, the practical aspect that makes a detailed synthesis and thorough comparison across the former Soviet territory a daunting task. A detailed study of all post-soviet conflicts would be necessary, but also their antitheses such as the peaceful transition in the Baltics or the settlement of Tatar sovereignty aspirations would have to be looked at.

Appropriately, the second reason to limit the study to Georgia is the fact that it witnessed not only the emergence of wars — over Abkhazia and South Ossetia — but also that with Ajaria and the important Armenian and Azerbaijani minorities on its territory, it had concrete examples of potential conflicts that did actually not occur [1]. This essay argues for an area study based approach to the explanations of war and peace in Georgia.

It recognises that each conflict or non-conflict took place in its own particular context. Theoretical frameworks are however used complimentary in order to point at eventual factors for conflicts. The text is structured in five parts. First, a section discusses the theoretical and methodological challenges faced when analysing the nature of conflicts in the post-soviet space.

Further it defines informal categories of analysis that are used in the following four topical sections about two wars and two non-conflicts. The real difficulty in studying conflicts is to schematise, abstract and isolate factors that are relevant for a sufficient explanation of the conflict. Whether for example economic grievance or religious fundamentalism is viewed as explanation, it automatically constrains the narrative and ignores other factors.

Different approaches to the selection of factors exist.

Area study specialists and especially anthropologists undertake a bottom-up, context specific investigation. Such a paradigm is criticised for its lack of generalizable findings, making larger comparisons relatively hard [2]. Another academic approach is based on large n- studies in order to isolate key factors driving conflicts. It is based on the analysis of more than 30 civil wars through 23 case studies.

Six factors that do not necessarily lead to a war but augment the statistical risks of them are tested in the Caucasian context [3]. Sometimes additional ones appear, or despite the presence of a high risk factor wars do not erupt. It seems that defining an exhaustive set of factors explaining ethnic conflicts while remaining useful for comparisons is always linked with sacrifices because of the necessary abstraction.

This essay uses a set of factors that have frequently reappeared in discussions during the seminar. They are: the role and legacies of Soviet ethno-federalism relevant in creating a national identity, defining territories and demographics, creating a new elite and providing a set of new institutions; economic factors; tradition of governance [4] ; the role of religion; external factors including the collapse of central Soviet-state power and other international influences; the role of politicians and their strategy.

Ethno-federal structures established by the Bolsheviks were to play a major role in the emergence of conflicts during the unravelling of the socialist empire seven decades later. However the situation in South-Ossetia would be different than in the other separatist region of Abkhazia, and not only because of another status.

Not only the smaller autonomy was responsible for the fact that South-Ossetians during the Soviet period were relatively well integrated in Georgia. Although the language barrier towards Georgian was proudly maintained by South-Ossetians, it was pragmatically overcome by the Russian lingua franca. A majority of them lived actually outside their own autonomous region. But the shadow of arbitrary ethno-federalism became visible in face of emerging Georgian ethno-nationalism during the s.

The Bolsheviks had cut-off the South-Ossetian from their kin on the northern slopes of the Caucasus. While this fact did not have a far-reaching impact during the existence of the USSR, it became clear, as the signs of Georgian sovereignty became stronger, that an international boarder would divide the Ossetians.

The external reality of Soviet state collapse closed the option of accessing a higher status inside the USSR in order to react against Georgian ethno-nationalism. A crucial factor in explaining the South-Ossetian conflict is certainly the role of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, the leading opposition figure during the s and first President of Georgia from April to January , before being deposed in a coup and finally succeeded by Eduard Shevardnadze.

In his attempts to discredit the old communist power and to demonstrate a strong opposition against Moscow, a set of nationalist and centralist policies were initiated that triggered defensive reactions from South-Ossetians who felt threatened in their cultural and political autonomy. This move was followed by a Georgian nationalist reaction, which excluded regionally anchored political parties to enlist for the first democratic elections in From a South-Ossetian perspective therefore, democratic elections did not help to legitimise the new system but increased the political fragmentation.

But in order to understand the emergence of an ethnic and not simply political conflict, other factors have to be considered as well. As mentioned above the relation between Georgians and Ossetians during Soviet times could be qualified as good. Political dissent did not automatically translate into opposition among the common people [5]. Furthermore, religion was not playing a divisional role between people since most Ossetians where in practice pagan King, As Kaufman has demonstrated, the transmission from political opposition into open hatred among people needs a further instrumentalisation of symbols and practical actions.

In a rational-choice argumentation, the landlocked South-Ossetians had no economical benefits from a separation from Georgia whereas for the militias that largely escaped state control, gains through looting could be achieved and disguised by nationalistic rhetoric. At the beginning of the Bolshevik area, the personal influence of high-ranked party leader Nestor Lakoba, a native Abkhaz, resulted in beneficial treatments and a generous autonomy.

