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  • Author: Janusz Bugajski
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Russian authorities are engaged in a policy of “pragmatic reimperialization” in seeking to restore Moscow's regional dominance, undermining U.S. global influence, dividing the NATO alliance, neutralizing the European Union (EU), limiting further NATO and EU enlargement, and re-establishing zones of “privileged interest” in the former Soviet bloc, where pliant governments are targeted through economic, political, and security instruments. Russia's strategies are pragmatic and opportunistic by avoiding ideology and political partisanship and focusing instead on an assortment of threats, pressures, inducements, and incentives. Despite its expansive ambitions, the Russian Federation is – potentially – a failing state, and may be resorting to increasingly desperate imperial reactions to intractable internal problems that could presage the country's territorial disintegration.
  • Topic: NATO, Imperialism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Andrew Liaropoulos, Sophia Dimitrakopoulou
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The publication of Russia's National Security Strategy in May 2009 provoked a discussion regarding the security challenges that Moscow is facing. This article reviews, firstly, the security context that defined the Putin era and then relates the analysis of the latest national security strategy to the broader dilemmas that Russia will encounter in the next decade. The purpose is to identify the priorities and threat perceptions that are outlined in the latest national security strategy and to question whether Russia will become a great power in the near future.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Moscow
  • Author: Dilyara Suleymanova
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: This paper explores the role of international language rights norms in the dispute over script reform in the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. In the late 1990s, the authorities of Tatarstan initiated reform to change the orthographic base of the Tatar language from a Cyrillic-to a Latin-based script. However, this reform was subsequently banned by a Russian federal law that stipulated the mandatory use of the Cyrillic alphabet for all state languages in Russia. In protesting this decision, Tatar language activists referred to international human and minority rights provisions and used categories of international law to frame their case as a violation of international norms. However, it is not clear whether this case would really qualify as a violation of international norms and whether international instruments would have the power to overturn this state decision. Rather than being practically applicable, international language rights norms have shaped the strategies minorities employ in advocating their rights and contesting state decisions.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Tatarstan
  • Author: Matthew Derrick
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Located at the confluence of the Turko-Islamic and Slavic-Christian worlds, Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, a semiautonomous region of Russia, is populated by roughly even numbers of Muslim Tatars and Eastern Orthodox Russians. The city is separately important to each group's national history. For the Tatars, it is remembered as the seat of their Islamic state that held sway over Russian principalities to the west for three centuries before facing defeat at the hands of Moscow in 1552. For the Russians, the victory over Kazan marked the beginning of a vast multinational empire. In light of its geography and history, Kazan would seemingly be counted among the world's religiously divided frontier cities. Yet Kazan, in spite of pursuing a sovereignty campaign throughout the 1990s, has managed to avoid the type of ethno-religious-based conflict visiting other frontier cities, such as Jerusalem, Sarajevo, and Belfast. What lessons might Kazan offer other religiously divided frontier cities? In approaching this question, this article analyzes bordering processes, specifically looking at the invisible socio-spatial borders socially constructed through narratives and symbols.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Moscow, Tatarstan, Kazan
  • Author: Till Bruckner
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: “At the very least, it will be all but impossible hereafter for anyone to deny that Russia had engaged in detailed planning for precisely the war that occurred,” write editors Svante Cornell and Frederick Starr of the Central Asia–Caucasus Institute Silk Road Studies Program in the introduction of their new book on the August 2008 conflict between Georgia and Russia.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus, Asia, Georgia
  • Author: Samuel Lussac
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: From the Iraq war in 2003 to the Russian-Georgian conflict in 2008, both neoconservative and neo-Eurasianist politician s have been held responsible for the recent power politics of Russia and the United States. After analyzing this issue in French in 2007 at the end of the presidential mandates of George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin, the English translation of the book allows Didier Chaudet, Florent Parmentier and Benoît Pelopidas' work to reach a wider audience during the early days of Barack Obama's and Dmitri Medvedev's mandates.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, Eurasia, Georgia
  • Author: Dr. Mehmet Bardakçı
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU's role in conflict resolution and peace building has evolved in response to the changes in the international system, the EU's own internal political dynamics, and the EU's capacity and willingness to play a major role in regional and international conflicts. During the 1990s, the EU approached the South Caucasian region the same way it approached the other former Soviet republics. In spite of the enhanced profile of Georgia in EU foreign policy after the Rose Revolution in 2003, the EU was content with providing technical and economic aid to Tbilisi and supporting the negotiations between Tbilisi and its breakaway regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Despite its failure to preclude the outbreak of the conflict, the EU's role in conflict resolution in Georgia has paradoxically been enhanced in the aftermath of the August 2008 Russian-Georgian War. It is, however, important to note that in spite of these positive developments in the EU's role in conflict resolution, Brussels' efforts to promote its visibility in the region is to some extent constrained by the lack of a coherent conflict resolution strategy for the Eastern Neighbourhood, the “capacityexpectations” gap, and an increasingly self-confident Russia.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Soviet Union, Georgia, Tbilisi, South Ossetia, Abkhazia
