Wednesday, September 16, 2009

REVIEW: RFE/RL Caucasus Report

A review of RFE/RL reporting and analysis about the countries of the South Caucasus and Russia's North Caucasus region. For more stories on the Caucasus, please visit and bookmark our Caucasus page .

Abkhaz Prosecutor Warns Former Vice President The Abkhaz prosecutor's office on September 15 accused former Vice President Raul Khadjimba of seeking in recent statements to discredit the republic's law enforcement agencies in general and the prosecutor's office in particular. Speaking at a conference of the war veterans' union Aruaa, Khadjimba had openly challenged the official explanation for the arrest in late June of Aruaa member Colonel Valmer Butba. More

Armenian President To Meet With Party Leaders On Turkey Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian will meet with the leaders of dozens of political parties to discuss his controversial fence-mending agreements with Turkey, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports. More

Man Sent To Mental Hospital After Refusing To Pay Bribe Mahammad Gurbanov, 56, works as a vendor and says he was asked on September 12 to pay extra customs on goods he had imported from Turkey. More

Eurovision To Announce Decision On Azerbaijan Eurovision has concluded an investigation into charges that Azerbaijani officials harassed people who voted for the Armenian entry in May's Eurovision Song Content and will soon decide whether to sanction Azerbaijan, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports. More

OSCE Media Envoy Optimistic About Azeri Bloggers' Release Miklos Haraszti, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) representative on media freedom, says he is optimistic about the release of jailed bloggers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizada, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports. More

On Moscow Streets, A Range Of Views On Chavez Visit Chavez, whose anti-American sentiments make him a convenient partner for Moscow, enjoys frequent visits to Russia. On his latest trip, he pledged to make Venezuela what appears to be the third country -- after Russia and Nicaragua -- to recognize the Georgian territories. More

On Chavez's Recognition Of South Ossetia, Abkhazia To better understand Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's announcement that he recognizes the independence of Georgia's breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, RFE/RL contributor Michael Hirshman interviewed Venezuelan international relations specialist Elsa Cardozo, a professor at the Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas. Cardozo is also a columnist for the Venezuelan daily "El Nacional." More

We've Had Football Diplomacy, Ping-Pong Diplomacy ... Now Judo Diplomacy Five athletes from Azerbaijan have arrived in Yerevan for the European junior judo championships, marking the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union that Azerbaijani athletes have participated in a sporting event in Armenia. More

Akhmed Kadyrov Monument Dismantled In Grozny A giant statue of Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov that stood in front of the newly inaugurated mosque in Grozny was dismantled last night following a decision by his son and current leader, Ramzan, and the family. More

Why Wasn't Iran Invited To Caspian Summit? An interesting event is taking place in Kazakhstan's Caspian port city of Aktau starting September. The Caspian littoral states are holding a first-ever "informal" summit. But one of the countries -- Iran -- has not been invited. Also, there seems to be an unusual sense of urgency on the part of some of the leaders who will be in Aktau. At the same time, however, Kazakhstan officials have suggested there is no set agenda. So what's about to happen in Aktau? More

EU Goes Back To Drawing Board In South Caucasus When they meet in Brussels on September 14, EU foreign ministers are expected to launch a debate on how to bring the bloc's outreach to the South Caucasus up to date. Coming in the wake of the European Neighborhood Policy and Eastern Partnership projects, both of which also target the region, the timing of the new strategy debate suggests the EU has lost its way in the region. More

The Question Russians Are Afraid To Ask Ten years ago, a series of bombings across Russia killed more than 300 people. The authorities blamed Chechen rebels. But Kremlin critics say the security services staged the blasts as part of a plan to bring Vladimir Putin to power. A decade later, some of those critics are dead and the bombings remain unsolved. More

How Obama's Russia Policy Is Playing On The Ground Barack Obama took office promising to try to mend U.S. ties with Russia, part of his strategy to overhaul foreign policy. His pledge has caused concern in Eastern Europe that Washington would weaken its support in favor of better relations with Moscow, while also raising doubts the policy will get the support it needs in Western Europe, where opinion on Russia is divided. More

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