Regions / Russia & FSU

'Regional Energy Security and Integration of Electricity Markets in the South Caucasus' by Irina Kustova

By Editor CI

Jan 10, 2017 - 12:12 AM

This study argues that the development of electricity systems is a crucial aspect of the region’s sustainable development. Regulatory and technical cooperation among national power markets can help improve energy security in the South Caucasus. However, the concerted operation of electrical power systems might also be affected by competitive regionalism. Thus, the study looks at how two regional integration projects, the EU Energy Community and the Eurasian Economic Union, might affect developments in the power markets. Despite lucrative opportunities for the countries to serve as a crossroads between the emerging Eurasian and European electricity markets, political barriers remain substantial. Read more...

'Energy Consumption and GHG Emissions in the South Caucasus' by Varadurga Bhat and Ashwath Naik

By Editor CI

Jan 10, 2017 - 12:11 AM

In recent years, the World has been experiencing the consequences of climate change, and the South Caucasus has been affected by this phenomenon too. Energy security and environmental security have been affected by the dependence on fossil fuels and damages associated with energy exploitation, such as the rise in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The development of renewable energy (RE) helps to meet growing energy demand and to mitigate climate change. Dependence on energy imports can be reduced, local resources can be utilized, and energy supplies can be diversified by deploying RE technologies in the region. Thus, it is one of the most attractive and reliable options for achieving sustained low-carbon growth. Against this background, this paper analyzes the trends in energy consumption and GHG emissions during 1995-2012 in the South Caucasus countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Special focus is accorded to the prospects of RE in these countries based on their potential and policy framework. The paper concludes that the South Caucasus has substantial RE potential. However, with the exception of hydropower, other sources of RE are minimally utilized. Proper policy framework with clearly defined goals for RE generation and effective implementation are needed in this regard to ensure affordable and sustainable energy in these countries. Read more...

'Historicity and Historical Ethnography of Azerbaijan: The 18th and 19th Century Caucasus at a Glance' by Rizvan Huseynov Najafoglu

By Editor CI

Jan 10, 2017 - 12:09 AM

This article is a part of a larger research project on historical territories and the Turkic population of Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus, first published in 2015 as a monograph, “Azerbaijan and the Armenian question in the Caucasus” (Азербайджан и армянский вопрос на Кавказе). The author drew upon nearly 300 ancient, medieval, and modern sources describing Azerbaijan’s territories in the Caucasus. This article presents the European and American sources from the 18th and early 19th centuries, describing the territory and the population of Azerbaijan in the Caucasus. The aim of this study is to show the historicity of Azerbaijan in regional politics and international relations during the aforementioned period. Read more...

The Trans-Caspian Corridor: Geopolitics of Transportation in Central Eurasia; Azad Garibov

By Editor CI

Jul 25, 2016 - 3:39 PM

Having reliable and effective transportation networks for easy access to global markets is vital for modern economic development and security, particularly for landlocked states with disadvantageous geographical locations. Thus, the creation of efficient transportation corridors is very important for Azerbaijan and its Central Asian neighbors Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in terms of obtaining secure and cost effective access to the major export and import markets, and in order to overcome the trade bottlenecks created by the geography. Consequently, ensuring the reliable export of hydrocarbon resources to world markets and establishing cargo transport corridors have been a shared goal for Azerbaijan and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia since the restoration of independence in 1991. Currently, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, together with Azerbaijani railways, serve as an important export route for Central Asian oil to international markets. The Trans-Caspian partnership for the delivery of Central Asian energy resources to world markets is not limited to oil. There are also ongoing talks about the possibility of transporting Turkmen gas via Azerbaijan as part of the Southern Gas Corridor project. The other priority in regard to the creation of the geopolitically and geo-economically strategic Trans-Caspian corridor is the establishment of a South Caucasus-Central Asia cargo transit route between Asia and Europe. Attracting part of multi-billion EU-China trade to transit through Central Asia and South Caucasus offers a significant revenue source for all of the regional countries, as well as promises to create an effective corridor for their own trade relations with Asian and European countries. Read more...

The Development of the Transport Sector in Azerbaijan: The Implementation and Challenges; Rovshan Ibrahimov

By Editor CI

Jul 25, 2016 - 3:36 PM

Since the restoration of independence, development of the energy sector has been considered crucial for Azerbaijan. The development of the energy sector has supported the resolution of some of the country’s key geopolitical and geo-economic challenges. An integral part of Azerbaijan’s energy strategy was the creation of a system of transport corridors for energy exports. Creating the necessary infrastructure is an ongoing process. However, given the risk of being dependent on one sector, there is a need to diversify the national economy. The result is that a number of sectors have been identified to support the further sustainable development of Azerbaijan. Due to its favorable location, one of sectors identified for development is transportation. Azerbaijan proposes the development of alternative sustainable transport routes, which will enable unfettered access to major world markets. This process entails the development of transport infrastructure in synthesis with the formation of logistical infrastructure, cross-border transfer coordination, creation of a common legal framework, and competitive tariffs for transportation with third states. This article describes the establishment of transport routes in Azerbaijan, and the country’s role in the development of regional cooperation. Read more...

