This week's editor

Jeremy Noble, editor

This week Jeremy Noble and the oDR team edit the front page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Moving beyond the squares: anticipating the debate

On July 3-4, the LSE will jointly host a seminar with openDemocracy on the impact of the movements in the squares from 2011 onwards. Do they contribute to the democratic renewal of our democracies and if so how? A conversation.

Self-determined citizens? A new wave of civic activism in Armenia

‘When people on the street approached us and asked, “What NGO are you from?” We replied, “We are not from any NGO. We are citizens of the Republic of Armenia."’

Nagorno-Karabakh: European dreams

The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic has managed to pursue a dynamic European and global foreign policy. Not bad for a country that doesn't officially exist.

The EU-Armenia entanglement: failed relations and the shadow of a new approach

Armenia is trapped between its traditional ties to the East and a desire to integrate with the West. In the light of an increasingly aggressive Russian foreign policy, what are Armenia's European options?

Skeletons in the Turkish closet: remembering the Armenian Genocide

Just like the skeletons that were discovered in Diyarbakır in 2012 nearly 100 years after they were buried, Turkey’s past is haunting its future and demanding that we remember the tragic events of the Armenian Genocide.

Recognising and denying Armenian losses in Cyprus

Cyprus was one of the first countries to recognise the Armenian genocide, but the relationship that the country has with its own Armenian population is more complicated than it seems.

A genocide of our own: Bulgaria and the memory of Ottoman Armenians

In Bulgaria, Armenian communities have thrived since the fifth century and found refuge there during Ottoman massacres. So why has Bulgaria yet to officially recognise the Armenian genocide?

Turkey is changing, and I am part of that change: an interview with filmmaker Fatih Akin

His new film The Cut directly confronts the Armenian genocide. We talk to acclaimed Turkish-German filmmaker Fatih Akin about genocide commemorations, the Turkish-German community, and what Turkey's notorious Article 301 is doing to debate.

Cultural heritage and violence in the Middle East

When people are dying in their thousands, why should we care about the destruction of artefacts? Cultural violence has long been a component in the obliteration of communities; it legitimates the denial of diversity and makes them much harder to rebuild.

Georgia looks west, Armenia east

Arm-Geo flags [courtesy of Armradio] crop.jpg

This summer, Georgia signed an Association Agreement with the EU, but its southern neighbour, Armenia, has opted for the rival Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union.

Azerbaijan: a dual offensive

Azerbaijan’s strategy over the disputed, Armenian-held territory of Karabakh is also aimed at eliminating domestic opposition. But the country's rising troubles make this a self-defeating strategy.

Turkey's Armenian opening: towards 2015

The approaching centenary of the genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman empire is a moment for Turkey's civil society to create a new ethical reality around the issue

Armenia and the EEU: the point of no return for Yerevan

Early last year Armenia entered into accession talks with the Russian-led Customs Union – a precursor to the EEU. But does this path hold the key to greater economic prosperity for Yerevan or is it just a dead end?

Syria: Kessab's battle and Armenians' history

The takeover by anti-Damascus rebels of an Armenian village in northern Syria, near the border with Turkey, has triggered a propaganda war which focuses on the position of Syria's Armenians. This highlights core aspects of Armenians' experience since the 1915 genocide, says Vicken Cheterian.

An Armenian perspective on Khojali

Many civilians were killed in the war between the newly independent states of Armenia and Azerbaijan in the early 1990s. But the disputed period raises larger questions of common suffering, says Gerard Libaridian, adviser to Armenia's president at the time, who reflects on one incident that casts a long shadow.

Ukraine, and a Europe-Russia crack

The conflict in Ukraine is part of a wider tussle over eastern Europe's political orientation. The European Union remains pivotal to progress, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Baba-Hadji, symbol of ethnic harmony

The complicated relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan that have erupted since the break-up of the USSR belie the fact that in the past the two nations often coexisted more or less harmoniously. Maxim Edwards visited the mountain mausoleum of Baba-Hadji, an ancient symbol of erstwhile good relations

Peace, not diplomacy in the South Caucasus

If the primary concern is to establish peace in the region, then the central question is the social status of the people rather than internationally established political norms, such as territorial integrity.

