2018

Caucasus Institute organizes various events, round tables, conferences, trainings and seminars. These events are aimed at strengthening the bond between science and society, fostering pluralism and stimulating the transfer of research results.


Roundtable

Prospects for peace in Nagorno-Karabakh: International and Domestic Perspectives

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Moderator: Alexander Iskandaryan, Director of the Caucasus Institute
Venue: Caucasus Institute
Date: December 17

On December 17 the Caucasus Institute hosted a roundtable discussion and presented its new book entitled “Prospects for peace in Nagorno-Karabakh: International and Domestic Perspectives”. The book is based on the presentations made at an international conference held in Yerevan on March 15-16, 2018. Mr. Alexander Iskandaryan, CI Director and the editor of the book, made some opening remarks.
Dr. Vahram Ter-Matevosyan, Program Chair and Associate Professor, Political Science and International Affairs, American University of Armenia, represented the book. Mr. Ter-Matevosyan outlined that in a time of uncertainty we, more than ever, need to deeply think of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and our perspective of it. He drew particular attention to the terminology used by the authors, highlighting the fact that the term frozen conflict is replaced now by low-intensity warfare, which is more accurate. His speech was followed by an active debate-discussion, moderated by CI Director Alexander Iskandaryan.
The roundtable discussion was held in the framework of a project on Engaging society and decision-makers in dialogue for peace over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict implemented by the Caucasus Institute with support from the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.


Debate Tournament

Don’t fight, debate!

47580241_1185268998315636_4561131139502178304_oVenue: Arthurs Aghveran Resort
Date: December 11-16

From December 11-16, 2018 the Caucasus Institute in cooperation with the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, organized a five-day debate tournament entitled “Don’t fight, debate”! 24 young scholars, students, civil servants and civil society representatives from Armenia took part in the interactive and dynamic tournament that strengthened their argumentation skills and debate techniques. The debates were held in a format specially developed by the Caucasus Institute for this project.

The intensive programme included 4 practical exercises, 5 guest lectures and 8 debates covering a wide range of topics from freedom of speech and media ethics to political analysis, democratization, and human rights. Two teams of four people participated in the final debate, judged by Alexander Iskandaryan, Tatevik Khachatryan and Alexander Markarov. At the final award ceremony all of the participants were certificated, while the winning team members received awards.


Tea party

Crises of Democracy: late 19th century, mid 20th, early 21st

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Moderator: Alexander Iskandaryan, Director of the Caucasus Institute
Venue: Caucasus Institute
Date: December 6

On December 6, 2018 the Caucasus Institute organized an informal discussion in a tea party format on crises of democracy in the last three centuries. Young scholars and students from various universities and institutions from Armenia participated in the informal discussion moderated by CI director Alexander Iskandaryan. Mr Iskandaryan discussed the general perceptions of democracy, looked into its development as a widespread form of government in the modern world and all the challenges that it faces. The participants engaged in an active Q&A session expressing their own opinions on the articulated ideas, discussing various theories related to democracy, etc.
Held in the framework of a project on Engaging Society and Decision-Makers in Dialogue for Peace in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, funded by the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, the tea party aimed to define democracy, in its various forms, as the most widely accepted form of government, understand common perceptions of democracy, and try to find out the reasons for its crises. The participants broaden their views on democracy learning about the factors that may cause democracy crises, and the conflicts that the crises may provoke within society and between societies.


Tea party

The Formation of Parliamentary Systems

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Moderator: Alexander Iskandaryan, Director of the Caucasus Institute
Venue: Caucasus Institute
Date: November 15

On November 15, 2018 the Caucasus Institute organized an informal discussion in a tea party format on The Formation of Parliamentary Systems. Young scholars, students from various universities and institutions from Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh participated in the informal discussion moderated by CI director Alexander Iskandaryan. Mr Iskandaryan provided insight to the development of parliamentarism in England in the late 13th century, how it evolved in other countries of the world and in what forms it exists now after which the participants engaged into an interactive Q&A session/discussion touching upon the upcoming snap elections in Armenia, comparing the development of the parliamentary systems in Armenia and Georgia, questioning the Brexit and its implications for the conflict in Northern Ireland etc.
The event was held in the framework of a project on Engaging Society and Decision-Makers in Dialogue for Peace in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, funded by the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.


