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 [...]

Thumbnail image for Islamic Banking Reaches the Post-Soviet Space

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 [...]

New Russian-Abkhaz Treaty Sets Georgia on Collision Course

by Max Hess

On 24 November 2014, Russia and Abkhazia, a small self-declared republic on the Black Sea, signed a new treaty aimed at deepening their relationship and providing security guarantees for Abkhazia. The treaty signs away not only much of the proto-state’s independence but also condemns Georgia to further long term instability. While Russia recognises Abkhazia as [...]

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One year in Ukraine

by Mathieu BOULEGUE

Exactly one year after the beginning of EuroMaidan, Ukraine is more than ever at a crossroads and the latest events will remain in national history as a cornerstone of the seemingly “new” Ukraine that arose from the Revolution and came out of the latest parliamentary elections. One year after, where does Ukraine exactly stand?   [...]

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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
Thumbnail image for 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 [...]

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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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