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Civilitas’s Young Professional Fellow Accomplishes Research on Migration

Analysis / Armenia

Civilitas Foundation’s research fellow Irena Grigoryan, who has been conducting research since December 2013 as part of the Open Society Foundation’s Young Professional Development Program, has successfully accomplished her study.

The results of her study “Return and Other Forms of In-Migration in Armenia: Overview of Policies and Practices” will be sent to all institutions engaged in migration policy-making and program implementation, as well as other researchers working in the field. Civilitas will continue discussing both the issue of in-migration policy-making and the recommendations endorsed by Irena in her study.

The study rightfully observes that the topic of emigration receives a large share of public attention and concern and the grand narratives of media and political debates are woven around the escalating scale of emigration from the country and the threats of depopulation.

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Before and After Kazan...

Analysis / Armenia
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The meeting of Armenia's and Azerbaijan's presidents, in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia, on June 24, did not produce the hoped-for signed document on the basic principles that are to lead to a fuller document leading to a peaceful resolution of what is now a two-decades long conflict. The Armenian side, which won the military battles, continues to insist that there is no alternative to a negotiated solution. The Azerbaijani side talks about its increased military budget. In this context, the Kazan meeting was both a source of hope and cynicism. The Civilitas Foundation hosted two roundtable discussions with Caucasus analysts on the expectations and the realities. The six -- three from within Armenia, Alexander Iskandaryan of the Caucasus Institute, Historian Vahram Ter-Matevosyan and Tevan Poghosyan of the International Center for Human Development, and three from international organizations, Liz Fuller of Radio Free Europe, Laurence Broers of Conciliation Resources and Lawrence Sheets of the International Crisis Group -- presented their thoughts as did former Minsk Group American co-Chair Carey Cavanaugh. This pilot program is one of the types of programs being planned for the soon-to-be launched news and research-based live internet channel.
 

Pawning in order to survive

Analysis / Armenia
inflationThe Armenian Statistical Service March report on Armenia’s economic activity is evidence that Armenia is not out of the woods of the economic crisis. Following 2009’s 14.3 percent decline – the second biggest drop in the world – it could have been expected that two years on, when the world has already come out of the crisis, our own economy would be growing at least 5 to 6 percent, year to year.  Instead, it appears that Armenia’s economy in March 2011 grew not at all compared to the same period last year.

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Vartan Oskanian on the Coalition's Statement

Analysis / Armenia

MHM15642_copyThe ruling coalition’s announcement highlights the authorities’ disregard of democracy, elections and the public will.  The ruling coalition has openly declared that in the upcoming parliamentary elections they are not prepared to do what political forces are fundamentally meant to do: that is, to enter into open competition

 

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Who Boycotts NATO?

Analysis / Armenia

IMG_7774_copyPresident Serzh Sargsyan’s failure to go to Lisbon was an additional foreign policy blunder and an involuntary sign that Armenia’s diplomacy has accepted defeat. Acting upset and boycotting the NATO summit will not bring Armenia any diplomatic dividends. The practitioners of Armenia’s foreign policy should have done their best to avoid an unacceptable statement on Nagorno-Karabakh.

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The Athens proposals: Armenia faces a difficult choice

Analysis / Armenia

Azerbaijan’s minister of foreign affairs has found generally acceptable the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs’ new version of the principles for the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, proposed last December in Greece. This is the first occasion since 1997 that Baku has found the mediators’ proposal acceptable.

Now, it is Armenia’s turn and it will be difficult for Armenia to say "Yes" to the version that took shape first in Krakow in July 2009, then in Athens at the end of 2009 and then in Sochi on January 25, 2010, because in contrast to the 2007 Madrid proposals, not only is the right of the people of Nagorno Karabakh to self-determination very vague, but in terms of removing the consequences of the conflict, Azerbaijan is at an advantage.

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Contradictions Obvious in Armenia-Turkey Protocols

Analysis / Caucasus

DEMEANING SIGNING FOR DEMEANING PROTOCOLS: On Saturday, October 10, we witnessed two consequential but sadly conflicting events. One was the signing of the miscalculated and ill-constructed Armenia-Turkey protocols, despite great domestic and international concern and opposition among Armenians. The second was President Sargsyan’s last-minute address to the Armenian people, issued just hours ahead of the scheduled signing, the content of which was directly and unabashedly contradictory to the content of the protocols.