Workshop

Looking for New Paradigms of Conflict Transformation and Resolution

IMG-2725Venue:
Arthurs Aghveran Resort


Date:

October 26-28

On October 26-28, 2018 the Caucasus Institute held a workshop on Looking for New Paradigms of Conflict Transformation and Resolution. The workshop was focused on conflict resolution prospects, characteristics of ethno-political conflicts, their root causes, trends of development and projections on nation building processes. During the workshop a team of students, young scholars, public officials, journalists and civil society representatives from Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, facilitated by leading experts from the UK, Austria, Armenia, Georgia and Russia, worked on defining a new paradigm for transformation and resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The workshop was organized within the framework of a project on Engaging society and decision-makers in dialogue for peace over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, implemented by the Caucasus Institute with support from the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.
The workshop consisted of two panels, which were followed by group works. During the first panel the speakers (Alexander Iskandaryan, Director, Caucasus Institute, Yerevan, L’ubica Pollakova, Senior Manager, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House, London, and Paata Zakareishvili, former State Minister for Reconciliation and Civil Equality of Georgia, Tbilisi) provided insight into liberal and illiberal approaches to conflict management, nation-building processes and conflict transformations, particularly on the examples of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
After the first panel Irina Kobrinskaya, the Head of the Centre for Situation Analysis, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, introduced the technique of situation analysis followed by group work. The workshop participants were divided into 3 groups that were given a task to apply situation analysis to the Cyprus, Israeli-Palestinian, Abkhazia and South Ossetia conflicts.During the second panel Vahram Ter-Matevosyan, Program Chair and Associate Professor, Political Science and International Affairs Program, American University of Armenia, and Alexander Dubowy, Senior Researcher, Austrian National Defence Academy, touched upon the issues of ethnic minorities in the context of the formation of the Turkish state, the current situation of de facto states and security situation in the post-Soviet space respectively. The presentations were followed by group work, where participants tried to use reverse engineering technique while trying to find the best realistic solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Roundtable

Conflict Transformation: the Case of Northern Ireland

Roundtable 28.09.2018
Venue: Caucasus Institute, Yerevan, Armenia
Date: September 28, 2018

On September 28, 2018 the Caucasus Institute hosted a roundtable discussion on conflict transformation and peacebuilding experience of Northern Ireland. H.E. Ms. Judith Farnworth, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia, made some opening remarks.
Mr. Alexander Attwood, Associate (Senior Governance Expert) with The Stabilization and Recovery Network (TSRN) began the roundtable discussion drawing particular attention to the causes of the conflict. He called it a conflict of political identity, rather than of religion. Mr. Attwood emphasized the importance of galvanizing the support of the international community to build up support for the democracy-building process in Northern Ireland.

 

His speech was followed by Neil Jarman, CEO of the Institute of Conflict Research, Senior Research Fellow at the Senator George Mitchell Institute of Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s University, Belfast. Mr. Jarman examined the legislative changes made prior to the peace agreement. He highlighted the importance of women’s participation and contribution to the peace process.
Alexander Iskandaryan, Director of the Caucasus Institute made some final remarks drawing a comparison between the conflicts in Northern Ireland and Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as shared his experience gained from the recent study trip to Belfast.
The following Q&A session touched upon such issues as the demographics of the Northern Irish conflict, the influence of Brexit on the public opinion in Northern Ireland in regards to its status etc.

 

The roundtable discussions are held in the framework of a project on Engaging society and decision-makers in dialogue for peace over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict implemented by the Caucasus Institute with support from the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.

 


Lecture

Transition From Armed Conflict to Peace: The Case of Northern Ireland.

Jarman lecture
Venue: Yerevan State University, Palyan Hall
Date: September 27, 2018

On September 27, 2018 in Palyan Hall, Yerevan State University, the Caucasus Institute organized a public lecture by Neil Jarman, CEO of the Institute of Conflict Research, Senior Research Fellow at the Senator George Mitchell Institute of Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s University (Northern Ireland).

 

During the lecture, Neil Jarman touched upon the conflict in Northern Ireland and the grounds for its emergence. Mr. Jarman represented the various political and legal reforms, power-sharing mechanisms at the executive level brought about by the peace agreement. He also spoke about the challenges faced by the peace and confidence building process following the conclusion of the peace agreement in 1994.
The lecture was followed by a Q&A session, where the participants discussed the border issue following the Brexit and its overall impact on the peace process, various aspects of the Good Friday agreement, the implications of the Northern Irish peace process for the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh etc.

 

The lecture was organized by the Caucasus Institute in the framework of a project on Engaging society and decision-makers in dialogue for peace over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict implemented by the Caucasus Institute with support from the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.

 


Lecture

Northern Ireland 20 years after Good Friday Agreement.

