Regions / Russia & FSU

"The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict in the Context of Muslim-Christian Relations" by Galina M. Yemelianova

By Editor CI

Jan 13, 2018 - 3:31 PM

The Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict over the Azerbaijani territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which broke out in 1987, has been one of the most enduring ethno-territorial conflicts in the former Soviet space. In 1988, the conflict escalated into a fully-fledged war, involving Armenians and Azerbaijanis from Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan. In 1994, international mediation de-escalated the war into a fragile status quo. Since then, it has been largely neglected by Western policy-makers, media, and the wider international public. Meanwhile, the conflict remains a key threat to stability stretching from the Caspian to the Black Sea. Historically, its myriad causes included the geopolitical rivalry in the Caucasus between the Christian Orthodox Russian Empire, Muslim Persia and the Ottoman Empire; the development of Armenian and Azerbaijani nationalist movements; the initial temporary rapprochement between Bolshevik atheistic Russia and Ataturk’s secularist Turkey; Stalin’s nationality policy; the break-up of the USSR; and the resurgence of Armenian and Azerbaijani ethno-religious nationalism. The article provides a historical account of the role of religion in the geopolitics of the Caucasus with particular focus on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It argues that throughout history, the religious factor has played an indirect role in first fomenting and later perpetuating the conflict. Read more...

"Central Asia and Azerbaijan Does Islamic solidarity matter?" by Narmina Mamishova

By Editor CI

Jan 13, 2018 - 3:29 PM

This article looks at whether the foreign policies of post-Soviet Central Asian republics encompass the idea of Islamic solidarity. Specifically, it analyzes their relations with Muslim-majority Azerbaijan, which is concerned with gaining political and diplomatic support in the international arena in order to secure the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and accordingly, the restoration of its territorial integrity. The findings of the article evidence that the official agendas of the countries concerned towards Muslim nations and Azerbaijan particularly are rather opportunistic and do not follow any definite path. Instead, the article explains the actual origins of interstate solidarity which is scarcely determined by a religious factor. Read more...

"Overcoming the Curse of Landlockedness: Strategic Importance of BTK in Connecting Central Asia to the World" by Javid Aliskenderli

By Editor CI

Jan 13, 2018 - 3:28 PM

This article is an analysis of the opportunities presented by the new Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project to landlocked Central Asia and Azerbaijan. The creation of efficient transportation corridors is important for landlocked states in terms of obtaining secure and cost effective access to major export and import markets, and in order to overcome the trade bottlenecks created by geography. In this regard, the importance of the “New Silk Road” project is comprehensively assessed, with particular focus on the opportunities presented by the newly launched Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway route. It is argued that these projects constitute major breakthroughs for Central Asia and Azerbaijan, not only helping them to overcome the economic development limitations entailed by lack of maritime access, but also providing easy access to global markets and significantly increasing their role as transit countries connecting East and West. Read more...

'Foreign Policy of Azerbaijan in 25 Years of Independence: Priorities, Principles and Achievements' by Javid Valiyev

By Editor CI

Jun 14, 2017 - 1:12 PM

This year marks Azerbaijan’s 25th anniversary of post-Soviet independence. During this time, it has emerged as a leading country in the South Caucasus in terms of economy, military and population. Over the past quarter-century, Azerbaijani foreign policy has been strongly influenced and shaped by the challenges and opportunities that have arisen as a result of its geography. An independent foreign policy has always been a guiding principle of Azerbaijan’s international relations, viewed as a central pillar of national security. Azerbaijan has pursued a balanced foreign policy, avoiding undue external influences and maintaining opportunities for cooperation with all regional and international actors. This strategy was aimed at advancing its national interest. Azerbaijan’s foreign policy also has a very strong regional focus: the country attaches major importance to relations with neighboring countries (including trilateral partnerships), which are also considered a geopolitical necessity. Along with the above-mentioned key characteristics and principles, the restoration of territorial integrity remains a major priority for Azerbaijan’s foreign policy. Read more...

'The Struggle of Georgian Democracy' by Giorgi Kanashvili and Revaz Koiavai

By Editor CI

Jun 14, 2017 - 1:11 PM

The paper aims to review the democratization experience of post-Soviet Georgia. Due to the differences in geography, history, political culture, economy, and governance of each Soviet republic, the transition periods of these countries have eradicated all commonalities. Despite their common problems, the transformations are individual, due to local conditions and circumstances. Georgia’s declared goal is the development of a stable and successful democracy. But how do Georgians understand democracy, and how is it supported via government policy? The social and educational diversity of Georgians shall be taken into consideration in assessing the functioning of judiciary, executive, administrative and legislative bodies. The various aspects of Georgian politics – informal deal making, attitudes of elites, generational specificities, and everyday concerns of citizens preclude the possibilities for generalization. The political culture of Georgia, social relations, local governance, employment problems, and daily political life was determined by the grotesque behavior of the Georgian elite and the Civil War, separatism and Russian intervention. This leads us to Tip O’Neill’s maxim – “All politics is local”. Read more...