Indeed, so different are the two that it can even be said that the president’s arguments were the best reasons to reject the protocols. The address insisted that there are irrefutable realities and we have undeniable rights; the protocols, on the other hand, question the first and eliminate the second. Armenia, without cause and without necessity, conceded its historic rights, both regarding genocide recognition and what the address so justly called 'hayrenazrkum' – a denial and dispossession of our patrimony.

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Consequences of Armenia-Turkey Protocols

Analysis / Caucasus

Questions That Need Answers: The Diaspora was loud, forceful and often not even civil when it delivered its message to President Serzh Sargsyan during his five-city visit intended to explain the government’s position on the protocols and ostensibly to rally support.

Paris_Protest_IWhat began inauspiciously in Paris continued in New York, Los Angeles and Beirut, and concluded in Rostov, albeit more mildly. At the end, one thing is clear. The organizers miscalculated. The content and the intensity of the reactions, responses and reception were different from what was customary and what was expected.

As a result, the government’s – more specifically, the president’s – message was not effective. The consequence of all of this is that the Diaspora is not on board. The Armenian public was already not collectively on board. Yet this is a policy and an action that requires solid support from a people who have lost much and who therefore believe they have much to lose still.

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Back to Basics

Analysis / Armenia

Armenia’s double-digit economic decline continues, and is approaching 20 percent. The question in everyone’s mind is how long this drop will continue and whether the government’s policies are effective or sufficient to stop and eventually reverse it.

Today there are two substantial problems with the government’s response to this economic situation. The first is that the government’s guiding document, the budget adopted for 2009, is obsolete. The document is based on 9 percent economic growth while today we are experiencing 18 percent decline. There is a 27 percent discrepancy in the budget. Such a distorted document cannot serve as a blueprint or even a simple guideline for the government’s economic programs.

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Calling a Spade a Spade

Analysis / Caucasus
Tower On Armenia and Turkey BorderAttempts to analyze the present state of Armeno-Turkish relations are based on one of two hypotheses.
The first is that Turkey will not open its border with Armenia without a Karabagh settlement or progress toward one. In short, it won't open the border without Azerbaijan's assent. For the proponents of this theory, the signing of the August 31 protocols is a nightmarish development: Those documents have given Turkey, in writing, everything it had wanted of Armenia since Armenia's independence but had been unable to gain.

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Vulgarity Versus Political Debate

Analysis / Armenia
The political debate that should have taken place over whether and how Armenia’s delegation to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly can and should interact with the delegations of Azerbaijan and Turkey has not taken place. Instead, we have been witness to inappropriate – that’s a polite way of saying vulgar and insulting – assessments of the Armenian parliamentarian involved.

One wonders if a male parliamentarian had sought the support of Turkish and Azerbaijani parliamentarians on a resolution regarding Armenia’s domestic issues,  how would the political elite have reacted? Parliamentarian Zaruhi Postanjian is a woman, a member of the Zharangutyun (Heritage) party and a vocal, committed human rights advocate. Her political steps can be debated. Her personal life, patriotism and gender ought not.

It is at our peril that Armenia avoids political debate, sidesteps real discussion about the ever-tightening political situation in our region, especially vis-à-vis Armenia’s neighbors.  Offending those whose domestic policies are different, drawing fezzes on the heads of those whose policies towards our neighbors is perceived as too tolerant -- all this means foregoing political consensus in favor of imposed policy. There are social implications, too. Striking at the dignity of half of Armenia's population means women and girls will be even less willing and prepared to help build a country.

All because we refuse to get involved in the hard work of debating policy and articulating our vision of our future.
 

Paying a Price

Analysis / Armenia
On June 19, the National Assembly, in a special session voted 98 to one (and three abstentions) to accept the President’s proposal regarding an amnesty for those in prison. Although it is easy to assume that this proposal is aimed at finding a face-saving way to release the opposition leaders who have been detained, it is not at all obvious that this is the final intent of this decision that will apply to those who have been sentenced to five years or less, and are not repeat offenders.

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Offering Children More Than Balloons

Analysis / Armenia

The first of June is observed as International Children’s Day in many parts of the world. Armenia, too, celebrates its young people and minor citizens on that day, when the public is reminded of its responsibility to protect the rights of children.
 
This year, Children’s Day fell on the day after the first-ever election for a Yerevan City Council. The run-up to the elections and the voting itself were unfortunately replete with the chronic issues of lack of transparency and voter confidence.

