By Tomáš Baranec and Tengiz Gasviani

July 12, 2022

The second round of Abkhazia’s de facto parliamentary elections took place on March 26. Although the Abkhaz parliament and the political parties enjoy little influence in the local power vertical, this year’s elections could significantly affect the further development of the political situation in the region. A likely “constitutional majority” of pro-president MPs in the parliament does not only complete the concentration of power in the hands of the de facto president Aslan Bzhania, but also allows for constitutional changes. At the same time, it can make Abkhazia more vulnerable to pressure from Russia.

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By Natalia Konarzewska

July 8, 2022

Georgia made a big leap towards membership in the European Union on March 3 when it submitted a formal application for EU candidate country status alongside Moldova and shortly after the same move by Ukraine, which granted them the nickname of Associated Trio. Yet despite high hopes on June 17, the European Commission recommended that Ukraine and Moldova, but not Georgia, should be awarded candidate country status. A few days later, the EU leaders endorsed this decision based on Georgia’s recent democratic backsliding. Instead, Georgia was offered a “European perspective”, a roadmap to qualify for candidate status in the future.

Georgia protests - EU large

By Farkhod Tolipov

May 31, 2022

Russia’s war in Ukraine has become an existential geopolitical challenge for all former Soviet republics. Uzbekistan’s formulation and expression of a position on the war has been difficult in an ethical and political sense. Positioning on this matter is also a serious test for the strategic partnership and unity of Central Asian states. At the UNGA, Uzbekistan did not vote on the resolution blaming Russia for aggression against Ukraine. However, it voted against the exclusion of Russia from the UN Human Rights Committee. Uzbekistan’s MFA later brought some clarity to Tashkent’s position, which could potentially irritate Moscow. The curse of positioning reflects the enduring and perplexing geopolitical status-quo in Central Asia.

UN GA large

By Robert M. Cutler

May 9, 2022

Constructive developments in negotiations for peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, particularly those mediated by the European Union, have produced a further radicalization of the opponents of such a peace. Russia is unhappy with EU and Western attempts to take the initiative for the peaceful normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Russia is seeking to use the Karabakh Armenians to maintain its geopolitical position in the South Caucasus. Threats have been voiced, in both Moscow and Khankendi [Stepanakert], of the intention to seek an annexation to Russia of areas in Nagorno-Karabakh where Russian troops are located.

 

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  • Explaining the Kyrgyz-Tajik Border Clash: Hypotheses in Search of Corroboration
    Wednesday, 14 July 2021 00:00

    By Richard Weitz

    July 14, 2021, the CACI Analyst

    A century ago, the Italian author Luigi Pirandello wrote a three-act play entitled “Six Characters in Search of an Author,” which explored the difficulty of differentiating between illusion and reality. The analyst of the recent border clash between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan faces the same challenge. The event, which saw the most serious fighting between independent Central Asian republics, offers several plausible explanations with divergent policy implications. 

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  • The Second Karabakh War and Caspian Energy
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    April 19, 2021, the CACI Analyst

    On November 10, the second war in Nagorno-Karabakh ended with a Russia-brokered ceasefire agreement signed between Azerbaijan and Armenia. While the 44-day war caused severe damages to frontline settlements and civilian casualties on both sides, frequent missile attacks carried out by Armenia towards Azerbaijani cities and infrastructure beyond the frontline raised concerns not only in Baku but also in the EU regarding the security of vitally important energy infrastructure. The possibility of damages to energy infrastructure, particularly the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline, would explicitly put the role of these pipelines in European energy security under question.

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  • Kyrgyzstan’s Third Revolution
    Thursday, 08 October 2020 00:00

    By Johan Engvall 

    October 8, 2020, the CACI Analyst

    Kyrgyzstan is again in turmoil following the country’s parliamentary elections on October 4. The day after the election, thousands of demonstrators gathered in central Bishkek to protest the outcome of what opposition leaders described as the dirtiest in the country’s history, ending in a violent showdown between riot police and demonstrators. The fighting went on long into the night, until the protesters overrun the police and seized the presidential palace and the parliament. State power collapsed in the blink of an eye. Now begins the hard part of bringing back law and order and finding a viable path forward. The outcome is genuinely uncertain. There are no boundaries for what kind of interests that can lay claim on political authority. Old and new politicians, criminal groups and political activists all try to fill the power vacuum.  

     

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  • Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi Groups and the US-Taliban Peace Agreement
    Wednesday, 03 June 2020 00:00

    By Uran Botobekov 

    June 3, 2020, the CACI Analyst

    The U.S.-Taliban agreement obliges the Taliban to sever ties with al Qaeda and other Central Asian terrorist groups. Nevertheless, Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi groups celebrate the deal as a “victory.” The Taliban’s relationship with these groups will likely continue to develop in secret, and Central Asian regimes must seriously prepare for a new redistribution of power and resources in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

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Staff Publications

Op-ed Mamuka Tsereteli & James Jay Carafano, The West Can't Forget What Russia Did To Georgia, 19FortyFive, August 6, 2021. 

Op-ed S. Frederick Starr & Michael Doran, To Avert Disaster in Afghanistan, Look to Central Asia, Wall Street Journal, July 11, 2021.

Op-ed S. Frederick Starr & Eldor Aripov, Can Afghanistan Be Part of An Integrated Central Asia? The National Interest, July 9, 2021.

Op-ed Mamuka Tsereteli and James Jay Carafano, Tsereteli & Carafano: Putin threatens Ukraine – here's the danger and what US, allies should do about it, Fox News, April 13, 2021.

Op-ed S. Enders Wimbish, US withdrawal from Afghanistan spells dangerous geopolitical realignments, The Hill, April 2, 2021.  

Silk Road Paper Svante E. Cornell and S. Frederick Starr, Kazakhstan's Role in International Mediation under First President Nursultan Nazarbayev, November 2020.

Analysis Svante E. Cornell, How Did Armenia So Badly Miscalculate Its War with Azerbaijan? The National Interest, November 14, 2020.

Op-ed Svante E. Cornell, Halting the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan: Russian Peacekeeping is not the Solution Washington Times, October 20, 2020.

Analysis Svante E. Cornell, Can America Stop a Wider War between Armenia and Azerbaijan? The National Interest, October 5, 2020.

Article S. Frederick Starr, America Inches Toward a Serious Central Asia Strategy AFPC Defense Dossier, June 3, 2020.

Silk Road Paper Farrukh Irnazarov and Roman Vakulchuk, Discovering Opportunities in the Pandemic? Four Economic Response Scenarios for Central Asia, July 2020.  

 Book S. Frederick Starr, Eldar Ismailov, Nazim Muzaffarli, Basic Principles for the Rehabilitation of Azerbaijan’s Post-Conflict Territories, 2010.

Can Afghanistan Be Part of An Integrated Central Asia?

The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.

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