Post-Soviet Integration - New Hopes

By Danyil Rozanov

The process of the Common Economic Space launch preparation goes on. This is a new integration mega-project within post-soviet area. On July 1st 2011 starts a new formation stage of the Common Economic Space of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Customs bodies finish the performance customs control over the goods within internal borders of the Customs Union states – the most important stage of the CES establishment. Its initiators underline success achieved within development of common internal market of the CU states undertime. The EU states spent 36 years on that; Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan with joint efforts managed to do that in a year. It is supposed that the CES starts operating on January 1st of 2012. READ MORE

Kyrgyzstan’s Chaotic Foreign Policy

By Erica Marat

Since the April 7, 2010 regime change in Kyrgyzstan, experts have debated whether the country is leaning more toward Russia or the United States. President Roza Otunbayeva has met with both the Russian and US presidents, participated in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana and visited several European capitals. Kyrgyz government officials and the parliament, however, have leaned more toward strengthening cooperation with Moscow and Kazakhstan. Which of the directions has been Kyrgyzstan’s priority in the past year? READ MORE

Central Asia: the discourse of danger

By John Heathershaw and Nick Megoran

From policy reports and academic studies, to computer games and television mini-series, Central Asia is routinely portrayed as overwhelmingly dangerous. Does it matter that serious analyses dovetail with fictional accounts? John Heathershaw and Nick Megoran argue that it does, because it indicates a common Western geopolitical vision of Central Asia that distorts policy towards the region. READ MORE

Kazakhstan’s Balancing Act

By Daniel Wagner and Luca Costa

Kazakhstan has become the most developed country in Central Asia over the past decade as a result of its rapid oil-driven growth and pragmatic foreign policy. President Nazarbayev has skilfully balanced the country’s diverse range of interests and maintained a sensible equilibrium between Kazakhstan’s two most significant international partners—Russia and the U.S.—whose interests compete in the region. While Russia has an historical and geographic comparative advantage, Kazakhstan’s relations with the U.S. are significant and growing. Nazarbayev has balanced relations between Russia and the U.S. by sending cheap oil to Russia and becoming an integral part of Washington’s War on Terror. READ MORE

SCO faces real challenges ahead

By Naveed Ahmad

Just about a fortnight ago the Kazakh capital of Astana was buzzing with diplomatic bustle as top leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) gathered to mark the bloc’s 10th anniversary. READ MORE

The CSTO is in Search within Strategic Directions

By Tevan Poghosyan

Most Russian and European politicians and experts admit the obvious amorphism of the CSTO and its incomplete adequacy towards real challenges. READ MORE

U.S. and Pakistan: Afghan Strategies

By George Friedman

U.S. President Barack Obama will give a speech on Afghanistan on June 22. Whatever he says, it is becoming apparent that the United States is exploring ways to accelerate the drawdown of its forces in the country. It is also clear that U.S. relations with Pakistan are deteriorating to a point where cooperation — whatever level there was — is breaking down. These are two intimately related issues. Any withdrawal from Afghanistan, particularly an accelerated one, will leave a power vacuum in Afghanistan that the Kabul government will not be able to fill. Afghanistan is Pakistan’s back door, and its evolution is a matter of fundamental interest to Pakistan. A U.S. withdrawal means an Afghanistan intertwined with and influenced by Pakistan. Therefore, the current dynamic with Pakistan challenges any withdrawal plan. READ MORE

The Divided States of Europe

By Marko Papic

Europe continues to be engulfed by economic crisis.   The global focus returns to Athens on June 28 as Greek parliamentarians debate austerity measures imposed on them by eurozone partners. If the Greeks vote down these measures, Athens will not receive its second bailout, which could create an even worse crisis in Europe and the world. READ MORE

Astana – Vienna: Hard Talk

By Felix Zutner

The Head of the state Nursultan Nazarbayev has authorized the security officials to adopt all measures for the extradition of Rakhat Aliyev: “Austria is our partner, with which we have great economic relations. Now Austrian government has no arguments not to deliver these criminals, for the justice to triumph. Rakhat Aliyev is in fear, that is why he initiates in order to distract the attention of public from this fact of murder of young men, which is irrefutably proven, and wants to purge himself from suspicion. And despite all these we should finish the case”. READ MORE