By Eduard Abrahamyan
April 27th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
The recent unprecedented escalation around Nagorno-Karabakh highlighted deep systemic shortcomings in existing international mediation initiatives. The OSCE Minsk Group, dedicated to settling the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, has become largely irrelevant in the new operational situation. The intense fighting erupted on April 2 and lasted for four days until a Russia-brokered ceasefire between the adversaries was mutually agreed upon on April 5. The fighting put an end to the 22-year-old ceasefire regime, and the security environment of the South Caucasus. The escalation was clearly a consequence of a shift in the military balance of power, consistently fueled by Russia’s distribution of advanced offensive arms to Azerbaijan and the evident impracticability of the Minsk Group.
By Boris Ajeganov
March 7th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Uncertainty on the future of Georgia’s energy security has been growing since late 2015, when Georgia’s minister of energy and deputy PM Kakha Kaladze met with Alexey Miller, CEO of Russia’s Gazprom twice in the span of a month. Discussions on Gazprom’s potential return to the Georgian market quickly raised eyebrows in Baku and caused popular protests in Tbilisi. In a March 4 turnaround, Kaladze announced a deal to receive additional gas from Azerbaijan, thus removing the need to import Russian gas. Party politics aside, Tbilisi appears to have skillfully used its strategic position in the South Caucasus to secure a favorable energy deal without sacrificing its sovereignty.
By Arslan Sabyrbekov
February 17th, the CACI Analyst
On January 22, Kyrgyzstan’s President Almazbek Atambayev signed a law denunciating the agreement with Russia on the construction and operation of the Kambarata-1 hydropower plant (HPP) and the Upper Naryn HPPs cascade. The expected decision officially put an end to Kyrgyzstan’s prospects of attaining energy independence in the foreseeable future.
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 Dmitry Shlapentokh
November 6, 2015, The CACI Analyst
Moscow has recently undertaken several actions aiming to increase Russia’s influence in the Middle East and Central Asia. On August 23-28, 2015, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which includes several members from Central Asia, undertook military exercises in Russia. Russian authorities stated that the maneuvers aimed to help CSTO members develop means to effectively move airborne forces and other troops to conflict zones, including in Central Asia. The exercises partly served to address a real concern on the part of Russia as well as other CSTO members over the rise of the terrorist organization calling itself the Islamic State (ISIS). However, Russia sees ISIS not only as a threat but also as an opportunity for both increasing Russia’s influence in Central Asia and providing a pretext for its venture in the Middle East.
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.