July 2012

Turkmenistan’s Gas Export Potential: New Implications for Europe

By Vladimir Socor

BP’s latest annual Statistical Review of World Energy has revealed Turkmenistan’s proven gas reserves as even bigger than previously assessed (see accompanying article). From Ashgabat’s perspective, European gas markets must look more lucrative and reliable compared with Turkmenistan’s existing export markets in China, Russia, and Iran (let alone the proposed trans-Afghan export route). The westward direction remains the only missing direction for Turkmenistani gas exports. Turkmenistan has started construction of the East-West pipeline, to run from its eastern gas fields to the Caspian coast, there to connect with a westbound trans-Caspian pipeline. Ashgabat proposes to deliver 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) annually through this line, and another 10 bcm annually from its Caspian offshore fields, for onward transportation to Europe after 2016. Turkmenistan plans to finance the overland pipeline from its own budget, but is running into problems with funding and subcontracting some of the work.

Russia Intensifies Intervention Options in Central Asia

By Roger McDermott

Moscow plans to re-equip the multi-role brigades in the Russian Ground Forces with wheeled military vehicles. The decision to displace the existing tracked platforms is meant to enhance operational mobility. The initiative emanated from Army-General Nikolai Makarov, the Chief of the General Staff, who was recently buoyed in his post after President Vladimir Putin issued an ukaz extending his service by an additional two years. Therefore, Makarov is likely to remain in his post until October 2014.

Giorgi Baramidze: “Russia believes that the Georgian factor should be eliminated”

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Georgia is the most recent example of the serious threats that the Black Sea states are facing.

Its dynamic and successful domestic reforms coupled with the intention to determine its own foreign policy prompted Russia to apply informational and economic pressure followed by direct military assault in 2008. Russia seems to view Georgia as a dangerous role model for other post-soviet states.

 

Who Shall Become the Successor of Yanukovych?

By Oleg Gorbunov

Ukrainian politicum after adoption the law on languages in the second reading have come to move.  All political forces started getting ready in advance to the pre-electoral struggle – in autumn they shall fight for the places in the Supreme Council Verkhovna Rada. The same active is a pre-campaign on the Presidential elections, planned for 2015. Already now the favorites have been marked. Together with that the team of the President of Ukraine prepares a big Constitutional reform. Where shall this take Ukraine to? Who shall claim for the post of the President in 2015? Whether the team of V. Yanukovych breaks? Why does the acting President of the country need the Constitutional Assembly and which subjects shall be the main ones in its work? Ukrainian experts answer “Plitcom.ru” on these and other questions.

The Euro’s Latest Reprieve

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By Joseph E. Stiglitz

Like an inmate on death row, the euro has received another last-minute stay of execution. It will survive a little longer. The markets are celebrating, as they have after each of the four previous “euro crisis” summits – until they come to understand that the fundamental problems have yet to be addressed.

“Gazprom” Is Ready to Stop the Supplies of Gas to Poland, Ukraine is the next one

Russia on the case of Poland intends to show Ukraine, that it doesn’t plan to reduce the gas price. According to the source in Russian monopoly, if the court cancels the treaty not beneficial for Poland, “Gazprom” shall simply stop supplies of gas to this country. Moreover, the company warns, after such events this Poland shall hardly be able to sign a more advantageous agreement.

Why Russia Is Backing Syria

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By Ruslan Pukhov

Many in the West believe that Russia’s support for Syria stems from Moscow’s desire to profit from selling arms to Bashar al-Assad’s government and maintain its naval facility at the Syrian port of Tartus. But these speculations are superficial and misguided. The real reason that Russia is resisting strong international action against the Assad regime is that it fears the spread of Islamic radicalism and the erosion of its superpower status in a world where Western nations are increasingly undertaking unilateral military interventions.

The Realist Prism: U.S. Power and Its Discontents

By Nikolas Gvosdev

There are two simultaneous and contradictory trends occurring right now in the international system. The first is the diffusion of power, as reflected by the displacement of the old Group of Seven, which at its founding in the 1970s comprised the bulk of the world’s productive capacity, by the Group of 20, where there is no longer one dominant power capable of driving the global agenda. The second is the reality that the United States still far outstrips any other one state or group of states in terms of capabilities, ranging from the power of its currency to its ability to project military force to any corner of the globe.