Attwood lecture
Venue: Akian Art Gallery, Paramaz Avedisian Building, AUA
Date: September 27, 2018

On September 27, 2018 the Political Science and International Affairs Program of the American University of Armenia hosted a public lecture by Alexander Attwood, Associate (Senior Governance Expert) with The Stabilization and Recovery Network (TSRN) working on sub-national governance projects in the Province of Ninawa, Irbil and districts, Iraq (including Mosul, TelAfar, TelKiaf and neighbouring towns).

 

Alexander Attwood started the lecture emphasizing the triumph of the democratic dialogue reached by the Northern Irish at every level (community, church, government), where people tried to talk to make things better. Highlighting the importance of the accommodation of differences and political identities of conflicting parties Mr. Attwood claimed that despite the fact that ever since the politics have degraded and people fail to continue the confidence-building measures, the importance of the achievements reached (end of violence, conclusion of the peace agreement, effective power sharing) shouldn’t be undermined. He also underlined the significance of the legal reforms conducted since the Good Friday agreement: the police reform, the order of criminal justice, the human rights commission.
The lecture was followed by a Q&A session. The main topics of discussion where the fundamental principles of the peace agreement, how it was perceived by the society, what contributed to its success, how did the Labor government of Tony Blair contribute to the peace process etc.

The lecture was organized by the Caucasus Institute in the framework of a project on Engaging society and decision-makers in dialogue for peace over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict implemented by the Caucasus Institute with support from the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.


Tea Party

Transition of Power and Conflict of Political Generations

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Venue: Caucasus Institute
Date: September 20, 2018

On September 20, 2018, the Caucasus Institute organized a tea party with young scholars and students in the framework of a series of informal discussions. The main topics of the discussion were the change of the political generations, on the particular example of the power handover in Armenia. Alexander Iskandaryan, Director of the Caucasus Institute, made some introductory notes defining the phenomenon of the transition of political generations supporting his arguments with various examples from the world history and the political reality in Armenia. He then explained the logic of the differences in the perception of the political reality through the different social experiences and educational background of the generations.

 

Following Mr. Iskandaryan’s introductory speech the participants engaged in an active Q&A session and a debate-discussion.

The discussions are held in the framework of a project on Engaging society and decision-makers in dialogue for peace over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict implemented by the Caucasus Institute with support from the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.


Roundtable

Why Rich Countries Become Rich And The Poor Remain Poor: Conflict And Development.

roundtable 19.07.2018
Venue: Caucasus Institute
Date: July 19, 2018

On July 19, 2018 the Caucasus Institute organized a roundtable on conflict and economic modernization in developing and developed countries. The main topics of the discussion were the linkages between modernization and development, portraying the general picture and examining specific cases from various developed and developing countries worldwide.

 

The roundtable began with keynote remarks made by Georgi M. Derluguian, Associate Professor, Social Research and Public Policy at New York University Abu Dhabi. Mr. Derluguian examined the history of modernization, in general, trying to look into Europe’s path towards modernization and how it was impeded by the conflicts in continental Europe. The second part of the presentation was dedicated to Armenia’s prospects for development in the current circumstances of war and closed borders. Mr. Derluguian drew attention to Armenia’s unobserved development potential outlining two important factors: support of the Armenian diaspora and the preserved nation-state. The presentation was followed by an active debate moderated by CI Director Alexander Iskandaryan. Issues raised by the participants included a wide range of topics, starting from the geographic determinism in Europe and the post-Soviet space ending with the modernization experience of the post-Soviet countries, etc.

The roundtable discussion was held in the framework of a project on Engaging society and decision-makers in dialogue for peace over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict implemented by the Caucasus Institute with support from the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.


Tea Party

The conflicts in Northern Ireland and Nagorno-Karabakh

Tea party 07.07.2018
Venue: Caucasus Institute
Date: July 07, 2018

On July 07, 2018 the Caucasus Institute in cooperation with the Embassy of the UK in Armenia organized a tea party with young scholars and students in the framework of a series of informal discussions. Sir Simon McDonald, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Head of the Diplomatic Service, was a guest speaker at the event. The main topics of the discussion were the similarities and differences in the ethno-nationalistic contentions in Northern Ireland and Nagorno Karabakh. Alexander Iskandaryan, Director of the Caucasus Institute, made some introductory notes trying to draw parallels between the two conflicts discussing the national and religious identities as the main cause of both conflicts. Sir Simon McDonald provided a better insight into the conflict in Norther Ireland, its causes, history, development and the current state of affairs.

 

Following the introductory speeches, the participants engaged in an active Q&A session and a debate.

The discussions are held in the framework of a project on Engaging society and decision-makers in dialogue for peace over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict implemented by the Caucasus Institute with support from the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.


