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 [...]

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 Muftah.org 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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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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