Home

December 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 We'll come back at the 9th of January, 2013.

EU-Ukrainian Association Agreement: To sign or not to sign

By Roman Rukomeda

The leak of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (AA) turns the focus of their relations to a Shakespearean question: to sign or not to sign. And since Ukraine is ready to sign, it puts the onus on the EU, in the complex geopolitical games of Russia, Europe, the US and other influential international players. READ MORE

The End of the EU-Russia Relationship As You Know It

video

By Dmitri Trenin

The EU-Russia summit last week in Brussels seemed almost routine. Gas, visas, Syria, and human rights were all on an agenda that proved largely fruitless. Yet, something is different and no one seems to have noticed. Relations between the European Union and its biggest neighbor are changing fundamentally. READ MORE

Tashkent with Washington and Moscow discuss collaboration

Further development of an Uzbek-American dialogue covering the progress in implementing bilateral agreements in various fields were recently discussed by the U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan George Krol and Uzbek Foreign Ministry, the Foreign Ministry reported on Friday.  READ MORE

U.S. and Germany Wake Up to Putin

video

By Lilia Shevtsova

The West is starting to change its views on Russia. In September, the European Parliament adopted a resolution criticizing how court decisions are often politically driven in Russia. In October, the European Parliament proposed that the  European Council come up with its own Magnitsky list. In November, the Magnitsky Act was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and the German Bundestag approved a sharp resolution criticizing the Kremlin's crackdown on human rights and other elements of a democratic society. READ MORE

Robert Donaldson: The time has come for the second Reset

US-Russia relations are always at the center of attention among Russian and foreign analysts. That is why RIAC could not miss an opportunity to interview Prof. Robert Donaldson of the University of Tulsa, a renowned expert in Russia and US external affairs. Prof. Donaldson was kind enough to speak about the "reset", issues of mutual distrust, US foreign policy shifts and the latest trends in the Asia Pacific. READ MORE

Conference in Antalya highlights Alliance solidarity towards Turkey

video

High-level NATO officials met Turkish policy-makers and opinion leaders to discuss current issues on NATO’s agenda at the annual Antalya International Conference for Security and Cooperation on 14 and 15 December. Taking place a few days after NATO foreign ministers agreed to deploy Patriot missiles to Turkey, the event also provided an opportunity to reaffirm the spirit of Alliance solidarity. READ MORE

Energy is on the focus

By Cholpon Sulaimanova

Energy in Kyrgyzstan: development policy READ MORE

Edgards Rinkevics: Latvia contributes to the EU-Central Asia dialogue

Exclusive interview Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia READ MORE

Deutsche Bank co-CEO drawn into C02 tax evasion probe

Deutsche Bank co-chief executive Juergen Fitschen was drawn into a widening tax evasion probe linked to carbon trading at Germany's biggest lender on Wednesday as police and tax inspectors raided its offices. READ MORE

Iranian Compromise

By Karina Nikolayeva, Georgij Kovalev

Grave economic state of the Republic is the key factor to achieve mutual understanding and decision of Iran to make a compromise with IAEA READ MORE

Kiev and Moscow Can Take Single Stand on Transnistria

video

By Svetlana Gamova

The USA initiates a discussion on the peacekeeping mission of the Russian Federation within Dniester READ MORE

FG Presents Scorecard in Fight against Corruption

By Chuks Okocha

Ripples from the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Report 2012, which ranked Nigeria as the 35th most corrupt nation out of 176 countries surveyed has forced the President Goodluck Jonathan government to release what could be described as the scorecard of the administration in its fight against corruption. READ MORE

Presidential Summit Drives Kazakhstani-French Relations Forward

By Richard Weitz

During his recent visit to France on November 21–23, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev met with his counterpart Francois Hollande for the first time since Hollande became French president in May 2012. The successful encounter showed that Hollande wants to continue the high level of cooperation between the two countries that his predecessor, Nicholas Sarkozy, had initiated (Tengri News, November 22). READ MORE

