Lukoil CEO: Russian oil business prospers in EU

By Georgi Gotev

For Russian oil companies, the business climate in Europe is good, but a lot of fallacious information about the country still needs to be countered, Vagit Alekperov, founder and president of Lukoil, Russia's largest oil company, told n interview. READ MORE

Progress in Russian-Bulgarian gas negotiations

Russia and Bulgaria have established a framework of agreements regarding the Bulgarian section of the South Stream gas pipeline and new gas contracts. But the negotiation process is still far from over, write Ewa Paszyc and Tomasz Dąborowski for Polish think-tank the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) in a July commentary. READ MORE

Moscow Using New Customs Union to Extend Influence in Central Asia

By David Trilling

Having already been pummeled by rising fuel prices and political instability in recent months, the creation of a Customs Union among Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia threatens to deal yet another economic blow to Kyrgyzstan, and is exerting pressure on Bishkek to decide whether to cast its lot with Moscow or the West. READ MORE

Top 10 Events Shaping Russia’s Foreign Policy

By Fyodor Lukyanov

The political season from fall 2009 to summer 2010 was rich in landmark events. I have listed my top 10 events that shaped Russia’s foreign policy during that time and will have a strong impact on further developments. READ MORE

Russia Plans Far Eastern Energy Drive

By Sergei Blagov

Russian officials have reiterated pledges to pursue pro-active Far Eastern energy policies, backed by sizable investments. Moscow would invest up to $100 billion to develop new natural gas deposits in the next five years, Deputy Prime Minister, Igor Sechin, announced. Many of these new deposits are located in Eastern Siberia and Russia’s Far East. READ MORE

Are Tbilisi and Baku good friends?

Relations between republics of South Caucasus play an important geopolitical role for Russia given that this near-border region is ethnically close to citizens of Russia's south and is highly integrated into Russia's economy. On one hand, establishment of new states in the territory of Soviet republics drastically changed relations between them making it possible for the West to set up a base to put pressure on Russia's south. We considered Georgian-Turkish relations and it is much more important how Georgia and Azerbaijan, two close neighbors, communicate. READ MORE

Expert: U.S., Russian and French president's statement on Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijani diplomacy's great success

Trend conducted interview with the Moscow State University History Faculty Deputy Dean, Internet portal "The Bulletin of the Caucasus" Chief Editor and Trend Expert Council Member o Alexei Vlasov, especially for the Yeni Azerbaycan newspaper. READ MORE

Clinton Seeks to Reassure Russia’s Neighbors

By Ellen Barry

At the end of a trip intended to reassure Russia’s neighbors that the Obama administration would not forget them in its push to improve relations with Moscow, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton resorted to the simplest of diplomatic formulations, telling Georgia, the United States “can walk and chew gum at the same time.” Mrs. Clinton repeated the argument like a mantra during her five-day swing through Ukraine, Poland, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia: that the “reset” will not force the United States to sacrifice its influence or policies in the post-Soviet space. READ MORE

Why Russia's Medvedev is blasting ally Kyrgyzstan

By Fred Weir

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev unexpectedly criticized a government reform vote in Kyrgyzstan that passed Sunday with 91 percent support. READ MORE

Moldova Orders Russia To Withdraw Troops From Transdniester

Moldova has ordered Russia to withdraw all its troops from the separatist Transdniester region, where they've been stationed for two decades. READ MORE