By Oleg Salimov (the 27/11/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The challenges of economic development and regional integration in Central Asia have given rise to a number of projects in various spheres. Among these, the “Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan” railroad is directly aimed at stimulating the participating countries' economies through the creation of a better transportation system for easy access to new markets. The project's goal is to expand regional infrastructure, connect the landlocked countries with seaways, and eventually link Eurasian and Southeast Asian markets. The ability of the participants to successfully finalize construction of the railroad, provide security, and incite an interest from other countries will determine whether this project can mark the beginning of a new Silk Road.
By Georgiy Voloshin (the 27/11/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
On November 11, the presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan, Vladimir Putin and Nursultan Nazarbayev, met in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg within the framework of the Tenth Regional Cooperation Forum. This bilateral structure aims to develop closer economic and trade relations between Russia’s and Kazakhstan’s border regions, especially in the context of growing integration ties between the two countries. While the general state of Russian-Kazakhstani partnership was the major topic of official discussions, this gathering enabled the signing of a new bilateral treaty known as the Treaty for good-neighborliness and alliance in the 21 century.
By Armen Grigoryan (the 13/11/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Russia continues to limit Armenia’s capability to make independent political decisions and is planning to increase its military presence in Armenia. Shortly, Azerbaijan and Georgia will face stronger pressure and Russia’s efforts to create a new union of the former Soviet republics will intensify. As Russia is unable to advance its goals through “soft power,” offering no attractive model of governance, democratic political culture, or serious economic benefits, it will increasingly rely on “hard power.” Regional policies devised by the U.S. and EU are becoming insufficient as regional dynamics change and new threats emerge.
By Valeriy Dzutsev (the 13/11/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
One by one, the North Caucasian republics are declining direct elections of governors, instead sticking to the appointment procedure by the President of Russia. Moscow appears to be orchestrating the process to ensure that completely loyal governors are in place in the restive region. Their loyalty, however, comes at the price of greater volatility and lower predictability in the region. Moscow’s policies in the North Caucasus illuminate the crisis of the highly centralized system of governance in Russia. Ironically, regions of Russia that are most adversely affected by the lack of a participatory political system are further deprived of popular voting mechanisms.
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.