|Aftermath of this week’s suicide car-bombing at the Ingush–North Ossetian border.|
1 Policeman Killed, 3 Injured in Suicide Car-Bombing at Ingush Border Checkpoint. Authorities and rebel sources in southwestern Russia’s North Caucasus region reported this week that one policeman was killed on October 23rd in a suicide car-bombing of a border checkpoint in the tiny Republic of Ingushetia. The driver and bomber was also killed. Three other police were injured in the blast, one very seriously. The checkpoint was on the border between Ingushetia and the Republic of North Ossetia–Alania, which, like Ingushetia, is part of the Russian Federation. The Ingush president, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, said afterward that terrorists are trying to aggravate tensions because the bombing came near the 20th anniversary of a border conflict between North Ossetia and Ingushetia shortly after the fall of Communism, which was the occasion for the post-Soviet Chechen-Ingush Republic dividing into separate Chechen and Ingush republics. Ingushetia also has an ongoing border dispute with Chechnya.
Police Kill Militant in Dagestan. A rebel was shot and killed in the Republic of Dagestan on October 20th when he opened fire on security officers who asked for his identification. There were no other injuries.
SOUTH CAUCASUS (GEORGIA, ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN)
South Ossetia Offers Georgia Olive Branch, but Only in Exchange for Recognition. The president of the mostly unrecognized Republic of South Ossetia, Leonid Tibilov, told media on October 19th that his nation was ready to build a relationship with the Republic of Georgia but only the condition of a mutual non-aggression pact and Georgian diplomatic recognition of the statelet. South Ossetia, which established its independence in 2008 after a war between Georgia and Russia, is still regarded by most of the world as Georgian territory. Georgia has a new president elect, Bidzina Ivanishvili, who (as reported earlier in this blog) seems poised to take a more conciliatory stance toward South Ossetia and another former part of Georgia with a similar status, Abkhazia.
36 More Syrian Refugees Settle in Abkhazia. Thirty-six more refugees from Syria’s civil war arrived in the de facto independent Republic of Abkhazia this week and will be held in “quarantine” in the Hotel Aytar in Sukhumi, the Abkhaz capital. This brings the total to 96. The Russian Federation, which helped establish Abkhazia’s independence from the Republic of Georgia, erects barriers to settling Abkhaz and the related Circassian people—who form a restive minority in the North Caucasus region—from settling in Russia itself as they flee the Syrian civil war. [See an earlier report in this blog.]
Hundreds of Refugees from Abkhazia, South Ossetia Take Over Georgian Public Buildings. Scores of families of refugees from the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia occupied the offices of the mayor of Tbilisi and about 30 other buildings in the Republic of Georgia’s capital. Tax offices, science centers, and other facilities were targeted. The Georgian minister for refugees and settlements, David Darakhvelidze, blamed the social-protection services and the municipal government. The refugees are ethnic Georgians who were displaced by ethnic cleansing when Abkhazia and South Ossetia seceded from Georgia after the fall of Communism.
Armenian Foreign Minister Dismayed by Azerbaijani Statuary in Mexico City. The foreign minister of the Republic of Armenia, Edward Nalbandian, was in Mexico City this week and registered his “bewilderment” at public monuments he interprets as Mexico’s siding with Azerbaijan in the two countries’ dispute over a border region where Armenia set up a puppet regime called the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (N.K.R.) more than 20 years ago. One monument commemorates the few hundred victims of the 1992 Khojaly massacre during the Nagorno-Karabakh War, which Turkey and Azerbaijan (which is ethnically close to Turkey) regard as one of the worst things that ever happened in world history to anybody absolutely ever, while also pretending that the Turkish genocides of millions of Armenian and Kurdish civilians in the 20th century were invented by anti-Turkish propagandists. Another monument shows Azerbaijan’s authoritarian president and former Soviet Communist strongman, Heydar Aliyev, along a park prospect that also features monuments to Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi. The inscription on the monument calls him “a brilliant example of infinite devotion to the motherland, loyal to the universal ideals of world peace.” The Azerbaijani government pumps millions of dollars (in U.S.) into the upkeep of the monument, ostensibly because Mexico was one of the first countries to recognize Azerbaijan’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Nalbandian suggested an Armenian embassy in Mexico to try to correct the imbalance. [See my article from this blog about the symbolic politics of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute and a more recent article about N.K.R. politics in California.]
|The Heydar Aliyev monument in Mexico City.|
New South Wales Grants Diplomatic Recognition to Nagorno-Karabakh; No One Notices. In Sydney, the upper house of the legislature of New South Wales (N.S.W.), Australia’s most populous state, unanimously voted October 25th to recognize the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (N.K.R.), an Armenian puppet state which Armenian and Russian troops carved out of the western flank of the Republic of Azerbaijan shortly after the fall of communism, and which declared independence in 1992. The vote came after a months-long campaign by an Armenian pressure group, the Armenian National Committee of Australia. Most of Australia’s 50,000 or so ethnic Armenians live in Sydney, the N.S.W. capital. [See an article from this blog about other separatist issues with respect to New South Wales.]
|The flag of New South Wales|
Rumors Fly of Uruguayan Recognition of N.K.R. Armenian media are reporting this week that the Oriental Republic of Uruguay (that’s the full name of the South American country; don’t ask) is gearing up to grant diplomatic recognition to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic within the next few weeks. The speaker of the Uruguayan parliament will visit Armenia and the N.K.R. in late November. Currently only three countries—which are themselves unrecognized puppet states—grant formal diplomatic recognition to the N.K.R.: Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transnistria. However, several non-sovereign bodies have made symbolic resolutions of recognition similar to New South Wales’s (see article above), including, recently, Rhode Island and Massachusetts in the United States (as reported in this blog). Uruguay would be the first fully recognized state to do so.
|The flag of Uruguay|
[Also, for those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with a forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas. Look for it in spring 2013. I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.]