Provincial Europe

By Joschka Fischer

Multitasking is not exactly the strong point of Europe’s current generation of leaders. They have rightly given the eurozone crisis – the central question bearing on the European Union’s future – top priority. But all other important issues – above all, a common foreign and security policy – have been almost completely ignored. And it is here – Europe’s external relations, an issue absolutely vital to the future of all EU citizens – that renationalization is rearing its ugly head again. READ MORE

Underground Oligarch’s Empire Destroyed

By Alina Kantor

The story of escaped oligarch from Kazakhstan Mukhtar Ablyazov is getting to its logical ending. Almost all his team has been arrested, and the criminal himself is hiding from British justice.  READ MORE

Poland improves corruption level

The latest study by Transparency International shows that the country has risen to 41st place on the list compared to various other nations around the globe. READ MORE

Vice Pres: Iran best path for transferring Caspian Sea oil and gas

Vice President and Head of Environment Protection Organization Mohammad-Javad Mohammadi-Zadeh announced here Wednesday that Iran is logically best path for transferring Caspian Sea oil and gas. READ MORE

Serbia: Delta Holding owner remanded in custody for 30 days

A Special Court judge has remanded Delta Holding owner Miroslav Mišković, his son Marko, Milo Đurašković and another four suspects in custody for 30 days. READ MORE

Catalonia, Scotland, and Flanders Force Separatism Back on the EU Agenda

video

With the eurozone’s woes still dominating headlines four years after the crisis began, it would be natural to assume that the European Union’s economic challenges were the most significant issue affecting its member states. But while the euro crisis has been simmering, separatist movements championed by charismatic leaders have patiently gathered strength in places such as Catalonia, Scotland, and Flanders. READ MORE

Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds

By Mustafa Aydin

The U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC) released its latest report on Dec. 10, “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds,” in order to provide a framework for thinking about the future. Although it was principally authored by the NIC’s leading global futurist, Mat Burrows, it does not seek to predict the future, an impossible feat, but rather sketch an outline for possible futures. The main contours of the report are so familiar by now from similar reports that there are few new ideas; even though it talks about “tectonic shifts” there is certainly nothing shocking. READ MORE

The Black Sea: Energy Bridge

By Olyana Kindybaliuk

Energy safety in the Black Sea region: development trends, integration trajectories, hemispheres of attraction and confrontation READ MORE

Kyrgyzstan and eurasian integration: minimizing the related risks

video

By Andrei Kazantsev

Currently Kyrgyzstan is working on joining both the Customs Union of the Eurasian Economic Community and the Common Economic Space of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan (Kyrgyzstan is a longstanding EurAsEc member). READ MORE

Yanukovych: Ukraine, EU one step away from signing Association Agreement

Ukraine is determined to sign an association agreement with the European Union as soon as possible, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has said. READ MORE

PM Tusk – Poland must adopt single currency or 'stay on the periphery'

As EU leaders agree on supervision of eurozone banks, Prime Minister Tusk has said Poland must decide whether it wants adopt the single currency or remain on the “periphery of Europe”. READ MORE

Georgia after Parliamentary elections: which road to take?

By Aivaras Bagdonas

During the parliamentary polls in October the opposition coalition block Georgian Dream with its leader billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili defeated the United National Movement of Mikhail Saakashvili. After the elections public space of the country was full of various forecasts, including the fears on possible Georgia‘s return to Russia‘s influence. READ MORE

Opinion: Putin's 'disappointing' state of the nation address

In his first state of the nation address since his reeletion to the Kremlin for a third term, President Vladimir Putin defended the status quo. It was a disappointing speech, says DW's Ingo Mannteufel. READ MORE

Kazakhstan isn’t changing priorities in its foreign policy: President Nazarbayev

Kazakhstan isn’t changing priorities in its foreign policy, President Nazarbayev stated  when speaking at a solemn meeting to celebrate the 21th anniversary of the nation’s independence. READ MORE

Russia-France: Balance of Economy and Policy

By Mikhail Agadzhanyan

Russia proceeds with the course of development of special relations with the biggest economies and leading political centers of continental Europe. Interaction with Germany and Italy promotes within quite predictable sphere of energy cooperation. As for France, then the trade scopes of Russian-French cooperation within absolute numbers fall behind from Russian-German and Russian-Italian analogues, but it possesses a pretty significant peculiarity. Moscow and Paris strive to diverse their economic relations. READ MORE

