After the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1989/90, old national and ethnic antagonisms and the associated conflicts over political autonomy/state sovereignty erupted once again in South Caucasus. Following the declarations of independence by the former Soviet republics Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, the region descended into a plethora of violent conflicts. The violence ended with ceasefires in the early 1990s, safeguarded by international monitoring missions, but political solutions remained elusive. For a long time, these conflicts were therefore regarded as “frozen“. Their negative impact on daily politics in South Caucasus, on development in the various countries and sub-regions and on neighbourly relations was generally underestimated. Then in August 2008, the conflicts over South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia escalated, not only culminating in a war between Georgia and Russia but also reawakening fears of an East-West confrontation that most people had assumed had been overcome. There are also numerous links between the crises in Georgia and in Armenia/Azerbaijan. As before, these conflict dynamics threaten to destabilise the entire region.
Against this background, FriEnt would like to sharpen the focus on the multi-faceted nature and interdependence of the conflicts in South Caucasus, promote expert dialogue on development and peace policy approaches and strategies, and contribute to networking between the various state and civil society actors.