NATO – Ukraine: Membership not in Shape but Essence

After the entrance of American missile cruiser “Monterey” into the Black Sea waters last week Russian authorities as if again has acknowledged the problem of “NATO by our borders”. It has been known for a long time that Viktor Yanukovych closely collaborates with NATO, and that there are plenty of Atlantists by him. But people have ignored it till recently. Now when the issue of gas is critical the parties think over how to press on the “partner”. It seems that Russia is already willing to take out one of the trump cards... READ MORE

Russian Foreign Minister Visits U.S., but Troubles Remain Hidden

By Robert Nicholson

Sergei Lavrov visited Washington to sign agreements on child adoption, visas, and nuclear safety. In reality, however, what Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration are hailing as symbols of closer cooperation between the two countries are only a façade to cover up the lack of progress on the more critical issues dividing the two countries: Iran, missile defense, and human rights. READ MORE

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

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

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

European Natural Gas Pipelines Plagued by Uncertainties


Could the plan to build the world’s most expensive natural gas pipeline turn out to be an elaborate bluff? READ MORE

Russia's Medvedev 'Frustrated' With Karabakh Impasse

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is frustrated with the failure of his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts to reach a framework agreement on Nagorno-Karabakh and could refrain from organizing more talks between them, one of his senior aides has reportedly said. READ MORE

Europe Shall Not Allow New “Gas Wars”

By Oleg Gorbunov

Long-standing “gas” talks between Moscow and Kiev, another round of which shall be held in Ukrainian capital on June 29th is the most significant issue in the agenda of bilateral relations. Ukrainian Government faces a sad prospect – to cover multiple holes in the budget is only possible by reducing gas price, as neither Europe, nor the USA, IMF, World Bank wish to credit Ukraine ”just as  that“. Partners demand a real respond and progress at least in reduction of budget deficit. And this again is not possible without re-conclusion of gas contracts. As in January of 2012 the “blue fuel” price has chances to grow up to $400 or even $500 per thousand cubic meters. READ MORE

Russia, Qatar Face Pressure to Scrap Gas Link to Oil Prices as Crude Jumps

By Ben Farey

Russia and Qatar are under growing pressure from Europe’s biggest utilities to scrap a 40-year-old system that links natural-gas prices to oil after Brent crude’s 23 percent surge this year. READ MORE