With the rise of Stalin and later its countryman Beria, and the elimination of Lakoba, a Mingrelian Abkhaz, policies changed. Forced Georgianisation of the population occurred together with resettling important numbers of Mingrelian Georgians into Abkhazia. This Georgian oppression combined together with the numerous but unsuccessful attempts of Abkhazian dignitaries following de-Stalinisation to persuade Moscow of including Abkhazia in the RSFSR [6] , formed the basis of a grievance script used to justify the independence from Georgia [7].

They argument that the unsuccessful attempts of Abkhazians to be integrated into the RSFSR, were partially compensated by an over-proportional number of posts in the bureaucracy. While not being in charge of key offices such as the KGB, which remained in Georgian hands, they had an important control of the local economy [8].

In addition to sorrows of cultural and political independence, a rational-choice argument appears. Integration into the Georgian state defined by democratic majority power, would be unfavourable for the Abkhaz population, which had institutional advantages under the old-regime. If market reforms such as privatisation were to happen after a democratic majority vote, the Abkhaz stood no chance against the Mingrelians and other Georgians Derluguian, Similar to South-Ossetia, religion did not play a serious role in mobilising national aspirations.

Likewise the widespread Georgian rhetoric arguing that Russian influence played a decisive role in the conflict needs to be balanced. Another important external player, but who also did not trigger the conflict, was the Mountain Confederation. It was a rally of North-Caucasian volunteers that fought alongside Abkhaz units and whose motives where divers, from Circassian kinship relations to war-hungry adventurers such as the later Chechen leader Shamil Basayev.


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However unlike the two previous regions, Ajaria did not descend into an inner-ethnic conflict fought over territorial and cultural sovereignty. While for Abkhazia and South-Ossetia the Soviet ethno-federal structure seemed to have played an important, if not decisive role in enabling the conflict, its function in Ajaria was important as well, but in an opposite way. Ajars are ethnically and linguistically related to Georgians, however they are Muslims. Their ASSR was the only example in the USSR, where a minority group has been delimitated and accorded an autonomous regional status because of a religious difference.

Under Soviet rule, despite their autonomous status, their assimilation into Georgian culture became much higher than the Abkhaz or Ossets, mainly because of the language and the disappearing role of religion. Religion being not at least officially recognised in communist ideology, the Ajars were considered as ethnic Georgians in official statistics. Derluguian supports this argument but refines it by arguing that the definition of identity in Ajaria was solely cultural, in opposition to an ethnic nationalism present in the two other autonomous regions.

Consequently the role of the ethno-federal structure was neither enhancing nationalism nor favouring cultural assimilation, which happened despite of it rather than as its consequence. The role of ethno-federalism was important in favouring and consolidating the local elite and power structure. Even in when Aslan Abashidze became the new regional leader, the local communist nomenklatura remained in power. The informal ties elaborated during Soviet times preserved the same governance, strongly based on a personalised client-relationship system.

The continuation of a solid power structure made transition less bloody. Ajaria was transformed in a free-trade zone through which an important amount of illicit but very lucrative regional trade was done. This economical independence, which was also made possible by the access to the sea, lead de-facto to a political independence of Ajaria until , when Abashidze lost his power-play against Michail Saakaschwili. But even for Gamsakhurdia as well as Shevardnadze, it became rapidly clear that a peaceful status quo was better than a third open conflict risking a completely dismemberment of the state.

The issue of the Armenian and Azerbaijani minorities in Georgia is by far the least researched issue of non-conflicts during the collapse of the USSR. The only Western scholar known to the author who has published on this issue is Svante Cornell [10]. This gap can be seen a testimonial of the lack of primary field research undertaken in the region in opposition to the nearly exponentially growing secondary especially theoretical literature.

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In the last Soviet census of , Armenians accounted for 8. The large majority of the Armenian population lived on the border region with Armenia in the administrative region of Samtskhe-Javakheti. At a first look this could have lead to separatist movements advocating for integration into Armenia. Furthermore, conflicts over borders had a historical precedence during the time of the short-lived independent republics following the fall of the Czarist Empire. The first relates to the international legal view, seeking to protect human rights through the sanctioning of governmental actions, namely through the resource to international tribunals e.

The second focuses on humanitarian assistance in conflict scenarios, in order to assure basic human rights, including of refugees and non-combatants. The third approach focuses on sustainable development and on the assurance of socio-economic and third generation rights, by promoting policies of poverty alleviation, redistribution of wealth, and participatory governance Fierke, In this article, we would like to argue that the major obstacle to this revolution in thinking of regional security has been posed by local elites in power, which regard the state as their protector and guarantor.

