Sunday, March 28, 2010


I am away from the Caucasus now ... but I could read here in Loas in my google reader ... around me a lot of moscitos ... this photostory from Justyna Mielnikiewicz ...

Back home, their differences may run strong, but within Turkey, ethnic groups from the Caucasus often find that they have more in common than conflict.

more here:

KONZERT: DETI PICASSO & VELENA in Leipzig am 2. April um 21 Uhr (

Die aus Moskau stammende Band DETI PICASSO spielt für Russland eine eher unübliche Art von Musik: verwirrend und scharf, mit starken ethnischen Wurzeln, viel hypnotischer Energie. Starke Frauenstimmen, transparente Gitarren und ein sanfter Cellosound werden mit rauen psychedelischen Melodien gepaart. Die Basis bilden alte armenische Lieder und Gesänge aufgenommen mit einem klassischen Streichquartett.
Ihre Musik ist extrem frisch, ursprünglich, außerordentlich und einnehmend ehrlich.
Sängerin Gaya Arutyunyan verfügt über eine der ausdruckstärksten und exotischsten Stimmen Armeniens: sie klingt weder opernhaft noch weich, sondern rau, und eindringlich. Nach 3 Album-Veröffentlichungen erlangte DETI PICASSO die (absolut berechtigte) Reputation, einer der bemerkenswertesten Live-Acts der Ex-Sowjetunion zu sein; innerhalb der Klub-Szene Moskaus sind sie Superstars. Deti Picasso spielten schon auf vielen renommierten Festivals und wurden von Bands wie Depeche Mode und Massive Attack als Support eingeladen. Wir freuen uns auf einen mit Sicherheit großartigen Abend!

To see and listen to the music of Deti Picasso at the same time is the greatest pleasure, and there's nothing better than catching them playing live! (Play magazine)


Nachreichen möchte ich jetzt noch ein Video von diesem Abend (8. April) -afgenommen mit meinem Handy:

Monday, March 08, 2010

SOUTH EAST ASIA: Art-Project in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos

Dear friends, readers and followers of my blog,

now I am together with the artist and friend Jörg Herold in Vietnam. Days before I was with him in Thailand and Cambodia. In some days we will stay for our research in Laos. Some years ago I was together with Jörg Herold also in the states of South Caucasus.
My staying in this territories is the reason for small posts here. When I am back in the beginning of april than I will starting more postings here agian. Don't worry ...

More about our project can you find at the time here:

CALL: 5-year programme from ACADEMIC SWISS CAUCASUS NET - ASCN (

The ACADEMIC SWISS CAUCASUS NET (ASCN), launched in 2009 and funded by GEBERT RÜF STIFTUNG, is a 5-year programme aiming at promoting and strengthening social sciences and humanities in the South Caucasus. For this purpose, and besides capacity building trainings and scholarships, funding is provided for research projects conducted by researchers from the region.

The ASCN Management presently launches a call for proposals in social sciences, open to researchers from and resident in Georgia. The research topics/project proposals to be submitted should be relevant to transition themes, and they should address and deal with specific issues at stake. Furthermore, the proposals must fit into the umbrella topic "Transformation, Identities and Social Capital"

Budget line: Swiss Francs (CHF) 20'000 maximum per year.
Maximum duration: 2 years
Application deadline: 7 June 2010
For detailed information:

Thank you for widely disseminating this information.

Best regards, Denis Dafflon


Denis Dafflon
Programme Coordinator
University of Fribourg / Interfaculty Institute for Central and
Eastern Europe (IICEE)
Bd de Pérolles 90
1700 Fribourg/Switzerland
Phone: +41 26 300 79 82
Mobile: +41 79 303 43 44

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

BLOG: Democracy in Tbilisi. By Tedo Japaridze (

The August 2008 war with Russia exacerbated many existing problems in Georgia, perhaps most obviously whether Tbilisi’s priority should be the establishment of a strong state or one with democratic institutions. With Mikheil Saakashvili at the helm, this seems to be an either-or proposition. Although he is talented and well educated, Saakashvili is unwilling to allow the whole of Georgia’s political class to take part in the democratic process. He has suppressed dissent and made little effort to include members of the opposition in practical domestic and foreign-policy decisions, other than in a retouched manner for PR purposes—thus straying from the principles and values of democracy in favor of his own personal political ambitions and interests. And, of course, it seems that the Georgian opposition is disorganized and chaotic.

Few in the West, however, recognize Saakashvili’s true intentions. They either do not know or do not care much, being busy and over-burdened with their own complex and challenging problems. Though this regime is better than the last, there is a lot more talk of change and democratic politics than action. The current government has paid more attention to its international image than with reforming Georgian politics. With the help of foreign lobbyists, Saakashvili successfully created his own narrative about Georgia’s supposed respect for democratic institutions, one eagerly accepted by Western states. This narrative went over particularly well in the United States, where the Bush administration and, after that, presidential candidate John McCain offered steadfast support to Tbilisi. It seems the Obama administration’s position may be little different.

In Western capitals, Georgia was recognized as the “the beacon of democracy” and, to be fully sincere, the Revolutions of the Roses began that way. But this later didn’t reflect the realities on the ground. Georgia remained undemocratic and illiberal. The disconnect between Western perception and Georgian reality was no more evident than in the war with Russia. In the West, the conflict was seen through Saakashvili’s version of events, with Moscow as the aggressor, instead of the truer line of argument—that Saakashvili, being strongly provoked to do so by the Russians, got Georgia involved in the war in a vain attempt to integrate Tbilisi into the Euro-Atlantic community. That strategy did not work. America and Europe did not risk war with Moscow to bail out Georgia. And our problems cannot be solved through Western sympathy alone. So Georgia still remains defeated, dismembered and occupied country.

The way out of Georgia’s post-war crisis lies in ensuring the continued enfranchisement of all citizens of Georgians in the country’s political process. The government must search for compromises and maintain a political balance, since democracy is a constantly renewable contract resting on a country’s institutional systems and legitimacy. Free-and-fair elections, even ones recognized by the international community, are only the beginning of the process. Even undemocratic and illiberal countries are capable of holding fair elections that deserve the approval of both foreign observers and the wider international community. Georgia has been governed by illiberal methods, and the main administrative and financial resources of the country are often directed in the interests of one political clan. Real democratic systems require mutual responsibility between the ruling elite and its citizens, including first of all the opposition. A secure democracy is one that is governed according to its constitution and its laws. Only by striving to fully embody this democratic ideal will Georgia be able to cope with the problems it is facing.

Tbilisi must not look abroad for assistance with its political difficulties—and this includes in its troubles with Russia. The West will not go to war with Moscow over Georgia. The United States is beset with its own domestic and foreign-policy agendas and can ill afford to antagonize the Kremlin over a single Eastern European state. Europe, meanwhile, is beholden to Russian energy supplies and other business and trade interests. Moscow is well aware of the leverage it holds and uses its powerful commercial and political interests to its advantage. Georgia must be very careful not to make hasty decisions that would annoy Russia or anybody else in the world, as it will find little more than a sympathetic ear in the international community, as it belatedly realized in the aftermath of the conflict over Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

So Georgia must first and foremost help itself. It must settle its own internal problems by ensuring its adherence to democratic governance. Georgians must learn from their past mistakes, and realize that Saakashvili’s obsession with his standing in Western capitals will get them nowhere. A commitment to real democratic reform that includes Georgians of all political stripes is the only way out of the country’s current post-war malaise.

Read the whole article at "National Interest online"