By Boris Ajeganov
January 23, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Foreign investment in Georgia is strengthening the country’s importance in connecting East Asia with Europe, which has positive implications for the broader region. The rise in FDI in commercial and transportation infrastructure in combination with the signing of international free trade agreements will reduce Georgia’s vulnerability in terms of economic and, ultimately, ‘hard’ security. The growing importance of the South Caucasus as node for EU-China trade will weaken Russia’s incentives to undermine its southern neighbors by military, political, and economic means as it has done in the past. Accordingly, Tbilisi’s ability to conduct an independent foreign policy is set to improve despite the absence of Western security guarantees.
By Tomáš Baranec
November 9th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Two and a half months prior to parliamentary elections in Georgia, on July 21, 2016, Russia’s State Duma recommended the government to once again ban imports of Georgian wines and mineral waters. Introducing embargos on Georgian wines and mineral waters is a proven tool of the Kremlin’s foreign policy towards its southern neighbor. It was first used in 2006, under the pretext of poor standards of Georgian exports, dealing significant damage to Georgia’s economy. However, three months after this statement, Moscow still has not applied this tool for exerting economic pressure on Georgia. The question is whether Moscow could afford such an embargo – especially given the rising significance of China’s market for Georgian exports.
By Stephen Blank
October 10th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
There are several signs of a possible turn for the better in the energy prospects of Caspian states, and especially Azerbaijan. The collapse of energy prices appears to have bottomed out. Even prices stagnating at US$ 40-60 a barrel gives energy producers a certain margin to cushion the shocks they will endure. A major aspect of the Caspian states’ comparative advantage is their proximity to Turkey and Southeastern Europe. As European growth recovers, the demand for energy coming through those states will likely grow. Ukraine’s growing freedom from Russian energy coercion will also stimulate it to look for alternatives and new opportunities for Caspian producers. Yet the perhaps most encouraging sign is the construction of new capacities to tie together and eventually integrate the European market.
By Boris Ajeganov
August 10th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Georgian PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili became the first foreign head of state to visit Turkey after the failed coup attempt by parts of the Turkish military in the evening of Friday, July 15. Kvirikashvili met with his counterpart, PM Binali Yildirim, and President Erdoğan in Ankara on July 19 as part of an inaugural meeting of the High Level Georgia-Turkey Strategic Cooperation Council. The visit — the PM’s first official to Turkey — was planned long before the attempted coup. Although the event focused on bilateral trade and economic issues, both parties emphasized that the official visit demonstrated Georgia’s continued support for Turkey’s democratically elected authorities, despite concerns that Erdoğan used the coup attempt as pretext for a major purge of political opponents at all levels of government. In the end of the day, regardless of what direction Turkey’s politics take, Georgia does not have much of a choice but to toe its neighbor’s line, come rain or shine.
By Erik Davtyan
May 13th, the CACI Analyst
The unprecedented escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on April 2-5 is the topic of a process of intense discussions between Russian and Armenian authorities. After the Chiefs of Staff of Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s armed forces, Yuri Khachaturov and Najmaddin Sadigov, reached an oral ceasefire agreement in Moscow, Russia immediately activated its policy toward the conflict, including several high-level visits to Yerevan and Baku for discussions with the respective authorities.
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.