It would be foolish, in forming our expectations, to attach great weight to matters which are very uncertain. (John Maynard Keynes "The General'Iheory...°) 1. INTRODUCTION: SUBJECT AND STARTING POINTS This article considers the economic dimension of mitigating ethnopolitical tension in the South Caucasus. In particular, Georgia's sensitive Samtskhe-Javakheti (S-J) prov- ince, which has potential for fully-fledged ethnopolitical conflict, is used as an example to discuss the background and substance of this issue. S-J is a land-locked administrative region on the politically sensitive southern fringe of Georgia. It neighbours Armenia and Turkey, the predominantly Muslim-Georgian populated Ajaria and the Georgian administrative unit of Kvemo Kartli with its considerable Muslim-Azeri population. S- J has an almost completely Christian population that is nevertheless ecclesiastically and ethnically divided in itself. The Javakheti side of S-J is predominantly Armenian, while S-J as a whole has an ethnic Georgian majority population. S-J is economically under- developed and socially marginalized. While its inhabitants perceive contemporary issues largely through ethnic interpretations and it is subject to contradictory foreign interests, S-J has not turned into an area of open conflict so far. This article examines the ethnic composition and interethnic atmosphere of S-J. Both are understood to
European Yearbook of Minority Issues Online – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1
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