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Rethinking Development and Democracy

Analysis / Caucasus
Just when formerly communist countries had begun to accept that capitalism brings with it inequalities and harsh competition, the financial meltdown that turned into a global economic crisis pushed the developed world itself to question the premises, excesses and dangers of laissez-faire capitalism. The crisis brought on soul-searching everywhere. The key question to consider here in the Caucasus is whether the crisis is, at its core, solely economic or actually political.

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Time to Take Stock

Analysis / Caucasus

Turkish-Armenian relations have to be viewed on two levels: process and content. It’s probably natural to think that to achieve progress in content, a process must take place. But not in the case of Turkish-Armenian relations. For Turkey, the process itself has always been an end, not a means. On the one hand, Turks clearly realize their conditions -- that Armenia abandon international efforts at genocide recognition, explicitly abandon territorial claims of Turkey, and concede on the Nagorno Karabakh issue, even partially -- would be unacceptable for Armenia.

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Turkey’s Missed Opportunity

Analysis / Turkey

Turkey, sadly, seems to be falling into that worst of all diplomatic habits of never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity. But this failure of will and vision is only breeding greater regional instability.

In the two weeks before US President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Turkey, there was almost universal optimism that Turkey would open its border with Armenia. But Obama came and went, and the border remained closed.

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The Oil Market Turnaround Is Damaging for Azerbaijan

Analysis / Caucasus

Some hydrocarbon exporting countries are suffering more than others from the decline in oil prices for economic, and sometimes political reasons, too. Azerbaijan belongs to the latter category. The fall in prices is occurring just as the country’s production is on the verge of peaking. If prices continue to flag, they could deprive Baku of what should have been its golden oil age. Unlike other producer countries, Azerbaijan extracts the lion’s share of its oil from a single group of fields: the ones being developed and exploited by the AIOC consortium, i.e. Azeri, Chirag and Deep Guneshli (ACG). The AIOC’s production plateau risks lasting for only a short period of time. As a result, it is the entire Azeri production that will decline, as its profile cannot be enhanced by contributions from other fields, unlike countries that have a large number of fields.

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The War in Georgia and Its International Consequences

Analysis / Caucasus

Let's give a broader context to what has happened in the region and try to address what has happened.

It is true that this is first a conflict between Russia and Georgia. And so the immediate consequences were first felt by the population here. The S. Ossetian population was effected most. The Georgian population, too in Gori, and elsewhere was seriously effected. The specific physical consequences were of course difficult. And, relations between Georgia and Russia were even more strained.

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The Most Important Challenge Facing Us

Analysis / Armenia

This is my first public appearance since I left the office of foreign minister.

As I was gathering my thoughts about what to say, I realized that we've come a long long way these 17 years.

If I was still in office, I would tell you about Armenia's successes and challenges. Today, as a private citizen, I am going to do the same. But the reason I wanted to be a private citizen, is to be more outspoken about and to work for all that still needs to be done. I believe that my responsibility, our responsibility together, to Armenia and its future is the same whether one is in government or not.

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Shared Lives

Analysis / Turkey

In My Grandmother (Verso Books, 2008) Fethiye Cetin recounts the life of her grandmother, and mine. Sort of. It turns out we were the cousins divided at birth.

A young girl, living in Anatolia, Eastern Turkey, separated, violently, from parents at an age too young to remember. That’s the story of her grandmother. That’s the story of my grandmother, too. Neither had schooling. Neither had a profession, other than grandmother.

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The Caucasus Moment

Analysis / Caucasus

Although we could see the clouds gathering, the recent Georgia-Russia confrontation shook us all. No one had allowed themselves to believe that mixed messages and complicated agendas would come to such a head, causing so much devastation, loss of life and geopolitical chaos.

The South Ossetia conflict should not be viewed solely through the larger prism of Georgia-Russia relations. This is an ethnic conflict, after all, and one of several in the Caucasus. It is a warning to the international community: If pipeline safety is a concern now, then imagine the very real dangers that an Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict over Nagorno Karabakh would create.

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Oskanian Reacts to President's Strasbourg Statement

Analysis / Armenia
coeIn the President’s speech in Strasbourg at the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, and especially in the questions and answers that followed, there were many misrepresentations, but three in particular must be disowned by the administration.   

First, to claim that Armenia has not recognized the independence of Karabakh because Armenia accepts the principle of territorial integrity is to misrepresent Armenia’s position of the last 20 years, including his own years.

