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Ambassadors attend 100-year anniversary of independence in the Caucasus

2018-05-24

A hundred years have passed since the countries of the Caucasus declared their independence. To mark this anniversary, Malmö University research platform RUCARR organised a conference with several high-profile diplomats. 

), Karina Vamling

The conference, titled ‘Declarations of Independence in the Caucasus’, was a rare occasion for ambassadors of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia to participate at the same event.

Co-director of the Russia and the Caucasus regional research platform (RUCARR), Karina Vamling, said she was “honoured to welcome the ambassadors of the three republics in the Caucasus.” During the day, separate panels were dedicated to each country. The ambassadors gave individual presentations addressing the legacy of their national history. 

‘Declarations of Independence in the Caucasus’ conference delegates

“What the three countries have in common is their short periods of independence following the Russian revolution and before they came under Soviet rule. During Soviet times, this was not acknowledged and the dominant rhetoric was that these countries voluntarily joined Soviet Russia with help from the Red Army. The anniversary is a way of underlining and acknowledging a different narrative, that of Soviet occupation. Also, this history was an important factor after the fall of the Soviet Union, when the states could set out to reclaim an independence they had lost,” Vamling explained. 

During the talks, the speakers emphasised the significance of the anniversary in their respective countries today. 

“It is important to remember history and those who gave their lives for independence, in order to continue the struggle for a free, European, sovereign Georgia,” said Malkhaz Kakabadze, Ambassador of Georgia to Sweden and Finland. 

In addition to ambassadors, the event also included presentations from scholars, associations, and the executive director of Diplomat Magazine, a current-affairs publication that recently printed a special edition on the hundred-year anniversary celebration in Georgia. 

Diplomat Magazine

Ingrid Tersman, Sweden’s ambassador to Azerbaijan and chairperson of RUCARR’s advisory board, said: “I think the anniversary is cause for remembrance and also celebration. All three countries have come a long way with regards to sovereignty despite facing issues with conflicts on their territories in various ways. 

“I think it’s important for all of us to remember our history, where we came from and what we have accomplished, but especially for countries with a turbulent past. As independent states, the countries of the Caucasus are quite young. Looking back is a way of taking charge of the future.” 

The event was live-streamed and is available to watch on the RUCARR website.

Text: Maya Acharya

Last updated by Adrian Grist