May 2014

Russia’s Blockbuster Gas Deal Makes It Look Weak

video

The politics of energy are getting ever more interesting following the signing of a historic 30 year gas deal between China and Russia. The deal has been portrayed as Putin’s revenge for Western sanctions imposed following the conflict in the Ukraine. He’s sending a message that Russia has other options aside from exporting its natural resources to Europe. (The U.S. is increasingly energy independent and doesn’t need Russian gas.) The photo-op of Chinese president Xi Jinping and Putin downing a shot of vodka following the deal close was classic.

Looming Generational Change in Central Asian Leadership

By Paul Goble

Not for the first time, a website has reported the death or incapacitation of a Central Asian leader only to have the report swiftly taken down and denied (see the blanked out “story” at dallol.ru/news-i1221.html). Up to now, these reports have not been accurate at least since the death of Turkmenistan’s Saparmurat Niyazov (“Turkmenbashi”) in 2006. Their increasing frequency surely reflects the fears or hopes of some in the region. But just as importantly, such stories highlight the aging of the two most important leaders in Central Asia and the certainty that, at some point, they will pass from the scene.

Kazakhstan Prepares to Sign Eurasian Union Treaty Despite Lingering Problems

By Georgiy Voloshin

On April 28, Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev paid a working visit to Russia’s capital, where he delivered a lecture at the Moscow State University, twenty years after his first similar speech there in 1994. Rather expectedly, the president’s speech was dedicated to the issue of post-Soviet integration, as Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus are preparing to sign on May 29 in Astana the founding treaty of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Since the mid-1990s, Kazakhstan has been a staunch supporter of various integration initiatives in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In 2000–2001, it played an instrumental role in the creation of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC), which would later serve as a springboard for a trilateral Customs Union with Russia and Belarus (Forbes.kz, April 28).

New Step for Eurasian Integration

By Daniel Rozanov

The occurrence of a new integration association is expected at the map of the world – the Eurasian Economic Union.  Attitude towards this process is ambiguous. In the light of the last political events the attempts if the post-Soviet states to claim their unanimity are perceived with concern by everyone including the peoples of these states. The opponents to such integration state that they are attempting to restore the totalitarian USSR where there is no place for state sovereignty, but total dependence from Russia. How real are such statements?

Elections to the European Parliament: major issues and challenges

By Vadim Volovoj, Doctor in Political Sciences

The European Parliament (EP) is one of the EU’s main institutions; however, its authority and influence both on the EU governance structure and citizen of the EU Member States is minor. The eighth elections to EP in May of this year have already revealed Europe‘s major issues and challenges faced by parliamentism in the European Union.