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Oskanian: Call for Action on Hunger Strike

Analysis / Armenia
VOToday, I once again visited Raffi Hovannisian, former Foreign Minister of the Republic of Armenia and founder of the Heritage Party, who has been on a hunger strike for the past eight days. In speaking with him, it becomes clear that the leader of one segment of the opposition is determined to continue this political protest as an expression of his disagreement with current policies. Nevertheless, with every passing day, the hunger strike is affecting his health – the effects of which are visibly apparent.

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The Caucasus Imperative

Analysis / Caucasus
_HWK6985YEREVAN – Summit season is upon us. Following the G-20 meetings in Seoul and the NATO summit in Portugal, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will hold its first summit in 10 years in Astana, Kazakhstan’s spanking new capital city.

This is only the fourth post-Cold War summit convened by the OSCE. The first was held in 1994 in Budapest, the year the group transformed itself into a new, post-détente organization. There were two more, in Lisbon in 1996 and in Istanbul in 1999.

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A Reset in the Caucasus

Analysis / Caucasus

YEREVAN – Will Turkey’s current turmoil between Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdoğan and the country’s powerful army complicate and delay the country’s boldest initiatives in years – the moves to address decades-old tensions with both Armenians and Kurds?

Restructuring the role of Turkey’s army is vital, but if Turkey cannot follow through with the Armenian and Kurdish openings, the country’s own domestic situation, its relations with the two peoples, as well as tensions in the Caucasus, will undoubtedly worsen. Of the several flashpoints in the region, including that between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the tension between Armenians and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh is among the most challenging.

As to Georgia and Russia, the disproportionate size, weight, and power on one side are enough to deter any return to violence. Moreover, there are no entangling alliances complicating the matter.

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Armenia-Turkey Protocols Signed

