June 2015

In Milan, Nazarbayev Announces Extension of Visa Free Regime for 20 Countries

By Malika Orazgaliyeva

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev announced that his country will extend and expand the trial visa-free regime announced last year and due to end this July. Now, citizens from 20 countries will not need visas for short trips to Kazakhstan, he announced at a Kazakh-Italian business forum in Milan on June 27. About 20 agreements for a total amount of $500 million were also signed at the forum.

A New Beginning for Greece – and Europe

Greece is in urgent need of clear thinking. The only reason the country has not long since defaulted on its debts is that the European Central Bank continues to provide funds to the Greek central bank through its emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) scheme. The Greek central bank, in turn, lends money to the country’s commercial banks, which lend it to Greek citizens and foreign creditors. The problem is that both groups of borrowers have been transferring large sums of money to other countries.

What Borders Mean to Europe

By George Friedman

Europe today is a continent of borders. The second-smallest continent in the world has more than 50 distinct, sovereign nation-states. Many of these are part of the European Union. At the core of the EU project is an effort to reduce the power and significance of these borders without actually abolishing them — in theory, an achievable goal. But history is not kind to theoretical solutions.

Defence Ministers decide to bolster the NATO Response Force, reinforce collective defence

Defence Ministers on Wednesday (24 June 2015) took key decisions on strengthening the Alliance’s collective defence, including by increasing the strength and capability of the NATO Response Force. “We have just taken another step forward in adapting NATO to our changed and more challenging security environment,” said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, adding “we are clearly making a lot of progress”.

Tajik Experts Worried by Imbalances in Eurasian Economic Union

Speaking at the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) foreign ministers’ meeting in Dushanbe on April 2, Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon stressed his readiness to strengthen strategic partnership with Russia. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed that Moscow would continue to bolster Tajikistan’s defense potential, both on a bilateral basis and via the CSTO. In years to come, Russia has pledged to provide Dushanbe with military-technical aid worth 70 billion rubles – a timely move due to the looming threat of Islamic State infiltration and snowballing instability in Afghanistan.

Investment into Kazakhstani military personnel will pay off in the future - Command Sgt. Maj. Ronnie Kelley

Command Sgt. Maj. Ronnie Kelley, the command sergeant major for U.S. Army Central, arrived in Kazakhstan at the official invitation of the Defense Ministry of the country. On the 12th of June 2015 hel traveled to Schuchinsk to participate in the NCO conference at the Kazakhstani Cadet Corps. The U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Kazakhstan organized a press conference with Command Sgt. Maj. Ronnie Kelley where he highlighted the cooperation between the armed forces of the U.S. and Kazakhstan, participation in the Steppe Eagle 2015 exercise and development of the NCO in Kazakhstan. Chief of the Office of Military Cooperation of the U.S. Embassy Justin Colbert was in attendance as well.

Russia and the Iranian Nuclear Issue

By Nikolay Kozhanov

Growing confrontation between Russia and the West has led some experts to think that Moscow may become less interested in finding a comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. According to them, resolving the nuclear issue no longer seems to be in Russia’s interests: a deal between Tehran and the West could entail easing sanctions against Iran and returning Western companies to the Iranian market. This would, in turn, create additional difficulties for Russian businesses in the Islamic Republic: in most areas, the Russians are ill-prepared to compete with European and U.S. companies.27 Further, some analysts have said that settling the nuclear issue would deprive the Kremlin of its status as a counterbalance to the United States and the EU in Iran. Consequently, authorities in the Islamic Republic would lose interest in political dialogue with Russia.