  • Author: Ines-Jacqueline Werkner
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: War is "contrary to the will of God", according to a 1948 statement from the World Council of Churches in Amsterdam. However, are religious communities able to prevent wars? Despite the lack of importance placed on religion, partially due to the secularisation thesis, religions' potential for violence has become increasingly important in the social sciences since the end of the Cold War and particularly since the attacks of September 11, 2001. However, a question about the peace-making potential of religions increasingly arises in international politics and peace and conflict studies. In this contribution, the role of the Orthodox Churches in the 2008 Russian-Georgian war will be empirically examined. My findings show that the Russian and Georgian Orthodox Churches acted as "double players" during this military conflict whereby they could not release their peace-making potential. I argue that the churches were perceived not only as religious players with a religious peace message but also as political players that supported national claims. As a consequence, the status of religion as an intervening variable – such as assumed in the constructivist approach – is called into question.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Georgia
  • Author: Kevin Daniel Leahy
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: On March 29, 2010, two female suicide assailants blew themselves up at two separate locations along Moscow's underground network, killing at least 39 people. Two days later, the leader of the rebel movement in the Northern Caucasus, Doku Umarov, claimed responsibility for the attacks. For those monitoring the political situation in the Northern Caucasus, Umarov's claim of responsibility came as no surprise. Even so, few analysts have been able to shed any meaningful light on Umarov's core political beliefs. This is not surprising considering that so much of Umarov's background remains shrouded in uncertainty. The following paper represents a tentative attempt to sketch Umarov's private and political background, from his early adulthood in the early 1980s up to his portentous proclamation of the Caucasus Emirate in 2007.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus
  • Author: Andrey Kazantsev
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The deep and multidimensional crisis of Gazprom in 2009-2010 is analyzed in this paper as a crisis of the specific geopolitical model of the “energy super-state” that was especially important for Russian foreign policy towards Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Russia’s attempts to monopolize the sphere of gas production and gas transportation in this part of the world, institutionally represented by the state-controlled monopoly Gazprom, was a key element for sustaining this geopolitical model. It is argued that this policy was based on a configuration of Russian geopolitical and economic interests that could be economically sustained only in the period of high energy prices. After the start of the global gas market crisis and, specifically, Gazprom’s crisis, this configuration has started to disappear. This may have a profound influence on Russian foreign policy towards Europe and the Former Soviet Union.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Central Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Tamerlan Vahabov
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama's current strategy of engagement with former adversaries is right on track. Russia stands out as a major short-term success story of this strategy. The signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) Agreement, achieving Russia's approval to use its territory as an alternative supply route for the International Security Assistance Force's (ISAF) operations in Afghanistan, and Russia's increased activity to pressure Iran on nuclear issues are remarkable. In the long run, Obama's main challenge will be to turn these concessions into sustained cooperation. Among all these questions of potential contention between the United States and Russia, this research paper will specifically center on Ukraine. Its key objective is to assess whether Ukraine's current institutional neutrality and its so far unreformed energy sector will negatively affect Ukrainian democracy and make Kiev increasingly lean toward Moscow's political orbit.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Europe, Iran, Ukraine, Moscow
  • Author: Dr. Alexander Rondeli
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: On both fronts we have serious problems, because for any post-Soviet country, meeting the EU's requirements is not easy. The Baltic [countries] are the exception for many reasons, for many good reasons, and we are happy that at least they are there. They are also a fantastic example and a role model for us. But meeting these criteria is not easy. Everyone understands that there is a long way to go.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Soviet Union, Georgia
  • Author: Dr. Timothy Blauvelt
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Our organization was directly involved in the program of developing the unified national university entrance exams, under contract to the World Bank as the coordinator for technical assistance, and we were working on that from 2002– 2006. So I really got to see that process from the inside, and it is a reform that has been very successful. At the start, before the Rose Revolution, corruption in university admission s was one of the central problems. Education in general was one of the institutions in society worst hit by corruption. Education then was a sort of black hole of corruption, and one of the key points of that was on the entrance end. People were paying 10 to 20,000 dollar bribes to get in to certain prestigious faculties. So the entrance exam reform was able to eradicate that entirely. What is particularly important in the app roach to that reform was that the real goal was to build capacity. We didn't come in and say “We're going to make an exam for you.” The idea was to help create a function Georgian center that would develop the expertise to make exams itself, and that has really been so successful that Georgian specialists from the National Examination Center have become sort of regional experts. We've been involve d in other projects, in Ukraine for example, where we have invited Georgians to come from the Center to provide technical assistance themselves. So the reform has been even more successful than people realize.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Caucasus, Georgia, South Caucasus
  • Author: Vladimer Papava, Michael Tokmazishvili