'Security Dynamics in the South Caucasus since Independence: Interconnected Threats and Security Interdependence' by Azad Garibov

By Editor CI

Jun 14, 2017 - 1:09 PM

The article examines the security dynamics in the South Caucasus using the Copenhagen School’s Regional Security Complex theory, and seeks to uncover why and how the security of the three regional countries is interconnected and influenced by the region itself and its immediate neighborhood. It views the region as a distinct security complex, and argues that the South Caucasus can be best characterized as a region if viewed through the lens of security. Any major security dynamic affecting one of the three countries of the South Caucasus has clear implications for the remaining two. As small countries with limited capabilities, interests and agendas, the major security environment of the South Caucasus states is the region itself and its neighborhood, including immediate neighbors such as Russia, Turkey and Iran. The US, as the world’s only superpower, also has certain security interests in and interactions with the South Caucasus. Read more...

'The South Caucasus in the Global Struggle' by Araz Aslanlı

By Editor CI

Jun 14, 2017 - 1:08 PM

The article focuses on the history of German-Azerbaijani relations, namely, the dynamics over the last two centuries. There have been times when the relationship has been limited, if it has existed at all, due to the political circumstances of the time. The bilateral relationship can be divided into two stages: during the first stage, Azerbaijan was a dependent political entity inside the Russian Empire, and then a union member within the USSR. The second stage is characterized by the relationship between two independent states, with economic and political freedom in decision-making, as the countries have enjoyed for the past quarter of a century. The article traces the important moments in the relationship and outlines achievements, as well as areas for further cooperation. Read more...

'The Azerbaijan-Germany Relations in the Past 25 Years: The Milestones of the Past as the Basis for the Achievements of the Future' by Matthias Dornfeldt and Igor Korobov

By Editor CI

Jun 14, 2017 - 1:06 PM

The article focuses on the history of German-Azerbaijani relations, namely, the dynamics over the last two centuries. There have been times when the relationship has been limited, if it has existed at all, due to the political circumstances of the time. The bilateral relationship can be divided into two stages: during the first stage, Azerbaijan was a dependent political entity inside the Russian Empire, and then a union member within the USSR. The second stage is characterized by the relationship between two independent states, with economic and political freedom in decision-making, as the countries have enjoyed for the past quarter of a century. The article traces the important moments in the relationship, and outlines achievements, as well as areas for further cooperation. Read more...

'The UN Security Council and the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: Policy of Double Standards and Unexecuted Resolutions' by Najiba Mustafayeva

By Editor CI

Jun 14, 2017 - 1:05 PM

The Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is undoubtedly the most complex, as well as the most dangerous conflict in the South Caucasus. In 1993, the United Nations Security Council adopted a series of resolutions (822, 853, 874, and 884) demanding the immediate cessation of hostilities and the complete and unconditional withdrawal of all occupying forces from Azerbaijani territories. Despite the legally binding nature of the Security Council resolutions, they still remain unrealized. One of the main reasons for the ineffectiveness of the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, is its inability and in some cases unwillingness to ensure the implementation of its resolutions. The failure of resolutions not only undermines the credibility of the United Nations, but also threatens international peace and security. However, the UN Security Council has the authority to apply sanctions to member states that fail to execute its resolutions. The resolutions of the Council adopted according to Chapter VII of the UN Charter (Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace and Acts of Aggression) contain the legal elements of international responsibility. Measures taken by the UN Security Council in accordance with Article 41 and 42 of the UN Charter are coercive measures intended to encourage the offender to fulfill the obligations arising from its international legal responsibility. Read more...

'Energy Transit in the Caucasus: A Legal Analysis' by Rafael Leal-Arcas

By Editor CI

Jan 10, 2017 - 12:23 AM

This article provides an analysis of the commonalities and regional specificities of the intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) and Host Government agreements (HGAs) setting up the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline and the South Caucasus Pipeline. The paper also assesses the IGA for the Nabucco Pipeline project. It provides a careful examination of the links between the agreements comprising these three pipeline projects and the Energy Charter Model Agreements on Cross-border Pipelines in conjunction with the provisions of the Energy Charter draft Transit Protocol. This article attempts to answer the following questions: To what extent can common principles and regional specificities be derived from the agreements in question? How do the agreements relate to the Energy Charter Model Agreements and the Energy Charter draft Transit Protocol? What recommendations can be made in view of the possible agreement on common principles or rules on Transit and Cross-border energy flows in the Energy Charter context? Read more...
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