By Nurlan Aliyev
November 27, 2018, the CACI Analyst
During a press conference in Moscow on October 4, 2018, Major General Igor Kirillov, commander of Russia’s radiological, chemical and biological defense troops, stated that 73 citizens of Georgia had died as a result of medical experiments conducted by a company owned by former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He referred to recent accusations from Georgia’s former Minister of State Security Igor Giorgadze, who served in the KGB from the 1970s to the 1990s and holds the title “Honorary Officer of the KGB of the USSR.” Kirillov’s statement coincided with allegations from the UK and the Netherlands that Russian spies attempted to hack the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.
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 Ilgar Gurbanov
October 25, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On August 12, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Iran, and Turkmenistan signed the Convention on the Caspian Sea’s Legal Status in Astana. The Convention’s provision endorsing the construction of a subsea pipeline raised optimism regarding the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP) project, which has been stalled due to the Caspian’s uncertain status. Discussions on the TCGP have been ongoing since the 1990s, envisaging the export of 30 billion cubic meters/year (bcm/y) of Turkmen gas to Europe across the Caspian by integrating with the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC).
By Huseyn Aliyev
October 2, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On May 27, Ingushetia’s Muftiate (The Muslim Spiritual Center of Ingushetia) excommunicated Yunus-bek Yevkurov, head of the autonomous republic in Russia’s North Caucasus. According to the head of the Muftiate, Isa Khamkhoev, the excommunication implies that Yevkurov is no longer a Muslim and is not allowed to participate in wedding and funeral ceremonies or other Muslim events in the republic. The Muftiate motivated its decision with Yevkurov’s persecution of the religious community, the illegal use of administrative resources to lobby against the Muftiate, and the use of security forces to seize land allocated for a mosque in the capital city Magas. Notwithstanding the excommunication, Yevkurov was reelected as the head of republic in the September 9 local elections.
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.