Roundtable

Post-Socialist Economic and Social Transition

Venue: Caucasus Institute
Date: June 21, 2018

On June 21, 2018 the Caucasus Institute organized a roundtable on “Post-Socialist Economic and Social Transition.” The main topics of the discussion were the path of post-socialist states from planned to market economy, the impact of conflicts and civil wars on the economic transformation of the countries and the current relationship between the economic development and conflicts in the region of the South Caucasus.

 

Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan, Assistant Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics and Finance in the Peter J. Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University, USA, Member of the Board of the Armenian Economic Association, and Hrant Mikaelian, CI Research Fellow, came up with their presentations, which were followed by a discussion and Q&A section moderated by Alexander Iskandaryan, Director of the Caucasus Institute.

The event was held in the framework of a project on Engaging society and decision-makers in dialogue for peace over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict implemented by the Caucasus Institute with support from the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.


Tea Party

The Armenian Revolution: What Comes Next?

Tea party 07.06.2018
Venue: Caucasus Institute
Date: June 07, 2018

On June 07, 2018 the Caucasus Institute organized a tea party with young scholars and students in the framework of a project on Engaging society and decision-makers in dialogue for peace over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict implemented by the Caucasus Institute with support from the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.

 

The main topics of the discussion were the background and the triggers of the recent Armenian revolution. Alexander Iskandaryan, Director of the Caucasus Institute, who was the moderator of the event, outlined the main triggers of the events that took place in Armenia, comparing them with the 1988 movement in Armenia and all the other revolutions that took place in the post-Soviet space. He examined the means and tools used by revolution leaders, drawing attention to decentralization as an important factor of success. Mr. Iskandaryan concluded his introductory speech by summarizing some possible future development scenarios.

Following the introductory speech, the participants of the event engaged in an active discussion.


Roundtable

How and Why Do Revolutions Happen? Revolution in Armenia and Not Only

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Speakers: Alexander Iskandaryan, Director of the Caucasus Institute ; Aram Abrahamyan, Editor-in-cheif of Aravot Daily
Moderator: Armen Ghazaryan, CI Reasearch Fellow
Venue: Caucasus Institute
Date: May 21

On May 21, 2018 the Caucasus Institute in cooperation with the Embassy of the UK in Armenia organized a roundtable on “Revolution in Armenia and Not Only”. The main topics of the discussion were the theory and typology of revolution, its identification as social and political phenomenon, whether or not we can consider the recent political events in Armenia a revolution and how has the perception of classic revolutions changed in the modern world.
 
The roundtable began with a presentation by Alexander Iskandaryan, the Director of the Caucasus Institute. He was succeeded by Aram Abrahamyan, host of Shant’s political programmes and editor-in-chief of Aravot Daily. The presentations were followed by an active debate and Q&A session moderated by Armen Ghazaryan, Caucasus Institute Research Fellow.

Tea party

How and Why Do Revolutions Happen?

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Moderator: Alexander Iskandaryan, Director of the Caucasus Institute
Venue: Caucasus Institute
Date: May 17

On May 17, 2018 the Caucasus Institute in cooperation with the Embassy of the UK in Armenia organized a tea party with young scholars and students in the framework of a series of informal discussions. Theory, context and definitions of revolutions in general, the necessary preconditions for the emergence of revolution, similarities between various revolution scenarios throughout the world from Latin America to Kazakhstan, legitimacy of revolutions in the modern world, the different characteristics of classic and modern color revolutions were the main topics of the discussion. Alexander Iskandaryan, Director of the Caucasus Institute, was the moderator of the event.

Mr. Iskandaryan’s introductory speech was followed by an active debate-discussion.


Workshop

The EU, Turkey and the Caucasus: Current Stage of Relations

IMG-1084Moderator: Hrant Mikaelian, Researcher at the Caucasus Institute
Speakers: Alexander Iskandaryan, Director of the Caucasus Institute, Angelo Santagostino, Jean Monnet professor, Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University, Yildiz Deveci, Director of the Department of Caucasus Studies, Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University
Venue: Caucasus Institute
Date: April 5

On April 5 the Caucasus Institute held a workshop on the current stage of relations between the EU, Turkey and the South Caucasus. Looking at the EU’s involvement in the wider region comprising Turkey and the Caucasus, the workshop focused on a wide range of issues. Alexander Iskandaryan spoke of Armenia’s path towards deeper European integration, country’s bilateral relations with Russia and membership in Russian led institutions, including CSTO and EEU. Angelo Santagostino focused on EU’s commercial tools of building closer relations with eastern neighbors, including the DCFTA and its components. Yildiz Deveci examined the state of EU-Turkey relations in general, explaining what are the main issues and obstacles impeding Turkey’s deeper EU integration.

