Despite official censorship in the early days of Azerbaijan’s independence, journalists enjoyed more freedom then than they do now. Oligarchic control over the country’s media and fear of prosecution, or even death, mean many journalists now resort to self-censorship.
In the Armenian villages along the Azerbaijani border, sporadic violence intermingles with people’s daily lives. While people here try to build a future, they are aware that their livelihoods are often at the mercy of politicians from both sides.
Almost three decades after independence, Russian language still plays a large role in Azerbaijan. Many of the country’s schools and universities are divided: into the Azerbaijani-medium Azsector, and a Russian-language sector. But the divide goes far beyond the language: graduates of the Russian sector often see themselves as the elites of society, more progressive, more open-minded, and more cultured. In turn, they are portrayed as aloof, unpatriotic, and not ‘real’ Azerbaijanis. [Read more…]
The beginning of 2018 has come to mean two things for Armenians: rising prices for essential goods, and for many, a new tax burden. The opposition Yelk are now confronting the government, encouraging Armenians to take their anger to the streets.
There are hundreds of school-age children in Armenia not attending school. While some work to help support their families, others have fallen victim to attitudes towards gender. In villages where there are only one or two girls — a result of of sky-high sex-selective abortion rates — parents sometimes insist that their girl should not study alone in a classroom full of boys. [Read more…]
On 22 November, in a special operation in Tbilisi, Georgian special services liquidated an armed group which included Akhmed Chatayev, also known as ‘one-handed Akhmed’. Chatayev was considered one of the leaders of the Islamic State. During the battle with Georgian special services he refused to disarm, and committed suicide by detonating a grenade. This is, perhaps, everything that is known from official sources about the operation in the Georgian capital, which lasted for almost a day.
The devastating earthquake of 1988 has left a lasting mark on Armenia’s second city. Despite reconstruction projects, Gyumri’s ‘temporary’, dilapidated trailers are still home to thousands. As these families remain unable to break the cycle of poverty — the city centre is receiving an expensive facelift. [Read more…]
There is no law on domestic violence in Abkhazia — everything that happens within the confines of the home is considered private. But NGOs and charities working with battered women are fighting back, arguing that a such a law is crucial for protecting women.
Many see Georgian food as unhealthy; dishes full of melted cheese, butter, and large portions of fatty meats seem like the perfect recipe for a heart attack. But the country’s dietary problems go far beyond traditional cuisine; it’s structural problems — inequality, a lack of long term vision in policy, and nutritional illiteracy — that are driving Georgia’s deadly hidden hunger. [Read more…]