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BESEDKA, a platform for online talks


“Besedka”: interesting interlocutors and unusual topics


“Besedka” is a platform for online talks created by the Caucasus Institute. Why “besedka”? Because in our (post-Soviet) countries there is a besedka/ gazebo in each yard, where people discuss politics, social life, and life in general. The talks are broadcast online on the CI Facebook Page. We talk in different languages, as our interlocutors are from different countries. For those who cannot join the live stream, the “Besedka” podcast is available.


A talk about “besedkas” (gazebos): how the USSR was demolished in the cafes (in Russian)


The famous Moscow kitchens and no less famous Yerevan cafes: what did the discussion platforms of the Soviet period look like? What did the conventional “besedka” (gazebo) that broke the backbone of the Soviet Union look like? These and many other questions were raised by Gor Petrosyan, CI research fellow, during his conversation with Alexander Iskandaryan, CI Director, on June 18, 2020.

Yerevan: do only architects create a city?

(in Armenian)


On 02.07.2020 the Caucasus Institute’s “Besedka” hosted Mark Grigoryan, the Director of Alexander Tamanyan National Museum-Institute of Architecture, journalist and author of the “Unknown Yerevan” series. He filled our virtual gazebo with the authentic Yerevan atmosphere, history and nostalgia. We talked about how the attitudes towards Yerevan changed in the course of time and how the city developed.

A journalist on a mission in Arab countries (in English)



What does it feel like to go to school in Beirut during the war? Why Arabic doesn't have a word for genocide? These and many other topics including the Arab Spring and the Ottoman legacy were touched upon by Nina Iskandaryan from CI during her talk with Vicken Cheteryan, journalist and political analyst.

Coffee-scented Armenia (in Armenian)


How coffee culture emerged in Armenia? Where does it come from and how has it changed over time? Is there any difference in a coffee ceremony for men and women? On August 6 in the CI’s Besedka we discussed these and other questions concerning Armenia’s relations with the flavoured drink with Gayane Shagoyan, PhD in History, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, ethnologist and cultural anthropologist. 

How Do Countries Become Rich? (in Armenian)


How rich countries have become rich and why poor countries remain poor? Where is the linkage between modernization and development? In our Besedka Alexander Iskandaryan, Director of the Caucasus Institute, talks about economic modernization and its results with Georgi Derluguian, Professor of Social Research and Public Policy at New York University Abu Dhabi.

Journalism’s path, journalist’s path (in Armenian)



What a path has journalism walked through in Armenia after independence? What was happening to Armenian journalism in the 90s? What has changed in the information sphere after the Velvet Revolution? On September 7, we discussed these and many other questions at the Caucasus Institute’s Besedka with Anna Israelyan, editor of the online version of Aravot daily, and simply a devoted journalist.

The Belarus we don’t know (in Russian)


Throughout decades the image of Belarus in the world was that of Lukashenko. Now it is the image of confrontation between Lukashenko and Belarusian society. And what a society is it, and how can we know that amid freedom of speech limitations and the absence of public opinion polls? Belarus which we don’t know well. This is the topic for another meeting at the Caucasus Institute’s Besedka.

Nina Iskandaryan’s interlocutor is Yauheni Preiherman, a young specialist on international relations from Minsk, Founder and Director at Minsk Dialogue Council on International Relations.

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