By Armen Grigoryan
June 9, 2017, the CACI Analyst
The outcome of Armenia's parliamentary elections on May 2 suggest a further strengthening of the country's oligarchic system and its dependence on Russia. These are mutually reinforcing, reducing the likelihood of both substantial political reform and the realization of the lucrative opportunities offered by the U.S. and EU. The attitude towards such opportunities largely depends on Moscow's preferences. The fractured and demoralized political opposition remains incapable of mobilizing significant public support. Furthermore, most of the opposition does not question the country's geopolitical orientation and avoids criticizing the government's pro-Russian policies or Moscow's policies vis-à-vis Armenia.
By Farkhod Tolipov
June 6, 2017, the CACI Analyst
In April this year, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev made it clear that Kazakhstan intends to change from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet. Thereby, this country took a new step in the overall course of its post-Soviet development as an independent state. Kazakhstan became the third state in Central Asia after Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan that decided to undergo such a change. Kyrgyzstan will supposedly be the next country to move in the same direction. The change of alphabets was met with geopolitically saturated aversion in Russian political circles and media, in contrast to the relatively peaceful manner with which it is being introduced in the countries themselves.
By Joseph Larsen
May 16, 2017, the CACI Analyst
The ongoing constitutional reform process clearly indicates that Georgia’s further democratic progress rests on shaky footing. The proposed constitutional amendments would weaken the power and popular mandate of the president and likely give the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party an undue advantage in parliamentary elections. The proposed amendments justifiably raise fears that GD is just the latest political force with ambitions for single-party rule. Rather than locking in the country’s democratic gains, the draft constitution looks likely to consolidate GD’s legislative and executive power.
By Stephen Blank
May 12, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Since the occurrence of large scale fighting around Nagorno-Karabakh in April 2016, resulting in some Azerbaijani gains, there has been a widespread fear that this crisis could easily escalate out of control drawing in not only the two belligerents but also Russia and Turkey. Armenia’s response to the visible enhancement of Azerbaijan’s military capability has marked a qualitative escalation of the crisis’ military potential. Moreover, it has further unmasked the Russian policy of abetting the crisis rather than trying to resolve it, even though Moscow professes to be against renewed hostilities and to want a solution.
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.