By Armen Grigoryan
November 7, 2018, the CACI Analyst
An alliance formed around Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s Civic Contract party won an overwhelming majority in the Yerevan city council elections, despite an ongoing smear campaign by media controlled by the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), former president Robert Kocharyan, and their proxies. The election results substantiated Pashinyan’s determination to dissolve the National Assembly and to hold snap parliamentary elections in December. Despite the confrontational campaign by the RPA and its allies, and their attempts to discredit the government and obstruct investigations into the actions of several former officials, Pashinyan’s high popular support seems enough to advance his political agenda.
By Emil A. Souleimanov and Huseyn Aliyev
October 23, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On August 20, a series of attacks by teenagers against policemen took place in Chechnya’s cities of Grozny and Shali. The country’s strongman Ramzan Kadyrov quickly blamed “external actors” seeking to pitch local security enforcement, siloviki, against teenagers, while decrying the inability of the attackers’ parents to oversee their sons. Yet realities on the ground appears to be different. In fact, large part of the Chechen population hold enormous grievances caused by the impunity of local siloviki, particularly kadyrovtsy, and the republican authorities in general. The threat of punishment against the relatives of insurgents and their (prospective) supporters has since the early 2000s stemmed the local insurgency. Yet from time to time, grievances condensed in the Chechen population explode in spontaneous acts of nearly-suicidal violence against republican law enforcement.
By Fuad Shahbazov
October 18, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On August 16, the Azerbaijani MP and head of the Azerbaijan-Russia interparliamentary group Ali Huseynli told local media that “It would be advisable to consider Azerbaijan’s participation in the Collective Security Treaty Organization” (CSTO). The sensational statement triggered a public discussion on Azerbaijan’s possible membership in the Russia-led CSTO and its consequences for the region. While some state officials described this prospect as a logical extension of Baku’s cooperation with Moscow, others strictly opposed the idea, stating that it would pose dangerous challenges to the country.
By Rafis Abazov
October 16, 2018, the CACI Analyst
During the Astana Financial Days event in July 2018, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan announced and personally endorsed the opening of the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC). He envisions that the AIFC will provide financial services “not only for Kazakhstan, but also for the whole world.” If successful, the AIFC can contribute to diversifying the financial resources for Kazakhstan’s national and international projects. Through its proper implementation, the government of Kazakhstan can develop a tool for improving collaboration with neighboring countries in Central Asia in the industrial, agricultural and tourism sectors, making the Central Asian section of the Silk Road more attractive for business and financial deals. In addition, the Center can become a real financial hub not only for Kazakhstan and Central Asia but also for the wider Eurasia region if it is capable of attracting enough financial resources from large international players.
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.