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 Robert M. Cutler
November 7th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
According to Azerbaijan’s energy minister Natig Aliev, his country and Kazakhstan will construct an oil pipeline under the Caspian Sea to provide additional necessary routes for export of Kazakhstani oil from the offshore supergiant Kashagan field, which has finally entered commercial production after years of delay. The two sides appear unbothered by the sometimes vexatious and still unsettled matter of the Caspian Sea’s legal regime, which has for nearly two decades prevented Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan from constructing a natural gas pipeline under the sea between their two countries.
By Armen Grigoryan
October 21st, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan has reshuffled the government only months before the general elections, after which the presidential system will be replaced with a parliamentary one. The new appointments seemingly aim to ensure the continued rule of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) after next year’s elections. The current foreign policy course based on loyalty to Russia and its Eurasian project will likely remain unchanged, despite its dire economic consequences.
By Ilgar Gurbanov
October 17th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
The Iran-Armenia-Georgia gas talks have recently gained momentum. Iranian and Georgian companies have signed gas purchase contracts, to supply natural gas to Georgia through Armenia. While the perspective of enhanced Iran-Armenia-Georgia gas cooperation is limited from political and technical viewpoints, Armenia is actively seeking to carve out a new role for itself in order to mitigate the repercussions of its long-running isolation in the region. Yet the dominant role of Russia’s Gazprom in Armenia’s energy sector, as well as the lack of technical opportunities, pose significant obstacles to the delivery of large amounts of Iranian gas to Georgia through Armenia.
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.
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.