August 2016

China Quietly Displacing Both Russia and US From Central Asia

By Paul Goble

Since 1991, the influence of the Russian Federation in Central Asia has been on the decline, and many have assumed that the United States would move in to fill the resulting vacuum. US influence has indeed increased, at least in certain countries of that strategically important region. But a far more important external player there now is China, which is engaged in what some observers call “a quiet expansion” or even “the Sinification” of Central Asian countries (see China Brief, July 29, 2011; see EDM, January 24, 2011; November 3, 2015; February 10, 2016; March 10, 2016; April 8, 2016).

Slovak echoes of Brexit

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By Grigorij Mesežnikov

On 1 July 2016 Slovakia assumed the Presidency of the EU Council. The government had been planning to implement the agreement reached between the UK and the EU in February 2016. But now they have to deal with the fact that Great Britain is leaving the European Union.

New Generation of Politicians Set to Play Growing Role in Kazakhstan

By Alexander Kim

After long years of model stability, Kazakhstan is currently facing increasing turbulence in its economy and security. The country continues to struggle with the negative repercussions of the oil market slowdown, which has exacerbated social tensions domestically—most notably observed in the country-wide protests over land policy at the end of May (see EDM, May 16). The security situation at home has worsened as well, with the recent attacks in Aktobe and Almaty (Tengrinews, June 12; Zakon.kz, July 18), which were most likely stand-alone attacks carried out by groups of marginalized and impoverished citizens with no particular links to international jihadist networks (Kapital.kz, July 21).

In Defense of the Baltics

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By ALAN POSENER

So Donald Trump doesn’t want to protect the Baltic states against Russian President Vladimir Putin. Costs too much. This, basically, is what the Republican candidate for president of the United States said in an interview with the New York Times on July 21.

Ambitious projects of 25-year old state

By Kim Shtern

This year Kazakhstan will celebrate 25 years of its own independence. A quarter of a century - a period small, and sometimes it seems that today Kazakhstan could be better. Skeptics will say so, but each of those who live here are now so once thought about the fact that things could be worse. Examples - enough. Perhaps the main project, given the country's independence and its leader - the new city, rebuilt in record time and became really the center of attraction. Astana and was chosen largely because of the geographical location in the heart of the state, combining not only the ideal transport hub, but also the potential of urbanization in the region. The population of less than 20 years have passed for a million. Economically, Astana have not retsepient budget money. Politically, the new capital of Kazakhstan has learned not only cause short-term enthusiasm, but serious respect. And perhaps most importantly, Astana - Kazakhstan has become synonymous as a separate, independent player on the world stage.