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.
Authorities in Kabardino-Balkaria have been promoting ambitious plans to kickstart the republic’s industry with a new hydrometallurgical plant. But for ‘environmental reasons’, and supposed archaeological discoveries at the site, the plans — the estimated cost of which had began to spiral — may now be permanently on ice.
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…]
Despite reports of violence and discrimination against queer people often hitting the news, for Wagdy (Egypt), Riri (Azerbaijan), and Misha (Nigeria), Georgia represents a safe place where they can finally be themselves. While some find a new life in Georgia free from fear, the country’s opaque asylum procedures threaten to send some of them back, their presence deemed ‘contradictory to the interests of the country’.
Last month, reports emerged of the mass detention of queer people in Azerbaijan. OC Media spoke to one of the men caught up in the roundup, and a number of activists offering assistance. They tell of illegal arrests, humiliation, and even torture, as authorities continue to apply pressure. [Read more…]
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.