Monday, January 30, 2012

Week 22-29 Jan.: The right thing...

... at the wrong time.
At the beginning of the week Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev and Armenian one Serzh Sargsyan met in Sochi, guests of the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in the framework of the periodic endeavor to move a step onward, on the way of a political resolution of the Karabakh issue. Or at least to prevent violence to spiral up, more likely.

At the end of the meeting the joint statement reads: "Signifying Peace treaty development President of the Republic of Armenia and President of the Republic of Azerbaijan have expressed commitment to accelerate the agreement of Basic principles considering the work done so far."

But, few lines below, it's clarified what are the feasible measures that can be implemented at present: "In development of Sochi joint declaration adopted on March 5, 2011, presidents of the Republic of Armenia, Republic of Azerbaijan and Russian Federation approved co-chairs’ report on launching investigation mechanisms in the contact line, which they have co-developed with the personal representative of OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and recommended to continue that work."

The meeting took place just before Armenian militarist rhetoric would reach its pick.
The 28th of January marks the anniversary of the foundation of the Armenian Army. The twentieth anniversary was pompously celebrated, and Serzh Sargsyan declared:
"Twenty years ago, we turned the wheel of history. It that critical time, our nation reinstated its independent statehood and took total responsibility for the protection of its rights and national interests. At the moment of that historic rise, the creation of the Armenian army was one of the most momentous achievements.

There was an imperative to thwart the imminent danger of a genocide looming over the Armenian people and, particularly, over the Armenians of Artsakh. That vital episode of the army creation was necessitated by the time itself

Somehow, the wording of the statements isn't going in the same direction... It wouldn't have been bad to end the celebration with the wish "NEVER AGAIN". But such wish - apparently - was not openly expressed.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Week 15-22 Jan.: Into the wild

They have planted the wind and will harvest the whirlwind.
Who are they? They are those who put the base for the South Ossetian mess to develop, from one twist to another.

In November the elections, probably won by Alla Djoeva.
As her victory was then not recognized, Tskhinvali entered a deadlock. New elections were called, and Alla was denied to run again.
The then president Kokoity picked up the chance to try to spin out his mandate for other three months.

So badly did he and his krysha ruled the country, that he had managed to mine his popularity and foreign support to the extent that to kick him off an agreement was reached.
A gentlemen agreement, between a gentle-lady and no-gentle- men, apparently.
According to such agreement, Alla was to run for renew elections in March, if/and only if, Kokoity left and his bravi - chief prosecutor and chairman of the supreme court- were removed, as well.
Alla'a supporters returned home. Squares empty, no snow revolution, back to election campaign.

And here manoeuvring started again: Kokoity's party, the majority in the Parliament, voted down the resignation of the two bravi, on the 14th of December.
One month of unofficial negotiations, power struggle, all and more. Eventually on the 17th of January the new twist: Alla doesn't recognize as legitimate the "re-run" elections, she reclaims her victory and urges the acting president to step down.

So, as she doesn't recognize the elections, she won't be allowed to present the documents for candidacy.
Back to the before-agreement positions, but with a variation: now Jambolat Tedeev, who was not allowed to run in November and who cast his support to Alla, announces that he plans to run.
And - frankly speaking - he's popular and powerful enough to have hopes, if...

...if the wild won't get wilder.
He's a man who creates problem.
If for South Ossetian krysha Alla was too much, how much is Jambolat?

Wasn't it easier, possibly, to deal with her and to accept election results, instead of twisting into the wild?

Monday, January 16, 2012

A few infos...

... about my recently published book, Georgia, twenty years after USSR.
On line on the Portal on Central Eastern and Balcan Europe. Chapter-by-chapter short résumé available

Monday, January 9, 2012

Week 02-08 Dec.: Peace at home, peace in the world

According to Azerbaijani sources, in 2011, 774 violations of the ceasefire have been recorded, which resulted in 19 casualties.
2011 was one of the worst year, since the suspension of fights thanks to the ceasefire.
If the trend goes on in 2012 - as it seems to be the case - this should be called an un-ceasefire.
As suggested before, there's a strong need for additional measures of conflict prevention on the line of contact, from a hotline to a most desirable demilitarized area.

And it's hardly what can be inferred Sargsyan suggested during his "new year visit" to Karabakh, as a previous Karabakhi commander.
And Parliamentary elections are getting closer. No one would like to stir an unpopular topic.
But is the escalation of violence along the line of contact popular?

As for the elections: should they be expected to be just selections?
Probably not. The ruling Republican Party has not a pair challenger, but still it's quite predictable that there will be more room for the opposition, in the preferences of voters.
How much it's hard to say.
Some may collect the fruits of everyday stubborn work of party-to-people meetings, like Raffi Hovanissyan.
Some, the fruits of mass mobilizations and "radical" opposition, like Levon Ter Petrosyan.

Whatever, it should be welcome to have a more representative and mixed parliament. It would help to share responsibilities (it the oppositions manage to have something more than 6 seats or the like), and so to defuse political tension. And to have someone - hopefully- able to restrain the power of oligarchs' lobbies which crystallized around the Republican party in more than a decade of power.
Society has started some time ago to resent from this perceived boundless power of the oligarchs. In long term, this might be destabilizing.

So far the fight is much more the electoral law, which the majority has not intention to change.
And speculations about how elections will be free and fair, and if a 2008 after election scenario is possible now.
Use of force before Presidential elections is not advisable, on the side of a potential candidate. Sargsyan may have this concept clear in mind, after the Russian example in December...

Is it going to happen ANY change?
ANY hope to stop the daily violation of the ceasefire?

Someone else (really else...) said: Yurtta barış dünyada barış

Monday, January 2, 2012

Week 26 Dec.-1 Jan 2012: Huge expectations!

A new year started, full of hopes and expectations.

In Georgia the political debate in the last week of the year was dominated by the adoption of the amendments to the electoral code.
According to the Draft Opinion (DO) expressed by the Venice Commission of Democracy through Law and OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the amendments are source of concerns. Local organizations share this opinion and called the president not to sign the law.
No way.

Paragraph 67 of the DO underlines that "Article 45(4) of the draft Code prohibits aliens from participating in election campaigns. This prohibition is also problematic. The rights of freedom of expression and association, according to Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights, belong to all
persons within the jurisdiction of a member State. Even if non-citizens (stateless and alien residents) do not have the right to vote, they do have the right to freely express their opinion, associate and participate in political debates during election campaigns. Such a clause limits fundamental rights of non-citizens residing in Georgia and conflicts with the basic human rights protected by the regional and global international conventions recognised by Council of Europe member states and OSCE states. The OSCE/ODIHR and Venice Commission recommend that this prohibition be deleted from Article 45(4).

Bidzina Ivanishvili may be prevented not only to run for elections but also to turn his movement into a party.

President Saakashvili spent the new year eve with soldier. And he was most probably the more "militant" among them. He thus addressed his army " [...] Of course our country has a lot to worry about. A part of it is occupied by the enemy.[...] We are meeting tomorrow with the hope that we will free our country and help it stand up proudly. We will never kneel before the enemy and those whose desire is to destroy Georgia. I would like to recall our guys who have fallen. Everyone in this lineup, we are all soldiers."
These his words, in the Military base of Adlia, before meeting the Spanish singer Julio Iglesias, and before adding, in his TV New Year address to the Nation "I am absolutely sure that the empire will inevitably fall, Georgia will eventually be liberated and I want us to establish the tradition of congratulating each other [New Year] by saying ‘next year in Sokhumi".

Huge expectations...