by Stephen Blank (05/29/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Russia is changing its defense policies in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Late last year, Russia sent the regular Army to deal with the North Caucasian insurgency while Ministry of Interior forces (VVMVD) are now conducting large-scale operations with Azerbaijani security forces on both sides of the common border, presumably against North Caucasian and Azerbaijani-based terrorists and insurgents. Russia has also recently created a Special Operations Command consisting of a Special Forces brigade, a training center, helicopter, and air transportation squadrons. Russia will assign its airborne forces (VDV) missions relating to peace-creating operations, while it also spends large sums of money to refurbish its bases in Kyrgyzstan and pressures Tajikistan to host a Russian base.
by Robert M. Cutler (05/01/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Days after the conclusion of the late-March summit in Moscow between Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbaev met with Xi during a visit to China to attend the multilateral Boao Forum of Asia (BFA), which styles itself the Asian Davos. The two leaders established a new bilateral business council, signed numerous agreements for economic cooperation including infrastructure construction, and deepened still further Chinese participation in the development and bringing-to-market (and especially bringing-to-China) of Kazakhstan's impressive raw materials resources, most of all energy.
by Richard Weitz (05/01/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Kazakhstan’s government is atypical among Central Asian countries for its prominent efforts to reduce tensions in Eurasia as well as to increase understanding, trust, and cooperation between different regions, cultures, and religions. The Kazakhstani government’s motives in seeking such a prominent role are straightforward. It aims to reduce security threats and advance economic interests. It also wants to elevate the country’s profile in world affairs by hosting prominent international gatherings and by making visible contributions to international peace and prosperity. Kazakhstan’s main problem is that Astana’s limited diplomatic and other resources limit its ability to pursue its ambitious foreign-policy agenda.
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.