No. 9 - 03 / 2013:
Statehood, Religion and Strategic Europeanization in the Southern Caucasus

edited by Mariam Parsadanishvili & Michael Dobbins


Editorial by Michael Dobbins & Mariam Parsadanishvili
Islamists in Azarbaijan: How Dangerous are they? by Rasim Mirzayev

Although Azerbaijan is one of the most secular and strictly western oriented countries in the entire Islamic world, a tendency towards the formation of radical, Islamic groups can be observed here in the past ten years. This tendency may take on dangerous dimensions because: 1) The ruling authoritarian and immensely corrupt regime does not allow the traditionally democratic and pro-western parties any leeway for political activities, and 2) western governments support the ambitions of the Aliyev clan to maintain power due to their own interests in the country’s energy resources. Therefore, the author expects similar political developments in Azerbaijan as in Arab dictatorships.

Post-Rose Revolution Georgia: How Democratization Went Wrong – and Why Authoritarianism also May have Backfired by Michael Dobbins

This essay outlines how the redesign of Georgian political institutions after the Rose Revolution was largely driven by the power-seeking strategies of the new elite. Building on previous critical assessments of the post-revolution reforms, the author argues that the new elite engaged in the “strategic institutional transfer”. While publically touting western institutions as a basis for reform, the reformers strategically neglected crucial components of the institutions which they aimed to transfer. This ultimately strengthened authoritarian institutions behind a democratic façade. To conclude, the author discusses discuss how this power-seeking strategy may have recently backfired in the recent parliamentary elections and potentially “accidentally” contributed to the democratization of Georgia.

"The Armenians were the first to Adopt Christianity as the State Religion" – The Understanding of Statehood and Collective Symbolism in Armenia by Anush Yeghiazaryan

This paper focuses on the concept and phenomenon of statehood in Armenia. The divergence of the actual status of nation state and the traditional idea of state in Armenian narratives is the topic of the article. The role of religion and the reference to the territory for the conception of the Armenian state are discussed against the historical background and the context of Europeanization and westernization. In this regard the traditional collective symbols and those of the present national state are observed and compared.

The Development and Establishment of Political Identity in the Republic of Azerbajan by Yusuf Özcelik

There is no doubt that the Azerbaijani people have experienced a very unsteady history for at least two centuries, which has had a deep impact on their national identity. Many times the country has faced a situation of radical changes between self-determination and foreign dominance, consequently leading to mass cultural influence and modernization, but also manipulation and destruction. Against this background, Azerbaijan looks back at a very rocky and tedious process of nation-building. As shown in this essay, the developments are still ongoing. However, the Republic of Azerbaijan has managed to finally reach a balance with regard to its political identity and culture.

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Euxeinos 9

Statehood, Religion and Strategic Europeanization in the Southern Caucasus edited by Mariam Parsadanishvili & Michael Dobbins