Scheda insegnamento

  • Docente Albert Bininachvili

  • Crediti formativi 8

  • SSD M-STO/03

  • Modalità di erogazione In presenza (Convenzionale)

  • Lingua di insegnamento Inglese

  • Orario delle lezioni dal 26/02/2018 al 26/03/2018

Anno Accademico 2017/2018

Conoscenze e abilità da conseguire

Students are expected to achieve an in-depth knowledge of the complicated process of state-building in the South Caucasian States - Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia - in historical and geopolitical perspectives. In this framework students will additionally learn how the stability of the newly independent states is affected, focussing on peculiarities of the power struggle, the role of the clans in local politics and human rights issues. Moreover, students are expected to learn the geopolitical and cultural context of Central Asia, its relation with the Soviet legacy and its new geopolitical context in relation to the energy supplies and the network of pipelines. Therefore, the course will also allow students to learn how to relate the regional dynamics with the Great Powers interests, particularly USA, Russia and China.


In recognition of the Bologna University's long-standing interest in the region and its potential as an Italian and European center of excellence, the Program of Contemporary Caucasus and Central Asia Studies led by Professor Albert Bininachvili was founded in 2005 in response to the ever increasing need of the European public and policy makers for information and analysis on this crucial geostrategic macro-region.

By promoting highly specialized critical research and education on this area, this Program represents an integral part of the activities endorsed by the Center for East, Central and Balkan Studies (Centro per l'Europa Centro-Orientale e Balcanica) of the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Bologna at its Forlì Campus.

This unique Caucasus-Central Asia program offers an exclusive analytical in-sight on the complexities of the regional transformation and contemporary history of the new regional actors who are getting out of the shadows of the Western consciousness to which fate and decades of Soviet dominance had consigned them, while fully reclaiming their legitimate and appropriate part in the world context.

The Contemporary Caucasus –Central Asia Studies Program is an important element of numerous projects and activities conducted by the Department of Political and Social Sciences in Forlì.

Quite relevant among them is the ongoing three-years research project on “Russia and China” launched in February, 2015. This project concentrates primarily on the comprehensive analysis of Moscow and Beijing's attitudes to the area, and the impact of Sino-Russian interaction on the regional actors and its broader implications, as well as bilateral and multilateral energy diplomacy issues.

By encouraging young scholars and professionals to enter into an active and multi-faceted engagement with the region, and by promoting serious and well-informed policy visions towards Caucasus and Central Asia, Bologna University Contemporary Caucasus-Central Asia Studies Program successfully contributes to the formation of the new generation of area experts, the promotion of area studies relating to these increasingly important regions of Europe and wider Eurasia.

The course exposes its members to a range of empirical expertise while considering collectively the macro-level issues from a perspective that is interdisciplinary, interregional and of longue durée.

Course content

The course examines complicated process of state building in the Central Asian (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan) and South Caucasian countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) as well as political processes evolving in the separatist statelets of the Southern Caucasus (Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Karabagh), the Northern Caucasus and other Muslim populated regions of the Russian Federation in historical and geostrategic perspectives.

The focus is on the comparative analysis of political, ideological and institutional factors affecting stability of these newly independent states; peculiarities of the power struggle and role of clans in local politics.

Particular attention is given to the dynamics of inter-ethnic and inter-state conflicts and the assessment of the role of international organizations, foreign powers and NGOs in conflict-management and conflict-resolution efforts.

The political and military implications of the growing Russia's assertiveness, Russian-Georgian war, annexation of Crimea, Russian-Ukrainian confrontation and evolution of the “frozen conflicts” as an instrument of Moscow's expansionism, the lessons of the Chechen wars are thoroughly examined.

Special attention is paid to the analysis of dynamics of Russian security strategy in the Caucasus, assessment of methods and techniques of conflict management applied by Moscow to the Chechen, Georgian, Ukrainian and other conflicts, their potential applicability to other parts of the post-Soviet space as well as potential Western and regional antidotes to deal with Russian defiance.

Developments in the sovereign South Caucasian and Central Asian states are viewed in the broader regional perspective against the backdrop of the rising “assertiveness” of Russia, US interests and commitments in the neighboring areas of the Middle East and South Asia, EU and NATO expansion matters, as well as overlapping interests and security agendas of China and regional powers like Iran and Turkey, India and Pakistan.

