Monday, March 21, 2011

Week 14-20 March: What’s new?

Once upon the time there were three Empires. One was ruled by the Ottoman Sultan, one by the Russian Czar, one by the Persian Shah. The three Empires had been regional powers for centuries, and they fought each other over the supremacy in the South Caucasus. Parallel powers with parallel problems of poor modernization and socio-political crystallization which eventually turned them from predators into preys.
At the beginning of the XX century they made their last effort of modernization through reforms, becoming constitutional monarchies: the Sultanate in 1908 reintroduce the Constitution, the then Petersburg court in 1905 adopted its first one, while the Peacock’s throne in 1906. In the 20ies and 30ies they carried out harsh processes of modernization, secularization, industrialization to catch up with those external actors that had threatened them seriously – in terms of statehood and sovereignty – during and after the First World War. Thus, again parallel but deeply divided, the backbone of Eurasia searched its new identity and world’s role as Republics.

At the beginning of the XXI century the three States heirs of the Empires found themselves in the backlash of some of the processes they had started during the XX century. Significantly, forced secularization was put at question, with different degrees.

As they still move on, their path may be a bit less parallel than before. Indeed, there seems to be room for cooperation, or tangential routes. Russia and Turkey may have buried the war axe, and –still pragmatically and cautiously – to have assessed each other as possibly reliable partners.

A big Turkish delegation headed by Prime Minister Erdoğan accompanied by seven members of the Government and 200 businessmen visited Moscow last week. Russia will build the first Turkish nuclear power plant, and discussions were held concerning South Stream and Samsun-Ceyan oil pipeline. For Ankara, Eurasia may be le plan B from 2013.

And for the South Caucasus? If the gear moves, the cogs must find a proper place, in order not to crash/not to make the rotating wheels crash.

This concerns Georgia, set between Black Sea Russia and Black Sea Turkey, with two of its Autonomous Republics -Ajara in the South and breakaway Abkhazia in the North- highly economically dependant of Turkey or Russia. Well, Abkhazia much more than just that…
While Baku welcomes the cooperation, Yerevan protested the gift presented during the meeting at the Kremlin: a copy of the Moscow Treaty that definitely harmed Armenian interests.

Armenian interests are a matter of dispute. In the midst of a new wave of political crisis/revolutions, Levon Ter Petrosyan brought again Yerevanits in the streets. Is he still a leader? He had his chance, used it and exhausted it. But he still looks visionary enough to be a leader, probably due to the lack of a new one, as well.
Do Armenians need a new leader? The square appeared ready for something more than Ter Petrosyan can give.

Still, a square never hosts an entire country.
So, no matter how many persons protest, they will never fully represent the whole people’s will and many Armenians may feel much more at ease with continuity than with change.

One wonders if the Government feels at ease, as well.

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