By Carolin Funke

October 6th, 2015, The CACI Analyst

In the absence of Euro-Atlantic guarantees for deeper economic and political integration, Georgia is further diversifying its cooperation with states outside the Western hemisphere. Over the last year, Georgia has particularly been strengthening ties with the People’s Republic of China, which seeks to increase its presence in the South Caucasus as part of its Silk Road Economic Belt. Due to declining Western involvement in the region, the U.S. and European Union have little reason to complain about Tbilisi’s new alignments. Nevertheless, anchoring China as a long-term player in the region will likely lead to a further decline of Western influence in Georgia.


By Emil Aslan Souleimanov

September 25th, 2015, The CACI Analyst

Russia’s recent military engagement in Syria and calls for the establishment of an international coalition against the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State (ISIS) has produced renewed interest in Moscow’s policies toward the jihadist quasi-state. Against this background, while many have speculated about Moscow’s true intentions in the Middle East, relatively little attention has been paid to Moscow’s interests in Central Asia and the Caucasus in the context of its increasingly vocal rhetoric of fighting ISIS. Moscow is actively utilizing the risks and threats stemming from the ISIS to boost its clout in the near and far abroad. 

nc isis

By Rafis Abazov

October 8th, 2015, The CACI Analyst

During his recent visit to China, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a series of trade agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) on 48 projects valued at about US$ 30 billion. The Minister of Economic Affairs, Yerbolat Dosayev, has called the Chinese market one of the “main markets for Kazakhstan.” The Kazakh government also reiterated its support for the Beijing-instigated “Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB)” initiative and agreed to continue working on several large infrastructure projects. But opinions of Kazakh experts on the SREB are divided. Some believe China’s financial backing will strengthen trade and lead to economic growth, but others are skeptical, claiming it would conflict with the U.S.´s “New Silk Road” initiative. 


By Edward Lemon

September 23rd, 2015, The CACI Analyst

Rather than resulting from external factors, as the regime has argued, the recent violence in Tajikistan erupted from within the state itself. Elites within the Tajik state continually compete for political influence and economic gain. These struggles occasionally break out into violence. Ironically, such conflicts are actually useful for the regime. They allow it to legitimize a purge of potentially disloyal members and a crackdown on other opponents. By blaming the latest conflict on the country’s leading opposition party, the Islamic Renaissance Party (IRPT), the regime legitimized its move to ban the party and arrest its leading members.


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  • Russia's Intervention in Ukraine Reverberates in Central Asia
    Wednesday, 19 March 2014 17:46
    Russia's Intervention in Ukraine Reverberates in Central Asia

    By Slavomír Horák (03/19/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)

    While Russia's intervention in Ukraine at first glance has few implications for developments in the Eastern part of former Soviet territory, Central Asian governments and elites are likely to analyze Russia's recent actions carefully. While the Crimea intervention could serve as a short term deterrent against foreign orientations away from Russia's regional integration project, the increasing Chinese influence in Central Asia will in the long term offer these states a powerful alternative to Russia and the crisis in Ukraine is increasing China's attractiveness as a partner.

    Article 3

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    • Authored Slavomír Horák
  • China's Silk Roads and Their Challenges
    Wednesday, 07 January 2015 16:02
    China's Silk Roads and Their Challenges

    By Stephen Blank (01/07/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)

    Few realize that China is actually building three Silk Roads, one through Central Asia to Europe; a second, maritime one, through South East Asia to India and South Asia; and third, China is building a robust commercial network through the Arctic to connect it with Europe. In all three cases there is a common geopolitical dream that has been shared by Russian and Asian leaders since the opening of the Suez Canal: building a land-based alternative connecting East, South, and Central Asia to Europe by purely terrestrial means. China’s plans for Central Asia are extraordinarily ambitious but there are serious problems that could undermine them.


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    • Authored Stephen Blank
  • The Eurasian Economic Union – Implications for Governance, Democracy and Human Rights
    Wednesday, 10 December 2014 08:58
    The Eurasian Economic Union – Implications for Governance, Democracy and Human Rights

    By Daniel Linotte (12/10/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)

    In January 2015, a new regional agreement will enter into force between Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia – it will create the so-called Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), replacing the Eurasian Economic Community (EEC) established in 2006. Taking into account actual trade flows and national economies, the EEU can hardly be justified and should not have much impact on economic integration among its members. Nevertheless, Western countries should still be worried about possible non-economic consequences of the new agreement, especially for governance, democracy and human rights, in countries that are already displaying authoritarian tendencies.


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    • Authored Daniel Linotte
  • Resurgence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict - A Russian Move on the Ukraine Chessboard
    Wednesday, 03 September 2014 14:04
    Resurgence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict - A Russian Move on the Ukraine Chessboard

    By Avinoam Idan (09/03/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)

    The return of open fire in the Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) conflict recently brought about a meeting between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Sochi, under the auspices of President Putin, on August 10, 2014. The growing tension in the conflict and the Sochi meeting take place against the background of the crisis in Ukraine. The Karabakh conflict serves as Russian leverage in influencing and promoting Russia’s geostrategic aims in the Caucasus and beyond, and Russia’s new initiative in the conflict meant to improve Russia’s stance in its confrontation with the U.S. and EU and its hegemony over the gateway to Eurasia.

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Joint Center Publications

Article Mamuka Tsereteli, "NATO Leaders Should Ease the Path of Georgia’s Entry", Newsweek, July 24, 2015.

Silk Road Paper Johanna Popjanevski, Retribution and the Rule of Law: The Politics of Justice in Georgia, June 2015.

Silk Road Paper 
Svante E. Cornell, S. Frederick Starr, Mamuka Tsereteli, A Western Strategy for the South Caucasus, February 2015.  

Op-Ed S. Frederick Starr, "Dueling Mosques and an American Beacon in AfghanistanThe Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2015.

Article Svante E. Cornell, "Understanding Turkey's Tilt", Journal of International Security Affairs, No. 27, Winter 2014.

Book S. Frederick Starr and Svante E. Cornell, eds., ·Putin's Grand Strategy: The Eurasian Union and its Discontents, Joint Center Monograph, September 2014.

Book S. Frederick Starr, Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia's Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane, Princeton University Press, September 2013.



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 Johns Hopkins University's Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst brings cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.


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