The international dimensions of the Caucasian politics are examined through the prism of ever growing importance of the Caspian hydrocarbon resources and the overwhelming issue of the European and Western energy security. The role of Russian and Western energy companies, their influence and impact on the decision –making and formulation of Caspian policies of their respective governments are addressed in detail.

The course is conducted along thematic as well as country/regional lines, examining Caucasus and Central Asia as a unique region situated on the rubbing edges of three overlapping geostrategic configurations: Extended Europe, Greater Middle East and the Kremlin's promoted reincarnation of the USSR in the form of Eurasian Union.

The primary thematic analysis areas include:

US and European objectives and interests;

Internal and regional threats to stability;

Regional security: local and extra-regional sources of instability;

Analyses a selection of violent ethno-political conflicts in the Caucasus region on the basis of existing conflict theories and models for conflict resolution.

Conflict management (with particular attention to the Moscow's “frozen conflicts” strategy) and Political Violence;

Negotiation and Mediation; State-Building and Political Systems;

Islam and Nationalism; Constitutional developments and human rights; Narcotics and organized crime; Environmental security; Implications for NATO and Western policy and planning

Course learning goals

Students are expected to achieve an in-depth knowledge of the complicated process of state-building in the South Caucasian states - in historical and geopolitical perspectives and develop ability for conducting rigorous, applied and policy-relevant research on this region.

In this framework students will additionally learn how the stability of the newly independent states is affected, focusing on peculiarities of the power struggle, the role of the clans in local politics and human rights issues. Moreover, students are expected to learn the geopolitical and cultural context of Central Asia, its relation with the Soviet legacy and contemporary energy geopolitics.

Therefore, the course will also allow students to learn how to relate the regional dynamics with the major powers' interests, particularly those of Russia, China, EU and the USA.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the students are expected to:

• have a basic knowledge of the Caucasus and Central Asia regions, including their geography, ethnic composition, main languages, religions, demographic distribution, political systems, economy, administrative division.

• demonstrate understanding of present political, socio-economic and cultural developments in the Caucasus and Central Asia regions;

• demonstrate knowledge of existent research on topical empirical issues related to the Post-Soviet development in the Caucasus and Central Asia regions.

• be able to apply obtained knowledge of the geographical, political, socio-economic and cultural characteristics of the Caucasus and Central Asia regions as tools in further analyses of empirical reports as well as theoretical works on the region.

• interpret current political, socio-economic and cultural processes evolving in the area.

• demonstrate an ability to evaluate sources and assess bias in material used as empirical evidence.


Selected Readings:

The [http://www.cacianalyst.org/]

Azerbaijan Profile (2006/April). World of Information Cambridge, England: Walden Publishing Ltd, 2006. (10 p.)

Coene, F. The Caucasus: an introduction. Routledge, 2009 (255 p.)

Georgia Profile (2006/April). World of Information Cambridge, England:, Walden Publishing Ltd; 2006. (7 p.)

Ghokay, Bhulent. Politics of Caspian Oil. Gordonsville, VA, USA: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001. (p.1-50)

Malek, M. The South Caucasus at the Crossroads: Ethno-territorial Conflicts, Russian Interests, and the Access to Energy Resources. In: G. Hauser & F. Kernic (eds.), European security in transition. Aldershot, England ; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006., (p.145-160).

Phillips, D.L. Stability, security and sovereignty in the Republic of Georgia: rapid response conflict prevention assessment, sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations Center for Preventative Action; David L. Phillips, New York, NY: Council on Foreign Relations Press, 2004. (29 p.) (available online)

Peimani, H. General Overview of the Caucasian and the Central Asian Countries at the Time of Independence. In: Failed Transition, Bleak Future? War and Instability in Central Asia and the Caucasus, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002, (7-24.)

Zuidema, L. & D. Bigman (Ed.). Globalization and the Developing Countries: Emerging Strategies for Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation.

Wallingford, Oxon, GBR: CABI Publishing, 2002. (p. 259-274)

The course uses additional online resourses and articles of approx, 150 + 200 pages.

Reference literature

Minahan, J. One Europe, Many Nations : A Historical Dictionary of European National Groups, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000

Dalby, A. Dictionary of Languages. Huntingdon, , GBR: A & C Black, 2006.

McCauley, M. Who's Who in Russia since 1900. London, GBR: Routledge, 1997.

