Transcaucasia is dead, long live Southern Caucasia ?

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Since the fall of the URSS and in light of the « velvet revolution » in Georgia in autumn of 2003, Southern Caucasia (Armenia, Azerbaïdjan, Georgia) has become synonymous of geopolitical changes. With September 11th and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the post-communist transition sees the international community’s interest renewed in this economic and political crossroad. Rebuilding these three countries is in process. In all three countries, elections in 2003 saw the arrival of new political leaders. In the name of the war against terrorism, the three countries as well as NATO, the US and Russia are particularly interested in the region’s security issues, key in dominating the area that today has no common security system. The communist heritage has left strong imprints in the mentalities of people and the reality in the field. The « cousin » wars in Chechenia (Abkhazie, Southern Ossetia, UpperKarabakh) but also the eventual crises in Adjarie, Djavakhtie continue to disfigure the region’s face. The effort to build a state of law is slowed down by old communist reflexes linked to the patrimony of power and its shortcomings in public affairs (crime, electoral frauds, lack of respect of human rights, oppressed opposition). As to the economy, even though the macro-economic data may be encouraging, these three markets still suffer from strong corruption of their elite class, from slow tax and economic reforms and from an endemic poverty. That is also the reason why authoritarian states are appearing, both open and hostile to their integration in the global community.