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September 2010

A Strategic Opportunity for Ukraine

By Matthew Rojansky

There are neighborhoods in Kyiv one might easily mistake for Paris, London, or New York: intricately decorated Victorian apartment buildings and townhouses mingle with sidewalk cafes, small parks and monuments, mid-century office blocks, and glass-fronted modern office towers.  And stretching skyward from the crests of Kyiv’s famous seven hills are its unmistakably Slavic monuments—the onion domes and golden crosses of St. Michael’s and St. Sophia’s cathedrals, and the Caves Monastery. READ MORE

Why Russia Is Cutting Off Major Arms Sales To Iran

By Fred Weir

Russia, a major global arms dealer, decided Wednesday to nix a controversial arms sale that would have given Iran missiles. READ MORE

Central Asia’s Perfect Storm

By Kenneth Weisbrode

Dean Acheson, US President Harry Truman’s Secretary of State, liked to quote a friend who said that being in government made him scared, but that being out of it made him worried. To those of us not privy to the hidden complexities of NATO’s military intervention in Afghanistan, the situation there – and across Central Asia -- is extremely worrisome. READ MORE

Russia Not To Deliver S-300 Missiles To Iran - Russian Top General

Russia will not deliver S-300 air defense missiles to Iran as planned because such transfers are prohibited under UN sanctions, the chief of the Russian general staff said Wednesday. READ MORE

EU-Russia Partnership For Modernization Has To Include The Modernization Of Russia‘s Attitude Towards Neighbours, Lithuania‘s Foreign Minister Says

At a meeting of the European Union‘s and Russia‘s foreign ministers on 22 September in New York, Lithuania‘s Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis said that Russia‘s attitude towards it’s neighbours had be modernized. Implementation of the EU-Russia Partnership for Modernization was one of the topics of this meeting. READ MORE

Iran's Near Abroad

By Haley Sweetland Edwards

Beset by global sanctions, Iran's leaders go local. READ MORE

OSCE Police Advisory Team In Kyrgyzstan Has To Start Its Mission This Year, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Says

During his visit to New York, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis urged Kyrgyzstan to enable the police advisory team of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to start its duties in Kyrgyzstan already this year. READ MORE

Islamists Hit Central Asia In New Strikes

By Yaroslav Trofimov in Kabul and Alan Cullison in Moscow

Deadly Unrest Threatens Governments, Imperils Supply Routes in Afghan War. READ MORE

The “Persian Alliance” and Geopolitical Reconfiguration in Central Asia

By Roman Muzalevsky

August 5 marked the fourth occasion in the last four years that the leaders of the Persian-speaking countries of Iran, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan convened, this time in Tehran, to chart the future of their trilateral cooperation. The meeting, dubbed the “Persian summit,” led to a series of agreements in the area of trade, energy, and transport, reaffirming their joint commitment to bolster regional security. READ MORE

Ahmadinejad back in town to rejoin the battle of public opinion

By David Usborne

Under attack from Western governments and by the United Nations itself for his nuclear stance, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran attempted magnanimity at the UN headquarters yesterday while insisting that the US get used to the future "belonging" to his country. READ MORE

Ukraine Minister Criticizes Russia Gas Pipeline Project

By Richard Boudreaux

Ukraine's foreign minister said Thursday that one of Russia's most ambitious energy projects, the planned South Stream gas pipeline across the Black Sea to Europe, would be "wasteful, unnecessary and totally against the logic of modern economy." READ MORE

Global crisis should not hamper Millennium goals, Ban warns

By Jennifer Abramsohn

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged world leaders to lift millions of people out of poverty despite of the global economic downturn. But experts doubt the goals can be met by the 2015 deadline. READ MORE

Holding OSCE Summit in Astana very bold and serious initiative - Russia's Permanent Representative to EU V. Chizhov

By Dimash Syzdykov

It is not a secret that in various periods there existed various opinions regarding the effectiveness of the OSCE, and in the recent past its work aroused a lot of sharp remarks. Many experts said it was conditioned by several factors such as ambiguous status of the OSCE member states in the process of geopolitical transformation of the world. Critical moments caused by the conflict of geopolitical interests are still questionable; these problems have been piled up for years. READ MORE

