Youth radicalisation in South Caucasus

Youth radicalisation in South Caucasus

At all times, young people have been vulnerable to radical ideas. Now the youth radicalisation is also relevant for the South Caucasus republics, where the old, traditional social regulators no longer work, and the new ones specific to post-Soviet reality have not been developed. The Armenian-Azerbaijani, Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-South Ossetian conflicts last longer than a quarter century. During this time, a generation has grown up that can't imagine interethnic communication without conflicts, which had a major impact on all spheres of society, mentality, feelings, attitudes, behavioural patterns of political leaders.

A distinctive feature of conflicts in the South Caucasus is that the current decades-long regional model of behavior in relation to conflicts, as a rule, is not revised and not criticized, therefore it manifests itself in various forms at the level of social and political sectors, elites and counter-elites. The consequence of this process is the translation of political guidelines that seem resistant to regime changes. The most obvious example can be found in Armenia, where the current regime conveys the previous administration's rhetoric.

In the case of Armenia, youth radicalisation is manifested in ethnocentrism, which is manipulated by the Armenian domestic policy, which sees it as a option to consolidate society, as well as strengthen cultural isolation. In Azerbaijan, this is largely due to the idea of preserving and protecting national statehood, the destruction of which involves/allows Armenian separatism. Of particular importance for Georgia are the mental attitudes of modern Abkhaz society, which is sensitive to the issues of changing the ethnic composition in Abkhazia.

The models of previous generations based on already inactive standards do not work in a new reality. Moreover, they do not provide for the development of modern and independent forms of interaction and communication of young people empirically and adaptation to new conditions. Such processes are also fraught with consequences up to the conflict between generations. As the new generation is socialized, the desire to integrate into the already formed system of social relations as quickly as possible increases. In the case when the inability to achieve the desired becomes a significant obstacle, there is a desire to change the existing situation by any means, including radical.

Some South Caucasus republics are now in conditions of ruined intercultural interaction, crisis, economic blockade, the collapse of traditional moral values, and the only guideline for success is material wealth, regardless of how it is made. Unresolved ethnic conflicts in such processes act as derivatives of young people's everyday problems who are getting ready to enter adult life and start their own families. Therefore, when young people are dissatisfied with the forms of political participation, the scale of their real social and economic opportunities, as well as the model of political culture, they start to perceive the current reality, including the policy regarding unresolved conflicts, as imperfect and requiring decisive action.

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