Category: Caucasus

I visited Nagorno-Karabakh in May 2010 together with my friend Julia on a short visit coming from Armenia. Nagorno-Karabakh is a territory that is disputed between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Internationally recognized as a part of Azerbaijan, in fact the power of government is exercised by the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (today the Republic of Artsakh), a de facto independent state with a population of Armenian ethnicity. This is the outcome of a bloody war fought from 1992 to 1994. No UN member state recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh. […]

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On trips in 2003 and 2008, I had managed to visit all former Soviet Republics situated in Asia except Armenia. Because of that, it always had a high priority and as I found out that there were cheap flights from Riga (where I spend six weeks in 2010) to nearby Tbilisi I knew what I should do. Mid-May is also a perfect time to visit Armenia so let’s go.

I led a double life on this trip, during the day I was an ordinary traveller while at night I turned into a student who urgently had to finish a paper for university. […]

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I had kept an eye on the situation in Georgia for the last weeks. On the 2nd of November 2003, parliamentary elections had taken place that fell short of international standards. Protests started which had grown to impressive demonstrations by mid-November. It was unclear in which direction things would develop. On the 23rd of November President Eduard Shevardnadze finally annulled the results of the parliamentary election and stepped down. The Rose Revolution had won a first victory, a caretaker president took over and new elections (for parliament and president) had been called. I entered Georgia barely two weeks later on the 6th of December, things were calm. […]

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I arrived to Azerbaijan by bus from Tehran in what was and still is the weirdest bus ride of my life. It started normal, I came to the bus station, went to the company I had bought the ticket from and they pointed me to a bus. The weirdness started when I realized that I was to be the only passenger and not just for the beginning but for the whole journey. This normal-sized bus had two drivers but just one passenger. […]

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