Cascade - Exploring the Security-Democracy Nexus in the Caucasus

CASCADE is an international EU-funded research project led by Dr. Laure Delcour, Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme. Of the total 17 project applications submitted by various consortia CASCADE came first under the EU FP7  call for proposal “Security and democracy in the neighbourhood: The case of the Caucasus”. The total value of the project is €2,5 million. The duration is 3 years (2014-17).

Project approach

The project will de-compartmentalise research on the Caucasus by exploring linkages between societal challenges, political developments and conflicts and investigating the interactions between the North and South Caucasus, as well as between the Caucasus and its wider neighbourhood. On the basis of a strong comparative and interdisciplinary approach, CASCADE will seek to provide a more accurate understanding of how democracy and security are perceived, understood, experienced and exploited as political and social resources by Caucasus actors and other actors involved in the region. Drawing upon extensive fieldwork in the North and South Caucasus, including in the conflict areas and de facto States, CASCADE will generate a wealth of empirical data as well as new and important insights into security and democracy in the Caucasus. The project’s outcomes will also be largely policy-driven and CASCADE’s impact will be considerable in terms of shaping EU policy toward the Caucasus. The project will act as a knowledge hub to spur debate and bring together academic and policy communities from Europe and the Caucasus.

Project objectives

The CASCADE project will 1) scrutinise Caucasian states and societies for the root causes of conflict and insecurity, 2) conduct synergetic research on democracy and security in the Caucasus, 3) analyse the links between the region and its wider neighbourhood, 4) provide forward-looking analysis on regional security and democratisation processes, and 5) develop a set of proposals on how the EU could enhance its role in the region.


Led by the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, CASCADE brings together 8 research centres and institutes from across the EU, Russia and the Caucasus :

  • Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Birmingham
  • Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI, Sweden)
  • Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany)
  • Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences (Russian Federation)
  • The Regional Center for Strategic Studies (RCSS, Georgia)
  • Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS, Georgia)
  • International Centre for Human Development (ICHD, Armenia)


Laure Delcour is CASCADE’s scientific coordinator. Her research interests focus on the diffusion and reception of EU norms, policy and institutional templates in the Eastern neighbourhood and on region-building in the post-Soviet area. She is currently a Principal investigator under a French-UK (ANR-ESRC) research project analysing the EU’s influence on domestic change in the Eastern neighbourhood. Laure Delcour is also a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (EU International Relations Department). Her recent publications include: “Meandering Europeanisation. EU Policy Instruments and Policy Convergence in Georgia under the Eastern Partnership”, East European Politics,No.3, 2013;  «  Union européenne et Caucase du sud: la quête difficile d’une vision stratégique », in : Laruelle, M., Peyrouse, S. (eds), (Eclats d’Empire, Paris : Fayard, 2013); “Eurasian Economic Integration and Implications for the EU's policy in the Eastern Neighbourhood”, with K. Wolczuk, in: Dragneva, R. and K. Wolczuk (eds.), Eurasian Economic Integration: Law, Policy, and Politics (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2013); Shaping the Post-Soviet Space? EU Strategies and Approaches to Region-Building (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011);  ‘The European Union and the South Caucasus: In Search of a Strategy’, in: Annie Jafalian (ed.),  Reassessing Security in the South Caucasus: Regional Conflicts and Transformation (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011): 99-118; « Perceptions de l'Union européenne et réception de ses politiques dans l'ex-URSS : les exemples russe, ukrainien, géorgien », Anatoli (CNRS), 2011.

Sophie Hohmann holds a PhD in Social sciences at the EHESS, Paris. She is an associated scholar with the CERCEC in Paris. Her research focuses on sociological and demographical approach of social and healthcare issues, labour migration, domestic violence and relationship between the State and societies in South Caucasus and Central Asia. Her recent publications include: Hohmann S., Mouradian C., Serrano S., Thorez J., (Eds), 2013.- Development in Central Asia and the Caucasus: Migration, Democratisation and Inequality in the Post-Soviet Era, I.B. Tauris, 2014, 288 p.; Hohmann S., Lefèvre C., 2013.- Post-Soviet Transformations of Health Systems in the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia), Central Asian Affairs, February 2014.

