By Mamuka Tsereteli (the 27/11/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
On October 9, 2013, Azerbaijan held presidential elections and incumbent president Ilham Aliyev was re-elected for another five year term. The OSCE ODIHR observer mission, as well as the U.S. government, issued critical statements about the conduct of elections by Azerbaijani authorities that created tensions in Azerbaijan’s relationships with Western allies. Issues of concern need to be addressed, but they should not disrupt Western engagement and critical support for Azerbaijan’s sovereignty against the backdrop of assertive Russian policies to limit the Western presence in the broader Eastern European and Central Eurasian Space.
By Archil Zhorzholiani (the 27/11/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
On November 17, Giorgi Margvelashvili was sworn in as Georgia’s fourth president. Shortly thereafter, Georgia’s parliament confirmed Irakli Gharibashvili as new Prime Minister to replace billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili on the post (see the 13/11/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst). In his inauguration speech, President Margvelashvili reasserted his commitment to democratic and Euro-Atlantic values. As he put it, Georgia has departed from its post-Soviet past and now is switching to a modern type of democracy that is centered on a European political culture.
By Armen Grigoryan (the 13/11/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Russia continues to limit Armenia’s capability to make independent political decisions and is planning to increase its military presence in Armenia. Shortly, Azerbaijan and Georgia will face stronger pressure and Russia’s efforts to create a new union of the former Soviet republics will intensify. As Russia is unable to advance its goals through “soft power,” offering no attractive model of governance, democratic political culture, or serious economic benefits, it will increasingly rely on “hard power.” Regional policies devised by the U.S. and EU are becoming insufficient as regional dynamics change and new threats emerge.
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.