May 2013

SILK-Afghanistan 2.0: Internet connectivity programme increases its sustainability

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A ceremony to launch the second phase of the SILK-Afghanistan programme, which provides high-speed internet access to Afghan universities and some governmental institutions, took place on 29 May. The signature of a contract between Afghan Telecom and NATO signals a shift from the use of satellites towards fibre-optic communications. This is a more sustainable solution going forward and will help prepare the way for an eventual handover of the network to a European Union funding mechanism in the future.

 

General Gerasimov Downplays Nuclear Cuts

By Roger McDermott

A conference on European security, organized by the Russian defense ministry on May 23–24 in Moscow, served as a platform for the top brass to reiterate well-worn themes and perspectives on a range of issues: from the United States’ ballistic missile defense (BMD) system to revamping the existing security structure in Europe. Alongside senior Russian defense officials and experts were a selection of counterparts from the US and Europe who discussed strategic issues linked to European and, indeed, global security. However, the set of interlinked views expressed during the conference—and representative of the ideas and policy stance among Russia’s defense leadership—displayed no tangible advance on similar statements in recent years. This is particularly clear with reference to the address by Army-General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the General Staff and first deputy defense minister (Interfax, May 24). 

Vyacheslav Trubnikov: Nuclear power industry is the key to future development of Russian-Indian relations

By Natalia Evtikhevich

India entered the 21st century as a challenger for the role of a global center of influence, alongside the United States and China. Strategic partnership between Russia and India is a natural phenomenon and objective reality. The two countries’ national interests overlap in many areas. We discussed the current state of affairs and the prospects for the development of Indian-Russian relations with General of the Army, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia, IMEMO Board of Directors member, RIAC member Vyacheslav Trubnikov.

Economic Relations between Russia and the EU: In Search of a Common Vision

By Pavel Kanevskiy

The promotion of innovative business within European markets is not only key to overcoming the remaining differences between Russia and the European Union and establishing a mutually beneficial investment environment, but it is also an element of the Russian version of “soft power”. This article examines the existing models of Russia-Europe innovation cooperation, as well as its potential from the perspective of Russian foreign policy strategy.

NATO To Open Liaison Office In Uzbekistan

By Joshua Kucera

NATO is opening a liaison office in Tashkent -- but don't read too much geopolitical significance into the move. A number of Russian-media outlets have reported the move, seeing in it yet another piece of evidence that Uzbekistan is moving away from Russia (leaving the Collective Security Treaty Organization) and toward the West (cooperating with the U.S. on military transit to and from Afghanistan, getting increasing military aid from Washington).

Will Germany proceed to hold Europe on its shoulders?

By Inga Popovaitė

At the beginning of April German Chancellor Angela Merkel spent her vacation in the island close to Naples. She was visited by the Campania region governor Stefano Caldoro who afterwards posted a video on his website where he urged her to look at the difficult areas including youth unemployment rates 10 times those of Germany. It is not the first time when Germany is criticised by South European countries complaining that they have to apply strict austerity measures in exchange for financial assistance.  

Minister: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey must work to attract cargo for Baku-Tbilisi-Kars

Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey must work to attract cargo to be transported through the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, which is under construction, the Minister of Economic Development of Azerbaijan Shahin Mustafayev said during a speech at the trilateral Azerbaijani-Georgian-Turkish business forum in Gabala on Saturday.

Alexei Vlasov: Kazakh President calls for vigilance

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's statement at the Astana Economic Forum has become significant for world expert circles, executive director of the Centre for Political Science North-South, director of the Centre for the Study of Socio-Political Processes in the Post-Soviet Space of the Moscow State University and member of Trend Expert Council Alexei Vlasov told Trend today.

Why Ukraine needs Azerbaijan’s gas?

By Ellada Khankishiyeva

Offers by the Ukrainian side on Azerbaijani gas supplies to Ukraine are sounding more insistent each time. This is understandable: the times are changing, no alternatives are expected to hydrocarbons as an energy source in the foreseeable future, the demand for gas promises to grow in the future, and with it, the growth in prices is projected as well. Azerbaijan, once importing gas, now itself is a reliable supplier. The route for supply of Azerbaijani gas to Europe is about to be chosen, while Ukraine is still dependent on energy supplies.