By Stephen Blank
April 27, 2020, the CACI Analyst
Crises are often telling indicators of an institution’s fitness. The Coronavirus pandemic is currently putting governments and regional institutions like the EU under profoundly challenging stress tests. Another such regional institution is the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which Russian President Vladimir Putin and its champions have claimed is organized along the lines of the EU. Whatever the EU’s successes or failures, it is clear that the EEU has failed to display even a semblance of the EU’s cohesion. Moscow has simply disregarded the interests of its partners and pursued a sharply unilateralist policy that seriously complicated if not threatened its partners’ economies, particularly in Central Asia.
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 Emil A. Souleimanov and Huseyn Aliyev
February 25, 2020, the CACI Analyst
In August 2019, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a 41-year old Georgia-born ethnic-Chechen former insurgent and a supposed enemy of Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, was killed in Berlin. The assassination has raised renewed concerns about the involvement of Russian security services and Chechen loyalists in the systematic liquidation of political opponents and former insurgents outside Russia’s borders. While the involvement of Russian security services in assassinating “traitors” has become a widely-accepted fact following the 2018 Salisbury poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter, less is known about the persecution of dissidents or critics of Kadyrov’s regime outside Chechnya and Russia.
By Stephen Blank
December 10, 2019, the CACI Analyst
The Caspian Convention of August 2018 represented a major step forward in demarcating the Caspian Sea and the rights of littoral states. It also regenerated thinking about large-scale projects to integrate the Caspian basin with European, Chinese, and South Asian markets. This agreement was part of a larger contemporary trend involving China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Russia’s North-South project through Iran and Central Asia to India. However, it will take years of multilateral economic, technological, and political efforts to implement these visions and despite the optimistic dreams fostered by the Caspian convention, there will be many disappointments on the road to realizing them.
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.