The Supreme Court of Russia has overturned a decision to strip a Circassian Turk of his right to live in Russia, ordering a local court to hear his appeal. [Read more…]
More than 25 years have passed since the beginning of Georgia’s armed conflicts — more than enough time for Georgian society and the political elite to assess what happened and why. It’s important that we evaluate where our progress stands in solving these conflicts, and whether we, as a country, need to reevaluate our aims and revise our policy — whether the achieved result are acceptable or not and if not, what we can change. [Read more…]
Opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan has called for more anti-government protests on 1 May, when Armenia’s parliament, the National Assembly, is set elect a new prime minister. Acting PM Karen Karapetyan cancelled negotiations with Pashinyan set for noon on Friday, arguing the talks were ‘not aimed at achieving any result’. Pashinyan had insisted the talks, which he said were to negotiate the peaceful transfer of power, take place in front of journalists.
A sugar factory in Agara, a town west of Tbilisi, is set to reopen after dozens of workers marched 110 kilometres to Tbilisi in protest its closure. An agreement to renovate the factory and reopen it on 1 June was announced on Wednesday, several days after the march. [Read more…]
Holes dot the tarmac, there are so many that the passageway hardly looks like a road - yet that four-kilometre strip from the Gyumri Armavir highway is a lifeline for the 500-odd residents of Haykadzor, a settlement sitting right on the border dividing Turkey and Armenia.
Once a buzzing border village, Haykadzor has steadily lost its residents and, as access to water is increasingly difficult, those who remain are thirsty, just like the land surrounding them. The village cheers up once every three days, during the so-called ‘water days,’ when they have to store enough water for the 'dry days.’ The water from the nearby reservoir is supplied through an electricity-powered network that is too expensive for the villagers - as they cannot afford the cost of the system for the daily delivery, the tap is open just twice a week.
The old people who gather near the only shop to play backgammon still recall the days when they could swim in the Akhuryan, the river flowing along the border with Turkey,forming part of the geographical frontier between the two countries. All that was before the 1950s. When Turkey joined Nato in 1952, the river ended up beyond the barbed wire and, as the Cold War got increasingly chilling, Haykadzor became a sensitive spot. A buffer zone was created and part of the village was moved. The situation seemed to be about to improve at the fall of the Soviet Union, but then in 1993 Ankara sealed the border with Armenia in light of the conflict with Azerbaijan over the breakaway region of Nagorno Karabakh. The buffer zone remained and to date villagers who want to visit their land in the area need special permission from the border guards to cultivate their plots. Lacking an irrigation system, the soil gets water only when it rains, so the harvest depends on “God’s will.”
A few meters to the other side of the line is also the village’s only church, built in the VIII century, named the Saint Gregory The Enlightener, which they can visit three times a year.
As water is limited, so is the connection to the world. The last train to call in the station was in 1991 and, about three years later the Bagravan station, about nine kilometres away, was closed - leaving the village in isolation. Today a 13-seat minibus is the only means of public transport, the inhabitants share it with four neighboring villages. It has steadily lost its residents, leaving behind mainly the elderly who see no reason to depart. Like Yeranos Gasparyan, 60, the only person remaining, along with his sister and wife, he is the last of what once was a large family. 10-year-old Vardan is one of the 37 pupils attending the only school - a top math student - he has seen Yerevan only once from afar, when he went to the airport to meet his uncle returning from Russia.
Story by Hermine Virabyan and Aren Melikyan
Two Turkish citizens wanted in Turkey for ‘terrorism’ had been hiding in the Tbilisi residence of Georgian Patriarch Ilia II, Georgian opposition TV channel Rustavi 2 reported on 16 September. Giorgi Andriadze, an academician with close ties to the Patriarchate, has claimed that the suspects were not terrorists, but members of a persecuted ethnic minority. [Read more…]
Fifty-one members of Georgia’s Parliament are engaged in private business, while sixteen have not officially declared their ties with them, a new report from the anti-corruption organisation Transparency International — Georgia (TI) claims. [Read more…]
Students, together with human rights activists and trade unions, organised a demonstration on 7 February in Georgia’s capital, to protest the mass firing of employees from a nitrogen plant in Rustavi, a town 20 km south of Tbilisi.
On the day after an enormous fire engulfed the Bavshvta Samyaro shopping centre in central Tbilisi on 31 January, the hundreds of vendors affected have received a small ray of hope. Gold and silver jewelry, which had been kept in safes in the building’s basement, have survived the fire. [Read more…]