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  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Kremlin admits constitution flawed. The Putin administration's in-house human rights advisers admit that its proposed constitution for Chechnya has serious flaws. Human-rights ombudsman Oleg Mironov told Radio Liberty on February 4 that the proposed text gives the president of the Chechen republic too much power at the expense of the legislature. Ella Pamfilova, head of the president's human rights commission, expressed concern about the power granted to the president of the Russian Federation to dismiss the president of Chechnya. Nevertheless, the two have chosen not to challenge Putin on what has become the centerpiece of his Chechnya strategy: going ahead with the constitutional referendum on March 23.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Indra Øverland
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: This paper argues that local media have been of great importance in the escalation of inter-ethnic conflicts in the former Soviet Union, and that conflict prevention by the OSCE in the region initially did not focus appropriately on media issues. During the past few years, however, media issues have increasingly come to preoccupy the OSCE, chiefly in connection with human rights issues and freedom of speech, but to some extent also as an element of conflict prevention. The importance of local media for OSCE conflict prevention is analysed in terms of the activities of the High Commissioner for National Minorities and Representative on Freedom of the Media, and OSCE annual reports.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Russia, Soviet Union
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: For the past decade Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan have all been involved in high stakes negotiations to define their respective borders. Strong-arm politics, economic pressures, shadowy backroom deals, nationalist sentiments, public dissatisfaction and an environment of mutual mistrust have marked this process. The resolution of border issues peacefully and transparently would have a positive impact on regional security, economic cooperation, ethnic relations and efforts to combat drug trafficking and religious extremism. But progress has been slow, and no immediate breakthrough can be seen in an all too often antagonistic process that is defining the new map of Central Asia.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan
  • Author: Natalie Sabanadze
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The South Caucasus represents one of the most diverse and conflict-ridden regions in the world. It includes the three former Soviet states Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, as well as numerous ethnic minorities and small nations within these states. The term South Caucasus is relatively new and has been used to replace the older term Transcaucasia. According to Valery Tishkov, there is a strong drive of national elites to separate the region from Russia and dismantle old ties to the point of changing names. "It is noteworthy," wrote Tishkov, "that the historical name of the region Transcaucasus has been questioned by the proponents of new political correctness who wish to create a mantle distance from Russia. Consequently, the region is being renamed the South Caucasus" (Tishkov 1999:4). It is, however, worthy of mention that the earlier name Transcaucasus (Za Kavkazye in Russian) reflected the Russian geographical position and literally meant 'beyond or behind the Caucasus', as the three republics were seen from the northern perspective of Russia. Recently, the term South Caucasus has came into use in order to more accurately describe the region and as Tishkov rightly points out, to de-link it from Russia.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, International Organization, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eastern Europe, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
  • Author: Richard W. Bulliet, Fawaz A. Gerges
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia International Affairs Online
  • Abstract: For several months prior to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, a videotape calling Muslims to a holy war against forces described as Crusaders and Jews circulated underground in the Arab world. Produced on behalf of Osama bin Laden and prominently featuring his image, words, and ideas, the tape is designed to recruit young Arab men to journey to Afghanistan and train for a war in defense of Islam.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Government, International Cooperation, International Law, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, United Kingdom, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Aleksandar D. Jovovic
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
  • Abstract: The Institute for the study of Diplomacy hosted the spring 2001 meetings of the Schlesinger Working Group on the topic of Russian foreign policy towards its neighbors in Central Asia and the Caucasus. The potential for further conflict along Russia's periphery is real. Russia (experiencing an economic upswing and more assertive political leadership) is mired in a series of border problems as well as unresolved internal security challenges in Chechnya and continues to be a central actor in the entire Caucasus region. The civil war in Afghanistan continues to export Islamic extremism to Russia's important Central Asian neighbors. If a dramatic security downturn took shape in any of these borderlands, it would test the competence, political will, and strategic common sense of Putin and his team. Russia's government has already demonstrated its willingness to charge headlong into an internal conflict, and Putin's initial popularity has soared as a result. To provide a starting point for the discussion, the working group examined the following issues: External political and security challenges facing Russia in the near to medium term. Russia's interests and willingness to remain engaged in developments along its frontier. Prospects for strategic surprises and unanticipated events along Russia's southern border. Implications of Russia's behavior and region- al developments on US interests and capabilities.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, Europe, Central Asia, Caucasus, Chechnya
  • Author: Christopher Layne
