Wednesday, January 06, 2010

NEWS: RFE/RL Caucasus Report 1/5/2010 (

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 .

Has The 2013 Georgian Presidential Campaign Already Started? Mikheil Saakashvili's second term as Georgian president does not expire for another three years. But the preparations for municipal elections in late May 2010, including that for Tbilisi mayor, already increasingly resemble the first stage in what promises to be a no-holds-barred fight to succeed him. More

Georgia's Russian-Language TV Venture Georgia has launched a new Russian-language television channel that critics say will fan tensions with Russia, still high after the brief 2008 war between the two countries. More

Low Turnout, Alleged Violations Mar Azerbaijani Local Elections Voters from three villages in Azerbaijan's Sabirabad Raion staged a protest on December 28 against perceived procedural violations during the December 23 municipal elections. More

Playing Into Moscow's Hands Paul Goble says few can doubt that recent Russian claims that Georgia is providing support for Islamist and nationalist militants in the North Caucasus are absurd provocations. But he also says even fewer in Tbilisil seem to recognize that far more is riding on their responses. More

No End In Sight To Daghestan Presidential Cliff-Hanger While some have construed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's assertion that new elections will take place in several municipalities in Daghestan as setting a laudable precedent for annulling local ballots that are openly and blatantly rigged, others see it as way of not reappointing Mukhu Aliyev as the republic's president. More

Breaking Down The Azerbaijani-Iranian Border "The New York Times" yesterday highlighted Tehran's fears of its "increasingly aggressive separatist groups," so a rare video dug up by RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service is an interesting reminder. More

Ill Armenian Oppositionist Returned To Jail Imprisoned Armenian opposition figure Sasun Mikaelian was returned to jail on December 28 after spending more than three weeks in a civilian hospital in Yerevan, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports. More

Georgia Denounces Rosneft-Abkhazia Deal The Georgian Foreign Ministry says an oil agreement between Russian oil company Rosneft and the separatist region of Abkhazia is a violation of Georgian and international laws, RFE/RL's Echo of the Caucasus reports. More

Requiem For The Revolutions As Europe this year marked two decades since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the wave of democratic expansion that swept across the former Soviet space appeared to be ebbing. Has the democratic dream of 1989 run its course? More

Defector Describes 'Amoral' Conditions In South Ossetia Twenty-five-year-old Vitaly Khripun, a border guard with the Russian Federal Security Service in South Ossetia, defected from his post on December 21 and has asked for political asylum in Georgia. Khripun was serving in the Java district along the administrative border that has separated South Ossetia from Georgia proper since last year's five-day war between Russia and Georgia. In his first interview since his defection, Khripun says he was motivated to act by the culture of corruption and crue More

Not Such A Riot Armenian riot police have long been accused by civic groups of using disproportionate force against citizens. More

Picking Up The Pieces Of The Georgian War Memorial Tragedy If the story of Georgia's destroyed Glory Memorial began as a tragedy, it is ending as farce. Today, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov picked up on Vladimir Putin's wily proposal that the Soviet-era Kutaisi monument -- razed, with tragic consequences, by order of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili -- be rebuilt in a more appreciative city. More

Putin Piles On As Georgia Grapples With War Memorial Tragedy The fallout continues in Georgia over the fatal demolition of a war memorial in the western city of Kutaisi. More

Georgian President Blasted Over Monument's Demolition The demolition of a Soviet-era war memorial in the western Georgian city of Kutaisi was meant to make space for a new parliament building. But many opponents say the act shows blatant disregard for the country's World War II sacrifices, and the death of a mother and daughter in the blast has only increased their anger. More

Russia Marks 130 Years Since Stalin's Birth Russia is marking the 130th anniversary of the birth of Soviet leader Josef Stalin with medals and marches in his honor, as well as an exhibition that shows his crude and vindictive side. But even as many Russians continue to revere Stalin as a strong leader, others remember his cruel legacy as the man responsible for millions of deaths during his nearly 30-year rule. More

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