By Edward Lemon
February 29th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Having outlawed the country’s leading opposition movement, the Islamic Renaissance Party, in 2015, President Rahmon is seeking to further cement his position. On December 9, the Tajik parliament unanimously passed a new law naming him “leader of the nation” and “originator of peace and national reconciliation.” This effectively lifts him above the law, guaranteeing impunity for him and his family. On January 13, parliament backed amendments to the constitution, lowering the age limit for presidential candidates to 30. This would allow Rahmon’s eldest son, 28-year-old Rustam, to run in the next election scheduled for 2020. Further amendments to the constitution, which will fully legalize Rahmon’s new position and pave the way for him to rule indefinitely, will be put to a referendum in the coming months.
By Fariz Ismailzade
February 19th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
After a decade of cold relations, Azerbaijan and Iran are eager to warm up to each other, as both nations are hungry for foreign investments and boosted regional trade. As world oil prices hit low levels, Azerbaijan and Iran are looking for ways to develop their non-oil economy, integrate regional transport networks and boost mutually advantageous business projects. In that respect, thorny political issues that have dominated the bilateral relations appear to have been put on the backburner. President Ilham Aliyev’s upcoming visit to Iran will aim at lifting Azerbaijani-Iranian relations to a new high.
By Umida Hashimova
February 10th, the CACI Analyst
Uzbekistan and Russia are working to develop a governmental agreement on organized job placements for potential labor migrants from Uzbekistan to Russia. Such agreements usually mean that future employees will have an agreed job, salary, place to live, insurance, and all permission papers for employment before they leave their home country. Some have interpreted this as a sign of warming relations between the two countries by which Russia is easing the conditions for about two million migrants from Uzbekistan in exchange for some sort of concessions by Uzbekistan’s government.
By Ipek Velioglu
February 8th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Turkish-Russian relations have not recovered after the downing of a Russian jet last November. On the contrary, the tension is spreading into neighboring areas. Russia is pressuring the Central Asian countries, politically and economically, to constrain Turkey’s activities in the region. Although Ankara’s influence in the Central Asian Republics is limited, it developed good ties with almost all them after the collapse of the USSR. Turkey was the first country to recognize the new-born states; it has supported their independence and contributed to their integration into the international system. Under the AKP’s rule, Turkey has also become a major donor for some of them. Central Asian countries now seek risk being dragged into the Turkish-Russian standoff.
By Zamira Sydykova
January 25th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
The year 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of a bloody popular uprising in Central Asia that was violently suppressed by Tsarist Russia. The Kyrgyz Government has announced that this year will be dedicated to an examination of the events, and thus far, that has led to a knee-jerk reaction from the Russian side, with a Russian diplomat in Bishkek intimating that some Kyrgyz are inciting ethnic divisions by organizing events in connection with the commemoration. Should cooler heads prevail, there is a wealth of literature that could help the Kyrgyz people bring closure to a tragic chapter in their history.
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.