By Nurlan Aliyev
November 27, 2018, the CACI Analyst
During a press conference in Moscow on October 4, 2018, Major General Igor Kirillov, commander of Russia’s radiological, chemical and biological defense troops, stated that 73 citizens of Georgia had died as a result of medical experiments conducted by a company owned by former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He referred to recent accusations from Georgia’s former Minister of State Security Igor Giorgadze, who served in the KGB from the 1970s to the 1990s and holds the title “Honorary Officer of the KGB of the USSR.” Kirillov’s statement coincided with allegations from the UK and the Netherlands that Russian spies attempted to hack the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.
By Casper Wuite
November 12, 2018, the CACI Analyst
Since Georgian nationals were granted visa-free travel to the EU in March 2017, there has been a significant increase in the number of Georgian asylum applications. While the European Commission has been mildly optimistic so far in its assessment of the visa free travel regime, analysis shows that the trend in asylum applications is much more volatile than acknowledged by Georgia and the EU and could threaten visa free travel. Suspension of visa free travel is unlikely in the short term, but countries with high numbers of Georgian immigrants such as Germany and Italy face a mounting populist tide that could force both countries to trigger the visa suspension mechanism.
By Tomáš Baranec
August 28, 2018, the CACI Analyst
In mid-May, Tbilisi once again witnessed mass demonstrations led by various liberal groups. This time the unrest was fueled by a harsh police operation against alleged drug trafficking in two popular clubs in Tbilisi: Café Gallery and Bassiani. An otherwise quite common sight in the Georgian capital was dramatized by a massive opposing rally led by several Georgian far-right groups. Although not the first such demonstration, this rally seemingly initiated a process of consolidation and unification of Georgia’s political far-right. This process could lead to a rise of far-right, nativist and anti-EU narratives in Georgia’s political mainstream.
By Fuad Shahbazov
June 28, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On May 29, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev officially inaugurated the first phase of the long-awaited flagship project Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), through which Caspian natural gas from the Shah-Deniz II field will be transported to Europe. The new project consists of several pipeline networks that pass through Georgia and Turkey (via the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline, TANAP) and further through Greece, Albania and Italy (via the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, TAP). As Shah Deniz Stage 2 is implemented, gas production will increase from 9 to 25 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year.
By Casper Wuite
May 10, 2018, the CACI Analyst
EU neighboring countries such as Georgia are carefully monitoring the Brexit negotiations. Georgian government officials worry that Brexit will further delay Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration. Under a post-Brexit French-German leadership, few expect significant changes to the EU’s neighborhood and enlargement policy. The lack of new incentives short of a membership perspective will be a setback for Tbilisi, which is keen to determine new perspectives on further integration. To advance its Euro-Atlantic integration it should temper its expectations and focus on implementing reforms associated with the AA/DCFTA, exploring defense and security co-operation, and engage with the public on the European Union and its policies.
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.