Monday round-up of headlines from the Caucasus
● Georgian opposition activists took to the streets again late last week, accusing the government of “having sold out national interests to Russia”.
The protest followed a new round of regular informal negotiations between Tbilisi and Moscow, and came in response to the Russian negotiators’ post-meeting statement saying that the sides had “reiterated their shared commitment to overcoming the negative consequences of the well-known anti-Russian provocation organized by the Georgian nationalists”, a reference to the violently dispersed anti-Kremlin, anti-government protests in Tbilisi on June 20, 2019.
● The backdrop for the scandal is the opposition’s continuing boycott: a month on since the parliamentary election, it still refuses to accept the results and says it won’t be entering the parliament.
Does this mean Georgia will be, for the first time in its independent history, stuck with a one-party legislature? Would that be legal? And how will the parliament’s performance be affected if only the 90 MPs from the Georgian Dream ruling party participate in it? – answers to all these questions are here.
● In the meantime, four of the eight Georgian opposition parties participating in the boycott have made it clear they are willing to receive government funding.
They need the money to continue to resist the “regime of oligarch [and informal leader of Georgia Bidzina] Ivanishvili”, their representatives explain. Other parties beg to differ.
Abkhazia is abuzz, discussing a new plan for Abkhaz-Russian cooperation signed recently (and, for many, unexpectedly) in Moscow. “There are some points in it which, if implemented, may undermine the sovereignty of independent Abkhazia” – a detailed analysis of the implications from JAMnews’ Abkhaz newsroom.
● “We have entered a new phase of the [Karabakh] conflict resolution, the phase of reconstruction and rehabilitation, and the return to peaceful coexistence,” Azerbaijan’s foreign minister Jeyhun Bayramov said at the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC) member states.
● Meanwhile, a demarcation operation has begun on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, as the sides are trying to divvy up a gold mine in the village of Sotk straddling the new boundaries.
One part of the quarry is located on the territory of Armenia, and the other – on that of the Kalbajar (Karvachar) region, which has, under the terms of the recent ceasefire agreement, came under the control of Azerbaijan.
About 500 million people got sick and up to 100 million died when the Spanish flu raged across the world a hundred years ago. The Caucasus was not spared either. JAMnews’ Rose Hinman browsed through some local newspapers of the time to see how the region coped with the crisis.
And, finally, Covid-19 tally
Armenia: 134,768 confirmed cases, including 2,142 fatalities, and 107,364 recoveries
Georgia: 132,368 confirmed cases, including 1,230 deaths and 110,049 recoveries
Azerbaijan: 118,195 cases. 1,361 people have died, 73,676 others recovered