Caucasus, Conflict, Culture 4
Life In-Between Internally Displaced Persons in the Caucasus
Research Project for Students
The fate of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) is one of the major societal challenges in the South Caucasus. The war over the break-away regions Abkhazia (1992-93), South Ossetia (1991-92, 2008) and Nagorno-Karabakh (1992-94) triggered the flight and displacement of 900,000 people from their homeland. At this moment there exists no realistic perspective that the IDPs will ever return to the place they originate from, but the hope for returning remains vivid for many exiles and the national governments are not appeasing. Saying that a return is not possible would mean accepting the autonomy of the disputed regions. This is also the reason why the majority of IDPs in the South Caucasus are living ‘in-between’: their future remains unclear; they live in precarious conditions with high unemployment rates and are the pawns of the local governments.
This stage of ‘Caucasus, Conflict, Culture’ did focus on IDPs in Georgia. Their situation was discussed as living in-between, in a phase of ‘liminality’, which deeply affects their day-to-day life. 22 students from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Germany did jointly research on IDPs in Zugdidi and Gori, cities in the direct neighbourhood to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, where thousands of IDPs sit tight waiting for better days.