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The article discuses Russia's aggressive energy policy towards the EU and the former Soviet republics, with its main goal of reinforcing the country's monopoly over the transportation of oil and, especially, gas to the West. The language of “alternative pipelines” is used by Russia in the context of the “Pipeline Cold War” paradigm which creates significant problems for the energy safety of the EU by increasing the energy dependency of European countries upon Russia. In reality, the energy resource users are interested in a systematic supply of these resources. This can be achieved through the diversified resource producers and development of a mutually supplementary network of pipelines which should minimise the opportunity for using the energy resources for political purposes. This is the idea upon which the “Pipeline Harmonisation” paradigm is founded. The Western countries have a key role to play in the realisation of this idea.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Soviet Union
  • Author: Luke Chambers
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The direction in which Vladimir Putin has taken Russia over the past decade has led a number of analysts to express concern about the health of the country's democratic transition and its increasingly assertive behaviour on the global stage. While it is clear that Putin has undermined the liberal developments of the 1990s, however superficial, and reversed Russia's international gravitation towards the West, however incoherent, the linkages between these two developments are still unclear. This study examines the nature of authoritarianism in Russia and its relationship to the strategic imperatives of the Kremlin's foreign policy, with reference to Russia's great-power ambitions for a post-Atlantic, multipolar order.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Houman A. Sadri, Nathan L. Burns
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: After the Russia-Georgia war, tensions grew in the relationship between Russia and the West. These tensions have occasionally led some to argue that a New Cold War may be on the horizon between Russia and the West. Others have even claimed that the Old Cold War has not really ended. This work investigates such arguments by examining Western ties to Georgia, Russia's power resurgence, and Georgia's role in that war. The authors claim that those, who interpret the Russia-Georgia war within a Cold War paradigm, neglect the complexities of that conflict. During similar conflicts, the Cold War is an easily comprehendible and adoptable paradigm for the West, particularly the US. Adopting a Cold War perspective, however, ignores that Tbilisi had a significant role to play in defining the 2008 war. Russia versus West tensions can no longer be characterized by the ideological rivalries of the Cold War. Moreover, the Russia-Georgia war appears to indicate a return to older forms of international rivalry.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Georgia
  • Author: Hans Gutbrod, Malte Viefhues
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In 2008, CRRC-Georgia and the American Councils conducted a small online census among mostly English-native, engaged expatriates who are either currently living in Georgia, or did so in the past. The questions were about attitudes toward and aptitude for learning Georgian or Russian, and the importance of these languages in Georgia. With 90 completed questionnaires the number of respondents was small, and the findings cannot be generalized to cover the whole expatriate community. However, they provide insight into the incentives to language learning, and the importance of Georgian and Russian for foreigners in Georgia. The results show that Georgian is important for daily life in Georgia, while Russian is more useful in a professional context. On average, the respondents have a better level in Russian than in Georgian. In addition, knowing one language did not keep the respondents from learning the other: 87 percent of the respondents with Russian skills also know some Georgian.
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Georgia
  • Author: Fareed Shafee
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The article examines new trends and development in the South Caucasus. The author identifies five factors which affect the foreign policy of regional countries as well as regional powers. These factors are the Georgian-Russian war of 2008, the US-Russian “reset”, the global financial crisis, the political transformation in the countries which have undergone “color revolutions”, and the Armenian-Turkish rapprochement. The author believes that the change in the geopolitical layout of the region will turn the countries of the South Caucasus further from the West. At the same time, they are not going to be fully embraced by Russia. A balancing act between the US, EU and Russia will be most likely their policy choice.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Ukraine, Caucasus, Georgia
  • Author: Dr. Julie A. George
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: My book examines separatist politics, looking for explanations for the outbreak of conflict in some post-Soviet autonomous republics and oblasts and not others. It also examines the waxing and waning conditions of conflicts over time, trying to nudge out similarities and differences in experiences to explain stability or absence of stability. So it looked at the politics of Chechnya, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia and their respective relationships with the Russia and Georgia from 1990-2008. (It actually looked at a broader swath of cases to include non-conflictual republics: Achara, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Ingushetia, and Dagestan.) I'm particularly interested in the effects of state weakness and regional wealth on bargaining over autonomy. I started with the argument that state weakness in both Russia and Georgia after the Soviet collapsed created conditions for regional ac tors – particularly in the so-called ethnic republics – for bargaining for greater position in the new political environment. In Georgia, this enhanced bargaining position was true for Achara as well as South Ossetia and Abkhazia, even though Achara might not be construed as an "ethnic" region.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Soviet Union, Georgia
  • Author: Nasimi Aghayev
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Eventful few months in the Caucasus, Russia and wider Eurasia precede our Spring 2010 issue. Of course, the dramatic civic upheaval in Kyrgyzstan, the suicide bomb attacks in the Moscow metro and the victory of a more pro-Russian leader in Ukraine's presidential elections top the list.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Caucasus, Moscow