November 27, 2023
Kyrgyzstan is fertile soil for Russian manipulation. Institutional enmeshing with Russia, lack of alternative security protection, old and new economic linkages, and traditional values vulnerable to Russian propaganda have enabled Moscow to retain a firm grip on Kyrgyzstan. Meanwhile, Russia’s war in Ukraine has led to greater uncertainty. There are opportunities for Kyrgyzstan to diversify external relations, but also risks of new dependencies and greater insecurities vis-à-vis Russia.
By Stephen Blank
November 15, 2023
Russia has recently announced that it has obtained a new naval base on the Black Sea at Ochamchira. The base is located in Northwestern Georgia in the Abkhazian territory Russia conquered from Georgia in 2008, close to several other Russian army bases there and in neighboring South Ossetia, another region conquered in the 2008 war. This new base represents another example of Russian imperialism in progress. This imperialism is the same force that drove and now drives Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine.
By Natalia Konarzewska
November 9, 2023
Armenia was hit by a political and humanitarian crisis after Azerbaijan launched a massive military offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh on September, aimed at disbanding its de facto government and armed forces. Yerevan’s refusal to provide military assistance to the separatist region fueled massive protests across Armenia in support of Karabakh Armenians and against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Simultaneously, relations between Armenia and Russia reached a new low amid Yerevan’s assertion that Moscow failed to live up to its security commitments in the region. As a result of Nagorno-Karabakh’s capitulation on September 20, tens of thousands of Armenian refugees fled the region.
By Alexander Yeo and Dr. Emil A. Souleimanov
October 26, 2023
The demise of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group, in August marks a time of change for the Russian elite. Chechnya’s strongman Ramzan Kadyrov is one of the members of the elite most likely to take advantage of the situation to strengthen his own position. In contrast to Prigozhin’s unpredictability, Kadyrov represents a controllable alternative for Putin given his utter reliance on the Russian President, and thus will be able to provide loyalty and stability through his own private security apparatus. The utilization of this apparatus, however, presents risks for Kadyrov. Therefore, Kadyrov is likely to look to improve his internal political position within Russia in the coming months.
Svante E. Cornell
October 24, 2023
Almost four years have passed since President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev embarked upon an agenda to bring thorough reforms to Kazakhstan’s politics and society. This article looks at the process of implementation of these reforms in a highly precarious geopolitical environment, where Russia’s war in Ukraine has led to increasing threats to Kazakhstan’s integrity by leading Russian figures. This analysis shows that Kazakhstan has proceeded on institutional reform, including modest but meaningful steps in sensitive areas such as separation of powers and electoral systems.
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.