The Commission on adaptation of militants coming back from Syria to peaceful life has functioned in Kabardino-Balkaria for over 6 years. Despite its mandate to reintegrate former militants into society, a number of high-profile prosecutions has raised doubts over the authorities’ true commitment to peacefully returning them to civilian life.
On 3 August, Yusup Temirkhanov, a Chechen convicted of killing an ex–Russian soldier, died in a Russian prison in Siberia. Tens of thousands of people including the head of Chechnya attended Temirkhanov’s funeral, raising questions over Russia’s position in Chechnya, and how Chechens are treated in Russian prisons.
Two years on from the April 2016 war, which caused the deaths of hundreds and a loss of territory, Nagorno-Karabakh’s youth are more determined than ever to stay in their homeland and build a future there. Galvanised by their recent experience of war, young men living close to the frontline talk of what the April events meant for them and how they remain ever vigilant of another outbreak of fighting.
Thirty years have passed since the beginning of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and a generation has grown up with the spectre of conflict hanging over them. For those children who felt the war first-hand, displaced and moving from place to place throughout their childhood, the prospect of continuing bloodshed is especially hard to bear. [Read more…]
On the night of 2 April 2016, tensions on the Nagorny Karabakh line of contact erupted. Following four days of intense fighting, several strategic heights surrounding the Armenian-controlled village of Talish, including multiple Armenian positions, came under Azerbaijan’s control.
A quarter of a century after the Abkhazian–Georgian war, the bodies of those killed are still being recovered. [Read more…]
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.
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 new law on conscription has left many Armenian students stunned. While stressing their commitment to serving the country, many worry that in practice, it will be hard to obtain Master’s degree after three years of non-deferrable military service.
While throughout the region there are debates around compulsory military service — how it applies to students or if it should apply at all — in Azerbaijan, a different debate is raging. Many are demanding exemptions for only sons in a family, who continue the family name, while most politicians oppose the move, calling it unpatriotic.