While the epidemic is raging in the South Caucasus, the region has not yet regained consciousness a year after the second Karabakh war. OC Media:The authors of “Armenpress” make predictions about what may happen in the Caucasus in 2022.
Ani Avetisyan, columnist
There will be almost no change in Armenia-Azerbaijan relations․ Border tensions will continue, and negotiations on renewed transport links will be delayed. The countries will start negotiations on the exchange of enslaves.
Armenia’s relations with the Nagorno-Karabakh government will remain tense. The population of Nagorno Karabakh will become more and more dissatisfied, even hostile to both the Armenian authorities and their own government.
Democracy in Armenia will continue to decline. Authorities will continue to strengthen their position to prevent the return of allegedly corrupt elites, and will pass new laws restricting media rights and other freedoms. The actions of the government will become more opaque, corruption will increase.
Ismi Agha, columnist
The number of protests in Azerbaijan will increase. There will be social protests against the post-war economic situation, including inflation and rising utility costs. The government’s disregard for women’s rights will lead more and more women to protest.
There will be a softening of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia: There will be “peace” under the control of the government, but it will not be sincere, there will be no real reconciliation.
The LGBT situation in Azerbaijan will worsen. Violence against them by the society will continue due to the complete, deliberate absence of the authorities’ actions to solve the problem.
Turkey’s influence on Azerbaijan will increase. After the support of Turkey to Azerbaijan during the Second Karabakh War, Turkey intensified its efforts to increase its influence in the country. This tendency will continue in 2022, it will lead to cultural, economic and political contradictions. It will include the entry of more Turkish companies into the Azerbaijani market, more talk about Turkey in social and cultural life, and the process of adapting the Azerbaijani armed forces to the Turkish model.
Peter Liakhov, Senior Editor
Trade turnover will start between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but not the entry of people. Russia, as resolute and aggressive as it has been in the region since the collapse of the Soviet Union, will demand the opening of transit links that bypass Georgia, an ally of the West, and give Russia new leverage. These more direct routes are financially beneficial for both Armenia and Azerbaijan. The high level of animosity between Armenia and Azerbaijan, including in the societal sphere, means that hardly anyone will be able to buy a Yerevan-Baku train ticket in the coming years.
High fertilizer prices և Supply chain disruptions will lead to social unrest. Supply Chain Problems որդ Record high fertilizer prices are likely to lead to lower yields 20 already higher food prices in 2022. Unrest is likely to take place in Armenia and Georgia due to the limited capacity of their governments to intervene in the economy, the decline of government legitimacy, and the recent history of popular unification.
Mariam Nikuradze, co-founder of OC Media
Mikheil Saakashvili will remain in prison. President Zurabishvili has made it clear that he will not pardon him, and that the Georgian Dream has spoken endlessly about Saakashvili’s alleged crimes for the past nine years. Even if there is pressure from the West to release him (something that is not noticed in the near future), the government now does not seem to pay as much attention to the pressure from the West as before.
Organizers of last year’s homophobic media riots in Tbilisi to be released. This impunity will allow them to regroup in free violence during any LGBT rights demonstration this year.
There will be no elections in Georgia. The Georgian Dream has repeatedly stated that it will not hold new elections until 2024, which they made clear last year by violating an EU-brokered agreement with the opposition. There have been no major protests since last year ‘s local elections, and the opposition is not strong enough to fight for new elections as they hardly cooperate. There is no pressure from the West for this specific demand from the opposition, and even if there is, it is unlikely to have an impact on the government.
Tata Shoshiashvili, columnist
The Prime Minister of Georgia will resign. Since Irakli Garibashvili was appointed Prime Minister in February last year, the country has come under unprecedented criticism from its Western counterparts. Due to the damage done to the reputation of both the country and the ruling party, the leading members of the “Georgian Dream” will remove him from his post.
Tbilisi Pride will not be allowed. The LGBT community in Georgia has never been allowed to demonstrate in a peaceful environment. Every year the government declares that it will be impossible to defend such a demonstration without trying to do so ․ 2022 will not be any different.
