By Farkhod Tolipov
March 26, 2020, the CACI Analyst
Three recent events have recently drawn the attention of the public, experts and official circles in Central Asia: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visits to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and his meetings with the presidents of these states on 1-4 February 2020; the “C5+1” meeting in Tashkent; and the announcement of a new U.S. Strategy for Central Asia 2019-2025. In Central Asian capitals as well as in Moscow and Beijing, these three events served to alter the existing geopolitical calculus: Washington effectively reminded Central Asians and U.S. rivals Russia and China of itself and its interests. It thus seems that the old Great Game continues.
By Emil Avdaliani
March 9, 2020, the CACI Analyst
Georgia’s long-awaited Anaklia project officially ended in January 2020. The country’s internal problems as well as geopolitical competition involving the U.S., China, and Russia doomed the deep-sea port. However, this same geopolitical competition could serve to keep U.S. interests in the project afloat, as Chinese and Russian investments in the port would be problematic for Washington. Moreover, after Georgia’s critical parliamentary elections this year, Tbilisi may become better positioned to support a new concept for constructing Anaklia.
By Nurlan Aliyev
March 2, 2020, the CACI Analyst
In December 26, 2019 , the Georgian National Museum presented a new exhibition titled “Chinese Art in the Georgian National Museum,” dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, and a book on the theme by Georgian authors. Within this project, supported by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Georgia, several exhibitions of works by Chinese painters take place in Tbilisi between December 2019 and February 2020. In recent years China’s growing economic presence in the South Caucasus has been accompanied by developments in cultural and educational relations between China and the regional states.
By Natalia Konarzewska
February 3, 2020, the CACI Analyst
The end of 2019 saw increasing diplomatic activity between Azerbaijan and Russia, at a time when Russia wants to strengthen its profile in Azerbaijan and bring the country closer to Moscow-promoted multilateral initiatives. This is partly due to Azerbaijan’s increasing geopolitical importance to the West and China, being a key participant in the Southern Gas Corridor and a prospectively important one in the Belt and Road initiative (BRI). Russia also wants Azerbaijan to counterbalance its traditional South Caucasus ally Armenia, whereas Azerbaijan expects Russia’s assistance in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is nevertheless unlikely to materialize.
By Nurlan Aliyev
December 19, 2019, the CACI Analyst
On October 17-18, 2019, the 7th China-Central Asia Cooperation Forum, was held in Nanning, Guanxi province. The goal of the Forum was to further strengthen ties between China and the countries of Central Asia. Aside from its economic and security related interests in the region, China is also hoping to improve its image with the help of soft power influences, among populations where Sinophobic sentiments are strong. Despite several reports and information on Chinese projects with this aim, the question remains how effective China’s soft power in Central Asia really is.
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.