Post-Soviet (Caucasian) Businessmen in Beijing: From “Chelnoki” to “Globalization from Below”

by Susanne Fehlings

Informal economy has become a topic of many recent studies concerned with Soviet and post-Soviet economy. The current debates discuss whether informality (not regulated by the state) has a negative effect on national economies or whether it is, and should be, an integral part of a liberal market system. But before discussing the pros and cons of informality it is worth to have a closer look at the representatives of informal practices, who, among others, are so-called petty traders. Continue reading

Missing Girls: Sex-Selective Abortions in the South Caucasus

by Melanie Krebs

AutorenfotoAt times during fieldwork you get the impression that nothing will surprise you anymore. You have heard the most unexpected stories in the strangest situations and what seemed to be alien at the beginning has become part of everyday life. And then something happens that catches you completely off guard. For me it was the casual comment a member of PINK Armenia, a sexual rights organization in Yerevan, made during an interview:  “… and then we have all the abortions of girls. In this way we have outnumbered China and India over the previous years.” Looking at my shocked face he asked, “You did know that, didn’t you?” No, I did not. But as I learned over the next days, I was the only one. It seems the fact that (according to the CIA factbook) there are 114 boys born for every 100 girls in Armenia was the best-known secret in the country. And Armenia is no exception in the South Caucasus: The rate in Azerbaijan is 112 boys to every 100 girls and with 108 to 100, Georgia is better but still higher than the “natural” rate of 105 to 100. Continue reading