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Domestic & Reform Archives

July 1, 1995

Eastern Europe: Still Out in the Cold?

Are the emerging securities markets in Eastern Europe worth paying attention to? Yes, if one is careful and avoids the "conventional wisdom." The conventional wisdom is that Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic are on track to become members of the European Union (EU), that their growth will be export-led, and that they are set to take off in the foreseeable but always indefinite future. Each of these three assumptions is either a little off-base or just plain wrong-headed.

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November 15, 1996

The West's Irreducible Interests in Central Asia

With the dismantlement of the inherited Soviet nuclear arsenal now under way, it is the apparent lack of well defined long-term goals (apart from "stability") that largely account for Washington's inability to clarify the nature of its engagement in Central Asia, leading it to deal with immediate issues (such as the Tajikistan situation) on a piecemeal basis. There are, however, at least two key areas of central Asian concern (not counting the burgeoning drug trade or the Tajikistan civil war) that directly engage "vital" U.S. interests. These areas are nuclear nonproliferation and energy security.

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March 1, 1997

Integration Within and Without the CIS

One periodically encounters critical evaluations of the CIS, but a more nuanced analysis is motivated by bringing into the open some hidden assumptions and by shedding light on some blind spots in Western analysts' predictions of the CIS's imminent demise. Such predictions we may call the "Goldilocks model" of CIS (dis)integration: where the main thing that Goldilocks is attempting to do is escape the embrace of the Russian Bear by getting out of the house. Different variants of the Goldilocks model contain as many as three related fallacies that misunderstand the meaning of integration in the present-day international system.

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March 21, 1998

Energy Resources, Human Resources, and Co-operative Energy Security

Invited Speech to the Plenary Session "Caspian Sea Resources", Monaco Summit on Energy (Crans Montana Forum in Monaco sponsored by UNIDO).

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February 8, 1999

How To Orient Energy Regulation towards Economic Cooperation

In March, the private U.S. consulting firm Legal Technical & Advisory Services will hold a training session for energy officials from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. This high-level, hands-on seminar will focus on legislation, policy and regulations of the oil and gas sectors. A particular advantage will be the simultaneous presence of leading officials from the three most important energy-producing countries in Central Asia.

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April 27, 1999

Tariff Competition in the Caucasus and a Test Case for Reform in Iran

Competition among export pipeline companies in the Caucasus is heating up, even while the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline project remains on at least temporary hold. As predicted here some time ago, transit fees are beginning to play a major role in at least the short-term development of pipeline routes. This may have unexpected implications for the longer-term future, inasmuch as seven years ago no one was even thinking about Baku-Supsa.

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November 16, 1999

Just When You Thought Baku-Ceyhan Was Dead and Buried (3/7)

Part one of this series, published after BP-Amoco made an announcement in support of the Baku-Ceyhan Main Export Pipeline (MEP), reviewed the background to that decision and its implications with regard to the four agreements being negotiated between Turkey and Azerbaijan. It also discussed what the MEP agreement and the cost guarantee agreement might look like. Part two began the discussion of the agreement between investors and transit states. This week's column is being written on the weekend preceding the November 18-19 meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Istanbul. It is expected that a set of framework agreements will be signed at that meeting, at least by Turkey and Azerbaijan. In anticipation of that event, the discussion of the agreement between investors and transit states will continue here, with special attention to Georgia. First, however, will come a few necessary preliminary remarks about BP-Amoco and the Istanbul conference.

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November 24, 1999

Instability in the Balance: The Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline

The signing of the Istanbul Protocol on the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline at the recent OSCE meeting was highly important politically to the leaders who signed it. But the project will in the long run be more important to the peoples of the region than to those leaders who expended so much effort bringing it about. The pipeline deal presents regional leaders with a fateful decision. Should they fail to use local suppliers and train local labor for its construction, current disparities in income distribution will become aggravated. This could create civil unrest, leading to political instability that would threaten the pipeline project itself. But by using local NGOs to train a capable workforce, individual workers would experience the decision-making autonomy necessary to foster democratic institutions, build civil society, and perhaps also lead to civil unrest.

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December 8, 1999

Kazakhstan's Ethnic Mix: Recipe for a Shatterbelt In Central Eurasia

Nearly two weeks ago, twenty-two individuals (twelve citizens of Russia and ten ethnic-Russian citizens of Kazakhstan) were arrested in Ust-Kamenogorsk in East Kazakhstan province. They were charged with planning an uprising to seize political power in the province and proclaim a republic called "Russian Land," autonomous of both Russia and Kazakhstan. The deeper significance of this group's arrest is not limited to only inter-ethnic relations in Kazakhstan or even problems of democratization in the country; it more importantly concerns relations between Russia and Kazakhstan and the future geopolitical configuration of Central Eurasia itself.

