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December 2010

Merry Christmas And Happy New Year!

We'll come back at the 5th of Junuary, 2011 READ MORE

New Focuses and Priorities

By Arthur Dunn

On Hungarian-Polish Chairmanship in the European Union in 2011 READ MORE

Georgia And The European Union: Perspectives For 2011

By Alexander Russetsky, Оlga Dorokhina

After the 2008 war in Georgia integration with the EU became an obvious priority for Tbilisi. The relationship, although useful for both sides, leaves a lot to be desired. READ MORE

Guest Post: Risks And Rewards Of Russia In The WTO

By Fredrik Erixon

Russia’s bid to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO), filed in 1993, has been the longest accession saga in the history of the world trade body. Yet now, after bilateral deals with the US and the European Union that secured their support for the membership bid, Russia looks set to join the pantheon of rules-based global capitalism at some point next year. READ MORE

A Turkey v. Russia Showdown

By Michael Hikari Cecire

Earlier this past week, a little article on an English-language Armenia news site blared a headline with potentially world-changing implications: “Wikileaks: Turkey was ready to launch military operations against Russia in 2008.” READ MORE

Polish Minister: Europe Is Much More Than Just France, Germany And The UK

By Camille-Cerise Gessant

The EU needs more unity and less controversy and is not just about what France, Germany or the UK wants, Polish State Secretary for European Affairs Mikołaj Dowgielewicz told EurActiv.fr in an interview. He discussed the plans of the Polish EU Presidency, which will begin in July 2011. READ MORE

OSCE Turkish March

By Martin Stier

On December 1st the Russian Federation President Dmitry Medvedev took part in the Summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) held in Astana. This event was preceded by a number of various summits. Within already regular Summits of the European Union, it’s also worth underlining the special significance for the international policy of the summits as the Summit of Turkic Speaking States in Ankara and Lisbon NATO Summit. To this or that extent they influenced on the atmosphere of the OSCE Summit. READ MORE

IRAN: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia Squeezed Between Tehran and Washington

By Haley Sweetland Edwards

Armenia finds itself in an unfriendly neighborhood and engaged in a highly militarized 20-year territorial dispute with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave. It has long pulled off a diplomatic coup, maintaining simultaneous close relations with Iran, Russia and the United States, all three of which it relies on for protection, investment and trade. READ MORE

NATO Demonstrates Full Support for Georgia

By David Iberi

On November 23, as Georgians marked the seventh anniversary of the Rose Revolution, a peaceful popular protest that opened new opportunities for the South Caucasus nation’s Euro-Atlantic integration, President Mikheil Saakashvili affirmed the country’s European identity as he addressed the European Parliament. READ MORE

OSCE Chairmanship Says Geneva Discussions Have Been Strengthened

The Geneva Discussions resulted in steps towards gradual normalization of the situation on the ground said Bolat Nurgaliyev, the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, following a meeting in Geneva today. READ MORE

Hungry For Power

The government takes over Hungary’s independent institutions, one by one. READ MORE

Russian gas battles EU free trade for future of Moldova

By Valentina Pop

Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt has told EUobserver that the prospect of an EU free trade pact is better for the future of Moldova than cheap Russian gas as neighbouring powers seek to build influence in post-election Moldova. READ MORE

Moscow Moves To Counter NATO

By M K Bhadrakumar

Many people wouldn't know that former United States president Ronald Reagan's signature phrase "trust, but verify" is actually the translation of a Russian proverb - doveryai, no proveryai. Two decades into the post-Cold War era, Moscow wants to reclaim the self-contradictory phrase from the American repertoire and apply it to Russia's "reset" of ties with the United States.  READ MORE

Viktor Dubovitski: “Withdrawal of the US Troops and Their Allies from Afghanistan will Significantly Change the Situation in Central Asia”

Despite many unsolved problems which were planned to be solved by the introduction of the armed forces of the US and their allies from Afghanistan, a gradual withdrawal of the troops is expected to start  in 2011. How will affect the withdrawal of the coalition troops the situation in the states, bordering Afghanistan? PhD in History, Deputy Director of the institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography of A. Dohish of the Academy of Science of the Republic of Tajikistan Viktor Dubovitsky shares his forecasts with the Politkom.ru readers. READ MORE

OSCE Summit Highlights Disagreements Between Astana and Tashkent

By Erica Marat

The situation in Kyrgyzstan generated an emotive exchange between Kazakh and Uzbek officials during the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Astana, on December 1-2, highlighting continuing disagreements between neighbors. READ MORE

