Stephen Blank (the 02/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Five years after its war with Georgia, Russia is now moving to institutionalize its gains into enduring territorial-political structures. During September 2013, Moscow effectively blackmailed Armenia into joining the Eurasian Union and has now announced that it is going to sign a treaty with South Ossetia and Abkhazia, recognizing the “international borders” between them and Russia. As a result, Russian soldiers are now erecting fences effectively demarcating these territories from Georgia, if not formally annexing them to Russia. Both of these moves undermine the sovereignty, and in Georgia’s case the integrity, of these two South Caucasian states and demonstrate that Russia’s neo-imperial effort to create a closed bloc in the CIS is intensifying and accelerating.
Haroutiun Khachatrian (the 02/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The Armenian government has recently faced much criticism making the case that it has lost its ability to take decisions independently. This is a reaction to the September 3 statement of Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan, who said his country was seeking to join the Russia-led Customs Union, thus destroying the results of four years of negotiations with the EU over an Association Agreement, which would have been finalized at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November. Sargsyan’s move was widely interpreted as a result of Russian pressure on a small and weak country that needs support in many areas.
By Armen Grigoryan (the 18/09/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
After nearly four years of negotiating the Association Agreement with the EU, Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan made an abrupt turn, announcing his intention to instead join the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. It is not possible to combine the two frameworks because of contradicting tariff regulations. Sargsyan’s statement was made after increased political and economic pressure from Russia in recent months. Armenia’s participation in Russia-led integration projects will imply very limited possibilities for cooperation with the EU. It will also result in Armenia’s deeper isolation and cause additional complications for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution process.
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.