By Stephen Blank
November 20th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
In early October Frontera Corporation announced that it had discovered 3.8 trillion cubic meters (TCM) of gas in Georgia’s Kakheti region. Although the discovery needs to be confirmed and the precise amount of gas determined; this discovery has major potential benefits of both an economic and geopolitical nature for Georgia, Azerbaijan and Europe. But there are lurking dangers as well, especially as the Georgian government recently voiced its intention to sign an agreement with Gazprom for Russian gas and diversify away from its exclusive reliance on Azerbaijan, despite that country’s utter reliability over several years and lack of designs upon Georgia.
By Michael Hikari Cecire (06/10/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
In late May 2015, Russia signaled its abandonment of the “Novorossiya” project in eastern Ukraine, which came only a few months after Moscow signed “integration treaties” with the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. While the end result was not uniform in each of these cases, these recent developments point to a return to status quo ante Russian policies towards friendly separatist regimes – namely, their utility not only as local proxies, but as means of positive as well as negative leverage within their origin countries.
TURKMENISTAN POISED FOR TAPI BREAKTHROUGH, by Micha'el Tanchum
NEMTSOV'S ASSASINATION AND THE CHECHEN TRACE, by Emil Souleimanov
RUSSIA TO STRIP ABKHAZIA AND SOUTH OSSETIA OF THEIR LIMITED SOVEREIGNTY, by Valeriy Dzutsev
ARMENIA'S RULING PARTY CONSOLIDATES POWER, by Armen Grigoryan
KYRGYZ CRIME BOSS MURDERED IN MINSK, by Arslan Sabyrbekov
GEORGIA FACES ECONOMIC CRISIS, by Eka Janashia
TAJIKISTAN'S ELECTIONS EXPEL OPPOSITION FROM PARLIAMENT, by Oleg Salimov
ARMENIA TO PARTICIPATE IN BAKU 2015 EUROPEAN GAMES, by Mina Muradova
By Valeriy Dzutsev (03/18/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Russia has moved to sign an agreement with South Ossetia, emulating a similar, earlier agreement with Abkhazia. Moscow proposes to eliminate border controls with the two de facto states and essentially annex them in exchange for financial incentives. Despite their inherent weakness, political forces exist in both territories that oppose covert annexation to their large neighbor. Most recently, South Ossetia’s parliament and government clashed over how closely the territory should integrate with Russia. Authorities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia seek to reassure their disgruntled citizens that their countries will retain sovereignty although this aim now appears more illusory than ever.
By Valeriy Dzutsev (11/26/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
On November 24, the Russian government signed an agreement with Abkhazia that will further diminish the already limited sovereignty of this territory in exchange for Russian investments and social benefits for the population. The South Ossetian government has signaled that Russia is preparing a similar agreement with this Georgian breakaway territory. Some South Ossetians, however, have unexpectedly spoken out in favor of retaining the republic’s sovereignty. As Russia lays the groundwork for the annexation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, it encounters surprising opposition from the tiny republics that have become accustomed to a certain degree of independence from Moscow. Tighter control of Abkhazia and South Ossetia will increase the security risks for Georgia.
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.