By John C. K. Daly
June 18, 2020, the CACI Analyst
Few processes are more opaque than political succession in the post-Soviet space, which is usually dominated by elite cronyism infighting. The practice becomes particularly pronounced when the departing leadership dates from the Soviet era and attempts to put its stamp on the transition to the future. In general, the leadership seeks to ensure a peaceful transition of power, even if circumventing the wishes of the departing leader. The latest post-Soviet nation to transit the process is Kazakhstan, where on May 2, Kazakh President Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev, having succeeded Nazarbayev as president 14 months earlier, unexpectedly posted a single-sentence announcement that he had removed Dariga Nursultanovna Nazarbayeva from her position as Senate speaker.
By Stephen Blank
July 8, 2020, the CACI Analyst
The revelations that Moscow paid Taliban warriors bounties to kill U.S., British, and other allied soldiers in Afghanistan is already generating a scandal in the United States. Yet for those who closely monitor Russian foreign policy in Central Asia and Afghanistan, this represents a particularly grisly escalation of policy but not a change in strategy. Moscow has long been determined to enhance its position with the Taliban and accelerate the ejection of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, which it regards as a threat to its position in Central Asia and to Russia. In Moscow’s imagination, the presence of several U.S. and/or NATO airbases in Afghanistan could strike Russian targets in Central Asia. Moreover, Russia has consistently expressed a visceral reaction to the presence of foreign military forces, especially Western ones, in and around Central Asia.
By Emil Avdaliani
June 18, 2020, the CACI Analyst
Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia is undergoing a deep political crisis coupled with troubles in its relationship with Russia. This potentially opens for a rapprochement with the government in Tbilisi and Abkhaz politicians have already come out with some bold statements. Although Abkhazia’s continual dependence on Russian financial and military support will keep the region under the Kremlin’s control, the emerging trends also suggest that tensions between Russia and Abkhazia will continue and grow.
By Natalia Konarzewska
June 16, 2020, the CACI Analyst
The collapse of oil prices and oil demand along with the economic shutdown imposed to fight the coronavirus pandemic are putting a strain on Azerbaijan’s economy. The upheaval on the global oil market has exposed fragilities in Azerbaijan’s banking system as four of its banks were recently put under temporary administration of the central bank and others had their capital requirements relaxed. The government has introduced economic and social packages to mitigate the consequences of the crisis; however, growth forecasts in 2020 remain pessimistic.
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.