I participated in an overall project together with the Caucasian youth several years ago. We, young journalists from Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia flew to Antalya from Tbilisi together to participate in the project. We met each other at the airport. It was just saying hello, nothing else. I was sitting with my colleagues from Armenia and Azerbaijan while flying, absolutely not talking to each other for four hours. Azerbaiajanian and Armenian colleagues were especially distinguished with exceptional distrust towards each other. I was more adventurous. But later, when I met my Abkhazian and Osetian colleagues in Antalya, uncomfortable feeling crashed between me and them, living on the occupied territories of Georgia.
At the end of the project, we represented one big circle of friends, where nither ethnical property existed, nor 90s conflicts.
Separation was tearful, contact in social net - very active.
I felt a little bit uncomfortable with my Russian colleagues in the next project. Colleagues from Azerbaijan and Armenia, from Caucasus, from ‘My country’ were much more closer and native. The project in Germany has further helped me to overcome this inconvenience.
We have many problems. Inconvenience has its own reasons. We are the generation after historical events developed in 90s. We used to learn walking or go to kindergartens, when there was war in our country. We grew up in an environment, where there was not just one archenemy, but many of them: Russia for Georgians and Armenia for Azerbaijan. But we have a lot of stereotypes about each other. The way the ordinary citizens of Azerbaijan contacted with Armenians was really striking. We, Georgians do not have such a strong aversion to any enemy. Luckily, I have never felt anything like that from my Caucasian colleagues of my generation.
In addition to the political background and the total environment, the problem is in language barriers. As a result of soviet education system, the contact language is Russian which is not spoken my young Georgians at all.
Problem is social-economic conditions as well. Our remuneration does not allow us to travel on our own incomes, to get new values. This makes us even reclusive. In a closed environment, the governments try to suppress our opinions and get people under their influence.
Absence of intellectual and educational environment in our country and the lack of entertainment are the common big problem for youth.
Information war has done its work. After Russian TV Channels were banned in Georgia by Government, youth expressed their pro-western attitude, while even in Azerbaijanian and Armenian youth does not exist trust that the West is better that the North.
What is the solution? Opportunity should be given to more and more groups of youth to contact each other. To see the Western values, estimate and decide by themselves. We should leave our closed space that destroys us one by one. We are the generation that can change the policy of our country and create the new one. Reins will be handed to young people by the old political elite soon and we should be ready to reach the peaceful coexistence in our region using modern, Western approaches.