Thus, sticking to a realist view, which places national security as the only relevant referent object, is in fact a way of assuring the security of their minority. The diversion of resources for military equipment, rather than social and economic development or the maintenance of protracted conflicts are two examples of how elites present themselves as advancing national security interests, when in fact this results in forms of social oppression. The international security discourse uncritically centred on the dangers of armed violence but failing to assess its origins and to prevent new forms of war and armed conflict and on the promotion of fear namely of terrorism and radical Islamism are two factors actively contributing to these dynamics locally.

In such a context, a contestation of these views needs to be developed both locally and globally, in order to have an impact on policy decision-making. Authors like Buzan have argued that, by bypassing the state, human security lacks a clear agent capable of providing security. In order for human security to be a critical concept, with emancipator potential, it needs to be guided by a desire to unveil the structural conditions for violence and insecurity, including the power relations sustaining human insecurity.

Following the empirical and practical commitment of critical security studies referred to above, a focus on the realities of human communities as a methodology to limit and expand human security as an analytical concept would be more useful, than engaging in endless debates over the difficulties and advantages of an expansive and elusive concept. In the process, we have identified some of the main obstacles to an emancipator approach to security in the region, including the perceptions of local elites of the benefits of placing the security of the state at the heart of governmental policies, and the coalescence of strong state institutions and lack of civic and social-economic opportunities, in the framework of post-communist transition.

These views have been reinforced by mainstream analysis of regional security, much informed by great power rivalry, the privileging of armed violence or potential risks of it , border controls, surveillance against potential domestic threats, etc. As our argument goes, most of these concerns are relevant for the region, but it is their absolute prioritisation, removing human needs and everyday threats to individuals and their communities from the debate, which remains a problem, in our view.

It is our understanding that not only a more balanced use of the limited resources of the region could be achieved, but the conditions for long-term development and stability could be developed. These processes would certainly contribute to improving state security — a central concern of orthodox views — but it would do so as a by-product of a balanced relationship between individuals and state structures, at the domestic, regional and global level.

The following paragraphs provide illustrations of this view. Four countries have experienced violent conflicts in the period of transition from the Soviet Union, which remain unresolved Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. This is of particular concern regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, since no monitoring forces have been set on the ground and both Armenia and Azerbaijan continue to support a policy of remilitarisation, nationalistic rhetoric, and the positioning of snipers along the contact line, making this a highly unstable conflict.

Political elites from all the sides, including the mediators from the Minsk Group France, Russia, and the US rhetorically support a peaceful solution to the conflict and acknowledge the heavy price which the region is paying for the permanence of closed borders and lack of diplomatic relations.

Regardless of these costs, no significant incentives have been presented to nudge the parts into a peace settlement. As post-Soviet Eurasia is increasingly positioned as a strategic transport and energy corridor, there are many missed opportunities for all sides involved. There are however benefits for the elites in the continuation of the status quo and thus no long-term solution has been presented and carried through. Mimicry of mediation and diplomatic engagement has been the norm rather than the exception.

In many interviews in Armenia, the idea that the war on Karabakh had been won and therefore that this status quo needed to be translated into a political agreement was widespread. Such process, not only hampers the pursuit of a peace agreement with Azerbaijan; it also creates the seeds for future violence, as new generations are educated into mutually exclusive understandings of peace and security. This link between national identity and conflict is not exclusive to Armenia, naturally, and poses serious challenges in Georgia and Azerbaijan alike.

Issues like the proliferation of light weapons in Georgia has been one area where human security has been addressed Wood, On another perspective, dislocated populations are among the most vulnerable groups, since they linger in a legal vacuum regarding their citizenship rights and experience harsh social and economic conditions. The status of these populations also represents a challenge to state security, because they are disenfranchised groups, without the capability to contest their rights through existing channels of participation.

Access to education, jobs, social services, etc. A commitment to emancipation and the reduction of the sources of human insecurity in the region need to place state resources at the service of human communities. High levels of poverty still subsist in most of these societies, both as a result of the devastation of war, of mismanagement and corruption, and of the unsuitable economic policies which were implemented after Communism.

Poverty is thus a recurrent pattern in these societies, and affects specific segments of the population more than others, including elders and children, IDPs, people with disabilities and rural populations, specially mountainous people UNDP, ; Cornia, Poverty is no longer a transient but a permanent condition for many of these populations, carrying important consequences for their well-being, their social, economic and political participation.

Empowering these populations by providing them with the means to express the sources of their insecurity is a fundamental step in changing the view point of regional security. It is also necessary to enquire about the reasons of this condition, the structures reproducing their poverty and marginalisation and address these processes. These popular revolutions, either successful or not in removing the governments from power, illustrate that there is genuine discontent with political elites and perceived levels of corruption and mismanagement, which have been used as a social basis for mobilisation.

