Thumbnail image for SCO Electoral Missions and Legitimization of Undemocratic Elections: “I’m gonna guild my own democracy with electoral fraud and fellow dictators”

SCO Electoral Missions and Legitimization of Undemocratic Elections: “I’m gonna guild my own democracy with electoral fraud and fellow dictators”

[After being kicked out of a theme park] “I’m gonna go build my own theme park, with blackjack and hookers. In fact, forget the park!” -Bender, Futurama, 1999, season 1, ep.2 Working on a large piece of research is more of a burden than fun, and that is why any chance to have a laugh [...]

Are Russian Military Exercises a Threat? How to Interpret Russia’s Military Maneuvers in 2015

In a 12 April interview, Estonia’s President Toomas Hendrik Ilves claimed insufficient NATO forces were located in Estonia to prevent a Russian invasion, which he said would be over in about four hours. A year ago, the press was afire with wild predictions on who Russia’s next target after Crimea would be – this Ukrainian [...]

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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 [...]

Talysh Identity and Geopolitics in the South Caucasus

by Bradley Jardine

    “In Azerbaijan, a sensitive debate is being reintroduced to the political foreground: “Did Talyshistan belong to the Azerbaijan Republic? And if not can the current Republic of Azerbaijan legitimately claim the region as its sovereign territory?” Although this seems like an academic question, debated in the confines of history departments; the discussion is [...]

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The woeful strategic and military aftermath of the Minsk 2 agreement between Ukraine and Russia

by Mathieu BOULEGUE

On 11 February, a four-way meeting attended by Presidents Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko, François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, alongside OSCE and Donbass representatives from the Contact Group, took place in Minsk to discuss what we dubbed the “last chance” for peace over the Donbass conflict and the Ukrainian crisis. After more than 16 [...]

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Tuva and Mongolia: At the Nexus of Economics and Culture

by Matthew Kupfer
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I’ve published a new article in the most recent edition of the Russian Analytical Digest on growing economic relations between Mongolia, the Tuva Republic, and other south Siberian border regions. This article builds on an earlier post I wrote for Registan, “Tuva Looks To Mongolia for Investment in a Post-Crimea World,” and provides a fuller picture of growing [...]

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Some thoughts on Russia’s updated military doctrine

by Mathieu BOULEGUE

On 26 December 2014, President Vladimir Putin signed into law the revised version of Russia’s 2010 military doctrine. Left largely unchanged, the document still encompasses what is commonly called a “defensive” stance, i.e. the fact Russia will deplete all non-violent means to settle a diplomatic issue before engaging in military might and resorting to use [...]

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Vladimir Putin and the Gospel of Men’s Rights

by Matthew Kupfer
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As Russia’s relations with the United States and the European Union continue to deteriorate, it’s tough to find real fans of Vladimir Putin west of Hungary. But they’re out there, even in America. I recently published an article on about a group of men with a passion for the countries of the old Eastern [...]

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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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