By Natalia Konarzewska
September 16, 2019, the CACI Analyst
One year ahead of the 2020 parliamentary elections, Georgia is experiencing a serious political crisis that has exposed deep flaws in the rule of Georgian Dream (GD) and its illusive reconciliation with Russia. The visit of a Russian lawmaker to Georgia’s Parliament in June sparked outrage across the country and fueled widespread disappointment with the ruling party’s policies. The parliamentary scandal delivered a serious blow to the government’s approval ratings and its hallmark policy of rapprochement with Russia. This is a worrying trend for the ruling party, which is seeking a third consecutive term but increasingly compromises democratic principles in order to stay in power.
By Huseyn Aliyev
September 12, 2019, the CACI Analyst
On June 24, the head of Russia’s North Caucasus Republic of Ingushetia, Yunus-bek Yevkurov, announced his decision to retire. Two days later, President Putin promptly accepted Yevkurov’s retirement and appointed former prosecutor general Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov as the interim head of republic. In the aftermath of the criticized land swap with Chechnya in the late 2018, Yevkurov engaged in a bitter conflict with powerful Ingush clans, civil society and religious leaders. His growing unpopularity resulted in violent protests and discontent with the Kremlin. Yevkurov’s retirement is yet another attempt by Moscow to tackle the issue of poor governance in the restive North Caucasus region.
By Natalia Konarzewska
March 22, 2019, the CACI Analyst
In February 2019, Kazakhstan saw a wave of protests triggered by various social and economic grievances. Rallies burst through the country in multiple locations, indicating that popular distress is strong and unlikely to fade soon. In an attempt to placate social discontent, President Nursultan Nazarbayev fired the government, citing its inability to improve living standards and announced his own plan to provide social relief for the families. Kazakhstan’s hydrocarbon-dependent economy is struggling to recover after the 2014 plunge in oil prices and the spillover effects of Western sanctions against its largest trade partner Russia. On March 19, president Nazarbayev announced his immediate resignation after ruling Kazakhstan for thirty years.
By Armen Grigoryan
March 20, 2019, the CACI Analyst
After winning an overwhelming majority at the snap parliamentary elections in December, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has formed a new cabinet and presented its program. While Pashinyan enjoys a high level of public approval, probably the most serious challenge awaiting his cabinet in the coming months is withstanding the massive campaign by the former regime’s proxies to undermine the government’s credibility in order to avoid the prosecution of some top-level former officials and to prepare the ground for their possible return to power. Speculations about the possibility of unilateral concessions on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue have been at the center of the campaign.
By Armen Grigoryan
November 7, 2018, the CACI Analyst
An alliance formed around Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s Civic Contract party won an overwhelming majority in the Yerevan city council elections, despite an ongoing smear campaign by media controlled by the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), former president Robert Kocharyan, and their proxies. The election results substantiated Pashinyan’s determination to dissolve the National Assembly and to hold snap parliamentary elections in December. Despite the confrontational campaign by the RPA and its allies, and their attempts to discredit the government and obstruct investigations into the actions of several former officials, Pashinyan’s high popular support seems enough to advance his political agenda.
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.