The political responses to these claims however, illustrate the limitations of the existing structures in accommodating more equalitarian systems of wealth redistribution. Both at the academic and policy-making level, this trend has led to limited and a-critical views of regional insecurity and negligence with the origins of this condition or with its prevention.


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Great power competition and national interests have been stated as insurmountable obstacles to sustainable peace, undermining local agency and obscuring other forms of insecurity which ravish the region. Due to the presence of protracted conflicts and high levels of militarisation, shifting the focus to human security has been a herculean task.

The moral commitment to action, the need for historical perspective on the origins and self-reproducing forms of violence and insecurity, the enlargement of the concept of security, bypassing the state in its dominance as the sole referent object, and a commitment to the insecurity of the marginalised populations; all these elements offer an important guide to reinforce the state-building processes ongoing in the post-Soviet context, in a way that does not reproduce old patterns of inequality. Whether we see the state as a useful intermediary or not is open for debate, but by posing the question, these approaches allow the possibility of reconceptualising the state and its role as a human security provider.

By securitising some of these threats such as poverty and inequality we run the risk of presenting these processes as threats to the state itself. It is thus necessary that such securitisation, i. It is the security of the individuals afflicted by these conditions, and not the perceived security of a minority controlling the resources, which needs to be the optimal result of these measures.

This will certainly further expose the lack of usefulness in high militarisation efforts including of the police , repressive policies, and segregation. An integrated view — a cosmopolitan perspective — of human security is certainly a much needed approach to post-Soviet Eurasia and elsewhere. Booth, Ken , Theory of World Security. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Brudny, Yitzhak M.

London: Routledge, London: Harvest Wheatsheaf. Cambridge: Polity. Coppieters, Bruno ed. Brussels: Vrije Universitet Press. Gent: Academia Press. Cordesman, Anthony H. February 6 th. Consultado a Cornell, Svante E. PhD Thesis. DeBardeleben, Joan ed. Dunne, Tim; Wheeler, Nicholas J.

Gordon, Colin ed. New York: Pantheon Books. Graham, Norman A. The Political Economy of Transition in Eurasia. Democratization and Economic Liberalization in a Global Economy. New York: Continuum. Cambridge: Polity Press [3 rd edition]. Kanet, Roger ed. Aldershot: Ashgate. Berlin: Springer.

Lykes, M. Christie; Richard V. Wagner; Deborah DuNann Winter eds. Washington D. Nolan, Janne ed. Cooperation and Security in the 21st Century.

Transforming Post-Soviet Tajikistan: An Interview with Hélène Thibault

Washington, D. New York: Palgrave. Stealth Intervention , London: Routldege. Tadjbakhsh, Shahrbanou; Chenoy, Anuradha M. Concepts and Implications. London: Routledge. Triantaphyllou, Dimitrios ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Welt, Cory D. Williams, Colin C. Wood, David , Taking stock. Small Arms and Human Security in Georgia. Ziegler, Charles E. Ukraine is now experiencing a violent conflict in its eastern regions, with clear Russian interference as well as secessionist and annexation conflict in Crimea. She is also researcher at the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra, where she is involved in several research projects on the post-Soviet space.

Resumo Since the s, in security in post-Soviet Eurasia has been conceptualized by International Relations scholars as being mainly connected to the permanence of regional violent conflicts and the challenges of fragile sovereignty. Mapa Introduction.

Perspectives on ethnic Accord in Post-Soviet Space | Cultural Survival

Texto integral PDF k Assinalar este documento. Introduction 1 Security in post-Soviet Eurasia has been mainly addressed from the viewpoint of the challenges to sovereignty and territorial integrity of the new independent states of Eurasia, namely those posed by armed conflict. Evolving Approaches to Security: Academic Debates and Realities in Post-Soviet Eurasia 6 The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union provided the international political context needed for the development of new insights on security, beyond the narrow understanding of national security and military threats.

Graham, 18 These processes have posed enormous challenges to these societies and represent one of the most severe forms of insecurity for the poor, marginalising large segments of the societies from the economic and political life of the country. The Human Rights-Security Nexus: Human Security Debates 27 Human rights and security have been two areas uneasily brought together under the concept of human security.

A Research Agenda for Peace and Security in Eurasia 35 Over the last sections we have argued in favour of more critically informed approaches to security, underlining that such approaches would be better positioned to make relevant contributions to security in post-Soviet Eurasia. Notas 1 Tajikistan experienced a civil war, which ended in with a peace agreement that included opposing forces in a common government. Siga-nos Actualidades.