Thomas de Waal Profile picture
Senior Fellow, Carnegie Europe. Scholar/writer on Caucasus, E. Europe, Russia. 2022-3 Fellow at IWM, Vienna. Translator of Osip Mandelstam.
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Oct 16 7 tweets 2 min read
1 Read in full Pres. Aliyev’s victory speech from Khankendi/Stepanakert yesterday—and be warned. It’s an angry speech, dwelling on past grievances, with nothing about the future or reconciliation. No olive branches.… 2 The choreography underlines that. Delivered in camouflage fatigues in an empty square in Stepanakert/Khankendi. Aliyev was later filmed touring abandoned streets and offices alone.
Mar 8 12 tweets 6 min read
1 Pay attention to #Georgia 🇬🇪 today! A THREAD Last night police in Tbilisi forcibly dispersed a protest against a new Foreign Agent law rushed through parliament. It’s an escalation by the ever more authoritarian Georgian Dream govt
2 For good coverage see the websites of @CivilGe
@JAMnewsCaucasus @OCMediaorg (and its @mari_nikuradze) All are small independent outlets, which are incidentally threatened by the new legislation. Also look at @formulaGe who had these iconic pictures
Mar 7 4 tweets 2 min read
Important days in the war in eastern Ukraine, a major crisis in Georgia, but don’t forget also the situation in and around #Karabakh. Here's the piece I published a week ago on “Armenia’s insecurity” for @Carnegie_Europe @Judy_Dempsey… Since then the situation has got a bit worse. The Lachin Corridor to Karabakh remains closed to all but a few vehicles, chiefly the ICRC. And three Armenian policemen and two Azerbaijani soldiers were reported killed in two separate incidents.…
Dec 13, 2022 8 tweets 3 min read
1/ If you haven’t been watching the situation in the so-called #Lachin Corridor, the only road connecting Armenia and #Karabakh, you should now. The Armenian-Azerbaijani situation may be sliding slowly back into conflict. A short thread. 2/ Self-declared Azerbaijani environmentalists evidently sent there by the government in Baku (Azerbaijan’s version of “Little Green Men”?) have been blocking the Lachin road and therefore access in and out for local Armenians.…
Jun 9, 2022 9 tweets 3 min read
1 Credit to @Kamal_Makili for setting out the case for Aaland Islands style autonomy for the Karabakh Armenians very eloquently here. 2 As Kamal himself points out, neither Baku nor Stepanakert is interested in discussing this at the moment. But he makes some important points, including about how international guarantees underpin the Aaland Islands model.
Jun 1, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
Here is a piece commissioned by the Armenian online analytical journal Analyticon on the new EU mediated ARM-AZ talks… Three questions. The role of Russia? What now for the Minsk Group. (It’s frozen but not entirely dead). And what about the #Karabakh Armenians? Territorial independence is off the table but, as I’ve said for many years, the question of their security is paramount.
May 11, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
1 A great despatch by @MarcChampion1 from Bessarabia in SW Ukraine. It’s important for its long Black Sea coast, as a supply route to the EU, more than ever now as Odessa is blockaded. Which is why the Russians destroyed the Zatoka bridge.… 2 It’s also Ukraine's most multi-ethnic region: a legacy of being part of the Ottoman Empire, Russian Empire, Romania, the USSR, now Ukraine. A real mosaic of nationalities. And Russian is the lingua franca. Image
Apr 29, 2022 12 tweets 2 min read
1 A new chilling imperialist article in the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda openly threatens Moldova, Georgia and the Baltic States. A summary.… 2 As ever we can't know if it was written in coordination with Russia’s elite or if the eager pupil is merely trying to please the teacher. It certainly normalizes the idea that Russia has the right to use force against neighbours who make a different geopolitical choice.
Apr 22, 2022 5 tweets 3 min read
Different signals on the future of #Transnistria/#Transdniestria #Moldova as the Ukraine war continues. Russia military commander Rustam Minnekayev, quoted in today’s Kommersant, says Russia's war aim is to establish total control over south of Ukraine. That means, establishing a land bridge to Crimea, crippling Ukraine's economy--and also linking up, he says, to Transdniestria “where facts are recorded of the oppression of the Russian-language population” (By whom? we might ask.)
Apr 4, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
Parallels and differences in Ukraine with Russia’s first war in #Chechnya in 1994. My piece for @WSJ from Friday. A swift "special operation" failed, there was no Plan B. So Moscow resorted to mass bombardment, Russians in Grozny bore the brunt of it.… The brutality of the Russian army against Chechens rallied resistance, even from opponents of Jokhar Dudayev.
Both then and now I see what I'd call a “false memory” of World War II, that forgets the human cost and assumes that total warfare is a legitimate route to victory...
Mar 9, 2022 23 tweets 7 min read
1 A long🧵on the situation in #Transdniestria/#Transnistria, misconceptions and fears that it could turn into a new front in the war.
My main point is there's a shared interest both in Transdniestria (TN) and in right-bank Moldova in stopping the conflict from reaching them. 2 In the end if Russian advance continues to Odessa spread of the conflict to Moldova is quite likely. But internationals should bear in mind that TN is far from eager to be Russia’s helper against Ukraine. It's more complex and to suggest so fans conflict.
