Queer people in the Caucasus face a number of challenges — discrimination, physical and sexual abuse, and blackmail. For months, activists have watched in horror the persecution of gay men in Chechnya; however, their lives had already been in danger for some time. OC Media spoke to a transgender woman from Grozny, who shared some of her experiences and talked with us about what is happening in the republic. [Read more…]
Ceasefire violations are a regular occurrence on both sides of the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the village of Kokhanabi, 300 metres from the front, is no exception. While life is made almost impossible by a constant hail of gunfire from across the border, the government has left villagers to fend for themselves. [Read more…]
Armenian identity is so tightly interwoven with religion that it can often be heard that the only true Armenian is a follower of the Armenian Church. Contempt, discrimination, and outright hatred towards religious minorities have led to a worryingly widespread perception of them as outsiders — a threat to Armenian statehood. [Read more…]
With between 60–80 road deaths recorded every year, Abkhazia has one of the highest traffic-related mortality rates in the world. Repeated government promises year on year to tackle the problem have come to nothing, and the death toll continues to rise.
Inhabitants of Kabardino-Balkaria who were subjected to political repressions in 1930s and 1940s believe that Russia is returning to Stalin’s era.
There are 56,000 children in Russia’s federal database of orphans. This large number is a drop on previous years, with the number of orphans in the whole country declining. In Daghestan, orphans are increasingly being taken in by new families.
Ingushetia remains one of Russia’s most troubled and impoverished republics, one rattled by Islamic insurgency, corruption, and a sluggish economy. However, with the president’s indirect use of mixed martial arts to enhance his republic’s image, two brothers have emerged to spearhead the movement for the betterment of Ingush society.
Officially sanctioned organisations in what was once historical Circassia work almost exclusively to promote Circassian language and culture. Beneath the surface, however, young people espouse more radical ambitions — recognition of the Circassian Genocide, and creation of a united Circassia.
Azerbaijan’s ongoing crackdown against journalists and activists critical of the government has seen scores of critics imprisoned. Less well known are the stories of those who escape jail, but are still subjected to tremendous pressure — including restriction of their ability to travel abroad. [Read more…]
It is no secret that the courts in Russia fail to maintain their independence from the government. This is perhaps most acute of all if Chechnya, where the republic’s leadership have waged a war on the judiciary, and trumped-up cases are brought against anyone who says or does ‘the wrong thing’ in public.