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.
Heinrich Böll Stiftung | 2015