  • Publication Date: 05-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Clinton administration has made one miscalculation after another in dealing with the Kosovo crisis. U.S. officials and their NATO colleagues never understood the historical and emotional importance of Kosovo to the Serbia n people, believing instead that Belgrade's harsh repression of the ethnic Albanian secessionist movement in Kosovo merely reflected the will of President Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia. The administration's foreign policy team mistakenly concluded that, under a threat of air strikes, the Yugoslav government would sign a dictate d peace accord (the Rambouillet agreement) to be implemented by a NATO peacekeeping force in Kosovo. Even if Milosevic initially refused to sign the Rambouillet agreement, administration leaders believed that Belgrade would relent after a brief “demonstration” bombing campaign. Those calculations proved to be disastrously wrong.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, NATO, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Balkans, Albania
  • Author: Charles A. Kupchan, Morton I. Abramowitz, Albert Fishlow
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The last of the six Balkan Wars of the twentieth century is over. But it is by no means certain that a durable peace is at hand. After vast death, destruction, and savagery lasting almost a decade can the peoples of the former Yugoslavia live together again in peace? If so, the region will require sustained help and support from the West. The United States and its European partners are in the midst of mustering the necessary resources and political will. There are numerous uncertainties complicating efforts to proceed with the reconstruction of the area. Whatever the international community may proclaim, the borders of Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Croatia could well change. The management of Kosovo's status and its relationship to Serbia is likely to produce serious tensions within the Alliance and between NATO and Russia. What politically will emerge from a beaten and traumatized Serbia no one can predict. Nor is it clear that Montenegro will remain as part of Yugoslavia, particularly if Milosevic continues to rule. An ethically fragile Macedonia has been badly weakened by the war and the inflow of three hundred thousand Kosovar deportees. Albania barely hangs together as a state. Neighboring Rumania and Bulgaria have avoided violence and begun to remake their societies, but they have suffered economically from the wars. The area of reconstruction is small and the population limited; the task at hand certainly is not of the dimensions of restoring post-war Europe. But the problems are daunting. Without security there will be no development. NATO forces will be needed indefinitely to keep the peace in Bosnia and Kosovo. Much more must be done to promote political and economic reform in the region, requiring vision and planning. The states of the region will first need urgent help to stabilize their economies and manage enormous humanitarian problems. They must also be able to envisage a better future, one that holds out the prospect of bringing them into Europe's political and economic mainstream. Realizing that goal will require profound changes in their economies and institutions as well as in their relationships with each other. Faced with these challenges, Western countries and a host of international institutions have begun to address how to foster the broad reconstruction of the area. The EU-sponsored stability pact, adopted in Cologne in June, is the beginning attempt at a multifaceted, coordinated approach to the problem. The G-8 has agreed on a broad program of financial assistance, and the EU has pledged 1.5 billion dollars for aid to Kosovo alone. Numerous follow-up conferences are already planned. Much more work has to be done to give reality and coherence to such efforts. Balkan reconstruction will be a protracted undertaking. It will require extremely difficult commodities – a comprehensive approach and the will, resources, and mechanisms to implement the effort. It is mostly to such a long term approach that this preliminary working paper addresses itself. It does not deal with the immediate requirements of refugee return and humanitarian assistance nor the urgent repair of human and material infrastructure. The World Bank and the IMF in cooperation with many other international organizations and interested countries are coordinating the assessment of needs and costs and have issued preliminary reports. The purpose of this working paper is to provide a broad political approach and to highlight the three key components of a comprehensive, long-term strategy: building security, integrating the region into the European Union, and fostering economic and political reform. For the purposes of this paper, we consider the region to be Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia, and Rumania. This is somewhat arbitrary and these states are at different stages of political and economic development. The problems of Rumania and Bulgaria are quite different than Serbia's and Kosovo's; Croatia is much further advanced than next door Serbia and Bosnia. They all have to be dealt with separately, and no single state should hold back the progress of others in entering Europe. But they also face a collective future and the region will enjoy a lasting peace only if all its states leave the past behind and move decidedly to join the wider community.
  • Topic: NATO, Ethnic Conflict, International Cooperation, International Political Economy, World Bank
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Bosnia, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Balkans, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia
  • Publication Date: 05-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: The current crisis in and around Yugoslavia demonstrates the importance of ethnicity as a source of tension and armed conflict in post-Cold War Europe. Unsettled ethnic and border issues have been important characteristics of the European security environment after the collapse of the Soviet Union and have been the cause of much tension on the European continent.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union, Yugoslavia
  • Author: Joyce Neu, Vamik Volkan
  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: In April 1994, with Russian troops still stationed in Estonia, The Carter Center's Conflict Resolution Program (CRP) joined with International Negotiation Network (INN) members Vamik Volkan of the University of Virginia's Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interaction (CSMHI) and Harold Saunders of the Kettering Foundation to implement a set of workshops. The three-year series aimed to reduce tensions on two fronts: between Russia and Estonia and between Russians in Estonia and Estonians.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Estonia