Sebastien Peyrouse 08-31-2015
In 2011, then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rolled out a plan for Central and South Asia: “Let’s work together to create a new Silk Road. Not a single thoroughfare like its namesake, but an international web and network of economic and transit connections. That means building more rail lines, highways, energy infrastructure….” Unfortunately, the logic of the U.S. government’s New Silk Road (NSR) Initiative is not convincingly based on...
Alexandra Yatsyk 08-28-2015
Tatarstan and Chechnya, two federal republics with strong Islamic elements in their regional identities, have nimbly positioned themselves within the “Russian world,” an ideological concept that has increased in prominence since the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict. Both republics have sought to raise their visibility within the Russian Federation and promote themselves as regional success stories, but their policies differ in many respects....
Anar Valiyev 08-26-2015
Azerbaijan is located at the crossroads of major Eurasian land and air transportation corridors. Since gaining independence, the Azerbaijani government has actively tried to make the country a bridge between Europe and Asia. Over the last decade, it has invested billions of dollars into commercial infrastructure and transportation projects. It is finalizing construction of the largest port in the Caspian Sea (in Alyat, 60 kilometers south of...
PONARS Eurasia 08-26-2015
(POLITICO) In trying to create a likeness of Soviet power, Vladimir Putin is doing one thing demonstrably better than the Kremlin masters of old: propaganda. During the Cold War Soviet outlets like Pravda would disseminate outlandish claims so crass and obviously false that even true comrades turned the page or flipped the channel (and there were a lot fewer channels then). Today the Kremlin-funded RT, with its lineup of conspiracy cranks,...
Mark Kramer 08-25-2015
The devastating civil war in Syria and the long-standing turmoil in Iraq have been magnets for jihadists (and aspiring jihadists) from the Caucasus and Central Asia. No sooner had a civil war erupted in Syria in 2011 than militant Islamists from post-Soviet states began flocking there. More recently, some have also made their way to Iraq to fight on behalf of the ultra-radical Islamic State jihadist organization, which over the past year and a...
Harris Mylonas 08-25-2015
(Social Science Quarterly) The goal of this article is to highlight the methodological problems involved in the study of nation-building and propose solutions. I identify three categories of methodological problems that flow from respective practices in social science research: (i) inferring intentions from observed behavior or outcomes; (ii) relying on census data to infer a country's ethnic diversity; and (iii) arbitrary periodization and...
PONARS Eurasia 08-25-2015
(EUobserver) Russian tanks are using French technology on the battlefields of east Ukraine. But will Russia’s new “star” tank, the Armata T-14, rely on EU components despite the arms embargo? France recently made headlines by cancelling its Mistral warships deal with Russia due to the Ukraine conflict. Dmitry Gorenburg, a Russian expert at CNA, a Washington-based NGO, said: “Since the Russian defence industry is known to be unable to produce all...
PONARS Eurasia 08-25-2015
(Moscow Times) The current crisis is unlike those of 1998 and 2008 that most of us remember. It is both longer and very different than the others, and it does not help that both the Russian people and Kremlin leaders have frivolously high expectations concerning its outcome. Everyone is clearly ready for a crisis, but they are prepared for a repeat of previous crises, and not for the one that has actually come. [...] According to economist...

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