April 2011

All Level Victory

By Dinara Asanova

Snap elections of the President in Kazakhstan ended with firm victory of the current Head of the state Nursultan Nazarbayev. This may have various estimations and viewpoints. But there is the fact – the election campaign was of pure virtuosity.

The Realist Prism: Libya Could Shift NATO Focus Southward

By Nikolas Gvosdev

The commencement of military operations in Libya has led to some unexpected reactions in Eastern European capitals. It was widely expected that Russia, whose uneasiness with the very principle of humanitarian intervention is well-known, would have used its veto at the U.N. Security Council to block the passage of Resolution 1973. After all, Russia's firm opposition to the Kosovo intervention in 1999 led the United States to work through NATO rather than bring the matter to the Security Council. And Moscow has had a clear track record over the last decade of resisting Western calls for intervention on humanitarian grounds in places like Sudan, Zimbabwe and Burma. Yet Russia chose to abstain from the vote on the Libya resolution, not veto it, and in the absence of Russian resistance, China chose not to be the lone standout on the issue. While there has subsequently been a great deal of criticism -- most notably expressed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin -- emanating from some circles in Russia, there has been no indication that Moscow is prepared to take any drastic steps to register its displeasure.

Planning pollution in Estonia

By Stephen Gardner

A European Commission state aid notice published on March 23 has shown how EU member state governments can work directly against agreements they make at EU level, in this case on combatting climate change. The Commission said it would open an investigation into Estonian state aid that will underpin the construction of two highly-polluting power plants.

The New North: the World in 2050

By John Gray

It is easier to know what cannot be than to foretell what will be. There was never any possibility that Iraq would become a secular democracy: toppling Saddam Hussein meant destroying a secular regime, however despotic, while post-invasion politics was bound to reflect sectarian divisions. Similarly, there was never the remot­est prospect of post-communist Russia becoming a western-style economy; 70 years of Soviet rule had produced a military-industrial rustbelt, lacking the most rudimentary preconditions of a viable market system.

One Year After Regime Change: Kyrgyzstan’s Recent Past is Full of Ambiguity

By Erica Marat

As Kyrgyzstan marks the first anniversary of the April 7, 2010 regime change after a year full of dramatic changes, ambiguity about the country’s recent past prevails. The public and political leadership still grapples with interpreting the meaning of April 7 as well as the ethnic violence in June 2010, in southern Kyrgyzstan. Instead, rumors triumph while competing political factions prefer to use this uncertainty for their own purposes.

Smells like Gas...

By Oleg Gorbunov

Ukrainian authorities still count on the revision of gas treaties, concluded during the period when Julia Timoshenko was the Prime Minister. This is regularly indicated by the President Viktor Yanukovych, the Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov and Fuel and Energy Minister Yury Bojko. The subject shall become more urgent when gas discount ends to be valid, which was gained in the result of Kharkov agreements on Black Sea Fleet. And what’s then?