With declining funding from the government, Armenia’s higher education system is facing crisis. On top of this, politicisation, outward migration, high fees for such a poor country, and a lack of clear strategy for the sector have left many experts worried.
The Circassian national movement in the North Caucasus has for years been under pressure from the authorities. Facing detention, prosecution, or outright violence, Circassian activists, scholars, and young people all feel the pressure, but there is much disagreement as to why they are being targeted.
For a year and a half, Makhachkala resident Arsen Gasanov and his family have been harassed by police. Despite going to court for an explanation of why, and the register on which he was labelled an ‘extremist’ officially being disbanded, the harassment still continues.
Over 17,000 Syrian-Armenians have fled to Armenia over the past five years. While many expected this to be a temporary move, they are now setting down firm roots in the country. [Read more…]
Tbilisi city authorities have come under fire for a recent decision to privatise a plot of land in central Tbilisi. The sale was for just ₾1 ($0.40), to a company connected to Georgia’s wealthiest, and perhaps most influential person — billionaire ex–Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.
At over 2,000 metres above sea level, in the last village before the northern mountain pass from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh, life in Sotk can be arduous. The village, which until 30 years ago was inhabited by Azerbaijanis, is now home to Armenians who fled their homes in Azerbaijan, though most of these have also moved on to greener pastures.
In Armenia’s capital Yerevan, drinking fountains can be found on almost every street corner. But in the neighbouring Armavir Province to the west, water quality is so low that villages rely on private delivery lorries, bringing clean water to the villages each morning.
Construction on the shore of Makhachkala’s Ak-Gyol Lake by local authorities and private entrepreneurs has been going on for years, to the chagrin of many locals. The fight against the latest such construction, an Orthodox Christian cathedral, has been taken on by local Christians themselves, who are suing the local government and their own diocese. [Read more…]
On 8 September, Kabardino-Balkaria celebrated the ‘460th anniversary of its voluntary entry’ into Russia. While the Northwest Caucasus — including what is now Kabardino-Balkaria — was conquered by Russia in the 19th century, this false narrative now serves as a loyalty test for local political elites.
As the harvest season comes to an end, farmers in Akhalkalaki are dissatisfied — they complain that frost followed by drought have led to disappointing yields. [Read more…]