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Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus

Crisis Group Role

Olesya Vartanyan is Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for the South Caucasus region. Based in Tbilisi, she researches and produces reports on regional security issues in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, with a particular focus on breakaway regions in the South Caucasus – Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetia.

Professional Background

Olesya Vartanyan has worked on conflicts in the South Caucasus for more than ten years. Before joining Crisis Group in 2016, Olesya worked as a journalist, with a particular focus on security and conflict-related issues in Georgia and its breakaway regions. With her field reporting during the 2008 Russia-Georgia war, Olesya contributed to the ground-breaking investigations of The New York Times about the origins of the conflict. Enjoying unique access to Abkhazia, for a number of years she covered crisis developments in this region for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. In 2013, Olesya received the first EU Monitoring Mission’s special prize in Peace Journalism. She holds master degrees from the King’s College London’s War Department and from the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs’ Media School.

Languages

  • Russian  
  • English  
  • Georgian  
  • Armenian  

In The News

3 Oct 2020
This is a more serious escalation [over Nagorno-Karabakh], much better prepared, with more troops, and happening simultaneously on all parts of the front line. The Economist

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
28 Sep 2020
We are a step away from a large-scale war (between Armenia and Azerbaijan). Al-Jazeera

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
16 Jul 2020
It seems unlikely the [Azerbaijan-Armenia] crisis would escalate, as neither side has territorial claims on northern border areas and the fighting had not spread to Karabakh itself. Al Jazeera

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
13 Jul 2020
Many people would be very surprised if clashes at the Armenia-Azerbaijan border spiral out into war, but that doesn’t mean something cannot happen, say, in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. OC Media

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
20 Jan 2020
[January] events in Abkhazia come at a time of long-simmering tensions. Civil.ge

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
6 Aug 2018
The current situation does not contribute to the post-war reconciliation [between Russia and Georgia] - it only fuels conflict with an increasing feeling of injustice for [people] living near the dividing line. Al Jazeera

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus

Latest Updates

Peacemaking After Ukraine: A Look at Nagorno-Karabakh and Libya

This week on Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood asks Crisis Group experts how the Ukraine war has affected peacemaking elsewhere, notably Nagorno-Karabakh, where Moscow plays a major diplomatic role, and Libya, where the Kremlin backs one of the conflict’s main protagonists.

Preserving the OSCE at a Time of War

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine risks incapacitating one of the only remaining multilateral spaces for cooperation between Russia and the West, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Participating states must work to prevent this outcome and preserve the OSCE’s critical role in containing conflicts.

In Ukraine, Georgia Sees Powerful and Worrying Parallels

Georgia, a former Soviet republic that suffered its own Russian invasion in 2008 and Moscow’s destabilising support for its breakaway regions, is treading carefully on the war in Ukraine, fearing that if it upsets the Kremlin, it may be left to face the consequences alone.

Q&A / Europe & Central Asia

Turkey-Armenia Talks Hold Promise of Opening Long-Shut Border

Turkish and Armenian special envoys will meet in Moscow on 14 January to discuss normalising relations between these long-estranged neighbours. Crisis Group experts Olesya Vartanyan, Nigar Göksel and Zaur Shiriyev unpack how the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh war in 2020 opened the way for talks.

Podcast / Europe & Central Asia

One Year On from the Ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh

This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Hugh Pope talk to Crisis Group’s South Caucasus expert Olesya Vartanyan about the conflict in and over Nagorno-Karabakh, a year on from a Russian-brokered ceasefire that put an end to renewed large-scale fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan.