Recent Crackdown and Mass Protests do not Spell Political Reform in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is a land of extraordinary riches. So vast are its oil reserves that natural fires burst from ground, leading ancients to believe the land was sacred. In modern times, the Azerbaijani government uses this natural wealth as a source of revenue. Today, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and other pipelines transport Azerbaijan’s oil to importers around the [...]

It’s a Sea! 18 years after, the Caspian finally gets a legal status

Copyright RIA Novosti Against all odds, the 4th Caspian Summit that took place in Astrakhan on 29 September between the “Caspian Five” – the five littoral states of Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan – ended with rather positive advances and, for once, unexpected breakthroughs. As President Putin declared after the Summit, “we agreed on [...]

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Islamic Banking Reaches the Post-Soviet Space

I recently wrote a brief for Global Risk Insights on how Islamic Banking is rapidly spreading across Central Asia and the Caucasus: The interest in Russia for the regulation of Islamic Banking reflects an even greater interest in the sector across the post-Soviet space. The Post-Soviet states of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan [...]

Xinjiang’s fractured harmonious society

by Kevin Peters

In Urumqi, the capital of China’s far western province Xinjiang, I often walk past a propaganda poster that promotes unity within the province. Written in Chinese the sign reads, “Love the country, love Xinjiang. Devote to unity. Work hard to help each other. Strive toward being open.” Despite its intended purpose, for me the sign [...]

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Recent Crackdown and Mass Protests do not Spell Political Reform in Azerbaijan

by Suzanne Rothman

Azerbaijan is a land of extraordinary riches. So vast are its oil reserves that natural fires burst from ground, leading ancients to believe the land was sacred. In modern times, the Azerbaijani government uses this natural wealth as a source of revenue. Today, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and other pipelines transport Azerbaijan’s oil to importers around the [...]

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It’s a Sea! 18 years after, the Caspian finally gets a legal status

by Mathieu BOULEGUE

Copyright RIA Novosti Against all odds, the 4th Caspian Summit that took place in Astrakhan on 29 September between the “Caspian Five” – the five littoral states of Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan – ended with rather positive advances and, for once, unexpected breakthroughs. As President Putin declared after the Summit, “we agreed on [...]

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Islamic Banking Reaches the Post-Soviet Space

by Luke Rodeheffer
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I recently wrote a brief for Global Risk Insights on how Islamic Banking is rapidly spreading across Central Asia and the Caucasus: The interest in Russia for the regulation of Islamic Banking reflects an even greater interest in the sector across the post-Soviet space. The Post-Soviet states of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan [...]

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Ignorance, Incompetence, and the Islamic State on the Steppe

by Casey_Michel

There’s a peculiar belief currently coursing intellectual circles in Moscow. Combining the bubbling traits of nativism and Islamophobia, and playing squarely into the hands of those seeking to amp the region’s security structures, certain circles have begun pumping up the terror and tenor of the threat posed by the Islamic State. To be sure, these [...]

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Putin’s Words and Kazakh History

by Casey_Michel

Another summer passes, and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev grows that much closer to moving into his post-presidential period. Unfortunately, this summer moved us no closer toward identifying a successor to the 74-year-old Nazarbayev. We have candidates, from Timur Kulibayev to Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev to Dariga Nazarbayeva, but no figure has yet jumped to the fore. With [...]

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Road of Sorrow – Trafficking and Ethnicity on the Pamir Highway

by Stephen M. Bland
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Beginning in the Kyrgyz second city of Osh, the Pamir Highway – the second highest international road in the world – runs the length of Tajikistan and down through Uzbekistan before terminating in Afghanistan. Ninety tonnes of heroin is trafficked through Tajikistan each year, much of it passing through the poverty stricken, self-governing Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous [...]

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A Shot Across the Bow: The Biggest Thing in Kazakh-Russian Relations in Years

by Nate Schenkkan
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The video from yesterday of Putin answering a question about Kazakh nationalism is a really big deal. I think this is the most important political development in Kazakh-Russian relations in the last five years. I’ve noted that the transcripts in Russian and the translations in English are missing not only a lot of subtleties, but [...]

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Conceptualizing Chinese Continentalism

by Kendrick Kuo
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People have used a variety of phrases to describe the emerging phenomenon of Chinese relations with Eurasia and the Middle East. The most prominent to emerge from China itself was Peking University professor Wang Jisi’s “March West” (xijin) strategy (pictured above). This vision was outlined in a widely read Global Times essay in October 2012, which highlighted the [...]

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Mes Aynak saga continues

by Kendrick Kuo
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The Mes Aynak mine in Afghanistan garnered much attention when surveyors discovered cultural artifacts at the site. Not only is the mine a 9,800-acre archeological wonderland, it is the home of 5.5 million metric tons of copper ore. China signed a $3 billion contract with the Afghan government to develop Mes Aynak, but the project [...]

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