Caucasus Analytical Digest (CAD)
Caucasus Analytical Digest (CAD) analyzes the political, economic, and social
situation in the three South Caucasus states of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and
Georgia, and assesses the implications for the regional and wider international
context. The series is produced by the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH
Zurich, the Research Centre for East European Studies at the University
of Bremen, the Institute
for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the George Washington
University, and the German
Association for East European Studies (DGO). The CAD is supported by a
grant from the Academic Swiss Caucasus Net
(ASCN). The CAD is edited by Denis Dafflon, Lili Di Puppo, Iris Kempe, Natia
Mestvirishvili, Matthias Neumann, Robert Orttung, Jeronim Perović, and Heiko
The monthly CAD is published in English and as an e-publication. Please subscribe to the distribution list to receive new editions via e-mail.
No. 77: Identity, Norms and Beliefs in Foreign Policy
Under the heading of “Identity, Norms and Beliefs in Foreign Policy,” this issue of the Caucasus Analytical Digest publishes three contributions. Aram Terzyan and Narek Galstyan conduct a discourse analysis of Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan’s conceptions of “the other,” which, coupled with public opinion surveys, sheds light on major ups and downs that the convoluted relations with Azerbaijan and Turkey have undergone since 2008. Murad Ismayilov provides a brief, yet critical, analysis of the dynamics of Azerbaijan’s foreign policy and the country’s national identity to make the case for the mutually derivative—and hence contingent—nature of how Azerbaijan presents itself: as a country fitting in with Western values while simultaneously adhering to Islam and associated traditional values, while also sharing some identity features with Russia and Turkey. Salome Minesashvili and Levan Kakhishvili, Tbilisi discuss the Georgian Orthodox Church’s reaction to the country’s decision to opt for a European identity and foreign policy, in particular to issues concerning the status of the GOC vis-à-vis other churches within Georgia and discrimination concerning gender and sexual identity issues.
No. 76: Armenian Politics
Issue 76 of the Caucasus Analytical Digest offers a spotlight image of Armenian politics. Alexander Iskandaryan’s text pinpoints the lack of developed political parties as the main problem plaguing Armenia’s domestic politics and posits widespread political apathy and low trust in political institutions as the reason the ruling party is able to keep its balance and hold on to power despite its low legitimacy. Maciej Falkowski examines the protests against the increase in electricity prices as a manifestation of the increasing social, economic and political crisis that has been haunting Armenia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The protests were anti-systemic and—regardless of the declarations of the protesters themselves—contained anti-Russian elements. The protests are a new and important phenomenon in Armenian politics, but they are unlikely to generate processes that could affect the direction of developments in Armenia, as the country’s internal situation largely depends on the geopolitical situation in the region, which is unfavourable for Armenia. Zareh Asatryan summarizes the existing knowledge about the economic effects of constitutions in light of the upcoming major reform of the Armenian constitution, the draft of which proposes a switch to a parliamentary system from the current (semi-) presidential system and to a proportional electoral rule from the existing (semi-) majoritarian system, among other changes. A body of evidence suggests that a switch to a parliamentary system with proportional representation may create political institutions that favour a larger public sector in Armenia with a particular pro-spending bias in social insurance programs. On the political side, descriptive evidence based on conventional democracy scores suggests that parliamentary countries, on average, have more developed democratic institutions. However, a closer look at countries that switched to parliamentary systems in the 1990s and 2000s reveals that governments opt for a constitutional change primarily to utilize more not less political power.
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Any opinions expressed in the Caucasus Analytical Digest (CAD) are exclusively those of the authors. Reprint possible with permission from the editors.
Layout: Cengiz Kibaroglu, Matthias Neumann. ISSN 1867-9323.
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