Friday, January 07, 2011

NEWS: RFE/RL Caucasus Report, December 17, 2010 - January 7, 2011 (

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 .

Azeri Villagers Protest Hijab Ban Several thousand people taking part in an Ashura ceremony in a village near Baku have protested a ban on the wearing of hijabs in schools. More
Daghestan's President Tries To (Re)Make History On December 15, a congress of Daghestan's various nationalities took place in the capital, Makhachkala, which the republic's authorities touted as the third such congress in Daghestan's recent history. More
Gas Chief Named Yerevan Mayor Yerevan has a new mayor, a week after the Armenian capital's top official resigned following allegations he beat up a member of the president's staff. More
Independent Armenian TV Loses Another Frequency Tender Armenia's embattled A1+ TV company, which has been off the air for almost a decade, has been defeated in another frequency tender administered by the state regulator after allegedly submitting fraudulent documents. More
Armenian Military Launches Hotline For Complaints Armenia's Defense Ministry has launched a hotline for reporting complaints, following a recent surge of violent incidents and non-combat deaths within the armed forces. More
Armenia Approves Army Plan Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and his National Security Council have approved a five-year plan to modernize the armed forces, including the acquisition of long-range, precision-guided weapons. More
Armenia: Would Recognize Karabakh Armenian President Serzh Sarksian says his country will recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent country if Azerbaijan uses force to resolve their dispute over the breakaway region. More
Armenian Justice Minister Fired Over 'Violent' Subordinate Armenian Justice Minister Gevorg Danielian has been dismissed for what the government describes as a failure to punish one of his high-ranking subordinates allegedly involved in violent conduct. More
A Daunting Challenge With globalization multiplying the avenues by which corrupt practices span the globe, experts are debating the nature of corruption and how to stop it. More
As Corruption Rises Worldwide, Georgia Proves The Exception Corruption is on the rise worldwide, as highlighted in Transparency International's latest Global Corruption Barometer. The surprise exception? Georgia, where only 3 percent of residents say they've paid a bribe in the past year. More
Corruption, And Outrage About It, Is On The Rise Corruption is on the rise in many countries, but so is the number of people willing to report incidents of it, according to a new report by the watchdog group Transparency International. More
Yerevan Mayor Quits In Scandal Yerevan's controversial mayor has resigned following allegations he beat up a member of President Serzh Sarkisian's staff. More
Armenian Oppositionist Set Free Another Armenian opposition activist jailed on charges stemming from postelection unrest in Yerevan in 2008 has been granted parole and released from jail. More
NATO Reassures Russia Over Plans NATO has reiterated that the alliance and Russia pose no threat to each other. More
Ukraine May Ease Georgia Travel Curb Meeting with a visiting delegation from Georgia's Finance Ministry, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said it was necessary to allow Georgian citizens to stay in Ukraine for one year without a visa. 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

U.S. Woman Said Detained In Iran 'Did Not Use Armenian Territory' Armenian authorities have insisted that a U.S. woman reportedly detained in Iran on suspicion of espionage did not travel to Iran from neighboring Armenia. More
New Azerbaijani Youth Group Aims At 'Positive Change' Counting on the power of example, a group of young people were trying to advocate standing in queues in Baku, notorious for its allergy to such orderliness. This was an action by a new youth group -- one aimed at positive change. More
Daghestan's President Suffers Further Rebuff The Daghestan wing of the North Caucasus Islamic insurgency's rejection of calls by President Magomedsalam Magomedov to lay down its arms calls into question the relevance of the government commission recently created to "help" repentant fighters readapt to civilian life and of the appeal to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev adopted last month at a Congress of Peoples of Daghestan to declare an amnesty for fighters who surrender. More
Ruling Azeri Party Touts 'Young' Base The ruling Yeni Azerbaijani Party (YAP) has claimed an increase in the number of young people who joined the party last year. More
Georgian Veterans Fined Over Protest Eleven people arrested when police dispersed a war veterans protest in Tbilisi were fined today in court for petty hooliganism. More
U.S. And Azerbaijan: Best Friends With Dirty Faces The state-owned "Azerbaijan" newspaper published an article at the end of 2010 that criticized U.S. foreign policy as “dishonest and immoral." Titled “USA: Tempting 'Liberty,'” the article also accused several U.S. presidents and lawmakers of having illicit sexual relationships. More
Ten Days In Baku That Shook My World Contributor Christel Fricke says her experience in Azerbaijan has given her a better understanding of what it is like to live on the front lines of the wrong life without any ticket of escape. More
Armenian PM Lays Out Economic Goals Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian says manufacturing, information technology, and infrastructure projects will increasingly replace agriculture and construction as the driving forces of economic growth in the country. More
Grozny In The Holiday Spirit After an unsuccessful search far and wide for a suitably ostentatious tree, Grozny's planners decided to fasten together smaller trees together to produce a massive centerpiece that lacked only a dusting of snow during unseasonably warm temperatures in the area. More
Armenia Grapples With Galloping Inflation, Mushrooming Foreign Debt President Serzh Sarkisian predicts the country will fully emerge from its recession in 2011. But a report compiled by the Civilitas Foundation in Yerevan, offers a more nuanced and less optimistic picture, highlighting such pernicious trends as high inflation, a budget deficit, and the huge increase in Armenia's foreign debt over the past three years. More
Sidelined Azerbaijani Opposition Plans 'Public Chamber' Two months after the elections in which Azerbaijan's mainstream opposition parties lost their tiny handful of parliament mandates, veteran political figures have adopted a new strategy for promoting democratization and consensus-building. More
Georgian Opposition Leader Agrees To Defends IDPs' Interests While Georgia's Minister for Internally Displaced Persons, has said that "a fantastic amount" has been done this year to alleviate the plight of tens of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in temporary accommodation in Tbilisi. Many IDPs diagree. More
A Cake Fit For A 'King'? For the fifth year in a row, the Azerbaijani city of Ganca has baked a 49-meter cake in honor of President Iham Aliyev's 49th birthday. More
In Azerbaijan, Hijab Debate A Mounting Challenge For Government In Azerbaijan, a recent ban on schoolgirls wearing the hijab, or Muslim head scarf, has sparked angry public protests that are taking on an increasingly political flavor and raising the specter of religious extremism in a country that is both Muslim-majority and largely secular. More
Russia's Minorities Have Plenty Of Questions For Putin In his recent, nationally televised question-and-answer session, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin claimed that "the state exists to provide for the interests of the majority." Fair enough, but what about minorities? Who will protect them from the majority? More

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