Saturday, December 04, 2010

NEWS: RFE/RL Caucasus Report, November 18, 2010 - December 3, 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 .

Caspian Nations Avoid 'Definitions' Leaders of the five Caspian littoral states are holding a summit in Baku starting November 18. They haven’t agreed on much in the past, and now there really doesn’t seem to be much to talk about. More
Georgia Gears Up For Election Reform Talks Georgian opposition and the ruling party reached partial agreement last week on the format for long-anticipated talks on election reform. But President Mikheil Saakashvili has already vetoed one of the most important draft proposals the opposition unveiled last month as a basis for discussion. More
Controversial Daghestan Government Commission Holds First Session A Daghestan government commission intended to "help" Islamic insurgents who admit to the error of their ways and wish to return to a normal law-abiding way of life held its first session. But it remains unclear what legal guarantees, if any, it is empowered to offer. More
Armenian Army Scrambles To Tackle Abuse After Spate Of Deaths Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian this month faced the uneasy task of comforting parents whose sons were found dead after suffering vicious treatment in the army. More
Kazakhstan's Jihadists Solicit Assistance From Ingush Insurgency Website More

Dozens Quit Armenian Party's Youth Wing Twenty-six members of the youth wing of one of Armenia's key opposition parties, including its leader, have resigned en masse. More
Armenian Oppositionist Freed A well-known Armenian opposition figure has been set free after spending more than 30 months in prison on controversial charges stemming from the 2008 postelection unrest. More
Interview: Georgia 'On Its Way' To NATO, EU, Top Official Says Georgia is pushing ahead with reforms aimed at joining the European Union and NATO -- and ready to talk to Russia. That's the message from Giorgi Baramidze, Georgia's deputy prime minister and state minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration. More
Minister's Son Brings Suit Over Shashlik The son of Azerbaijan's transportation minister is suing two opposition newspapers over allegations that he paid a restaurant $1.2 million to make him a Shish kebab from a bear on display at the eatery. More
Kremlin Replaces Kabardino-Balkaria Interior Minister Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has fired Kabardino-Balkaria Interior Minister Lieutenant General Yury Tomchak, replacing him with Sergei Vasilyev, a career Russian police officer from Kemerovo with no previous experience of the North Caucasus. More
What Happens In Lisbon Stays In Lisbon NATO delegates attending the alliance's annual summit last weekend in Lisbon have left a bit of a scandal in their wake. More
Saakashvili, At EU Parliament, Calls For Dialogue With Kremlin Seven years to the day after the Rose Revolution, the bloodless uprising which brought Mikheil Saakashvili to power in Georgia, the Georgian president delivered an impassioned speech in front of the European parliament in Strasbourg, in which he offered the Russian leadership a "deep and comprehensive dialogue." More
Georgia Names New Ambassador To U.S. Georgia has announced a high-profile personnel reshuffle that will impact crucial aspects of domestic and foreign policy, including relations with Washington and ongoing efforts to bring the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia back under the control of the central government. More
NATO Prepared For 'Global Threats and Challenges' Following the Lisbon summit, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder spoke with RFE/RL about NATO's new mission statement and the beginning and meaning behind of its new relationship with Russia. More
Caspian Summit Fails To Clarify Status, Resource Issues Third attempt in eight years fails to advance vital questions as Caspian summit has ends in Baku apparently without major breakthroughs. More
Freed Azerbaijani Blogger Says Year Without Internet Was 'Torture' Azerbaijani opposition blogger Emin Milli has been released early from prison, one day after fellow blogger Adnan Hajizada walked free. The jailing of the two men, widely attributed to their video clip mocking the government, had drawn international condemnation as a gross violation of free speech. More
Georgia Walks A Line Between Washington And Tehran It's unlikely that the warming of Georgia's relations with Iran will lead to a cooling of relations with the United States or Europe. The real danger is that politicians who are already bothered by Georgia's policies and problems or who understand them poorly will be handed another bone to chew. More

Chechens Praise European Court Ruling A Chechen woman has welcomed a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that awarded her and more than two dozen others record compensation for a deadly Russian air raid on their village. More
Armenia Threatens To Recognize Karabakh Armenia has threatened to formally recognize the breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state if Baku tries to use force to win back the disputed enclave and other Armenian-controlled territories near it. More
'No Armenia Effect' On U.S. From Leaks U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Marie Yovanovitch says the publication of thousands of leaked U.S. diplomatic documents will not have a negative impact on Washington's "very close" relations with Yerevan. More
OSCE Summit Concludes Without Deal On Action Plan Delegates at the OSCE's two-day summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, had hoped for a breakthrough deal on a new OSCE action plan to strengthen the organization in the future. More
Armenian Official Denies 'Leak' A leading member of President Serzh Sarkisian's Republican Party (HHK) has denied recently disclosed U.S. claims that Armenia re-exported weapons to Iran. More
Insurgents In Daghestan Threaten Further Strikes On Russian Targets The man named three months ago as commander of the Daghestan sector of the North Caucasus insurgency has warned that his group will continue to "inflict horrors" on Russian territory -- an allusion to the suicide bombings in the Moscow subway in which 40 people were killed. More
Interview: UN's Ban Favors Expanded Security Council UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he is in favor of adding more members to the UN Security Council. In an exclusive interview with RFE/RL, Ban said it was the prevailing view among UN members that the current format of 15 council countries -- including five permanent veto-wielding members -- needs to be reformed. More
Abkhaz, South Ossetian Officials Dismiss Georgian President's Assurances Officials in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia have reacted with skepticism to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's pledge not to resort to military force to bring those regions back under the control of the Georgian central government. More
Can Ukraine Follow Georgia's Lead In Reforms? When Mikheil Saakashvili came to power in 2003, Georgia was widely seen as one of the most corrupt countries in the former Soviet Union. Saakashvili battled corruption, streamlined bureaucracy, and pushed through successful economic reforms. What can other post-Soviet countries learn from Georgia? More

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