by Mina Muradova (05/29/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
A diplomatic row has emerged between Russia and Azerbaijan over "stolen" points that Azerbaijan allegedly gave to its northern neighbor during the Eurovision song contest held in Malmo, Sweden, on May 18. This year, the talk of politicization of the annual competition of European pop music reached its peak. Turkey refused to participate in the contest by claiming that the latest rules in the voting system, the 50%-50% combination of jury voting and phone voting, are unfair and that the involvement of a jury would negatively affect Turkey’s points.
by Stephen Blank (05/29/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Russia is changing its defense policies in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Late last year, Russia sent the regular Army to deal with the North Caucasian insurgency while Ministry of Interior forces (VVMVD) are now conducting large-scale operations with Azerbaijani security forces on both sides of the common border, presumably against North Caucasian and Azerbaijani-based terrorists and insurgents. Russia has also recently created a Special Operations Command consisting of a Special Forces brigade, a training center, helicopter, and air transportation squadrons. Russia will assign its airborne forces (VDV) missions relating to peace-creating operations, while it also spends large sums of money to refurbish its bases in Kyrgyzstan and pressures Tajikistan to host a Russian base.
by Gulshan Sachdeva (05/15/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
After years of discussions on TAPI and IPI, the Indian public sector giant ONGC now plans to bring Russian hydrocarbons to India via Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. If taken seriously by all concerned parties, the project has the potential to fundamentally change the energy security scenario of India as well as Pakistan, offer vast new markets for Russian hydrocarbons and provide an economic cushion for Afghanistan in its decade of transformation.
by Valery Dzutsev (05/15/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The security situation in the North Caucasus has deteriorated progressively since Moscow expelled foreign organizations from the region. Following the recent Boston Marathon bombing and its purported connection to the North Caucasus, the region and its precarious situation has attained increased international interest. Yet, while several arguments can be made for why an increased international presence in the region would benefit all sides, the Russian government will likely opt for keeping the region isolated from the world while justifying its ongoing military campaign in the North Caucasus as a contribution to global counterterrorism.
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.