Russia has its strategic interests in South Caucasus and tries to have a dominant position in the region. Its neighborhood policy comprised both hard and soft power tools that aim to increase influence over the countries of South Caucasus. However, Russia has had different results and has faced important obstacles while implementing its policies in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Peace in the South Caucasus is highly valued. However, a long history of violent conflicts and deeply rooted territorial claims make this coveted peace hard to achieve. Conflict in Nagorny Karabakh does not promise a speedy resolution and does not appear to show any sign of transformation in political discussions taking place within the nations engaged in it.
From the outset, Germany’s chairmanship of the OSCE, in 2016, promised to be fraught with sizable challenges. One of these challenges came from the recent developments in the South Caucasus, which demonstrated with renewed force that national boundaries in the post-Soviet space, and thus the security situation, are still far from stable.
(ongoing project) The project Stories from the South Caucasus is implemented in cooperation with netgazeti.ge and its main goal is to produce news and articles regarding to the latest developments of the South Caucasus and accordingly, raise awareness and the level of interest of Georgian population on neighboring countries, as well as conflict regions of Georgia.
(closed project) The project CAUCADOC was implemented in cooperation with Czech organization People in Need. It was part of a wider program funded by EC to support documentary filmmaking and running in the whole South Caucasus in 2012-14. HBF SC cooperated with project during 2013 by co-funding part of the festival.
(closed project) The project "Voices of South Caucasus" was implemented in cooperation with Liberali magazine. Articles by journalists from Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia were published in the print and online publication of the magazine.
Media plays an enormous role in conflict transformation process and social media tools have proved to be rather efficient in cases when exchange of information and mutual awareness is extremely limited in societies across conflict lines. New media tools not only serve as fast and least costly means of sharing information but also act as online platforms for dialogue, cooperation and networking between civil societies across conflict divides
On October 10th a group of Georgian and international policy shapers and researchers went to a Field-trip to investigate best practices of regional cooperation between Georgia and Abkhazia. As an impressive example for regional cooperation the group visited the Enguri Dam near the Administrative Border Line.
The South Caucasus Regional Office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation and Europe House Georgia organized the photo exhibition entitled: “Nachklang – Georgia one year after the war” by the photographer Uwe Schober.
(closed project) The HBF is conducting a new series of debates, dealing with the problems of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Georgia. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), due to the conflicts in the 1990s and the August war 2008, more than 247,000 people have fled from their hometowns and are now living in settlements or former sanatoriums and hospitals especially in the border regions to the occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The Georgian-Russian War in August 2008 raised questions towards the strategic configuration of Europe, which are unanswered until today. In Georgia, the HBF is a leading actor running public debates on the August War and its implications for International Politics. The profound discussions which are organized by the Foundation in Tbilisi are an important contribution to democratic development in Georgia.
The South Caucasus Documentary Film Festival of Peace and Human Rights – “Nationality: Human” is a unique traveling film festival that connects the South Caucasus by screening documentary films concerning reconciliation, conflict resolution, and human rights issues, and later encourages audience discussion on the issues the films expose. The festival annually screens between 10 and 12 award winning documentary films. Over the past two years, the festival has traveled to a total of 51 towns and villages.
On June 17-20, 2008 South Caucasus Regional Office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation together with University of California, Irvine and Conciliation Resources, London, organized a conference “Conflict and Migration: The Georgian-Abkhazian Case in a European Context.”
On June 12-15, 2007 South Caucasus Regional Office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation together with University of California, Irvine, organized a conference "Georgian NATO Accession and Potential Impacts on the Georgian-Abkhaz Peace Process".
On June 24-27, 2006 South Caucasus Regional Office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation together with University of California, Irvine, organized a conference “Prospects for Georgia and Abkhazia in the context of Black Sea Integration”.
In the fourth year of the programme, aiming to strengthen ties between journalists from Turkey and Armenia and to establish direct means of exchanging news sources, journalists, columnists, and bloggers from Armenia visited Turkey and learned in-depth about various issues on Turkey’s agenda.
After signs of a breakthrough in 2008 diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia are in a bottleneck again. At the same time there is increasing interest in both societies in overcoming legacies of the past, exchanging experiences with neighbors and aiming towards an open border. Since its inauguration in October 2010, the Ani Dialogue — organized by the HBF South Caucasus, the HBF Turkey and the Caucasus Institute in Armenia — is dedicated to bottom-up reconciliation and normalization of mutual ties between Turkey and Armenia.
The first meeting of the Ani Dialogue has ended with great achievements in building relations and preparing the ground for future joint projects between the Turkish and Armenian civil society. A new bottom up process was inaugurated, which aims at contributing to a better understanding of both societies and, in a long term, to a relaxation in Armenian Turkish relations.
Can a football game change the history of a region? The luck of the draw put Turkey and Armenia in the same qualifying group for the FIFA World Cup of 2010. The countries had been locked in enmity since the 1990s, and the matches promised merely more of the same, if they were played at all. But leaders in both countries had been quietly moving toward a more constructive relationship.
Im Februar 2004 ermordete der aserbaidschanische Offizier Ramil Safarov während eines NATO-Seminars in Budapest seinen armenischen Kurskollegen Gurgen Markarian – des Nachts im Schlaf, mit 26 Axthieben.
Soziale Netzwerke und Blogs, die wohl besser als Barometer der öffentlichen Meinung in Armenien dienen als die staatlich kontrollierten herkömmlichen Medien, kochten in den Tagen nach Safarows Freilassung vor Wut. Während sich der größte Zorn auf Aserbaidschan richtete, wurde auch das Verhalten der armenischen Regierung hinterfragt.
Der jubelnde Empfang von Ramil Safarow fügt sich ein in die aserbaidschanische Politik der Radikalisierung gegenüber dem Nachbarland Armenien. Das autoritäre Regime braucht den Konflikt um Karabach-Berg wie die Luft zum Atmen und gefährdet damit zusehend eine friedliche Lösung.
Die überraschende Auslieferung Safarows am 31. August 2012 und die Begnadigung nach seiner Ankunft in Baku hat die internationale Gemeinschaft schockiert und die armenisch-aserbaidschanischen Beziehungen schwer belastet. Die derzeitige ungarische Regierung zeigt, dass sie bei der Sicherung ihrer Wirtschaftsinteressen zu vielem bereit ist – wenn nötig auch im Widerspruch zu fundamentalen Menschenrechten.
The persisting “frozen” military conflicts surrounding the South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Nagorno Karabakh regions restrict sustainable economic and social development as well as the establishment of free democratic civil societies in the South Caucasus.
The publication – “The South Caucasus and Turkey: History Lessons of the 20th Century” is the collection of scientific articles prepared by authors from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey presenting the research and analytical materials on the key issues regarding history lessons in the South Caucasus and Turkey.