By Natalia Konarzewska
October 26, 2017, the CACI Analyst
In August, Georgia commemorated the ninth anniversary of its five-day war with Russia over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the 25th anniversary of the war in Abkhazia. Although years have passed since the hostilities, the conflicts remain unresolved while the political situation around the two de facto entities as well as Russia-Georgia relations remain tense. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin visited Abkhazia and reiterated Russia’s military support for the region. In the preceding months, Russia increased its military pressure on Georgia by conducting large-scale military exercises in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In parallel, Russia continues the illegal demarcation of the so-called frontier between Georgian-controlled territory and the separatist regions, moving the occupation line further into Georgian territory.
By Emil A. Souleimanov & Huseyn Aliyev
October 24, 2017, the CACI Analyst
In late August, Chechnya’s ruler Ramzan Kadyrov issued several statements on his Instagram profile appealing to fellow Muslims to support publicly the case of persecuted Myanmar (Burmese) Muslims, Rohingya, while prompting Russian authorities to take an international stand on their behalf. Shortly thereafter, unapproved mass demonstrations, inspired or organized by Kadyrov, took place in downtown Moscow and Grozny, during which siloviki treated protesters unexpectedly gently. Kadyrov went so far as to make a controversial statement challenging Russia’s international stance on the issue. Kadyrov soon softened his tone, yet his appeals were unprecedented – even by the standards of Chechnya’s strongman. They outraged many in Russia, pointing to Kadyrov’s impunity not only for actions on the domestic and federal scenes, but increasingly also for meddling in Russia’s international affairs.
By Andreas Pacher
October 2, 2017, the CACI Analyst
70 percent of Abkhazia’s diplomatic notes do not address its patron state Russia, but are sent to the few other states that have recognized its independence. It is surprising that countries like Nauru or Vanuatu obtain so much sustained attention from Abkhazia. The contested territory is usually perceived to rely solely on Russia. However, by exercising courtesy towards all partner countries, Abkhazia wants to present itself as a polity that is capable of behaving as a real sovereign state within the international community, projecting the image of normalized statehood that the region seeks to attain. Any attempts to thoroughly understand post-Soviet breakaway territories should pay closer attention to their external ties beyond their patron.
By Armen Grigoryan
September 25, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Whereas the Armenian government cautiously seeks opportunities to maintain and develop its relations with the West, the incumbent administration’s main priority is to maintain its own political and economic interests. It therefore strives to avoid internal instability or hostile reactions from Russia that could jeopardize the administration’s continued rule, as well as reforms that could endanger the oligarchic system’s grip on the economy. Despite the government’s official statements, the signing of a pivotal partnership agreement with the EU still depends on these priorities.
By Stephen Blank
August 29, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Inexplicably, Russia’s rapprochement with Pakistan over the last several years has received little or no attention in the West. It raises several vital questions about Russian policy in Central and South Asia as well as Russia’s approach to terrorism and to India and China. Since Moscow now advertises itself as a partner to the West in a new phase of the war on terrorism, its relationship to Pakistan and thus to the anti-terrorist war in Afghanistan possesses is highly relevant. Yet this relationship remains an unduly neglected issue in the analysis of Russian foreign policy.
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.