Lithuanian Foreign Vice-Minister: Serbia’s Progress Has To Be Evaluated Based Solely On The Facts And Merits

At the meeting of the General Affairs Council on 11 December in Brussels, Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Vytautas Leškevičius stressed that it was in the EU interest to make an objective evaluation of Serbia’s progress based solely on the facts and own merits. READ MORE

Participation of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan in Southern Corridor for gas to Europe to bolster their sovereign independence – Congress

Participation of Turkmenistan and possibly Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in the Southern Corridor for gas to Europe would bolster their sovereign independence, according to a new report by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s GOP staff titled “Energy and Security from the Caspian to Europe”, reported Silk Road Newsline. READ MORE

Heads of Foreign Ministries: EU interested in further cooperation with Azerbaijan

EU countries are interested in further cooperation with Azerbaijan, EU foreign ministers said at a briefing after a meeting with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov on Wednesday. READ MORE

Donors Cut the Aid to Shut Down INPP

By Dalya Plikune

Thursday the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development grounding on the donors of the Ignalina International Decommissioning Support Fund, made a decision to stop financing of one of the projects on Ignalina NPP decommissioning. READ MORE

What Do We Know About Janaozen Events?

By Victor Gott

December 16th, 2012 is the anniversary of sadly famous event in Kazakhstani city Janaozen, which gained broad fame, as on thoroughly developing island of peace and security unfavorable precedent took place.  READ MORE

Obama's Moment

By Zbigniew Brzezinski

How the president can seize back the initiative on foreign policy. READ MORE

Silk Wind Project in Central Asia and South Caucasus Gains Speed

By Richard Weitz

In recent months, Kazakhstan and Georgia have joined with Azerbaijan and Turkey to make considerable progress in their Silk Wind Project, which aims to construct a high-speed, multimodal container transportation system for freight shipments between the countries of Europe, the Caucasus and Asia. According to the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Kazakhstan, the participating countries plan to introduce a single tariff for the transportation of goods within the project as well as share more preliminary information between their customs authorities and rail operators (Trend, November 28).  READ MORE

Russia-NATO relations: partnership or confrontation?

video

By Viktor Denisenko

It is not easy to evaluate the relationship between Russia and NATO. In the public space the attitude toward NATO is negative. This attitude was inherited from the Soviet times, and Russia practically does nothing to change the situation. The statements of Russian authorities also demonstrate this hostile approach. On the other hand, Russia and NATO could be treated at least as partners, since Russia‘s interests are not always totally opposite to the ambitions of the Alliance. READ MORE

The Council Of The European Union Endorses Trio Programme Of Future Irish, Lithuanian And Greek Presidencies

On 11 December in Brussels, ministers of the European Union member states endorsed the programme of the Council of the European Union for the Irish, Lithuanian and Greek Presidencies. The so-called Trio will be responsible for the EU’s legislative process from 1 January 2013 to 30 June 2014. READ MORE

Russia Eyes New Far Eastern Gas Export Hub, Reassesses Central Asia

By Sergei Blagov

The Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom outlined ambitious and costly plans to develop new production and exports hubs in the country’s Far East. Meanwhile, the gas giant has also apparently begun reassessing its ties with Central Asia. READ MORE

How far will the Kremlin’s corruption crackdown go?

video

By Mark Galeotti

That corruption is a serious challenge for Russia has long been acknowledged, not least by President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. READ MORE

Incompetence reigns supreme

By Katya Gorchinskaya

Inevitably after a major election and government reshuffle, Ukraine’s counterparts once again start asking themselves, which way Ukraine is going to go. Typically, a geopolitical choice is meant, but if you ask the regular Ukrainians on the street what’s on their mind, it won’t be geopolitics. READ MORE

Remarks by High Representative Catherine Ashton following her meeting with the President of Kazakhstan, Astana, 30 3ovember

The European Union is keen to deepen and strengthen the relationship with Kazakhstan through the new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement which will be the first of enhanced agreements in this region.