Georgian authorities will not investigate allegations of child molestation in the Georgian Orthodox Church. Documents leaked by the State Security Service last year suggested that at least 12 priests of the Georgian Orthodox Church had sexually abused children. The authorities will not investigate these accusations, they will not take the risk of confronting the church.
Shota Kincha, columnist
Against the wishes of some: Irakli Garibashvili will remain the Prime Minister of Georgia: Opinions differ as to whether his instructor Bidzina Ivanishvili has indeed left politics, but Gharibashvili will remain. If, as many people think, Gharibashvili is Ivanishvili’s puppet, the latter would be happy to keep his most loyal supporter in the post of Prime Minister. If Ivanishvili has indeed left, there will be fewer reasons for Garibashvili to step down to an uncertain future.
Salome Zurabishvili’s efforts to reach “national agreement” will eventually fail, the gap between his “Georgian dream” will deepen. The President of Georgia will not be able to reduce the polarization or reach a tangible agreement between the “Georgian Dream” and the “United National Movement”. He will blame his failure on the ruling party’s inflexible stance towards the United National Movement, making him another enemy of the party.
Kakha Kaladze will leave Georgian Dream and Nika Melia will leave United National Movement. After Bidzina Ivanishvili’s alleged ouster from politics last year, the internal struggle within his party, highlighted by the shocking resignation of Giorgi Gakharia last year, will only get worse. Given Kaladze’s popularity in Georgia and the fact that he has a less hostile holiday than other leading members of his party, the newly elected mayor of Tbilisi is likely to want to leave the party. Unlike Kaladze, United National Movement leader Nika Melia is likely to be ousted from his party as Mikheil Saakashvili tries to regain control of the party.
Dominique Cagara, Co-Founder of OC Media
The epidemic in the Caucasus will continue at the same pace. The governments of the Caucasus will surrender, begin to ease restrictions on COVID due to social pressure, and affected economies. Due to the extremely low level of vaccines նոր new, rapidly spreading and vaccine-resistant versions of the virus, many more people will die.
The far right will become a political force in Georgia. After the ideological bankruptcy of both the Georgian Dream and the United National Movement, the far-right party Alt-Info will be established as an alternative with a mix of promises of extreme conservatism and social welfare.
There will be no progress in resolving the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia will continue to try to prevent Georgia from entering into a dialogue with the breakaway republics, while Georgia will continue its policy of non-recognition and avoidance of dialogue.
Marianna Kotova, columnist
Politicians in Abkhazia will continue fighting for power by searching for more reasons to protest. Since 2004, protests seeking regime change have become a national tradition. Such practices are unlikely to be abandoned this year.
Abkhaz politicians will continue to fight for powerLooking for more reasons to protest. Protests seeking regime change have become a national tradition since 2004. This year, it is unlikely that they will give up such practice.
Abkhazia will face ecological disasters. Fires will rage in the dry season, and in summer there will be floods and storms. These disasters have become common all over the world,: Abkhazia is especially vulnerable.
Fan outages in Abkhazia will stop. Promised investments in the energy sector will improve people’s living conditions.
Sale of real estate to foreigners in Abkhazia will not be legalized. The authorities will not take such an unpopular step, but the Russian authorities will not stop the pressure on that issue.
Robin Fabro, Editor-in-Chief
Media rights in the South Caucasus will continue to deteriorate. In Azerbaijan, which has one of the most oppressive media environments in the world, a new media law will tighten restrictions.
In Armenia, Pashinyan is becoming more and more allergic to criticism, a trend that shows few signs of a return.
There was an outbreak of media hostility in Georgia last yearEspecially by conservative, far-right groups. As the government approves of such messages, physical attacks on journalists in Georgia are unlikely to stop.
Russia will re-establish itself in the South Caucasus. While tensions between Russia and the West in Ukraine are at an all-time high, the Caucasus may be next. As in Ukraine, Georgia does not intend to give up its NATO ambitions, NATO will not bow to Russia’s demands to exclude it.
At the same time, the EU is strengthening its involvement in the region, particularly in its supposedly ally Armenia Armenia.: Tensions are already rising in Azerbaijan over the deployment of Russian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh. How Russia can reassert itself is unpredictable, as never before, but it has many tools to advance its agenda, from economic influence to the threat or use of military force.
Translation by Zara Poghosyan