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January 31, 2000

Ajaria, the Russian Military in Georgia, and Stability in the South Caucasus

Recent initiatives aimed at fostering a multilateral security system in the South Caucasus potentially represent an historic shift in how Russia relates to the region. These initiatives would lead Russia to view the South Caucasus as an area for common co-operation rather than to treat it as a private preserve. The effectively autonomous province of Ajaria in southwest Georgia, and the Russian military base at its capital Batumi, are auspicious for the political integrity of the Georgian state and for South Caucasus regional stability. The ramifications for Georgia are especially profound. The ongoing [late 1999 and early 2000] fighting in Chechnya has strained relations between Russia and Georgia, as Moscow has repeatedly accused Tbilisi of providing tacit assistance to Chechen separatists. Georgian officials deny the accusations and assert that Russia's "special services" (as distinct from the Russian government itself) have been acting as agents provocateurs.

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February 16, 2000

Uzbekistan's Trade Liberalization: Key to Central Asian Economic Integration

SUMMARY: President Islam Karimov's reelection in Uzbekistan has been followed by his statement that a program of economic liberalization and privatization will now be introduced in the country. Currency controls on the Uzbek som and its less than full convertibility, have been the greatest roadblocks to the overall development of the Central Asian trading block, called the Central Asian Union, that includes Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. If barriers including bilateral trade tariffs can be overcome, the Central Asian Union holds the greatest potential to reanimate regional trade throughout the Central Asian region.

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April 12, 2000

Russia Slouches towards Central Asia

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright arrives April 14 in Kazakhstan, on the first leg of a week-long tour of Central Asia that will also take her to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The visit occurs against a backdrop of increasing Russian diplomatic activity in the region in the period since Vladimir Putin's appointment as Acting President by Boris Yeltsin and subsequent election in his own right. This coincidence opens speculation about United States-Russian relations in Central Asia and the directions Central Asian countries themselves will choose to chart their futures.

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May 10, 2000

Ajaria’s New Federal Status: Implications For Georgia’s Territorial Integrity

Ceded by Turkey under the 1921 Treaty of Kars, Ajaria under the Soviet regime enjoyed the status of Autonomous Republic inside Georgia. As the USSR withered away, the modern Georgian state was established as a unitary political entity without autonomous sub-units, but Ajaria retained de facto autonomy after 1991. After Eduard Shevardnadze was re-elected President of Georgia last month [April 2000], the parliament in Tbilisi voted to change the constitution, transforming the administrative region of Ajaria into the Ajarian Republic. This federal precedent may help resolve the status of South Ossetia, but it will not satisfy Abkhazian demands. To establish Javakhetia as a federal entity could create more problems than it solves.

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May 23, 2000

Solving the Problems of Caspian Industrial Infrastructure (2/2)

Three weeks ago I began describing part of the industrial infrastructure problem in the Caspian region. Limitations of physical geography require relative self-sufficiency in the development of basic infrastructure and installation of production facilities. The amount of investment required to build up the infrastructure capacity also limits the pace of the region's development. Steel fabrication capacity is especially key.

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July 25, 2000

How Shah-Deniz Is Changing the Equation (3/9)

China has declared ownership of its planned pipeline from Xinjiang to Shanghai open to foreign entities. This follows President Jiang Zemin's visit to Turkmenistan, where he discussed the possibility of a pipeline to carry natural gas from that country across Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to Xinjiang. The announcement comes three weeks after Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, whose companies recently bought a stake in PetroChina, reportedly made the suggestion to Chinese officials at a June 23 meeting.

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August 16, 2000

China’s "Go West" Pipeline Projects: A "Great Leap Westward"?

The Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) asserts that Xinjiang has 17.4 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves. However, it is not clear that they are all recoverable. The geology is frequently difficult and the depths are often extreme. It is more likely that this figure is for potential or estimated reserves. Indeed, several years ago western energy companies, encouraged by Beijing's touting of Xinjiang's natural energy resources, paid high fees to test-drill for oil, and they came up dry. Now, the 2,600-mile-long "West-East" pipeline is projected to carry gas from Xinjiang to Shanghai at a construction cost of $5 billion and to open in 2003.

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September 5, 2000

How Shah-Deniz is changing the equation (6/9)

I resume my series on the fall-out from the discovery of vast natural gas resources at the Shah-Deniz deposit, located off the coast of Azerbaijan. That discovery put into question the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP) from Turkmenistan to Turkey, though this project has recently been re-endorsed by Ashgabat. I will cover the latter development in a future column. For the present, however, I wish to focus on the neglected Turkmenistan-Ukraine-Russia energy triangle and discuss how TCGP politics have contributed to a political battle among elites in Kyiv.

