By Najia Badykova
June 27, 2017, the CACI Analyst
In May, Beijing hosted a summit of global leaders on its One Belt and One Road (OBOR) initiative, a most ambitious project aimed to recreate the ancient Silk Road, connecting China’s industrial heartland to Europe via Central Asia and the Middle East. Given the gigantic scale of the scheme, the geostrategic and economic impact on Central Asian trade and development will be significant. Yet it is unlikely to benefit everyone equally. The less developed and poorer countries along the proposed routes, including those in Central Asia, will face serious challenges if they assume that this initiative alone can fix their economic problems, and use it as an excuse to further delay needed market reforms while coping with the effects of the massive Chinese initiative.
By Natalia Konarzewska
June 22, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Armenia has recently sought to reinvigorate its relationship with NATO and the European Union, despite its membership in Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). In late March, Armenia initialed a new Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with the EU, intended to upgrade bilateral political and economic ties. Moreover, during his recent visit to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, President Serzh Sargsyan reaffirmed Armenia’s intent to continue top level political dialogue with NATO and the country’s willingness to enhance the scope of joint activities. The push to rekindle relations with NATO and the EU amidst one of the most serious standoffs between Russia and the West suggests that Armenia, which is one of Moscow’s most loyal allies, is reassessing its ties with Russia and Russia-led international blocks.
By Fuad Shahbazov
June 19, 2017, the CACI Analyst
In May 2017, China hosted an international summit in Beijing gathering 28 heads of state from four continents and representatives of various international organizations. The summit was devoted to the Belt and Road Initiative, referring to overland and maritime routes across the Eurasian landmass. One of the most significant moments of the summit was the meeting between China’s and Pakistan’s leaders and the signing of a new agreement (MoU), adding to the US$ 46 billion already pledged for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a network of rail, road and energy infrastructure. During the event, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with the leaders of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, requesting their investment in CPEC.
By Armen Grigoryan
June 9, 2017, the CACI Analyst
The outcome of Armenia's parliamentary elections on May 2 suggest a further strengthening of the country's oligarchic system and its dependence on Russia. These are mutually reinforcing, reducing the likelihood of both substantial political reform and the realization of the lucrative opportunities offered by the U.S. and EU. The attitude towards such opportunities largely depends on Moscow's preferences. The fractured and demoralized political opposition remains incapable of mobilizing significant public support. Furthermore, most of the opposition does not question the country's geopolitical orientation and avoids criticizing the government's pro-Russian policies or Moscow's policies vis-à-vis Armenia.
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.