Notes from my current research Read more

The prequel to “Finding Tito”

(this post is now published also on balcanicaucaso.org)

A few weeks ago, out of curiosity, Davide Denti asked me if I knew how to parse OpenStreetMap data in order to find all streets and squares dedicated to Tito in the former Yugoslavia. I was unfamiliar with how OpenStreetMap stores data, but after a few quick attempts I managed to extract some data and produce a map that looked meaningful. Early feedback suggested that the data were incomplete, and I did not fully polish the data, but – aware that I would not have the time to work on this in the following weeks, and perhaps I would never pick it up again – I decided to make public the draft document I created. I included a notice highlighting that the document was in draft form, that it was only based on OpenStreetMap data, that the data have not been revised and may include substantial inaccuracies. I also made clear that I welcomed suggestions on how to improve it.

Having done this, I thought it was fine to share the result on Twitter. Continue reading…

Articles and analyses Mostly about the Caucasus and post-Soviet de facto states   Read more

Confidence building, by any other name? Surpassing the triple bottleneck of assistance to de facto states

Originally published on postsoviet.eu

In spite of their contested nature, de facto states in the post-Soviet space engage in substantive external relations across a number of sectors, well beyond the dominant relationship they have with their patron. In recent years, confidence building programmes sponsored by the European Union have represented a venue for interactions between local actors in de facto states and the outside world. Such assistance – including capacity building projects and relatively small initiatives aimed at enhancing the social infrastructure in the health and education sector – contributes to the welfare of the local population and is welcomed by de facto authorities. However, for the most part, it is not conducive to more confidence between de facto authorities and parent state, or between local societies and the European Union. This is partly due to the context of the conflicts and contrasting long-term perspectives, but – as will be argued – is also consequence of the way in which these initiatives are framed. Changing the framing of at least some of these initiatives may be a small but meaningful step towards building a more enabling environment around these territories. Continue reading…

The presidential election in Transnistria

Originally published on Presidential Power

The presidential election that took place on 11 December 2016 in Transnistria, a de facto independent state within the internationally recognised borders of Moldova, ended with the resounding victory of the speaker of parliament, Vadim Krasnoselski (62,3%), over the incumbent president, Yevgeny Shevchuk (27,38%), the candidate of the Communist party, Oleg Khorzhan (3,17%), and others (including 3,4% who voted “against all”, which is formally one of the options given on the ballot). Continue reading…

Social issues Recent articles and feature stories focused on social issues   Read more
Random pics, etc. Picture, video clips and multimedia projects   See more

Journey to Armenia – A film documentary project

front-mandelstam“Journey to Armenia” is a film documentary project I’ve been working on together with my colleagues at Osservatorio since 2009. It develops around the journey of Osip and Nadezhda Mandelstam in the Caucasus in 1930 (at the basis of Osip’s “Journey to Armenia”) and more in general around the life of the Mandelstams. At the same time, it is also a journey from Abkhazia to Nagorno Karabakh across today’s Caucasus.

The project went through many stages and different concepts, but unfortunately we haven’t managed to find appropriate funding to make it real.

Least all the work we’ve done remains forgotten in a drawer, we’ve decided to publish some of the working materials. They’re all available on Osservatorio‘s website in Italian and English.

The most enjoable part of it all is probably the multimedia script, which includes photo and video materials mostly gathered by me as “visual notes” on the planned shooting locations. Follow this link and enjoy the experience.

If you’re not familiar with the story of Osip and Nadezhda Mandelstam, before heading to the multimedia script (or the other materials published on the project’s page), I warmly suggest reading this short note about them.

Continue reading…