Analysis / Caucasus
First Step – Capitulation: The ill-constructed protocols signaling the beginning of formal relations between Armenia and Turkey received an uncertain and inauspicious signing in Zurich. The parties themselves and the representatives of the world powers, all were present but all remained silent. When such a ‘historic’ moment goes by with none of the sides or the witnesses able to say anything acceptable to the rest, either about the long-awaited event itself or the content of the documents being signed – it becomes obvious that these documents are in fact full of the contradictions and expectations that do not engender the serious trust and respect necessary for stable and respectful relations between countries.
Those within and outside Armenia who support this process label all those against it as nationalists, extremists or those who categorically reject all relations with Turkey. But I, and others like me, who have for decades wanted and continue to believe in the importance of Armenia-Turkey rapprochement are neither extremists or nationalists.
We are not afraid to recognize the enormous challenges of creating a new relationship in the context of overwhelming political, psychological, practical challenges. It is for fundamental political and security reasons that we oppose these protocols. We want the documents that define our reciprocal relationship to be respectful, farsighted and most of all, sustainable. These protocols are not. We want the documents to define a 21st century relationship that is as honest about past grievances as it is about contemporary political realities. These protocols are not.
Instead of an acknowledgement of the historic divide and mutual distrust that separates us, or at the very least circumventing that topic, the documents place one-sided conditions and receive one-sided concessions. Normalization has thus begun with the capitulation of the Armenian side.
Indeed these protocols – barely signed and not even ratified – have already damaged, possibly irrevocably, Armenia’s positions on the three most significant issues of national security and national identity.
First, they will hamper the resolution of the Karabakh conflict. The reason for this is simple. Any Armenian insistence of no-linkage between Armenia-Turkey and Armenian-Azerbaijani is not credulous. The linkage between the Turkey border opening and the resolution of the Karabakh conflict was clear from the beginning. Now, it’s inarguable. If the presence of the Minsk Group co-chair countries’ foreign ministers at the signing wasn’t enough, there were the last minute frantic attempts at the signing ceremony to prevent Turkey from speaking of that linkage at that forum. But the coup de grace was the Turkish Prime Minister’s unequivocal conditional announcement the day after, buttressed by the strength of his ruling party whose meeting had just concluded, that the Turkish Parliament won’t ratify these protocols until territories are returned.
Any acceptable resolution will require certain compromise on the Armenian side – including compromise on the territories surrounding Karabakh. Many would say that such compromise would have been necessary eventually regardless of Armenia-Turkey relations. This is true. But in this conditional environment, when Turkey at every opportunity refers to the return of territories without the resolution of Karabakh’s status, even the most reasonable compromise that Armenia would have been prepared to make will be more difficult for this or any administration to make, because it will be viewed domestically as a concession made under pressure, in exchange for open borders, not for the independence of Karabakh. Even if the Turkish parliament ratifies the protocols and opens the border with the mere expectation that Armenians will return those territories in the near future, still, in the context of the forceful and repeated admonitions by the Turkish leadership, those expectations will themselves become conditions that the border opening was in exchange for possible future concessions.
Second, the nature of the genocide debate has been deeply altered. The ink on the protocols was not even dry before major news outlets and international figures began to couch their terminology, retreating from the use of the term genocide, citing the protocol’s provisions that a commission will determine what the events of 1915 really were. In other words, we have offered the international community the formalization of official Turkey’s position. If earlier, Armenians and international experts had defined the political and historical events as genocide, while the official Turkish side insisted on denying the term and the history behind the term, today, the official Turkish “doubts” have been sanctioned and will internationalize the denial of the events, their causes and consequences, and thus strengthen the historic and demographic status quo. Armenians will now be dragged into a new cycle of denial – struggling against the machinery of a state bent on rewriting history and consolidating the consequences of genocide.
Finally, this document succeeds in touching what had heretofore been a dormant but sensitive issue – the subject of borders and territorial claims. No Armenian administration had ever made such a claim of Turkey. Today, this sensitive issue has become a front-line issue. When Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says these protocols reaffirm the provisions of the Lausanne Treaty, that means the issue of reparation and compensation is now on the table. I do not demand my ancestral home in Marash, but if that demand were really so illusive, then why is Turkey forcing me to renounce my historic links with that home?
It is important to understand that the claim on land is not merely a sentimental issue having to do with Armenian properties in Turkey 100 years ago. The issue of lands is also an important element of the Karabakh conflict. If a mere 100 years later, Turkey is able to formalize and legalize its control of lands taken forcibly, then what’s to prevent Armenians from waiting if that offers them the opportunity to formalize their control of the lands surrounding Karabakh?
On Saturday, October 10, we heard President Sargsyan’s address to the Armenian people, issued just hours ahead of the scheduled signing, the content of which was directly contradictory to the content of the protocols. It can even be said that the president’s arguments were the best reasons to reject the protocols. The address insisted that there are irrefutable realities and we have undeniable rights; the protocols on the other hand question the first and eliminate the second. Armenia, without cause and without necessity, conceded its historic rights, both regarding genocide recognition and what the address so justly called ‘hayrenazrkum’ – a denial and dispossession of our patrimony.
The administration said one thing and signed another. Normalization of Armenia-Turkey relations, as an idea even, has been discredited.
The processes – both Armenia-Turkey, and the Karabakh peace talks – are going to become more complicated and more intense, and not at all to our advantage. If Armenia does not bring this process to a halt, and return to square one, the consequences will be grave not just for the administration, but for the Armenian people.

First Step – Capitulation: The ill-constructed protocols signaling the beginning of formal relations between Armenia and Turkey received an uncertain and inauspicious signing in Zurich. The parties themselves and the representatives of the world powers, all were present but all remained silent. When such a ‘historic’ moment goes by with none of the sides or the witnesses able to say anything acceptable to the rest, either about the long-awaited event itself or the content of the documents being signed – it becomes obvious that these documents are in fact full of the contradictions and expectations that do not engender the serious trust and respect necessary for stable and respectful relations between countries.

Those within and outside Armenia who support this process label all those against it as nationalists, extremists or those who categorically reject all relations with Turkey. But I, and others like me, who have for decades wanted and continue to believe in the importance of Armenia-Turkey rapprochement are neither extremists or nationalists.

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More On The Protocols

Analysis / Turkey
The current Turkey-Armenia Protocols, with their ambiguous wording, are unfavorable to the interests of the Armenian state. What are the motives of the latter? Opening the Turkish Armenian border, while separating Turkey-Armenia relations from a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

Apparently, to substitute for this issue not being mentioned, Armenia has conceded for a "sub-commission on the historical dimension to implement a dialogue with the aim to restore mutual confidence between the two nations, including an impartial scientific examination of the historical records and archives to define existing problems and formulate recommendations, in which Armenian, Turkish as well as Swiss and other international experts shall take part.” Such wording should be unacceptable for an Armenian government worthy of the name. What is the goal of Turkish diplomacy, whose excellence cannot be denied, as demonstrated its progress during the recent years, with the impulsion of Recep Erdogan, and reach the following: 
- A recognition of existing borders between Turkey and Armenia; 
- Avoid at all costs that the term genocide is used for the events of 1915-1923.  
- Work in agreement with Azerbaijan for the return of Nagorno-Karabakh under the sovereignty of Baku.

