By Dmitry Shlapentokh
May 27th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Throughout 2015, Kazakhstan celebrated the 450th anniversary of what it regards as the beginning of its statehood as a major national event. This extraordinary interest in a seemingly academic subject had clear political undertones: Kazakhstan is not an “artificial” state, as sometimes proclaimed by representatives of the Kremlin. The country’s continuous process of distancing itself from Russia has been coupled with repression against suspected proponents of separatism in Northern Kazakhstan, populated by considerable numbers of ethnic Russians or Russian-speakers. Despite the existence of clearly pro-Russian attitudes in this region, Moscow has not supported them out of fear that it could raise extremist forms of nationalism in Russia, which would be highly problematic for the Kremlin.
By Emil Souleimanov (06/24/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Tabriz, the capital city of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province, and some other key cities in Iranian Azerbaijan saw new mass demonstrations in mid-May. This time, supporters of Tabriz’s football club Tractor Sazi, numbering tens of thousands, took to the streets to protest a referee decision in a match against Naft Tehran FC. The decision, which the majority of Azeri protesters considered unfounded, reversed the course of the match and allegedly deprived Tractor Sazi, a football team that has come to embody Azeri Turkic nationalism in the Islamic Republic, of victory in a key match.
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.