Russia’s mission is Eurasian integration

For several centuries, everyone in Russia – from great minds to cooks – has been discussing the same issue: should Russia look to Europe or Asia? The world’s geopolitical structure has changed in this time, and yet we still have not resolved this issue. Xing Guangcheng, an expert on Russia and a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who will be attending the upcoming seventh meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club, shared his views on this question. READ MORE

Turkic Summit In Turkey Concludes With Declaration

The 10th Summit of Heads of State of Turkish Speaking Countries in Istanbul ended after signing of a declaration. READ MORE

The Problem Of Transboundary Rivers Being A Factor Of Strategic Security For Countries

By Arthur Dunn

The international security problems are becoming more relevant due to inevitable exacerbation of issue of the global shortage of fresh water. People are concerned about the possibility of serious international conflicts over water scarcity. It is impossible to completely deny such a possibility. Disputes over water of cross-border rivers are not uncommon, which creates a ground for local collisions. READ MORE

Summit Sees Sarkozy, Barroso Clash In Bitter Roma Row

A one-day summit held 16 September will be remembered for a dramatic clash between Nicolas Sarkozy and José Manuel Barroso over the expulsions of Roma by France. In an institutional crisis that is still ongoing, the French president spoke of an "insult" to his nation, while the European Commission tried to show a new, more courageous face. READ MORE

Energy Companies Bet On Nuclear Power To Recoup Investments

By Michael Braun

With Berlin scheduled to unveil a new energy concept, power companies have been lobbying for the extended use of their nuclear plants, if only for 10 to 15 more years. They could recoup their investments and then some. READ MORE

Experts: U.S. Does Not Intend To Give Up Its Interests In Central Asia

Despite Washington's intention to coordinate its actions in Central Asia with Moscow, the U.S. does not intend to give up its influence in the region, experts say. READ MORE

Black Sea LNG Project Draws On Gas From Azerbaijan

By Vladimir Socor

During a meeting on September 13-14 in Baku, Presidents Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia, and Traian Basescu of Romania, as well as Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, announced the launching of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project. Designated as the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania Interconnector (AGRI), and linking up with Hungary, this is the first-ever LNG project in the Black Sea. READ MORE

Russian Defense Minister Visits United States: Resetting In Progress

By Ilya Kramnik

The two documents signed during Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov's visit to the United States - a memorandum on cooperation between the military departments and a joint statement on the establishment of the U.S.-Russian Defense Relations Working Group - could drastically change military relations between the two countries. READ MORE

Who Has Benefitted from the Failure of the Referendum in Moldova?

Moldova should have held a Constitutional Referendum on the procedure of Presidential Elections. However due to extremely low voter turnout (less than 30% of voters came) the plebiscite was announced as failed. Already in few weeks Moldavian Parliament will be released and on November 21st the country will hold the third early Parliamentary Elections. READ MORE

Secretary General Previews Preparations For Lisbon Summit

On 15 September, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen outlined NATO's priorities ahead of the November summit of Heads of State and Government in Lisbon. Addressing the media at NATO Headquarters, Mr Fogh Rasmussen stated that securing an agreement at Lisbon on a new Strategic Concept for NATO was a key priority. READ MORE

Project with Unclear Fate

By Alexey Makarkin

The question on the fate of the “South Stream” pipeline remains one of the key ones for Russian policy within the gas sphere. The alternative European “Nabucco” project remains its competitor; the issue, which pipeline will be constructed, can be solved already by the end of this year (the beginning of the accomplishment of one project can make another one unclaimed). At the moment the organizers of the both projects hold tensed negotiations with the Parties involved. In case of the “South Stream” we are talking about transit states, among which Bulgaria is the one which is potentially able to play the kind of role not only for Russia-Italian project, but also for the “Nabucco”. READ MORE

