Staunton, June 1 – In the past ten days, the peoples of the Caucasus have been marking with varying degrees of intensity the centenaries of the establishment of independent states following the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917 – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Mountaineer Republic of the North Caucasus.
For the first three, these anniversary provide both a source of pride and a comparison with the current situation to the past (jam-news.net/?p=104486&lang=rukavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/320982/ kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/320969/); for the fourth, it is a chance to consider both past and future (profile.ru/politika/item/125752-zakavkaze-sto-let-spustya
The commemoration of the anniversary of the formation of the Republic of Azerbaijan was the most complicated. On the one hand, there was enormous pride both in government circles and in the population that Azerbaijan in 1918 was the first secular republic in the Muslim world, thus setting the country on a course it resumed in 1991.
(For that aspect, see onkavkaz.com/news/2265-sto-let-nazad-kavkaz-sozdal-pervye-demokraticheskie-respubliki-v-islamskom-mire-no-oni-ne-vysto.html, qha.com.ua/ru/obschestvo/v-azerbaidjane-otmechayut-100letie-provozglasheniya-respubliki/192757/kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/320969/.)
On the other hand, demonstrators appeared calling for the restoration of the democratic principles which informed Azerbaijan in the first republic, principles they very much feel are being violated now. Not surprisingly, the authorities arrested many of those involved (russian.eurasianet.org/node/65265 and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/320982/).
In Georgia, the anniversary passed with less controversy but with a quiet pride. Numerous Georgians and Georgian historians told journalists that the first republic more than anything else defined Georgia’s identity and continues to guide its policies despite everything that has changed in the world.
(On that, see ekhokavkaza.com/a/vizualizacia-asi-clis-chemdeg-sapartvelos-pirveli-damoukidebeli-respublika/29250578.htmlkavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/320905/, ekhokavkaza.com/a/29254938.html and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/320942/.)
And in the North Caucasus, where the Mountaineer Republic was suppressed and has not been restored, the centenary passed almost unnoticed. The officials of the non-Russian republics have little interest in talking about regional regimes; and the population has little knowledge of the time when the non-Russian “mountaineers” cooperated against Moscow.
But it is entirely possible that if the Putin regime suppresses the non-Russian republics as it seems on course to do, the experience of the Mountaineer Republic will become more relevant – and a greater threat to Moscow’s control of the region than any of the constituent non-Russian republics currently is.