The village of Salvard, 220 km from Yerevan in Armenia’s southernmost province, Syunik, lies near the border with Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan. With no gas connection and just a dirt road leading to the village, for years the young have migrated away; the local residents who have remained behind say the village is dying.
Reform of the oft-maligned Armenian Police Force is in full swing following April’s ‘Velvet Revolution’, with reformers frequently citing neighbouring Georgia as a blueprint. While the reforms seem to have made a real dent in corruption, calls to take on the force’s reputation for brutality appear to be gaining less traction.
While Azerbaijan’s authorities deny that there are political prisoners in the country’s prisons at all — local and international rights groups disagree. Many former prisoners and their families complain that those locked up on political grounds face not only an unjust deprivation of their liberty, but special prohibitions such as on reading and speaking with their families. [Read more…]
In Georgia, it’s generally assumed that jarti (scrap metal) collectors are simply called when people wish to get rid of their Soviet-era refrigerators, stoves, and other outdated pieces that carry valuable metal in them. However, a closer look at the uneasy industry shows how Georgia’s present situation reflects in the piles of tin, copper, and brass. [Read more…]
Salome Zurabishvili has been elected the 5th president of Georgia in 28 November’s presidential runoff, winning 60% of votes according to preliminary results. Her win is historic, given that she is the first woman to run and succeed in the marathon for the presidential seat. Constantly emphasising her European origins, she has promised to help Georgia integrate into NATO and the EU and as she likes to say, ‘bring Georgian society together’.
Almost a million Armenians live below the national poverty, around a third of the country. For over two decades successive governments have promised— and failed — to tackle poverty; following the Velvet Revolution, Pashinyan’s government has promised the same. [Read more…]
In the mountain village of Barisakho, in Georgia’s northern, historical Khevsureti region, children at the local school have nowhere to practice sports. [Read more…]
Sex is a taboo topic in Armenia, and as such, many children turn to the internet for answers about this and other intimate topics. While schools have introduced basic lessons on living a ‘healthy lifestyle’ that touch on the topic, most experts agree they are not fit for purpose. [Read more…]
Recent progress in e-governance in Azerbaijan has dramatically reduced petty corruption in many sectors. But for those visiting public hospitals, sending their children to kindergarten, or dealing with the traffic police — the problem of bribery can still be a part of daily life. [Read more…]
Georgians’ abnormal levels of exposure to lead show that the food they eat and the air they breathe might be toxic — all while the authorities seem reluctant to address the problem. [Read more…]