  READ MORE

The Russian embassy responds to the Guardian

After the Guardian reported on the Kremlin's dealings with the Conservative Friends of Russia group, the Russian embassy issued this response and challenged us to run it in full. Here it is READ MORE

Kazakhstan's strong position in the international arena has played a great role in the selection of Astana as EXPO-2017 host

video

Kazakhstan's win the right to host Expo 2017 has caused a positive reaction abroad. About this and the bilateral relations between Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates, which celebrated 20th anniversary this year, Kazinform correspondent talked with Managing editor of the independent Arabic-language newspaper "Al Fajr" Sherif Al Bassel. READ MORE

EU-Russia gas supply partnership

Partnership, Europe's dependence, or interdependence between Russia and the European Union, there are many ways people use to define the EU-Russia relationship around natural gas. Even if Europe does try to diversify its energy suppliers and partners, or even redefine the rules of the game, gas could still remain the continent's key energy resource for the next century and Russia, its main supplier. READ MORE

Hasn’t Khrapunov Managed to Legalize Dubious Funds?

video

Switzerland has arrested the accounts of the ex-Akim of Almaty. READ MORE

UK and Europe: For better, not for worse

The UK grows increasingly euro-sceptic, vetoing the Banking Union, threatening the EU's long-term budget and promising a referendum on membership. However, a EurActiv ranking of the "40 most influential Britons on current EU policy-making" underlines British influence on European issues. Complementing a federal eurozone, Britain may opt for a 'focused membership’ centred on a better regulated single market, write Christophe Leclercq and Sharon Leclercq-Spooner. READ MORE

A U.S. Air Force Detachment in Poland Presents a Strategic Opportunity

By Andrew A. Michta

Ever since NATO’s initial post-Cold War enlargement, the absence of U.S. military assets in Central Europe has been seen as indicative of the new NATO members’ second-tier status. The perception has endured, even though the Barack Obama administration pushed through NATO contingency plans for the defense of Central Europe and the Baltics. The administration’s “reset” with Russia, the new strategic guidance of 2012, the so-called “pivot” to Asia, and U.S. public relations missteps in Poland only deepened the sense of disconnect.  READ MORE

Moscow-on-Thames

By Michael Weiss

Britain's Conservatives are rolling out the red carpet for Vladimir Putin's wealthy oligarchs. READ MORE

Arrest of Maxim Bakiyev raises concerns over his activities in the United Kingdom

Documents in an ongoing insider trading prosecution in the US appear to allege that Maxim Bakiyev, the son of the former president of Kyrgyzstan who now resides in the United Kingdom, has been using a US$45 million Latvian bank account for insider trading deals on the stock exchanges of the US, the UK and elsewhere. This, along with the recent arrest of Maxim Bakiyev in London in relation to this case, raises concerns regarding his activities in the United Kingdom. READ MORE

Could Syria Be a Test of France’s Reemergence?

By Martin Michelot

French President François Hollande faces no shortage of domestic problems following the unveiling of his government’s controversial budget. But at a November 13 press conference, Hollande diverted attention to foreign policy by announcing France’s recognition of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, making it the first Western country to embrace that organization. This decision was celebrated as a crucial step toward the end of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and as a symbol of Hollande’s ability to make tough decisions.  READ MORE

Iran must be President Obama’s immediate priority

By Henry A. Kissinger

In the aftermath of an exhausting reelection campaign, the most urgent decision facing the president is how to stop Iran from pursuing a military nuclear program. Presidents of both parties have long declared that “no option is off the table” in securing this goal. In the third presidential debate, the candidates agreed that this was a matter of the American national interest, even as they described the objective alternately as preventing an Iranian “nuclear weapon” or “breakout capacity” (President Obama), or a “nuclear-capable Iran” (Mitt Romney). As Iran continues to elaborate its enrichment capacity and move it underground, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced a spring deadline for counteraction. In this fraught environment, what operational meaning should be given to America’s declared objectives?  READ MORE

''Switzerland and NATO : Partners in security''

video

Speech by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the Churchill Symposium in Zürich, Switzerland.  READ MORE