In the Southern Caucasus and the Black Sea Region
Edited By Ghia Nodia and Christoph H. Stefes
This is a book about a very difficult though diverse and fascinating region, the Southern Caucasus. This part of the world is also viewed as part of the larger Black Sea area. Why would we consider it a “difficult” region? Do not all countries or regions, including those that are usually considered relatively successful and orderly, face critical problems? For instance, do not the European Union’s multiple crises of recent years make Europe a “difficult region”?
Undoubtedly. Yet the Southern Caucasus, which emerged as a region in its own right in the early 1990’s from the debris of the Soviet Union, stands out for the variety and intensity of conflicts (including violent conflicts), instability, and economic hardship. The rest of the world therefore often sees the South Caucasus as a source of disorder and problems that sometimes require urgent intervention (as, for instance, in August 2008, when a war broke out between Georgia and Russia). It is a region that always needs attention, support and preventive action so that problems do not get out of hand and spill over into neighbouring countries and regions. There are, of course, other, more positive reasons to be interested in the South Caucasus. One can easily be attracted by its diverse cultures, ancient history, spectacular landscapes, rich cuisine, heart-warming hospitality, and even sometimes economic opportunity. Nevertheless, for people outside of and unfamiliar with the region, conflict and disorder are usually the first things that come to mind when they hear...
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