The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict – In Search Of The Way Out


Description of the Project

1. Brief summary

The collapse of the Soviet Union has invoked resumption of old and emergence of new ethno-political conflicts on the entire post-Soviet area. The Nagorno-Karabakh problem, having its own history, is one of the most difficult-to-resolve and complicated bloody conflicts of the last decade with two newly independent states Azerbaijan and Armenia involved.

At present, the conflict is in its «no war, no peace» phase. The cease-fire, which was established in May 1994, is preserved by the conflicting parties up to now, but the negotiating process with the participation of the international mediators does not bring desired outcomes. The internal situation in both independent republics and Nagorno Karabakh, due to lack of progress in the peace process, is quite complicated, as long as the problems, caused by the conflict, are touching upon all sections of the populations concerned, impeding development of a civil society and democratic freedoms in the mentioned three state entities. All this endangers the regional security and stability as well, preventing from developing regional economic cooperation and integration.

Understanding that the resolution of the conflict may only be based on the adoption of a comprehensive, exclusively political decision with inevitable reciprocal compromise of all conflicting parties, and also taking into account that even in case of the elaboration of some settlement model on the level of governmental structures, both Armenian and Azerbaijani societies are still not ready to perceive and accept a compromise, we – The Center for Strategic Analysis «Spectrum» (Yerevan, Armenia) and the Humanitarian Information Agency «Sanya» (Baku, Azerbaijan) find it necessary to make our mutual contribution to the preparation of the public opinion in both Azerbaijan and Armenia to the inevitability of acceptance of a compromise settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, thus promoting creation of appropriate atmosphere in our societies.

In this project we are proceeding from the necessity of an objective analysis of the level of readiness of our societies for a mutual compromise and the need of preparing the public opinion just for this way of the conflict resolution.

2. Objectives
Determination of the level of readiness of both societies to a mutual compromise.
Determination of those sections of societies, who are more (less) ready for a compromise.
Elaboration of recommendations, allowing to increase the level of tolerance in the Azerbaijan and Armenian societies.

3. Main target groups
The Karabakh war veterans;
Residents of the borderline regions;
Young people (students, young men under conscription, young specialists);

Programme of activities
The Project will be implemented by means of a series of seminars for mentioned target groups simultaneously in Azerbaijan and Armenia. At each of seminars only representatives one target group will be present. As the main speakers will be invited the experts, competent in the problems of the given target group, as well as the representatives of international organizations. The presence of a psychologist is also planned at the seminars.
Each seminar will be accompanied by a blitz-polling.

The schedule of the project’s implementation:

June – July, 2003 – practical preparation for the Project:
Notification via mass media about the intended implementation of such project
Choice and completion of the target groups.

June 24, 2003 – 1st seminar «The Role of Mass Media in the Coverage of the Conflict»
The points of discussion were:
The role of mass media in the elimination of the image of enemy and in the development of a dialogue between the conflicting parties;
The journalist ethics and responsibility for the formation of the negative image of peoples and propaganda of nationalism;
The Mass Media as an instrument of creating the public opinion and the search for constructive ways for the settlement of conflicts.
Key note speakers in Yerevan were: Mr. Avet Demuryan, researcher of SPECTRUM and Vice-President of the Yerevan Press Club (The title of his lecture was «The Role of Mass Media in covering the Nagorno Karabakh conflict: the prospects of settlement») and Dr. Alexander Iskandarian, Pro-rector of the Caucasus Media Institute, who spoke about «The Role of the NGO’s in the search of the compromise resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict».

25 July, 2003 – 2nd seminar: «The Women of the Caucasus for Peace and their Role in Overcoming the Consequences of the Conflict»
The points of discussion were:
The consequences of the conflict;
Social problems, including migration, poverty, unemployment;
Problems of disabled people, orphan children, refugees;
Unacceptability of the resumption of war;
Substantiation of the role of women during the peace process of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
Key note speakers in Yerevan were: Dr. Hasmik Gevorgian, Ass. Prof. of the Faculty of Sociology of the Yerevan State University. The title of her lecture was «Woman in the transitional society». The second speaker was Mrs. Jemma Hasratian, Head of the Association of the Women with University Education (her lecture’s title was «Consequences of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the role of women’s organizations in peace-building».