This last point is implicit in the protocols, as Armenia and Turkey reaffirm "their commitment, in their bilateral and international relations, to respect and ensure respect for the principles of equality, sovereignty, non interference in internal affairs of other states, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders”. (underline is mine).

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Armenians Clash with the French Police

Analysis / Caucasus
It was not supposed to be this way. Rapprochement or normalization between Armenia and Turkey was supposed to be a normal process, signaling a historic new beginning. Two states, signing mutually acceptable documents, respecting each other’s past and intending to share a future.

Sargsyan_Paris_Protest_IIIInstead, we have been presented documents which reject the past, which endanger a stable future. This, at least in part because the processes were co-opted for domestic political purposes.

In Turkey, a popular government, eager to improve its place in the region and its image in the world, decided to open the border with Armenia, but by exacting a price from Armenia.

In Armenia, an unpopular government, eager to improve its own image in the world and its place at home, decided to take the risky step of pursuing closer relations, but without considering the costs.

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Getting This Wrong Will Be Unforgivable

Analysis / Caucasus

Sargsyan and GulWe are at a crossroads in our history. We have on the table the first bilateral document that the independent sovereign Republic of Armenia intends to sign with the Republic of Turkey. This is an unprecedented process that is far-reaching and irreversible.

Yet, the debate on the issue is going in the wrong direction. It is hugely insulting that high-level government officials can be this dismissive and trivializing on a matter that is so critical for our people.

There is no sense whatsoever in telling us that what we see is not what we get.

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Agenda For National Mobilization

Analysis / Armenia

The topic of national mobilization is urgent today. Of course, given our size – small territory, small population – and given Turkey’s and Azerbaijan’s enormous capabilities and sophisticated machinery, we have always used all national and international resources albeit with varying intensity, scope, depth and effectiveness, but nevertheless we have used them.

Today, the changing circumstances around us, and the new challenges emerging before us, make the need for this kind of new mobilization more timely and necessary.

Let me cite four major reasons for this kind of mobilization at this time.

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Rule of Law or Rule of Convenience?

Analysis / Armenia

It is a difficult time. What should have been an act of public courage is instead being viewed as an expedient political maneuver.

Most of those arrested and charged with involvement in the public events on and around March 1 and the violence which followed have been released. This would have been welcome, had it taken place in April last year, immediately upon the President’s inauguration. It did not. President Sargsyan took no such step.

Such a step would have been welcome anytime during this difficult, polarized, tense year. It did not happen. President Sargsyan did not resort to declaring amnesty until ‘the public urged him to do so.’ This pretense at public responsiveness came days after a disputed mayoral election, and days before another Council of Europe hearing on Armenia’s democratization processes.

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Karabakh: War, Peace, Or BATNA?

Analysis / Caucasus
When Presidents Serzh Sarkisian of Armenia and Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan meet in St. Petersburg, they are expected to reach a breakthrough on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the military phase of which was ended 15 years ago by what has become the world's longest self-maintained cease-fire.

This resolution is expected not just for its own sake, but because it is perceived as a necessary determinant of many other regional processes, including Turkish-Armenian bilateral relations, and even Azerbaijan's relations with Turkey and Russia, among others.

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Beyond Quick Fixes

Analysis / Armenia
Armenia-Turkey relations have dominated public discourse over recent months and understandably so. As a result, our attention has strayed from a topic that is at least equally crucial for our national security – Armenia’s economy.
The new indicators issued by the Armenian Statistical Service make plain that the economy is in free fall. In the first four months of 2009, our GDP declined 9.7% over the same period last year. There is the danger that this will become double-digit decline. Poverty, which had been palpably declining, will now rise according to World Bank projections. Growing unemployment is becoming more visible. Indeed, a full 40 percent of employers foresee further cuts, according to the Economy and Values Research Center.
Armenia is in recession and this can be explained by a series of factors of which the global economic crisis is only one.  

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On the 15th Anniversary of the Ceasefire

Analysis / Armenia
Fifteen years of the longest self-maintained ceasefire in the world offers an unusual opportunity to assess what has happened over this decade and a half and to consider what comes next.