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September 26, 2000

How Shah-Deniz is changing the equation (7/9)

The article examines once more the results of the Shah-Deniz find for the Russia-Turkmenistan-Ukraine triangle. It first dissects the most recent developments in their interactions over energy supplies and policy. It then examines the question of what the Russian contract for an additional 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) means for Turkmenistan, for the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, for the Shah-Deniz project and for the TCGP itself.

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November 8, 2000

Uzbekistan's Foreign Policy and Its Domestic Effects

The lack of economic momentum in Uzbekistan has led to a general decline of great-power interest in the country. In a vicious circle, Uzbekistan's profile in international and regional diplomacy has fallen in turn. Its response could be called an "all directions" strategy, after France's General De Gaulle's "tous azimuts" nuclear doctrine of the 1960s. But whereas De Gaulle targeted the source of every possible threat, even from allies, for President Karimov "all directions" means looking for help from whatever direction of the compass he can find it. This policy on the part of the government risks manifesting as an "every man for himself" policy for Uzbekistani individuals in their everyday lives.

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January 1, 2001

The Unanticipated Consequences of Policy Blindness: Why Even Belarus Matters

A dangerous blind spot in the incoming administration's view of Russian affairs is its inadequate understanding of the significance of the newly independent states (NIS). The unanticipated consequences of such policy blindness are exemplified by developments in the 1990s in Belarus, formerly called Byelorussia—a country sandwiched between Russia and Poland—sharing a border with Ukraine to the south and with Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest.

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May 1, 2001

Euro-Caspian energy and the political crisis in Ukraine

In one of the generally less remarked-upon recent political earthquakes, the reform-oriented government of Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine has lost a no-confidence vote in the Ukrainian Rada (parliament) but will stay on at the head of a caretaker government for up to 60 days. The column analyses the significance of the political crisis in Ukraine for energy questions in Europe and Eurasia.

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October 4, 2001

Cozying up to Karimov?

In its new war on terrorism, Washington is quickly moving to put its "strategic partnership" with Uzbekistan to work. It has already turned to Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov, who has spent the past decade cracking down so hard in his own country that he has driven the possibility of loyal Islamic dissent out of the political arena, and is now targeted by the Taliban-backed Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), with which there have been military clashes over the past two years.

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October 10, 2001

Central Asian energy and security in light of the Afghanistan crisis

The effect of events in Afghanistan on public opinion in Central Asia is difficult to gauge. Yet this public opinion is already in general either exhausted by economic hardship or increasingly discontent with political repression. That very situation is what presents the danger that the U.S. rapprochement with Central Asian regimes will negatively affect its long-term interests.

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November 21, 2001

The Shattering of the Sino-Russian Entente over the Shape of Central Asia?

Before the terrorist acts in New York City, the U.S. looked to be largely absent diplomatically and militarily, while limiting its economic presence to Caspian energy development in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Yet the formation of a U.S.-sponsored ‘global anti-terrorist coalition’ has not undercut the basis for the Sino-Russian rapprochement signaled by the institutionalization of the SCO and the signing of the first bilateral Sino-Russian treaty in fifty years.

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December 5, 2001

Government Crisis in Kazakhstan: Warm-Up for the Succession to Nazarbaev?

On November 15, deputy National Security Council director Rakhat Aliev resigned from his post after his boss Marat Tazhin forbade him to give evidence to a parliamentary commission investigating corruption in government. Three days later, deputy prime minister Uraz Dzhandosov and other members of cabinet announced the foundation of an elite reform movement favoring decentralization and democratization, called Democratic Choice. The prime minister then threatened to resign unless the Democratic Choice members left the government. In spite of support for Democratic Choice from the heads of two commercial banks and other business and political leaders in the country, Nazarbaev chose to support his prime minister Kasymzhomart Tokaev.

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February 26, 2003

Kazakhstan’s New Foreign Investment Law

Late last year, the flagship venture TengizChevrOil took the unusual step of holding its board meeting in Almaty and voting to suspend the next stage (planned at $3 billion) in the project’s development. A number of explanations filtered out over subsequent weeks to explain the decision, although all the explanations turned on the issue of the level of TengizChevrOil's taxes. A more disturbing explanation later emerged, that KazMunaiGaz, the Kazakhstani partner in TengizChevrOil, had put forward a bureaucratic stategem that amounted to making ChevronTexaco to pay its portion of the cost.

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March 12, 2003

Russia Begins Oil Swaps with Iran

Iran has been seeking since the mid-1990s to undertake oil swaps with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan as a way to increase its own exports. Such swaps involve Iran’s importing oil in the north on its Caspian Sea coast for domestic refining and consumption, while exporting compensatory quantities to the world market from its southern ports on the Persian Gulf. This has been part and parcel of Iran’s strategy not only for developing its own energy sector but also for situating itself as an important transit country for international trade flows in general.

