January 2016

Why Russia Needs Europe

By Joseph Dobbs

In the two decades following the end of the Cold War the notion of a Greater Europe, an integrated space stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok, attracted a great deal of support. You only need read Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 2010 commentary in Seuddeutsche Zeitung to understand just how powerful this idea once was. Today however the long-standing supporters of a cooperative and integrated continent, like former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, are coming to terms with the “Sunset of Greater Europe”. Some political circles in Moscow have their sights set instead on a “Greater Asia”, from St Petersburg to Shanghai. Massive deals with China, like an estimated $2 billion to supply Beijing with advanced SU-35 fighter jets, are illustrative of this broader shift in Russia’s outlook, away from Europe and towards Asia.

The ability to reduce gas supplies to Turkey


By Daniel Rozanov

Given that Russia - the main supplier of natural gas to Turkey, and Turkey - the second largest supplier of client "Gazprom", it is difficult to imagine that the supply of natural gas is completely stopped due to geopolitical tensions between the two countries. Nevertheless, we should not rule out a temporary reduction in supply from Russia under some technical pretext in winter as political blackmail.

Hostages of war oligarchs

By Alina Kantor

One of the largest banks in the country - "Kazkommertsbank" filed a lawsuit against the portal "Respublika" and "NAKANUNE.kz", accusing the editors and individual journalists in the dissemination of false information about the Bank and the damage to its business reputation. These media have published a series of articles accusing the bank, among other things, the "raider seizure" of property disgraced oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov. The latter is currently being held in prison in France awaiting extradition to Russia. He is accused of financial fraud of more than 6 billion. Dollars three countries: Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. And the journalists confirmed that "just work for the money" despite the fact that violated the law.

Russia’s energy trump and Turkey’s alternatives

By Hasan Selim Özertem

After the downing of a Russian Su-24M bomber by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet, Turkey’s energy policies have been brought to the table once again with the most crucial issue coming to the agenda being how to balance Turkey’s energy dependency on Russia. According to 2014 statistics, Russian gas accounts for 54.7 per cent of Turkey’s overall gas imports. Additionally, considering that Turkey commissioned the Russian company Rosatom with the construction of its first nuclear energy power plant, Turkey’s energy dependency on Russia could became more complex. Currently, however, the more immediate focus centers on the increasing risks entailed by Turkey’s dependency on Russian natural gas. 

Kazakhstan’s Bid for UN Security Council Seat: A Realistic Effort

By Dr Shahid Qureshi

In June 2016 the UNSC (United Nations Security Council) elections for the five non-permanent members are going to be held at the 70 session of the UN General Assembly. One seat allocated for the Asia-Pacific group is contested between Kazakhstan and Thailand. In 2010 Kazakhstan expressed its interest to bid for non-permanent member seat at the UNSC which was one step forward to its six-year foreign policy agenda 2014-2020. The purpose of this bid is to go in the third circle of influence and widening its more active role at the international stage playing role on the issues of peace keeping, energy, environment, economy, food, poverty, terrorism and nuclear non-proliferation.

Remarks by NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow at the Snow Meeting in Trakai, Lithuania

It’s great to be back in Trakai – and to have some real snowy weather for this year’s Snow Meeting.  When I spoke last year, I spoke of the Kremlin’s rejection of the values, principles and structures jointly agreed in Europe after World War II and following the end of the Cold War; of Moscow’s use of military power to undermine the rules-based international system, including the illegal annexation of Crimea.

New Polish Government not to be feared, but needs to be embraced

The election of a right wing government in Poland just a few months ago is already sending ripples of anxiety across the region — and through the offices of the EU’s governing institutions. Crackdowns on state broadcasters and a spate of repressive laws have sparked protests on the streets of Warsaw. But for Laurynas Kasciunas, acting director of the Vilnius-based Eastern Europe Studies Center, a nationalist Poland is a potential ally for the Baltics and has the clout to bring Central and Eastern Europe closer together. The Baltic Times sat down with Kasciunas for interview.