Mar 9, 2022 5 tweets 1 min read
“We strongly encourage all young pianists of any nationality, but particularly those from Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, to participate in the upcoming edition of the Busoni Competition.”
Bravo to the Busoni Piano Competition for this.… Solidarity for Ukraine and support for all Ukrainians is the No. 1 priority surely. At the same time the collective moral punishment some arts and educational institutions are applying to ordinary Russians and Belarusians denying them scholarships or college places, is hideous
Feb 28, 2022 28 tweets 5 min read
1 “The resolution of the Ukraine question.” A mistakenly published Russian article gives us a chilling insight into the neo-imperialist thinking in Russia that drives Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. A (long) THREAD. 2. RIA Novosti news agency accidentally published an article, tagged with a publication date of 8AM on February 26, already celebrating a Russian victory and collapse of the Ukrainian state within an anticipated two days. It's still on their site.…
Feb 15, 2022 11 tweets 4 min read
1/ The Duma has passed a resolution calling on President Putin to recognize the two Russian-supported “people’s republics” in eastern Ukraine.
There are good reasons to be sceptical that Putin will follow through.… 2/ Recall that in March 2008, the Duma passed a similar resolution on Abkhazia and S Ossetia and also called for recognition of Transdniestria. The context was recent Western recognition of Kosovo and the upcomimg Bucharest NATO summit.
Apr 22, 2021 16 tweets 5 min read
1 Pres. Biden may recognize the destruction of the Ottoman Armenians in 1915 as the Armenian Genocide @john_Hudson, @JakesNYT report. It’s the right thing to do. It will start to bring solace and closure to Armenians whose grandparents died in 1915-16. 2 This could lead to new understanding and dialogue--or not. A thread on this (knowing well that it's far too deep an issue for social media.) Here is my interview to @JAMNewsCaucasus about Armenian-Turkish issues and recognition…
Dec 2, 2020 9 tweets 3 min read
1 Today is the 100th anniversary of December 2nd 1920, the day that marked the end of the independent 1st Republic of Armenia when its last government handed over power to the invading Bolshevik 11th Army. There are some interesting parallels between Armenia in 1920 and 2020... 2 In 1920 the republic's PM Simon Vratsian had been in power for just a week. He said Armenia was caught between “the Bolshevik hammer and the Turkish anvil.” It was facing defeat from a Turkish military advance, had just lost the cities of Kars and Alexandropol (Gyumri).
Nov 18, 2020 9 tweets 2 min read
1 President Putin gave some interesting answers to questions about Russia’s new role in the #Karabakh conflict. Suggests he was much more strongly involved than was visible during the conflict. Some takeaways:… 2 Putin’s personal engagement. He says that he was engaged in intense telephone diplomacy with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts. Like it or not, the Russians (he, Lavrov, Medvedev) know the Karabakh brief in all its details. No Western leader would even come close.
Nov 15, 2020 14 tweets 4 min read
1 A THREAD about Kelbajar. Today was billed as a momentous day for Kelbajar region with Armenian forces scheduled to withdraw from lands they have held since April 1993 + control restored to Azerbaijan. However the timetable has been extended, perhaps to ease potential trouble 2 Personally I think of my friend photographer Khalid Asgarov from Kelbajar. I used several of his pictures in my book (where I spelled his name Halid Askerov.) He had come to rescue his father and was there as Armenians moved in. Here is a picture by Khalid of the mass flight.
Nov 9, 2020 9 tweets 2 min read
1 Conflict continues deep inside #Karabakh. It seemed today that Shusha/i had fallen. Picture not fully clear.
Let me focus on the humanitarian situation in Karabakh. Yesterday I spoke to Artak Beglaryan, local human rights ombudsman. He said I could share the information. 2 Beglaryan told me the following: Bombardment continues. Thousands of civilians left Karabakh over the weekend for Armenia mainly women and children. They mainly left on the northern route, as the road through Lachin was too dangerous.
Nov 8, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
6 Yet hard to predict a pause. Fighting continues on multiple fronts. Armenians say they cannot afford to lose Shusha/i. With more civilians removed from Stepanakert, Azerbaijani forces could attack the town even more intensely. 7 Also today, a leaked report of a purported Russian-Turkish peace plan offering a mixed PK operation (Russians on Arm. side, Turks on Az. side), Armenian withdrawal from occupied territories around NK, two corridors across Lachin and Meghri.…
Nov 8, 2020 5 tweets 2 min read
1 A fateful day in the #Karabakh conflict. Pres. Aliyev announced to his nation that the hilltop city of Shusha, the former main Azerbaijani town in the heart of Karabakh, had fallen. No visual evidence given. Armenians (who call the town Shushi) said fighting continued. 2 Still, Pres. Aliyev's speech sparked scenes of jubilation in Azerbaijan. Shusha has a huge meaning for Azerbaijanis and its loss in May 1992 to the Armenians was felt as a moment of national humiliation.