Russian Oil Flows To Central Europe 'To Dry Up'

Russia's growing oil exports to Asia and the Baltic have unsettled European traders and refiners, who fear shortages on the Black Sea and in Central Europe should Russian output stall or decline. READ MORE

Pipe for Nabucco

By Sohbet Mamedov

New Gas Pipeline to be Constructed in Azerbaijan READ MORE

A Ten Year Forecast: Russia’s Decline, Central Europe’s Ascent

By Edward Lucas

In a thought-provoking forecast, CEPA Senior Fellow Edward Lucas anticipates Russia’s palpable decline by 2020, having fallen behind Brazil, India and China. Meanwhile, Central Europe will be on the ascent, with the three Baltic States “overtaking the sluggish, debt-ridden economies of Southern Europe.” READ MORE

Astana OSCE Summit Is Breakthrough In International Relations - Expert Marat Bashimov

By Askar Bimendin

Well known expert of international relations, history expert, Doctor of Law Marat Bashimov who was directly involved in the work of OSCE Summit shared his view on the event and its results with a correspondent of Kazinform agency. According to him the Summit has become a breakthrough in the sphere of international relations. READ MORE

Turkish policy-makers and international experts discuss NATO’s Lisbon Summit in Antalya

On 3-4 December, around 250 experts gathered in Antalya, Turkey, at a major international security conference entitled “The New Strategic Concept and NATO towards Year 2020”. Participants included high level officials, international security experts, opinion formers and diplomats from Turkey and other NATO member and partner countries, as well as representatives from the media and Atlantic Treaty Associations. READ MORE

LITHUANIAN AND LATVIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS DISCUSS ENERGY SECURITY AND PROMOTION OF THE NORDIC-BALTIC COOPERATION

On 8 December in Vilnius, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis and Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs Girts Valdis Kristovskis discussed bilateral relations, common issues of energy security policy and promotion of the Nordic-Baltic cooperation. READ MORE

Russia Loses Power Status

By Roman Muzalevsky

A few years ago it was common to refer to Russia as an "energy superpower". High global energy prices prior to the global financial crisis and Russia's control over Central Asian oil and gas exports underscored the seemingly irrefutable proposition of Moscow's influence. READ MORE

Old Foes See Reasons to Get Along

By Judy Dempsey

President Dmitri A. Medvedev ofRussia awarded the Order of Friendship this week to Andrzej Wajda, the celebrated Polish film director, an event few Poles or Russians could have imagined taking place. READ MORE

America’s War with Itself in Central Asia

By Philip Shishkin

In its decade-long slog to secure Afghanistan, the United States has juggled contradictory foreign policies in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, the fragile Central Asian states with key supporting roles in the war. There’s the policy of engaging the two post-Soviet states for their own sake, promoting good governance, human rights, and business ties – the usual grab-bag of US diplomacy. Then there’s the policy of using them as logistical hubs in the Afghanistan war. READ MORE

Russia Waged Covert War On Georgia Starting In '04

By Eli Lake

WikiLeaks revealed U.S. Embassy cable READ MORE

Georgia Looking For Future And Militants In Europe

By Daria Sivashenkova

Indeed, conjurer Saakashvili's left hand does not know what his right hand is doing. While Mishiko is spreading himself and shouting from all the rostrums that Georgia stands for peace in the whole world and he himself is a white dove carrying an olive branch, the president's deeds speak for themselves. Saakashvili is a poor peacemaker. It's not without reason that Moscow, Sukhum and Tskhinval took the breast-beating and vowing and protesting that there will be no more firing in an equally skeptic way. How can one trust a person who is promising peace and getting ready for a war behind the scenes? READ MORE

NATO's Rasmussen Worried About US, Not Russia

By Teri Schultz

In interview, secretary general dismisses concerns about Russian belligerence. READ MORE

Analysis-Investors Circle Turkmenistan For Energy Openings

By Robin Paxton

Western energy firms are poised to strike deals in Turkmenistan as the Central Asian state opens up its lucrative oil and gas reserves after years of isolation. READ MORE

Putin and Medvedev Threaten a Renewed Arms Race

By Ariel Cohen

In his annual address Tuesday to both houses of parliament, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev warned that a new arms race would erupt if Moscow and the West cannot agree on a joint European missile defense program. Medvedev gave the following ultimatum: “Either we reach agreement on missile defense and create a full joint cooperation mechanism, or, if we don’t go into a constructive agreement, a new phase of the arms race will begin. And we will have to make a decision on deploying new means of attack.” READ MORE

