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Security, Democracy and Development

In the Southern Caucasus and the Black Sea Region

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Edited By Ghia Nodia and Christoph H. Stefes

Since the early 1990s, the southern Caucasus and its larger neighbourhood, the Black Sea region, have experienced deep and sometimes painful transformations, including bloody conflicts. They have also become an arena of geopolitical and geoeconomic competition between great powers. This has attracted growing attention from social scientists. In this volume, authors from universities in Europe, the United States and the southern Caucasus focus on several of the most topical problems of the region, particularly how nascent states and societies grapple with the results of unresolved ethno-territorial conflicts and how they try to construct new civil societies from the cultural mosaic that they inherited from their Soviet past. How do elements of democracy and autocracy combine in the political regimes of the new states? Can the West have an effect on their internal development and, if so, how? How do the rich mineral resources of the Caspian region influence the development of the region’s economies and define the geopolitical standing of these countries?
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Citizenship or Ethnicity? National Identity and Insecurity in Southern Caucasia

Introduction: National Ideology, Identity and Securitization

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ABSTRACT: This chapter analyses the interaction of insecurity and conflict with the various national ideologies and identities of the three recognized South Caucasus states – Armenia, Azerbaijan Georgia – through the Copenhagen School’s concept of securitization. The reified historiographies and resultant overlapping territorial identities within Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s national ideologies are seen as locking both states in a near-existential conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh through mirroring and fundamentally incompatible security narratives. By contrast, Georgia’s civic approach to national ideology following the Rose Revolution is seen as having offered some initial prospect for conflict resolution, at least before the 2008 war, by offering the possibility for an inclusive, multicultural Georgian identity.

KEYWORDS: South Caucasus, nationalism, security, ideology, identity, democracy, securitization theory, conflict

“Ancient hatreds”: this by now discredited myth of premodern attitudes lying behind the many ethnic conflagrations that plagued the Eurasian landmass following the fall of Communism has had a remarkable staying power in the popular mind (Bowen, 1996; Kaufman, 2001; Majtorovic, 1997). What is perhaps most remarkable is its persistence within the very societies involved in those confrontations: to various degrees, Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, Kosovars, Armenians, Azeris, Georgians, Abkhaz and Ossets tend to construct their own modern wars in terms of a long-term, Manichean battle for survival spanning centuries, including times when the very concepts of “nationhood” or “ethnicity” were of little political significance.

As this chapter will argue, in the South Caucasus at least, this naturalization of ethnic hatreds is intimately linked to the...

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