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The UN Accepts CSTO as a Regional Security Organization

By Vladimir Socor

On March 18, in Moscow, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s (CSTO) Secretary-General, Nikolay Bordyuzha, signed a declaration on cooperation between the two secretariats. The document, and the UN’s steps preceding it, can be interpreted as UN recognition of this Russian-led bloc in the “post-Soviet space.” The Russian side will doubtlessly construe the UN’s blessing as a full and unambiguous recognition of the CSTO (Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan). READ MORE

Collective Defense in Central Asia Contradicted by Rising National Spending

By Roger McDermott

Despite the impact of the global economic crisis on all of the economies within the former Soviet Union, averaging a 7 percent decline in GDP in 2009, defense spending has increased in each state with the exception of Belarus (which remained unchanged in 2009 year-on-year at 1.5 percent of GDP). Defense spending, according to an extensive analysis in Nezavisimaya Gazeta, witnessed the sharpest increase in Georgia (4.56 percent of GDP), Armenia (4.07 percent) and Azerbaijan (3.95 percent). In the case of Armenia, this level of defense expenditure proved surprising in the context of its 15 percent decline in GDP in 2009. READ MORE

The Problems Of Yanukovych And Prospects For Ukraine

By Vasil Shparluk

The rise of Yanukovych to power will become another challenge for Ukrainian democracy. It's obvious, he won't promote it, as democratic values are strange for him by nature and during his activity within opposition, he has hardly changed his views on policy and democracy. History is full of examples, when democrats became autocrats and there are only few of them, when it happened vice versa. Right after the elections Yanukovych allowed himself to say that he would rule the country for the following 10 years. READ MORE

Is Lithuania‘s Eastern Policy Effective?

By Dr. Arūnas Molis

The recently criticized Lithuania‘s diplomacy could remind that in principle it was its initiative to join the EU efforts in order to stop increasing the number of states not respecting the territorial integrity of Georgia, to start the dialogue between the EU and Belarus, to enhance the political development of the Eastern Partnership and to accelerate the financial and political assistance to Moldova. However, in the six Eastern EU neighbors the political and economic situation is nearly the worst from the time of declaring their independence. READ MORE

Belarus Got Into Energy Trap

The issue of oil customs duties has been left outside the framework of the Customs Union, and Belarusian authorities have finally surrendered to Moscow. READ MORE

Vyshegrad Group - new dimention?

By Gabor Stier

At the beginning of March a joint meeting of ministers for foreign affairs of the countries from the Vyshegrad Group (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia) and member states of the European Union program ‘Eastern Partnership’ (Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine) is to be held in Budapest. Participation of their colleagues from the EU presiding ‘troika’ – Spain, Great Britain and Hungary – is also expected. READ MORE

Lithuania Will Strengthen Economic Cooperation With Turkey

"Lithuania is interested in the successful development of transport and energy infrastructure projects connecting the Baltic and Black Sea regions," President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė said at the meeting with Turkish Minister for EU Affairs, Egemen Bağiş. READ MORE

New Russian Military Doctrine Opposes NATO Enlargement

By Roger McDermott

After several delays, the long-awaited new Russian military doctrine was finally approved by President Dmitry Medvedev on February 5. The document did not include the rumored lowering of the nuclear threshold, despite recent public comments on the issue to the contrary made by the Secretary and Deputy Secretary respectively of the Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev and Yuri Baluyevskiy. READ MORE

Where Does "Greater Romania" End?

By Andrean Katan

Moldova and Ukraine pose problems for each other on the way to Europe, but in fact the main task for both of them is to overcome the common Soviet past. READ MORE

Top EU Official Draws Line Between Enlargement, Neighborhood Policies

By Ahto Lobjakas

The first Eastern European to be trusted with a significant foreign-policy role in the European Union went through his confirmation hearing today and stuck closely to the established political consensus within the bloc on future expansion, arguing that all current candidates should be admitted. READ MORE



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