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Thursday, 27 October 2016


Caucasus splits up from inside

2011-07-04 12:16

Caucasus splits up from inside. 19105.jpegA rather representative conference entitled "Problems of Caucasus Studies" is taking place in Vladikavkaz attended by experts from South and North Caucasus as well as politologists and scholars from Moscow. Today the undisputed hit of the program is Alexander Iscanderyan's report on monoethnization of Caucasus.

The core of Iscanderyan's report is an assumption that Caucasus is rapidly changing its historical "color" with certain parts of it becoming monoethnic.


This politologist from Armenia attends all sorts of international conferences. He is known for always having a fresh view on problems of Caucasus. In Vladikavkaz he spoke about a new process gathering pace in modern history of Caucasus.

Historically, from very ancient times, both South and North Caucasus have been distinguished for a colossal variety of cultures. The variety is still there, but in the past different languages and traditions were more than just neighbors - people lived across the fence from each other. All this is becoming history now.

Alexander Iscanderyan recalls consolidation of the Russian Empire in Caucasus as well as changes that came along. It is clear that the Slavic population grew in the region. All other empires acted the same way. As a result, new zones of mixed population appeared. Scholars call it "ethnic overlapping". In practice it means that people representing different cultures become neighbors. This was characteristic of Caucasian megapolises - Tbilisi, Yerevan, Baku and other big cities.

On the whole, it was quite difficult to define to whom Baku, for instance, belongs. It was inhabited by Azerbaijanis, Russians, Armenians, Jews and even Curds and Talyshes. The same was true for other big localities. In rural areas these zones were fewer, though the entire South Caucasus was dappled with territories simultaneously populated by representatives of various cultures. There were Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Nagorny Karabakh, Abkhazia had four large communities comprising Abkhazians, Georgians, Armenians and Russians. Plus Greeks and Jews and even four Estonian villages. Georgia was the home for dozens of nations that did not always live together but were close to each other. Only Armenia was an exception with the indigenous population making 90% of the country. North Caucasus was even more diverse. It was normal to speak two, three or even four languages.

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