The presentations were followed by a Q&A session moderated by CI Research Fellow Hrant Mikaelian.


International Conference

Prospects for Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh: International and Domestic Perspectives

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Venue: Elite Plaza Business Centre
Date: March 15-16, 2018

On March 15-16, 2018 the Caucasus Institute (CI) held an international conference on Prospects for Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh: International and Domestic Perspectives. The conference was part of a project on Engaging society and decision-makers in dialogue for peace over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict implemented by the CI with support from the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund. Speakers at the conference were leading experts on the conflict from the UK and Armenia.

In her opening speech, H.E. Judith Farnworth, Ambassador of the UK to Armenia, said, “We strongly support the efforts of the OSCE Minsk group co-chairs to facilitate the peaceful resolution of the NK conflict on the basis of the so-called Madrid principles. We see this project as a complement to those efforts, as an opportunity to generate a discussion within society and between society, decision-makers and opinion-formers on the benefits of peace and how it might be achieved”. Summing up the current status of the conflict, CI Director Alexander Iskandaryan argued that the April 2016 de-freezing of the conflict has caused the conflict to become more deeply frozen, with negotiations focused on preventing outbreaks of violence rather than brokering a peaceful resolution.

Speakers analyzed the difficult situation on the ground and the mutually incompatible positions of the parties in conflict. Laurence Broers from Chatham House described Azerbaijan’s evolving position with respect to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, explaining that regaining jurisdiction over Nagorno-Karabakh is the “foundational mission of contemporary Azerbaijani identity”, whereas ethno-nationalism provides a solution to the legitimacy challenge confronting Azerbaijan’s elite. Contrastingly, the official position of Nagorno-Karabakh, presented by ICHD Chairman Tevan Poghosyan, is that “international recognition of the Artsakh Republic is a matter of time”. The prevalence of non-compromising attitudes to the conflict in Armenia was reflected in presentations by Mark Grigorian, Director of Armenia’s Public Radio, who analysed Armenian media coverage of the conflict, and by Sona Balasanyan, Research Director of CRRC Armenia, who used sociological methods to sum up public perceptions of the conflict in Armenia.

Given the complexity of the issue and the risks of war, peace prospects and practical steps towards peace were the main focus of discussions. Thomas de Waal, Senior Fellow at Carnegie Europe, offered an international perspective on the conflict, pointing out crucial flaws in the international negotiation format and calling for “a fundamental strategic rethink to move away from the status quo”. The International Alert’s Caucasus Regional Manager Sophia Pugsley proposed recommendations to international civil society, including strengthening of regional ties, involvement of young people and social media, and “humanization” of the discourse. In a lively general debate, participants discussed the role played by domestic, regional and external actors in maintaining or upsetting the precarious military and political balance in the conflict, and in bringing peace back to the negotiating table and public discourses.


Roundtable

The Karabakh Movement 30 Years Later: Lessons Learnt

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Moderator: Hrant Mikaelian, Researcher at the Caucasus Institute
Speaker: Mark Grigorian, Director of the Public Radio of Armenia
Venue: Caucasus Institute
Date: February 28

On February 28 the Caucasus Institute held a roundtable discussion dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Karabakh movement. The roundtable was part of a project on Engaging society and decision-makers in dialogue for peace over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict funded by the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.

The roundtable began with a presentation by Mark Grigorian, the Director of the Public Radio of Armenia. He spoke as an eyewitness of the events of 30 years ago: his presentation covered the period of 1987-1988. Mr. Grigoryan recalled the emergence of the Karabakh movement arguing that at the very outset, Azerbaijan was not mentioned at all: the protests were addressed to Moscow as the political centre. He also spoke of the motivation that people had for joining the movement: some considered it an attempt to correct historical mistakes, others, an effort to save the lives of Karabakh Armenians, and so on. Another topic addressed by Mr. Grigoryan was media coverage and information circulation during the movement. He pointed out that while Armenians were outraged by negative media reports about protests in Yerevan, they liked – and believed – negative reports by the same media about protests in Baku. In other words, the general public’s approach to information was one-sided. Among the lessons learnt he highlighted the fact that after the war, Armenians realized the need to act independently and stop relying on external actors.

Mark Grigoryan’s presentation was followed by an active debate moderated by CI Research Fellow Hrant Mikaelian. Issues debated by the participants included lessons learnt from the conflict and whether Armenia had indeed learned them, why the anniversary was not commemorated in Armenia on an official level, and whether something had changed in Armenians’ approach to media coverage of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

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