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Author: Richard Giragosian

Can the Eastern Partnership bridge the divide?

For the six countries of the Eastern Partnership, or EaP, the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union meant that independence was as much an urgent crisis as it was an overnight opportunity.  Burdened by the seven decades of Soviet rule, the challenges of independence proved daunting as each of these states was unprepared for statehood and under-equipped for democratic governance. Although the starting point of independent statehood was roughly equivalent, their shared Soviet legacy was quickly replaced by a diverging trajectory with a pronounced variance in their political, economic and security reforms. Of these six states, four were constrained by a conflict from the very start, as Armenia and Azerbaijan were consumed by Nagorno-Karabakh, Georgia was collapsing under the weight of a civil war and separatism, while Moldova was confronting the Transnistrian conflict. For the other two states, despite the absence of outright conflict in the early period of statehood, both Belarus and Ukraine were constrained by corrupt and authoritarian regimes.

July 4, 2017 - Richard Giragosian

Armenia in Transition: A turning or a tipping point?

With parliamentary elections in Armenia quickly approaching, a profound period of transition is nearing its apex. According to the government’s initial plan, a transformation to a parliamentary form of government was seen as the most effective way to maintain power amid a potentially troubling transition of political elites. But that early degree of optimism and confidence was quickly eroded in the wake of the sudden outbreak of intense fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh in April 2016 and a startling hostage stand-off incident that dragged on for two weeks in July. Against that backdrop, the country’s coming election in April 2017 is no longer a predictable culmination of an orderly and planned transition. Rather, the April election now stands as a crossroads for Armenia, as either decisive turning point or as possibly divisive tipping point, with the country’s stability and security in the balance. 

February 16, 2017 - Richard Giragosian

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