Acknowledgments and Preface

Acknowledgments and Preface

The authors are indebted to numerous individuals and organizations who gave their time, research materials, and expertise on affairs in the nations of the Transcaucasus to provide data, perspective, and material support for this volume. The collection of accurate and current information was assisted greatly by the contributions of Professor Stephen Jones of Mount Holyoke College, Dee Ann Holisky and Betty Blair of Azerbaijan International, and Joseph Masih of the Armenian Assembly of America. The authors acknowledge the generosity of individuals and public and private agencies including Azerbaijan International, the Embassy of Azerbaijan, and the White House Photo Office, who allowed their photographs to be used in this study.

Thanks also go to Ralph K. Benesch, who oversees the Country Studies/Area Handbook Program for the Department of the Army. In addition, the authors appreciate the advice and guidance of Sandra W. Meditz, Federal Research Division coordinator of the handbook series. Special thanks go to Marilyn L. Majeska, who supervised editing; Andrea T. Merrill, who managed production; David P. Cabitto, who designed the book cover and the illustrations on the title page of each chapter, provided graphics support, and, together with Thomas D. Hall, prepared the maps; and Helen Fedor, who obtained and organized the photographs. The following individuals are gratefully acknowledged as well: Vincent Ercolano, who edited the chapters; Barbara Edgerton and Izella Watson, who did the word processing; Catherine Schwartzstein, who performed the final prepublication editorial review; Joan C. Cook, who compiled the index; and Stephen C. Cranton and David P. Cabitto, who prepared the cameraready copy.

Preface

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).

Measurements are given in the metric system; a conversion table is provided in the Appendix. A chronology is provided at the beginning of the book, combining significant historical events of the three countries. To amplify points in the text of the chapters, tables in the Appendix provide statistics on aspects of the societies and the economies of the countries.

The body of the text reflects information available as of March 1994. Certain other portions of the text, however, have been updated. The Introduction discusses significant events and trends that have occurred since the completion of research; the Country Profiles include updated information as available; and the Bibliography lists recently published sources thought to be particularly helpful to the reader.

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