Kyrgyzstan Prepares To Hold Parliamentary Elections After Turbulent Events

By Bruce Pannier

As the official campaign season kicked off for national Kyrgyz elections on September 10, 29 parties were officially in the running for seats in the country's parliament. READ MORE

Europe And The Rising Powers

By Grigory Nemyria

The world’s center of gravity is heading eastward so fast that we Europeans can almost feel the ground moving beneath our feet. Because almost all major actors on the international stage are redefining their roles in response to this tectonic shift, Europe must do the same. So it is right that the EU Council of Ministers is meeting to grapple with this challenge. READ MORE

Trend Commentator: Europe Wastes Time And Gas

By Seymur Aliyev

Azerbaijan has always been famous for its oil industry. In the last four years, it has been strengthening its position in gas exports. Azerbaijan's gas exports are as important as its oil and oil products. Proof of this can be seen in the recent signing of extentions to the contract for Azerbaijani gas supplies to Russia. They involve a doubling of fuel supply up to two billion cubic meters in 2011 and a further increase in 2012. READ MORE

European Commission To Probe Russia-Poland Gas Deal

The European Commission will study a Russian-Polish gas deal to make sure it complies with European Union legislation, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on following a meeting with Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski. READ MORE

Ukraine May Give Russia Joint Control of Pipe to Cut Gas Prices

By Daryna Krasnolutska and Kateryna Choursina

Ukraine is willing to give Russia joint control of a pipeline to southeastern Europe in exchange for access to natural gas supplies, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said as the countries negotiate a gas venture. READ MORE

Co-сhairs Will Vote Against

Interview with the NA BHK faction member, head of the NA European Integration Affairs permanent Commission Naira Zohrabyan READ MORE

Interview: PM Thaci Talks About The UN's Kosovo Resolution

Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci spoke with RFE/RL's Nikola Krastev in New York one day after the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution aimed at opening the way for dialogue between Belgrade and Kosovo. Whether that will actually happen remains unclear. Kosovo's declaration of independence has so far been recognized by 70 of the United Nations' 192 member states. READ MORE

A Strategy Towards Europe’s Contested Neighborhood

The Rīga Conference 2010 opened on 10 September for two day invigorating security and foreign policy debate. The conference aims to kick-off high level international discussions on foreign and security policy issues before entering the intensive policy making season in the fall of 2010. The conference has become the most significant gathering of some of the most respected world thinkers, academics, commentators, journalists, and politicians, providing a platform for a broad intellectual exchange on the current Transatlantic agenda. READ MORE

Prime Minister Erdogan claims victory in divisive referendum in Turkey

By Dorian Jones, Sarah Harman

Turkish voters went to the polls on Sunday to decide on a reform package that has split the population. Early results indicate that 60 percent of the electorate has voted "Yes," a decisive victory for the government. READ MORE

EU, Kosovo Welcome Serbian Resolution

European Union countries and Kosovo have welcomed a move by Serbia to soften a draft UN resolution on the future of its former province. READ MORE

Ahmadinejad Encroaches On Supreme Leader's Foreign-Policy Turf

By Golnaz Esfandiari

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's appointments of special envoys for foreign affairs is seen as a direct challenge to the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. READ MORE

NATO Takes Aim At Energy

By Dr. Arūnas Molis

When during the meetings in Strasbourg and Kiel (in April 2009) the leaders of NATO decided to start discussions on a new strategic concept of NATO, nobody expected easy agreements. Nevertheless all the countries of the Alliance agreed that the key goal of NATO should be the establishment of the secure political environment. To this end the Alliance shall elaborate effective measures for the elimination of threats. READ MORE

EU Convinces Serbia To Water Down UN Resolution Draft

By Joanna Impey

Serbia has agreed to water down its controversial resolution on Kosovo due to be presented at the United Nation's General Assembly on Thursday. The European Union's top diplomat welcomed the decision. READ MORE

Russia seeks to maintain balanced relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan

