By Eduard Abrahamyan
September 30th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
Since a few months, Armenia’s civil society, expert community and military are debating the threat that the terrorist organization calling itself the Islamic State (ISIS) poses to Armenia. In parallel, disillusionment is growing with the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and its reaction to the escalation in tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Since at least three out of six CSTO members continually sell arms to Azerbaijan, it is now disputed whether the organization is capable and willing to ensure Armenia’s security. In this atmosphere, the idea has recently emerged that Armenia could reduce its dependence on Russia and restore relations with the West by joining the global coalition against ISIS.
By Tomáš Baranec
October 2nd, 2015, The CACI Analyst
According to a recent survey by the U.S. National Democratic Institute, support for membership in the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has doubled in Georgia since 2014, to 31 percent. Simultaneously, support for the trade agreement between Georgia and the EU fell from 80 percent before the Ukraine crisis to 68 percent in April 2015. Many commentators have linked this development with a temporal disappointment among Georgians with the country’s slow western integration following the Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit in Riga. Others stress the Russian “soft offensive” on Georgia conducted through Russian-sponsored media and NGOs. However, the underlying reasons for why increasing numbers of Georgians become receptive to demands for reorienting the country towards Russia may be deeper, less temporal and much more serious.
By Emil Aslan Souleimanov
September 25th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
Russia’s recent military engagement in Syria and calls for the establishment of an international coalition against the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State (ISIS) has produced renewed interest in Moscow’s policies toward the jihadist quasi-state. Against this background, while many have speculated about Moscow’s true intentions in the Middle East, relatively little attention has been paid to Moscow’s interests in Central Asia and the Caucasus in the context of its increasingly vocal rhetoric of fighting ISIS. Moscow is actively utilizing the risks and threats stemming from the ISIS to boost its clout in the near and far abroad.
By Natalia Konarzewska
September 15th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
Armenia’s economy is currently experiencing a significant decline, which is primarily caused by spillover from Russia’s recession. At the end of 2014, Armenia’s national currency, the dram, saw rapid depreciation, which boosted inflation. Falling remittances from Russia are putting additional pressure on the dram, negatively affecting the livelihood of many ordinary citizens. Additionally, export volumes to Russia, which is Armenia’s top export destination, have decreased significantly. Armenia currently has few options to boost its faltering economy due to a falling number of foreign direct investments, high national debt and a shortfall of budget revenue. Economic forecasts for Armenia remain grim and since June the country has seen a wave of protests over the price hike on electricity.
By Eka Janashia (09/02/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
On August 27, the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Center (JTEC) was opened at the Krtsanisi military facility outside Tbilisi as a part of “substantial package” granted to Georgia by NATO at the Wales summit in September 2014.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who was the major guest at the inauguration ceremony, said that JTEC will cement NATO-Georgia cooperation and ensure the alliance’s enlarged presence in the country.
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.