OSCE SUMMIT RESULTS: "Towards a Security Community" - Astana Declaration to underlie development of OSCE Action Plan

By Muratbek Makulbekov

Within the past two days the whole world followed intently the course of the OSCE high-level summit in Astana. Late at night, after the long and heavy discussions, the participants of the Summit voted foradoption of the Astana Declaration Towards a Security Community. The mass media have already started publishing the comments and views of the participants, international experts and politicians on the event. It should be noted that after the adoption of the document, the representatives of several states and international structures expressed their regret over insufficient concrete formulations of the Summit's final document, but all of them agreed that the participating states reaffirmed their full adherence to the UN charter and all fundamental principles and commitments of the OSCE. Thus, a representative of the European Union said: "The Summit document confirms our joint vision of a security community for the future". READ MORE

Expert Considers Lithuania to Become a Pragmatic Chairman of the OSCE

By Konstantin Ameliushkin

Declaration of the OSCE Summit, adopted during the 9-hour discussion, is called by some experts as “zero” as well as the results of the Summit. However, Latvian expert, assistant professor of the Latvian University Juris Pajders, is not agree with that. Concerning the Chairmanship of Lithuania in the OSCE, the experts think, that the Presidency of Kazakhstan in a definite sense has eased the Chairmanship of Lithuania at the Organization. READ MORE

Europe's Transcontinental Pipedream

By Steve LeVine

I was surprised to learn on a visit to Brussels last week that the confusion is worse than I had thought among Europeans regarding Nabucco, the object of a long and thus-far-quixotic effort to connect Central Asian natural gas supplies with Europe. READ MORE

Shell And Gazprom Sign 'Global Co-Operation' Pact

By Tim Webb

Deal will give Shell access to Russia's huge oil and gas reserves READ MORE

Astana declaration adopted at OSCE Summit charts way forward

2 December 2010 - The first OSCE Summit in 11 years concluded today with Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev welcoming the work of Heads of State and Government from the 56 OSCE participating States, saying their adoption of the Astana Commemorative Declaration reconfirmed the Organization's comprehensive approach to security based on trust and transparency. READ MORE

BRIC A Convenient Illusion, Not A Lasting Alliance

By Oliver Stuenkel

Judging from the anti-China rhetoric that has dominated the mid-term election campaign in the United States, the potential for stronger ties between a surging and dynamic China, and a defensive and declining US seems very limited. READ MORE

Ukraine And The Transformation Of Europe

By Anthony T. Salvia

A potentially seismic geo-political shift is taking place in Europe. The pan-European settlement that has eluded the continent since the fall of the Berlin War is emerging into view. READ MORE

Russian President Medvedev Sees New Arms Race If Cooperation Fails

By Kathy Lally

In a state-of-the-nation speech Tuesday that dwelled on overcoming the persistent weaknesses sapping Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev suggested that failure to reach agreement on missile defense cooperation in Europe could set off a new arms race in the decade ahead. READ MORE

Russia Will Build Up Forces Without New START, Putin Says

Russia will have to build up its nuclear forces if the United States fails to ratify the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty the two countries signed this year, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warns in an upcoming CNN interview. READ MORE

Russia Sees ‘Too Much’ EU Energy Diversification

By Ewa Krukowska

Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said the European Union is pursuing “too much” a policy of energy-source diversification and assured his country can provide “good and economically viable” supplies. READ MORE

Kazakhstan's Experience Of OSCE Presidency Will Play Vital Role In The Global Arena - Ambassador of Moldova to Russia A. Negutsa

By Olzhas Askarov

As is known Kazakhstan, as OSCE Chair, put a lot of efforts to settle conflicts between the countries in the Organization's area of responsibility. Thus, Kazakhstan paid much attention to the protracted conflict in Transnistria since the first days of its presidency in the Organization. READ MORE

Eastern Europe’s Tito Option

By Andrew Wilson

Success stories in what the European Union calls “the neighborhood” have been hard to come by. First Georgia, then Ukraine, and most recently Moldova have all been big EU hopes. But, in each case, those hopes were dashed. Unfortunately for the EU, this year’s annual summit with Ukraine (on November 22) will likely showcase this failure. READ MORE

The EU and Kazakhstan Aim for Enhanced Partnership

By Roman Muzalevsky

In late October Kazakhstan’s President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, visited Brussels where he met with Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme, the European Council president, Herman Von Rompuy, and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The parties discussed energy and economic relations, Kazakhstan’s chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and regional security challenges in the post-Soviet space. Astana and Brussels also signed a series of documents to boost economic relations. READ MORE