Anne Le Huérou (Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense University/Research associate,  CERCEC, EHESS) conducs research on war experience in Russia and the North Caucasus, and migrants in Russia. Her latest publications include: "Between war experience and ordinary police rationales: state violence against civilians in post-war Chechen Republic”, in A.Le Huérou, A. Merlin, A. Regamey & E. Sieca-Kozlowski (Eds) Chechnya at war and beyond: living with violence, (Routledge, 2014); "A 'Chechen Syndrom'? Russian Veterans of the Chechen War and the Transposition of War Violence to Society", in N. Duclos (Ed.) War Veterans in Postwar Situations: Chechnya, Serbia, Turkey, Peru, and Côte d'Ivoire, Palgrave/Macmillan 2012 pp. 25-51 (with E. Sieca-Kozlowski); “Where does the Fatherland Begin with? Private and public dimensions of contemporary Russian patriotism in schools and youth organizations: a view from the field.” Europe Asia Studies '(forthcoming 2014-) - “Police Brutality & Police Reform in Russia and the CIS”, The Journal of Power institutions in Post-Soviet Societies Issue 13, 2012 (with Elisabeth Sieca-Kozlowski).

Aude Merlin (Professor, CEVIPOL, Université Libre de Bruxelles) ’s research focuses on social and political transformations in the North Caucasus, identity and ethnicity in this region and on the management of Tsarist and Soviet legacies. Her recent publications include: A.Le Huérou, A. Merlin A. Regamey & E. Sieca-Kozlowski (Eds) Chechnya at war and beyond: living with violence, (Routledge, 2014);  « Le conflit tchétchène à l'épreuve de la reconnaissance » in « Guerres et reconnaissance», Cultures & conflits, N°87, 2012, pp. 47-68 (with Anne Le Huérou) ;  « L’improbable équation des Jeux de Sotchi », in « La Russie au défi du XXIe siècle », Questions Internationales, 2012, pp. 77-79. « Repenser le lien entre violences et États au Caucase», with Silvia Serrano, Dynamiques Internationales, n°6, 2012 ; Ordres et Désordres au Caucase, with Silvia Serrano (eds), Editions de l’Université libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, 2010 .

Jean Radvanyi (co-director, Centre de Recherches Europe Eurasie, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales) has conducted research on the Caucasus and Russia for the past three decades. He is the author of Atlas géopolitique du Caucase (Autrement, 2010, with N. Beroutchachvili) and Caucase : le grand jeu des influences (Paris, Editions du Cygne, 2011).

Silvia Serrano  is lecturer in Political Science at the Auvergne University and research fellow at the CERCEC (Centre d’études des mondes russe, caucasien et centre-européen, EHESS/CNRS), her research interests focus on identity construction in the Caucasus (including the analysis of Soviet policies of nationalities, current language and minority policies), and religious transformation in the Caucasus. Her recent publications include: « La construction en Géorgie d’une laïcité postsoviétique : mise en œuvre, mise en cause et résistance », Revue d'études comparatives Est-Ouest, volume 44, issue 01, 2013, pp. 77-112 ; « La croix ou la bannière ? L’Église orthodoxe de Géorgie, acteur des relations russo-géorgiennes », in Laruelle M., Peyrouse S. (dir.), Eclats d’empire, Asie centrale, Caucase et Afghanistan, Paris, Fayard, collection CERI/Sciences Po, 2013, pp 133-139 ; « Repenser le lien entre violences et États au Caucase», with Aude Merlin, Dynamiques Internationales, n°6, février 2012 ; Ordres et Désordres au Caucase, with Aude Merlin (eds), Editions de l’Université libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, 2010 .

Les activités


Newsletter Cascade N°5

Le problème des régions montagneuses du nord du Caucase
Publié le 21 novembre 2013