At the end of 1991, the formal liquidation of the Soviet Union was the surprisingly swift result of partially hidden decrepitude and centrifugal forces within that empire. Of the fifteen "new" states that emerged from the process, many had been independent political entities at some time in the past. Aside from their coverage in the 1989 Soviet Union: A Country Study, none had received individual treatment in this series, however. Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Country Studies is the first in a new subseries describing the fifteen postSoviet republics, both as they existed before and during the Soviet era and as they have developed since 1991. This volume covers Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, the three small nations grouped around the Caucasus mountain range east of the Black Sea.
The marked relaxation of information restrictions, which began in the late 1980s and accelerated after 1991, allows the reporting of nearly complete data on every aspect of life in the three countries. Scholarly articles and periodical reports have been especially helpful in accounting for the years of independence in the 1990s. The authors have described the historical, political, and social backgrounds of the countries as the background for their current portraits. In each case, the authors' goal was to provide a compact, accessible, and objective treatment of five main topics: historical background, the society and its environment, the economy, government and politics, and national security.
In all cases, personal names have been transliterated from the vernacular languages according to standard practice. Placenames are rendered in the form approved by the United States Board on Geographic Names, when available. Because in many cases the board had not yet applied vernacular tables in transliterating official place-names at the time of printing, the most recent Soviet-era forms have been used in this volume. Conventional international variants, such as Moscow, are used when appropriate. Organizations commonly known by their acronyms (such as IMF--International Monetary Fund) are introduced by their full names.
Autonomous republics and autonomous regions, such as the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, the Ajarian Autonomous Republic, and the Abkhazian Autonomous Republic, are introduced in their full form (before 1991 these also included the phrase "Soviet socialist"), and subsequently referred to by shorter forms (Nakhichevan, Ajaria, and Abkhazia, respectively).
The body of the text reflects information available as of March 1994. Certain other portions of the text, however, have been updated.
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