Introduction It has been almost ten years since the Five-Day War broke in August 2008 between Georgia, on one side, and Russia and South Ossetia, on the other. 1 This topic has been the subject of many debates inside and outside of academia. Pundits and journalists investigated the
only reduces the length of imprisonment, but also contributes substantially to a planned return of the offender to the community’. 3 The south Caucasian countries Georgia and Armenia, member states of the Council of Europe since 1999 and 2001, respectively, gained back their independence from the
Helen Giunashvili and Tamar Abuladze
True to its geographic position, Georgia has been an arena of confrontation between the great states of the East and West for centuries. By the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in the wake of the downfall of Constantinople and the fundamental reconstruction of relations between Asia and
The 2014 disturbances in the Ukraine occasioned renewed discussion of the 2008 Russo- Georgian War. As the situation continued to worsen in eastern Ukraine, US President Obama announced on a visit to Poland at the start of June that the US and NATO would strengthen ties even with the non-NATO-member-states of the Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. This last has aspirations of membership, even though it does not control the republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which most of the world nevertheless regards as integral parts of Georgia. As long as the Georgian-Abkhazian dispute remains unresolved, there will be problems regarding inter-state relations with/for western Transcaucasia. And there can be no resolution of the Abkhazian issue without a proper understanding of Abkhazia’s history (both ancient and more recent); it was to try to ensure that the debate is not based on misconceptions, unsubstantiated assertions or even plain errors that this article was written. It is grounded on a consideration of a range of materials (from Agathias’ Greek text through relevant discussions in Georgian, Russian and English). The toppling of Abkhazia’s democratically elected president (Aleksandr Ankvab) at the end of May 2014 makes the question of Abkhazia even more topical.
Emma Loosley Leeming
This paper critically discusses the current mainstream views on Russia’s involvement in Georgia and Ukraine and implements geopolitical reasoning and analyses. Russian Foreign policy is guided both by (neo-)realist and constructivist theoretical perspectives. However, reviewing Russia’s policy in its near abroad, it appears that it is formed on reactive decisions the results of which may not always be understood as advantageous from a rational actor perspective. In the Post-Soviet Space, Russia behaves in accordance with its imperial experience, which bestows upon its geopolitical interests a layer of moral obligation, combining with either altruism or expansionism, or with both at the same time. The Russian alliance with Iran, and their interventions in Syria, are explained mainly by security concerns. Russia’s support of separatism in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Eastern Ukraine, and incorporating Crimea, do not yield advantageous results for the Russian interests from a rational actor’s perspective.
In the late 1980s, Georgian Svans were first resettled from the highlands of Svaneti to a rather plain region in the south. The resettlement took place because of natural disasters in the 1980s and continued thereafter because of economic problems. In their new environment the Orthodox Svans regularly perform oaths on icons and swear to stand together and to respect their “traditions”. Oaths on icons are an important constituent of the Svan traditional law. In so called “Free Svaneti”, the oath of unity was until the 19th century an important vow of solidarity. The local segmentary society managed to resist being incorporated into neighbouring principalities and Tsarist Russia. But while the oath of unity in “Free Svaneti” was performed to bind people together in an autonomous region with no central executive, today, in Southern Georgia, the oath binds the people to a mythologised Svaneti. It ties them to a nostalgic conception of their Svan homeland.
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Illustrated by a wealth of examples, an overview is given of characteristic features, the stages of development, phonetics, morphonology, morphology (word formation, formation of grammatical forms), syntax and aspects of the Georgian vocabulary.
The introduction presents readers with general information on the language, its history, importance, position among, and relationship with other Caucasian languages, dialects and written traditions.