Within the context of numerous violations of Minsk II agreement and rumors/predictions of resuming fighting in the Eastern Ukraine, the Center for Cultural Relations - Caucasian House, one of the leading Georgian NGO, organized between 18-24 May, 2015, in Batumi, the Annual University on Conflicts and Development, in the framework of the project “Ukraine –Out of the Crisis through a Dialogue.” The event was attended by young professionals and researchers from Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, Moldova and EU countries. The working language was Russian, chosen not only because it is well known in the former Soviet space but also maybe for a symbolic reason – to send the message that despite the recent war memory, Georgians are ready to analyze/discuss the local and regional protracted conflicts with no hard feelings.
During the academic event were analyzed not only the Caucasian and Transnistrian protracted conflicts but also the ongoing separatist events in Ukraine and the disputes of Cyprus and Northern Ireland. Of special interest were the lectures of experts that have done field research in the conflict zones and the comparative analyses of the protracted conflicts. It was highlighted how the annexation of Crimea has diminished the strategic importance of Abkhazia for Russia; the differences between the “national projects” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and how these projects have impacted their recent treaties “on alliance and strategic partnership (of Abkhazia)/ integration (of South Ossetia)” with Russian Federation; how the Soviet territorial divisions, disregarding the historical or ethnic factors, have set the stage for the Caucasus secessionist wars; how Moscow is interested in maintaining the status quo of Nagorno-Karbakh for controlling both Armenia and Azerbaidjan; or how by “convincing” Yerevan to join the Eurasian Economic Union in September 2013 the Kremlin intended also to give also a lesson to Ukraine: showing that Russia has a great power of “persuasion” in the former Soviet space.
By Vasile ROTARU