How a trusting public can be led to war: A conference on the South Caucasus

During the second weekend of November, the 16th Workshop of the Partnership for Peace’s (PfP) Consortium Study Group, Regional Stability in the South Caucasus (RSSC), took place at the former Chateau Rothschild, in spectacular mountain scenery near Reichenau, a summer resort south of Vienna built for the rich and famous of the Hapsburg Empire.
Organised by the Austrian National Defence Academy, the Directorate General for Security Policy of the Austria Ministry of Defence and Sports, the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (DOC) and the University of Göttingen, the Between Fact and Fakery: Information and Instability in the South Caucasus and Beyond workshop focused on propaganda campaigns between warring states in the region.
The PfP South Caucasus Study Group goes back to 2001 but was interrupted from 2005 to 2012, due to polical strife. Since then, two annual workshops have been conducted, one in Reichenau and one in Eastern Europe or the Caucasus, uniting analysts from the South Caucasus as well as international scholars who work on the equally diverse and charged region. It is no easy task: Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia have been bogged down by numerous territorial and separatist conflicts since they gained independence in 1991.
The regional participants represented highly profiled and interesting backgrounds: national security council members, presidential and prime ministerial advisors, defence academy and other scholars, and former and active diplomats. Chatham rules applied, photos could be taken, but no media were present and the recording of of the delegates’ statements was strictly forbidden.
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