Transport Potential of the Caspian Sea: Prospects and Limitations; Stanislav Pritchin

By Editor CI

Jul 25, 2016 - 3:35 PM

This article addresses the Caspian Sea and its transport potential. Located at the junction of important geo-strategic regions in the center of Eurasia, the Caspian is an important component of the area’s transport system. Moreover, geopolitical struggles over transport potential are no less intense than competition for its energy resources. Two major strategic transport routes have been delineated: the East- West route (or TRACECA); and the North-South route. Competition between routes actually has a positive effect on the development of transport infrastructure in the region. All project participants are striving to create the optimal conditions for transit and to increase the efficiency of infrastructure. As the result, the general appeal of the Caspian Sea as transport route has increased. At the same time, the transport sector offers an important economic opportunity for a number of countries in the context of the financial crisis and decline of oil prices. Read more...

Trans-Eurasian Energy Transportation Networks and the Necessity of Regional Cooperation; Mikhail A. Molchanov

By Editor CI

Jul 25, 2016 - 2:20 PM

The Central Asia-Transcaspian region is rich in energy resources. However, these resources cannot be fully developed without fostering international cooperation. The ‘pipeline wars’ between competing consortia is not conducive to profit maximization. A cooperative regional regime for oil and gas exploration, extraction, and transportation could help improve the business climate and international security. The existing regional integration organizations with a degree of sway in the area – the Eurasian Economic Union and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – still have some way to go to prove their usefulness as true promoters of multilateralism. Regional countries that do not belong to either of the two organizations prefer to cooperate on a bilateral basis – and this is also true of member states. Regional coordination is necessary to overcome self-interested, beggar-thy-neighbor behavior by business players and states alike in order to maximize regional welfare. Read more...

The Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict as the Key Threat to Peace and Cooperation in the South Caucasus; Farhad Mammadov

By Editor CI

Jul 25, 2016 - 2:18 PM

Among the conflicts in the South Caucasus, the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is undoubtedly the most complex, as well as the most dangerous conflict. It holds the most serious security and humanitarian implications not only for the South Caucasus, but also for the whole Eurasian region. The 23-year-old peace process, led by the OSCE Minsk Group, has so far failed to deliver peace and stability to the region. Impeded by problems such as lack of commitment, focus on conflict management instead of conflict resolutions, intergovernmental nature and rotating chairmanship of the organization, the OSCE is failing to address the resurgence of violence in this simmering conflict. Taking advantage of the shortcoming of OSCE Minsk Group’s peace efforts, Armenia has refused to make any compromises for the sake of peace. During the recent negotiations in Vienna and St. Petersburg, the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed on the phased resolution of the conflict, creating hope that the deadlock would be broken and the peace process would be reactivated. However, the danger remains that if the peace process fails again, the resumption of violence will become inevitable and renewed war will have serious regional and global repercussions. Read more...

Georgia’s Integration into the EU: After the Riga Summit?; Sarah Lain

By ilgar Gurbanov

Jan 18, 2016 - 12:26 PM

Georgia has made significant progress in its move towards European integration. The EU has fully supported this decision, but the Ukraine crisis has served as a stark reminder of the security risks facing Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries in terms of their economic and political choices. The EU should be more nuanced in its approach to Georgia to ensure its own de-politicization of the issue and greater clarity around what it is, and is not, aiming to achieve through European integration initiatives. This paper suggests that this should not only be to combat Russian false messaging on the issue, but also to reassure the Georgian people of why they are committing to the EaP. As a corollary, the EaP strategy should also make a greater connection between economic stability and increased resilience against certain security threats. Georgia is now facing a somewhat uncertain political future domestically due to the parliamentary elections in 2016. Without an attempt at a more defined strategy, therefore, the EU could risk greater disillusionment within Georgia as to the benefits of the EaP. Read more...

Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey Triangle: The Main Features of Cooperation; Javid Valiyev

By ilgar Gurbanov

Jan 18, 2016 - 12:25 PM

The South Caucasus region has often been associated with negative developments such as military occupation, separatism and militarization. It is also, however, a region with a high level of cooperation and solidarity. Intra-regional cooperation, such as the trilateral relations between Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey, Azerbaijan-Turkmenistan- Turkey, and Azerbaijan-Iran-Turkey offer opportunities for regional cooperation and diplomatic resolution of regional problems. Among these, the Azerbaijan-Georgia- Turkey (AGT) triangle is the most functional; the relationship is built on interdependence and supported by trade and transportation relations. The AGT emerged as a result of the regional geopolitical balance and energy relations, but rapidly developed after the 2008 Georgian-Russian War. The first trilateral meeting among the Ministries of Foreign Affairs took place in 2012. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs have now held four meetings, all of which have resulted in adoption of joint declarations. All these declarations cover issues relating to economy, energy, transportation and security. Meetings of the triangle reached a presidential level. This paper examines the reasons and dynamics behind the evolution of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey in the 1990s into a trilateral strategic relationship, and the priority areas that have deepened and enhanced this trilateral partnership. Read more...
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