Many in Abkhazia have lamented the failure of this year’s tourist season, connecting it directly to rising levels of crime. The usual problems were compounded by high profile attacks on tourists and an explosion at an ammunition depot which left two tourists dead.
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.
The mere existence of lesbian couples in Azerbaijan is rarely talked about or acknowledged. Out of sight of the public and even queer rights activists, some women still live together and raise children as families.
An entire generation has grown up in Abkhazia with no direct experience of the 1992–1993 war. For many of these young people, a collective memory of the conflict still persists, and attitudes towards Georgia and Georgians are often extremely hostile.
A string of changes in how identity documents are issued has left residents of Abkhazia’s Gali District feeling frustrated and powerless. OC Media spoke to a number of locals, who complained that widespread corruption and discrimination makes them feel unwelcome in their homeland.
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…]
A crime committed in the village of Nizhnyaya Eshera, where a young woman was killed and her underage sister was raped, sent shock waves throughout Abkhazian society and opened up a debate on the roots of violence against women.
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.
Despite their number slowly decreasing, Armenia still has one of the highest rates of sex-selective abortions in the world. OC Media talked to a number of women who faced pressure from their families after falling pregnant with a daughter about the decision they were forced to make, and the consequences they’ve had to live with. [Read more…]