There are two fundamental issues to consider. The first question is whether Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh (and in Armenia) are more secure today than we were when the war stopped. The second issue is what will happen in this no-peace, no-war situation?

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On April 24

Analysis / Turkey

On this April 24, I have come from Armenia where I live and whose citizen I am, through Syria where I was born, to Lebanon where I’ve always felt at home, to say this.

All of us together live in an interdependent world and we should act like it.
All countries live in a global community and we should all sustain it.
All neighbors should cross borders to build cooperation and understanding, not close them and fuel hostility and fear.

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Seeking Solutions Within

Analysis / Armenia

The official statistics released in February simply reiterate the inarguable truth: Armenia is heading towards a recession.

Although these facts are not being hidden, they are not being explained either. The government continues to believe (and rightfully so) in the importance of confidence as a key factor of economic stability and is therefore trying to inspire trust and faith. But it is doing so without basing its oratory and encouragement on economic realities, or without actions which assure the population that steps are being taken to ameliorate the situation.

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Europe Needs a New Security Structure

Analysis / Europe

Two events of great consequence – one throughout the globe and the other in our region – have rattled the world's assumptions in the second half of this year.

The first – the global financial shake-up – has been so broad and so deep that even the lame-duck status of George Bush's presidency proved no obstacle to the leaders of the world's 20 largest economies gathering in mid-November in Washington to discuss cures.

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Russia Tries to Snuff Out Nabucco

Analysis / Caucasus

Russia is poised to strike the final blow to the European Nabucco gasline project, by making the most of its renewed influence in the Caucasus after the “five-day war” in Georgia. This is part of an all-out diplomatic drive launched by Moscow, in the aim of luring Azerbaijan into its sphere of influence. Gazprom’s purchase offer for the Azeri gas, which in principle is intended for the Nabucco project, is a central piece in this strategy. If it succeeds, the Europeans will see the main potential gas source for Nabucco slip from their grasp.
 

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A Neighborly Option for Iran

Analysis / Caucasus

Once again, the issue of bombing or sanctioning Iran has resurfaced. For years, debate about Iran has oscillated between two bad alternatives. Some are convinced that a nuclear Iran is the worst of all possible scenarios, worse even than the fall-out from a pre-emptive strike. But neither a nuclear-armed Iran nor air strikes against it are wise options, certainly not for this region. 

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A Kick-Off for Peace?

Analysis / Turkey

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan's recent invitation to Turkish President Abdullah Gul to visit Yerevan to watch the FIFA football match together was historic. Given the two countries' long-strained relations, this visit would have been remarkable at any time. But coming as it does only one month after the alarming Russian-Georgian confrontation, it may offer real hope that tensions in the volatile Caucasus region can be eased.

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The Civilitas Community shares stories about daily challenges and successes. Today: Lost in Istanbul

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Inside Civilitas

A day by day look at the investigation by the National Security Service into Civilitas's financial and administrative work.

Chronology
Civilitas Statement
National Security Service Statement
The Political Context
Transaction Summary

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Civilitas Library
The Civilitas Foundation Library -- a collection of political, historic and philosophical works -- open to all who need it. Do you want to donate a volume?
See the Civilitas Amazon wish list.
Our Projects
The project aims to enhance the visibility and increase the resource mobilization possibilities of civil society organizations (CSOs) operating in Armenia by designing, developing and maintaining a publicly accessible database of all active NGOs, foundations, associations, and international NGOs and organizations working in Armenia.

Civilitas Around the Web
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Civilitas Polls
With the support of Norwegian and German governments, a few months ago the Civilitas Foundation began to conduct polls throughout Armenia. The results of the polls will be made available to the media and will serve as the topic of public discussions.

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Civilitas Spotlight

 

What can be expected of or for Syria in the immediate future? Can there be justice without peace? Can there be peace without an accounting and without justice? What do Syrians want? What does the international community want?

The guests are

Nicholas Koumjian

International Criminal Law Attorney

Vartan Oskanian

Member of Parliament

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs

 

 
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Civil.am
Civil.am - your guide to civil society activity in Armenia - is a project of the Civilitas Foundation. Take a closer look to better understand what is already being done. Identify potential partners and cooperation possibilities. Support existing programs to increase efficiency. Encourage new programs to foster development.
 
Facts for Thought
Number of theater performances (1) and attendance (2) in Armenia
(1) (2)
2008 2,364 409,500
2009 2,443 367,800
2010 2,331 394,800
2011 2,707 458,900
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Publications