August 26, 2003 – 3rd seminar: «The Refugees as an Integral Part of Society»
The points to discuss were:
The legal, social, cultural and psychological problems of the refugees and displaced persons and settlers;
The issues of integration and migration.
The key note speakers in Yerevan were: Dr. Hranush Kharatian, Head of the Armenian Center for Ethnological Studies and the Refugees’ Forum, who presented «The Karabakh problem and refugees». Mrs. Larissa Alaverdian, Head of the Foundation Against Violation of Law, spoke about «The concept of the state policy on the refugees».

September 2003 – both partners of the project, i.e. Center for Strategic Analysis «SPECTRUM» and Humanitarian Analytical Agency «SANIYA» summed up the preliminary results by the conclusion of the three first seminars, analyzed the results of the blitz polling and singled out the most painful problems for each target groups.

October 15, 2003 – 4th seminar “No War, No Peace: the Prospects of Peaceful Coexistence of Neighbors” took place in town Idjevan, Tavush region of Armenia.
The main points of discussion were:
Unacceptability of resumption of the military actions;
Establishment of the economic cooperation of the border-line residents;
Joint resistance to natural disasters;
Cultural contacts.
The key note speakers in Idjevan were: LTC Shahen Mnatsakanian, lecturer of the V. Sargisyan Military Institute, Yerevan, and expert of the Center for Strategic Analysis «SPECTRUM», who presented a report «In search of the way out: rescue service as one of possible forms of cooperation» and Mr. Ashot Melyan, analyst of the Center for Strategic Analysis SPECTRUM, who made a presentation «The borderline zone: the peace and war line».
Dr. Gayane Novikova presented to the participants the current situation in the conflict resolution and prospects of the negotiating process. Mr. Avet Demurian spoke about the role of the Mass Media in the borderline regions.

December 5, 2003 – 5th seminar «The Youth Against the War»
Points for discussion:
The role of young people and youth organizations in the society and its contribution to the search of the ways for the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict;
Development of relations between the young people of the conflicting parties in the field of education;
Culture as a means for rapprochement of positions and constructive resolution of problems and overcoming the image of enemy.
Mr. Mikael Hambarzumyan, lecturer at the Yerevan State University, spoke on «The role of youth in the peace process». Mr. Rouben Meloyan from the Caucasus Media Institute made a presentation «The society readiness to a compromise».

January 2004 – Summing up the interim results of the project

February 24, 2004 – 6th seminar «The conflict in the eyes of veterans»
Points to discuss:
The heavy consequences of the war;
Psychological rehabilitation of the participants of military actions;
International legal guarantees for peace and stability in the region;
The role of veterans in overcoming the consequences of the conflict.
The key note speakers in Yerevan were: Dr. Vladimir Mikaelyan, Ass. Prof. of the Department of Psychology, who presented «Socio-psychological situation of combatants», and Mr. Kniaz Hambarzumyan, the Karabakh war veteran. The title of his presentation was «The combatants are ready to reasonable compromises».

May 7, 2004 – the seventh seminar “Economic cooperation: a myth or reality?”
A range of questions, related with the problems of cooperation between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the conditions of the unresolved conflict, were discussed during the seminar. The economic situation in Armenia was assessed, taking into account the factor of its transport blockade by Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Key speakers were the Advisor of the President of the Armenian Chamber of Commerce Mr. Arayik Vardanyan, who delivered a report “Restoration of the economic ties between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” and Director of the Information Agency “Arminfo” Mr. Emmanuil Mkrtchyan, who touched the problem of the shadow economic ties between the two states in his report “Without war, without peace, without cooperation.”

In the following months the Center was processing the data of blitz-polls in the focus-groups and preparing the enlarged sociological survey with 500 respondents.
The polling was held in July 1-13. The analysis of its results and conclusion were prepared in September.

At the same time the work on editing and translation of the articles of Armenian and Azerbaijani key speakers has been begun.

“The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – in the search of way out” book was presented on
March 9, 2005.