In less than a fortnight after Russia signed a deal with Armenia Russian president Dmitry Medvedev heads to Baku to discuss the urgent issues with the Azerbaijani government. Some experts believe that this highest level visit is aimed at soothing the effect of Russian-Armenian military agreement. Political analyst Viktor Nadein-Rayevsky, a senior fellow of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Economy and International Relations, shared his views on the situation in the South Caucasus. READ MORE

Dalia Grybauskaitė And Her Baltic And Polish Counterparts To Discuss Ways To Promote Regional Partnership, In Riga

On Friday, September 10, President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė goes for a one-day working visit to Riga to attend a meeting of the Presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and to make an address at an annual security conference in the capital of Latvia. This time, the traditional meeting of the heads of the three Baltic States will also be attended by the new President of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski. READ MORE

A Background To The Constitutional Referendum: Reinforcing The Politics Of Polarization

By İlter Turan

Turkey’s politicians usually take a break from their routine in August and enjoy a vacation. But in a departure from tradition, they are on the campaign trail these days, speaking at several rallies a day under the harsh summer sun. READ MORE

Karabakh Issue In Focus Of Discussions

Karabakh issue dominated the internatal political agenda during the past week. READ MORE

Global Warming To Boost Economic Power Of Cities In The 'New North' Which Can Unlock Natural Resources

By Niall Firth

Global warming will make cities in northern countries like Canada and Scandinavia the next big global economic powers, a senior academic has predicted. READ MORE

The Black Sea Need Not Be a Black Spot

By Denis Corboy, William Courtney, and Kenneth Yalowitz

The Black Sea is a cradle of civilization, trade and cultures, but today it is also a region of unresolved conflicts, porous borders and rivalries. READ MORE

Ignoring Azerbaijan could cost the U.S.

By Guy Billauer

Tensions between Azerbaijan and neighboring Armenia on the fate of the Nagorno-Karabakh region are reaching dangerous levels. In the past year, the Azeri enclave in the South Caucasus, which Armenia has occupied since 1992, has been the focus of increased violence. Just last month, six people were killed in an exchange of fire across the temporary line that separates the two sides. READ MORE

Russian-Armenian Military Agreement and Planned NATO Trainings in Armenia

By Mais Alizade

There are Common Issues of Interests and Lines of Russia and West within South Caucasus READ MORE

Turkish politicians look ahead to post-referendum period

Turkish politicians are already eyeing the post-referendum period set to follow Sunday’s much-contested vote, a new era in which controversial issues such as terrorism and the Kurdish question are likely to top the agenda. READ MORE

Why Moldova Matters

By Matthew Rojansky, Lyndon Allin

Although the air outside is hot and dry—part of a heat wave scorching Russia and neighboring Ukraine—it is cool, dark, and slightly damp in the sandstone caverns beneath Milestii Mici, Moldova’s largest winery. Along seemingly endless underground boulevards, Soviet-era lighting and updated signs point the way to underground galleries housing millions of liters of meticulously produced and preserved wine in bottles and oak barrels—just part of the winery’s two-million-bottle collection, acknowledged by Guinness as the world’s largest. READ MORE

Moldovan Referendum: Suffers Governing Alliance Crushing Defeat

By Vladimir Socor

Moldova’s constitutional referendum, held on September 5, has failed due to lacking a quorum, with only 29 percent voter turnout. The failure has triggered a full-blown crisis of legitimacy for the political system in general and the governing authorities in particular. READ MORE

History of Russian-Polish Relations

Polish history is closely intertwined with the history of Russia. Peaceful periods between the two countries were interspersed by frequent armed conflicts. READ MORE

Customs Union Project Shows Moscow's Power Deficit

By Andrea Bonzanni

At the beginning of July, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus signed a number of protocols establishing a customs union between the three countries. The union, scheduled to be fully operational in January 2012, will create a single common market of about 170 million people and represents the latest of several attempts by Moscow to create an effective trade bloc with its newly independent neighbors since the break-up of the Soviet Union. In addition to the economic ties maintained through the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Russia first committed to a union with Belarus in 1994. READ MORE