Charles Fairbanks, Fred Starr, eds., Strategic assessment of Central Eurasia, Washington, The Atlantic Council, 2001

Svante Cornell, Small Nations and Great Powers: A Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict in the Caucasus, Richmond, 2001

Svante Cornell, Autonomy and Conflict. Ethnoterritoriality and Separatism in the South Caucasus,Washington, 2002

Fred Starr, Svante Cornell, The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline: Oil window to the West, Washington,2005

Fred Starr, Authoritarian Rulers and Parliaments in Central Asia, Washington, 2006

Malcolm Dowling, Central Asian Economy: Mapping future Prospects to 2015, Washington, 2006

Erica Marat, The Tulip Revolution: Kyrgyzstan, Washington, Uppsala, 2006

The Caucasus states: the regional security complex, by J. Aves in “Security Dilemmas in Russia and Eurasia”,L.,1998, pp.175-187

Peacekeeping and conflict management in Eurasia, by P. Baev in “Security Dilemmas in Russia and Eurasia”,L.1998, pp.209-230

The Chechnia conflict; military and security policy implications, by R.Allison in “Security Dilemmas in Russia and Eurasia”,L.1998, pp.241-280

Nationalities and borders in Transcaucasia and the North Caucasus, by G.Joffe in “Transcaucasian Boundaries”,L. 1996,pp.15-33

Russia and Transcaucasia, by M. Light in “Transcaucasian Boundaries”,L.1996, pp.34-5

Condemned to react, unable to influence: Iran and Transcaucasia, by F. Halliday, in “Transcaucasian Boundaries”,L. 1996,pp.71-88

The Armenian presence in mountainous Karabakh, by C.Walker, in “Transcaucasian Boundaries”, L. 1996,pp. 89-112

The Republic of Azerbaijan: state borders in the past and present, by S.Alijarly, in “Transcaucasian Boundaries”,L.1996, pp.113-133

The geopolitics of Georgia, by J.Wright, in “Transcaucasian Boundaries”, London,1996, pp.134-150

The Georgian/South Ossetian territorial and boundary dispute, by J.Birch in “Transcaucasian Boundaries” ,L.1996,pp.151-189

Abkhazia: a problem of identity and ownership, by B.Hewitt, in “Transcaucasian Boundaries”,L.,1996,pp.190-226

Iran and Transcaucasia in the Post-Soviet Era, by S.Hunter, in “Central Asia Meets the Middle East”,L.1998,pp.98-128

Turkey and Transcaucasia, by W. Hale , in “Central Asia Meets the Middle East”,L.,1998,pp.150-167

The Eastern Question Revived: Turkey and Russia Contend for Eurasia, by S. Blank, in “Central Asia Meets the Middle East”,L.1998, pp.16 8-190

The Institutions , Orientations and Conduct of Foreign Policy in Post-Soviet Azerbaijan, by L. Alieva, in ”The Making of Foreign Policy in Russia and the New States of Eurasia”,NY,1995,pp.286-308

Armenia's Foreign Policy: Defining Priorities and Coping with Conflict, by R.Adalian, in “The Making of Foreign Policy in Russia and the New States of Eurasia”, pp.309-339

The Ethnohistorical Dynamics of Muslim Societies within Russia and CIS, by S.Panarin, in “Central Asia and the Caucasus after the Soviet Union: Domestic and International Dynamics”, NY, 1994, pp.17-33

The” Internal” Muslim Factor in the Politics of Russia: Tatarstan and the North Caucasus, by M. Bennigsen Broxup, in “Central Asia and the Caucasus after the Soviet Union”, NY, 1994, pp.75-98

Georgia: From Chaos to Stability?, by J.Aves,L.1996,60 p.

Russia and Transcaucasia: The case of Nagorno-Karabakh, by O. Smolansky, in Regional Power Rivalries in the New Eurasia, NY,1995, pp.201-230

Iran and the Former Soviet South, by E.Herzig,L.1995, 60 p.

Unity, Diversity and Conflict in the Northern Caucasus, by M. Gammer, in “Muslim Eurasia: Conflicting Legacies”,L.1995,163-186

Azerbaijan's Triangular relationship: The Land Between Russia, Turkey and Iran, by

T. Swietochowski, in “The New Geopolitics of Central Asia and Its Borderlands”,L.,1994,pp. 118-135.jhj

Modalità di verifica dell'apprendimento

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: final exam and substantial paper (10 pages).

The final grade will be based on the combined assessment of the constructive class participation, oral exam and the essay.

Topics must be chosen in consultation with the instructor prior to the beginning of the fourth week of class.

Orario di ricevimento

Consulta il sito web di Albert Bininachvili