When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

TOPIC: caucasus

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

At A Hinterland Cemetery, Russians Mourn Their Sons And Stand By Putin

This is the other side of the Kremlin's "special operation" in Ukraine. The human cost of the Russian side remains unclear. The reportage takes place in the capital of one of the poorest regions of Russia, in the heart of the Caucasus, where a growing number of soldiers are buried.

VLADIKAVKAZ — Throughout Russia, military cemeteries continue to fill up and expand. Looking at the dates on the graves, one begins to gauge the scope of the Kremlin's so-called special military operation in Ukraine.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

"We will win this war," says Taïmouzar, 65. "It will be long. But we will make it all the way." .

At the foot of the Caucasus Mountains, Vladikavkaz is one of the poorest regions of Russia — a fertile ground for recruiters looking for volunteers to fight in Ukraine.

Looking at the grave of his son David, 21, the grieving father speaks with certainty: "He didn't want to fight this war," Taïmouzar says. "But he was right to go and fight there. A year ago, the Ukrainians were preparing to attack us. Russia had to defend itself."

Watch VideoShow less

How Russia Planned For The Wrong War — With The Wrong Army

Russia is losing in Ukraine not just because of Putin's madness and the heroism of Ukrainians, but also because Russia's army is built for rapid invasion and occupation, not for the type of grinding war it is now fighting in Ukraine.

In the early days of the Russian invasion, both Moscow and the West predicted Ukraine would quickly be defeated.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

On Feb. 26, 2022, the American Institute for the Study of War wrote: “Russia will likely defeat Ukrainian regular military forces and secure their territorial objectives at some point in the coming days or weeks if Putin is determined to do so and willing to pay the cost in blood and treasure.”

Events, however, took a different path.

Keep reading...Show less

How Fleeing Russians (And Their Rubles) Are Shaking Up Neighboring Economies

Russians fled the war to neighboring countries, bringing with them billions of dollars worth of wealth. The influx of money is both a windfall and a problem.

Posting a comment on a Kazakhstani real estate listing and sales website this past fall, one user couldn't contain his enthusiasm: "It's unbelievable, hasn't happened since 2013 — the market has exploded! ... Yippee! I don't know who to kiss!"

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

The boom of demand — and dollars — in Kazakhstan, and other countries in the region, is traced directly to the incoming Russians and their wealth who have arrived since the war in Ukraine began.

The ongoing wave of fleeing Russians is likely the largest emigration from the country in 100 years. There are no accurate estimates of how many Russians have left the country, much less where they will settle or how many of them will eventually return home. But between March and October, up to 1.5 million people left Russia. A conservative estimate suggests half a million haven't returned.

The main flow passed through Georgia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan (which has the longest land border with Russia). In these countries, the Russian language is widespread and visas are unnecessary. Russians can even enter Kazakhstan and Armenia without a passport.

Keep reading...Show less

How Russia's Setbacks In Ukraine Could Reignite Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict

Azerbaijan’s recent shelling of Armenia is the worst hostilities since the war in 2020 over the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. While in the past, Russia, a historic ally of Armenia, sought to restore peace, the Kremlin may make a different calculus this time.


Almost two years ago, what is now referred to as the “Second Karabakh War” broke the uneasy truce which had been in effect between Armenia and Azerbaijan since 1994. After 44 days of intense fighting – with thousands of dead on both sides – it ended in a precarious, Russian-mediated ceasefire on November 10, 2020.

The nine-point document setting out the terms of the ceasefire in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region of the South Caucasus largely cemented the gains made by Azerbaijan during the war. Among others, it provided for a withdrawal of Armenia’s troops from Azerbaijan and the restoration of economic and transportation links between the two countries.

This is particularly important for Azerbaijan, whose access to its Nakhchivan exclave is separated by Armenia’s Syunik province. The agreement also included arrangements for the stationing of Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh until at least 2025.

Keep reading...Show less
Fehim Tastekin

From Ukraine To Syria, Mercenaries With A Cause

Troops fighting around the world are often chasing enemies from somewhere else. A global tour of how the shards of 'broken nations' are fed into the conflicts of others.

ISTANBUL — I was speaking last week with a local leader of the Circassian community who told me about a Caucasian militant injured in Syria while fighting on the side of the opposition. After he was brought to Turkey, the injured militant was asked: “What is your business in the war in Syria?” He answered “Actually, I am fighting against Russia there.”

Fighting an ally of Moscow (the Assad regime) serves as an act of hostility against Russia. Of course, there is more to it: the Caucasian resistance movement has also undergone an ideological metamorphosis, and joined the global jihad network. Unfortunately, nations which have been torn apart by war and chaos may easily provide soldiers for others' causes. They are brave, loyal and fit for battle, precious human resources for warlords. Add to that an ideological or religious connection, and the deal is done.

Watch VideoShow less