September 2010

Ignoring Azerbaijan could cost the U.S.

By Guy Billauer

Tensions between Azerbaijan and neighboring Armenia on the fate of the Nagorno-Karabakh region are reaching dangerous levels. In the past year, the Azeri enclave in the South Caucasus, which Armenia has occupied since 1992, has been the focus of increased violence. Just last month, six people were killed in an exchange of fire across the temporary line that separates the two sides.

Why Moldova Matters

By Matthew Rojansky, Lyndon Allin

Although the air outside is hot and dry—part of a heat wave scorching Russia and neighboring Ukraine—it is cool, dark, and slightly damp in the sandstone caverns beneath Milestii Mici, Moldova’s largest winery. Along seemingly endless underground boulevards, Soviet-era lighting and updated signs point the way to underground galleries housing millions of liters of meticulously produced and preserved wine in bottles and oak barrels—just part of the winery’s two-million-bottle collection, acknowledged by Guinness as the world’s largest.

Customs Union Project Shows Moscow's Power Deficit

By Andrea Bonzanni

At the beginning of July, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus signed a number of protocols establishing a customs union between the three countries. The union, scheduled to be fully operational in January 2012, will create a single common market of about 170 million people and represents the latest of several attempts by Moscow to create an effective trade bloc with its newly independent neighbors since the break-up of the Soviet Union. In addition to the economic ties maintained through the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Russia first committed to a union with Belarus in 1994.

NATO takes aim at energy

By Dr. Arūnas Molis

When during the meetings in Strasbourg and Kiel (in April 2009) the leaders of NATO decided to start discussions on a new strategic concept of NATO, nobody expected easy agreements.  Nevertheless all the countries of the Alliance agreed that the key goal of NATO should be the establishment of the secure political environment.

Superpower Ambitions Weaken Russia

By Irina Busygina and Mikhail Filippov

Over the past decade, Russia has made repeated attempts to demonstrate its growing power to the world. There are two main objectives behind these attempts: to obtain international recognition as a superpower and to coerce other states into partnership. Both goals are based on the political elite’s belief that Russia should be included on that list a priori by virtue of its huge territory, nuclear arsenal and economic potential.