CSTO To Become NATO

By Tatyana Kosobokova

In Order to Prevent Revolutions in the States of the Organization READ MORE

Russia, Azerbaijan to sign deal on boosting gas supplies

Russian gas giant Gazprom and Azerbaijan's state oil and gas company will sign a deal to increase supplies of Azerbaijani gas to Russia in 2011-2012 during the Russian president's visit to Baku on Thursday, RIA Novosti reported. READ MORE

NATO takes aim at energy

By Dr. Arūnas Molis

When during the meetings in Strasbourg and Kiel (in April 2009) the leaders of NATO decided to start discussions on a new strategic concept of NATO, nobody expected easy agreements.  Nevertheless all the countries of the Alliance agreed that the key goal of NATO should be the establishment of the secure political environment. READ MORE

Azeri Deputy Speaker calls for increased Russian role in Karabakh settlement

Azerbaijani Parliament Deputy Speaker called for increased Russian role in the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Baku on Saturday. READ MORE

Superpower Ambitions Weaken Russia

By Irina Busygina and Mikhail Filippov

Over the past decade, Russia has made repeated attempts to demonstrate its growing power to the world. There are two main objectives behind these attempts: to obtain international recognition as a superpower and to coerce other states into partnership. Both goals are based on the political elite’s belief that Russia should be included on that list a priori by virtue of its huge territory, nuclear arsenal and economic potential. READ MORE

Russian President arrives in Baku for official visit

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Azeri capital for an official two-day visit on Thursday. READ MORE

Kyrgyz Officials Poised to Reject OSCE Forces

By Erica Marat

Kyrgyzstan’s top officials are against the deployment of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) 52-member Police Advisory Group. The OSCE can still “gracefully” cancel its decision to send the group to Kyrgyzstan, said Security Council Secretary Alik Orozov. READ MORE

Transnistrian conflict to be discussed at OSCE summit in Astana

Special representative of the OSCE chairman-in-office Bolat Nurgaliev has said the Transnistrian conflict will be included in the agenda of the OSCE Summit of Heads of State and Government which will take a place in Astana in December, 2010. READ MORE

Kazakhstan, China focus efforts on strengthening multilateral cooperation - XUAR Chairman Nur Bekri

By Ruslan Suleimenov

Ten years ago the Chinese government began the Western Development Program, which covered 11 administrative units including Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. READ MORE

The International Factor in the Events in Southern Kyrgyzstan

By Richard Rousseau

Most observers at the moment are in the dark as to the causes and the instigators of the riots in the Osh and Jalalabad regions of Kyrgyzstan, which have been ongoing since 10 June. READ MORE

Joint press point

with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the President of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski READ MORE

Moscow's Foreign Policies

By Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Last month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates complained that Russia’s foreign policy when it came to was “schizophrenic.” I would argue that it is less a case of schizophrenia, and more a reflection of the fact that Russia does not have a singular foreign policy, but multiple foreign policies. READ MORE

Ukraine's president faces straight talk in Berlin

By Gregg Benzow

Chancellor Angela Merkel used a visit to Berlin by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Monday to raise concerns about press freedoms in his country. Yanukovych was hoping to drum up German investment in Ukraine. READ MORE

Armenia concerned over Azeri appeal to UN

The Armenian government is concerned over the Upper (Nagorno) Karabakh conflict being tabled at the United Nations again. READ MORE

Merkel eyes an extra decade of nuclear power

By Matt Zuvela

Chancellor Angela Merkel has weighed in on Germany's ongoing nuclear energy debate, saying the country needs to run its nuclear energy plants for at least 10 more years to keep energy costs down and ensure demand is met. READ MORE

Energy Security Without Panic

By Tatyana Romanova

Russia-EU Energy Dialogue Moving Back to Economy. READ MORE

Poland 'Loses' Georgia In EU Diplomatic Race

Poland appears to have changed its policy of unconditional support for Georgia against Russian intimidation, a recent interview given by the country's president suggests. Warsaw has also reportedly abandoned hope of securing the position of EU Ambassador to Tbilisi, the Polish press reports. READ MORE