Armenia's election message

A flawed presidential vote that confirms the incumbent in power also exposes anew the dysfunction of democracy in post-Soviet states, says Krzysztof Bobinski

Breaking the vicious circle - reconciliation in OSCE areas

Work must be done to overcome divides even many decades after official agreements to end violence have been signed. But the process is neither simple nor direct, with social media as easily a tool for vitriol as for furthering understanding of others. What, and who, can help?

Can rancour in the south Caucasus go beyond tit for tat?

For close on a millennium Azeris and Armenians co-existed reasonably peaceably. At the end of the Soviet period tensions erupted and they have been bubbling ever since. No need, thinks William Gourlay, because they are actually quite similar. Is it just a case of ‘must try harder’?

Armenia and Azerbaijan: what can societies do when political judgement errs?

Instigating dialogue across entrenched conflict built on ethnic stereotypes is long and precarious. The pardon given to Ramil Safarov of Azerbaijan is a blow to the sense of trust built painstakingly in the region. Now peacebuilders have to weather the storm.

Turkey and the Armenians: politics of history

A new generation's encounter with the Armenian genocide of 1915 is producing fresh understandings of Turkey's - and the middle east's - modern history, finds Vicken Cheterian.

Armenia's election: dark deeds, slim hopes

The Armenian authorities' capacity to secure the right result in the country's parliamentary election is matched by their failure to meet citizens' basic needs. The consequences are a priority for Armenia's civil society, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Putin’s plan for Russia’s neighbours - a Eurasian Union

With the current focus on policy interactions between Russia, the US and the EU in the post-Soviet space, many wonder what future awaits the countries of the former USSR after Vladimir Putin’s re-ascension to the Russian presidency in the 4th March election. One question is whether Putin will succeed in shaping a new, distinctive strategic space with the curious name of ‘the Eurasian Union.’ Elkhan Nuriyev discusses its implications.

A conflicted moment for the Armenian consciousness

The reason the French genocide law has proved so popular amongst Armenians is that it represents the prospect of a final catharsis to a tragic history. In reality, however, it is yet another obstacle to reaching a conclusion.

Armenia-Turkey: the end of rapprochement

A diplomatic process designed to normalise relations between Armenia and Turkey led to the signing of two protocols in 2009. Its failure is rooted in the miscalculations of both sides, says Vicken Cheterian.

Europe’s neglected east: forging partnership

The European Union has an uncertain relationship with the ex-Soviet states to its east. A meeting in Poznan under the auspices of the union’s “eastern partnership” is a timely moment to examine what Europe needs to do to revivify its engagement, says Gevorg Ger-Gabrielyan.

Europe’s Armenian policy: the cost of indulgence

The story of a powerful and ambitious Armenian oligarch is also a case-study in the flaws of European Union policy in the small Caucasian republic, says Armen Haykyan.

Liberation technology: dreams, politics, history

The doctrinal commitment to new cyber and social technologies as a means of solving political problems needs to learn from the past and take a more realistic view, says Armine Ishkanian.

Armenia and Georgia foil latest uranium smuggling plot

Joint anti-nuclear proliferation operation results in multiple arrests in Georgia. One year after Fort Hood shootings, US army outlines plans for radical security overhaul. Somali pirates land largest-ever ransom payment. All this and more in today's security briefing.

The lightness of history in the Caucasus

The Caucasus is often depicted as a region of peoples locked in enduring and invariant nationalist enmity. The reality is more complex and therefore more hopeful, says Thomas de Waal.

The Armenia-Turkey protocols: a year on

The process of dialogue between neighbours locked in an enduring dispute over the events of 1915 is already in trouble. But in assessing what has gone wrong, Vicken Cheterian sees history still on the move.

Armenia deadlocked, landlocked

Despite President Obama’s best efforts on 12 April, negotiations between Armenia and Turkey remain deadlocked, leaving Armenia’s President Sargsyan facing the unequal struggle against problems political, economic, geographical and historical

Waiting for the word in Armenia

The WW1 massacre of more than a million Armenians by Ottoman Turks remains a source of great contention, writes Ara Iskanderian. While there has been some recent reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey on government level, use of the “g” word is still firmly off limits.
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