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January 14, 2004

Kazakhstan's Economic Promise Revisited

Real GDP fell throughout the first half of the 1990s in all newly independent states, declining by about half in Kazakhstan. The country was also adversely affected towards the end of the decade by the Asian and Russian crises as well as by fluctuating world market prices for energy. However, Kazakhstan's economic performance has significantly improved since late 1999, due partly to capable macroeconomic engineering, partly to the rebound of world energy prices, and partly to spillover effects from energy-sector growth taking hold in the domestic economy.

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January 15, 2004

Emerging triangles: Russia-Kazakhstan-China

The significance of the agreements on energy cooperation achieved during Russian President Vladimir Putin's recently completed visit to Kazakhstan is only an indicator of the consolidation of deeper tectonic shifts in Eurasian security and economic affairs. A new triangle is emerging in East Central Eurasian geo-economics among Russia, Kazakhstan and China. (It is being complemented by the emergence of another such triangle in West Central Eurasia among Russia, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.) Energy cooperation is a linchpin of each of the emerging triangular ententes, but the ententes themselves go far beyond energy.

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January 16, 2004

Новый треугольник Россия-Казахстан-Китай

В Евразии происходят глубинные тектонические сдвиги в области обеспечения безопасности и экономического сотрудничества.

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May 27, 2004

The Sources and Regions of Crisis in the Caucasus

Public speech invited at the International Symposium Examination of the Regions of Crisis from the Perspectives of Turkey, NATO and the European Union, and the Impacts of These Crises on the Security of Turkey, organized by the Strategic Research and Study Center (SAREM), Turkish General Staff, Istanbul, 27–28 May 2004.

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October 6, 2004

Kazakhstan Holds Elections for a New Parliament

On September 19, Kazakhstan held the first round of elections for a new Majilis (lower parliamentary body). Second-round run-offs are being held on October 3, but the first round already established the contours of the complete results. In addition to parties formed around the persons of President Nursultan Nazarbaev (Otan) or his daughter Dariga Nazarbaeva (Asar), the technocratic Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DCK) and Ak Zhol, which emerged from it, were among those running candidates. The conduct of the elections was better than in other Central Asian states, but exit polls were diverged markedly from the official results, which give Otan a majority in the chamber. Important structural impediments to de-authorization and democratization remain, but they are not insurmountable. However, the longer reform is delayed, the more endemic they will become.

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October 7, 2005

CACO integrate EurAsEc

The Central Asian Co-operation Organization (CACO, comprising Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and since October 2004 Russia) has taken a decision to meld itself into the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEc, which includes also Belarus and has until now excluded Uzbekistan). CACO, established in February 2002, started out in 1994 as the Central Asian Union (Kazakhstan+Kyrgyzstan+Uzbekistan) and changed its name to the Central Asian Economic Community when Tajikistan joined in 1998.

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September 26, 2006

Slow Progress on Reforms in Kazakhstan

Robert Cutler with the Institute of European and Russian Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, "The thing to understand about Kazakhstan is that there is political pluralism. But it is extremely restricted to a relatively not very numerous political elite. There have been opposition movements within this political elite, trying to liberalize things for the simple purpose of economic rationality. And the political conflict is really amongst this political elite. The mere fact that someone you know [as a fellow political elite] can be found murdered creates a little uncertainty and it makes people uneasy. [Opposition leader and former Information Minister Altynbek Sarsenbaev was murdered in February 2006.] There's a sense that something has got to change. But as is often the case, things are not going to change much so long as the autocrat[, Nursultan Nazarbayev,] is still in place."

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February 13, 2008

Kazakhstan announces new energy directions

Kazakhstan's Prime Minister Karim Masimov has announced major energy-related decisions in the wake of President Nursultan Nazarbaev's address to the nation last week. First, and most strikingly, he has ordered the suspension all negotiations with foreign investors on exploration, development and extraction of subsurface natural resources pending the working out of a new tax code.

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April 23, 2008

Р. Катлер: "Политическая элита США всегда признавала значение Узбекистана для Центральной Азии и Евразии"

Известный американский эксперт по евразийской политике профессор Роберт Катлер поделился своим видением развития геополитических и экономических процессов в Центральной Азии и Евразии с нашим внештатным корреспондентом Мавляном Юлдашевым.

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July 18, 2008

EU's Central Asia partnership, one year on

The one-year anniversary of the EU's Partnership Strategy with Central Asia gets off to a slow start but is not without potential.

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August 2, 2008

Ukraine clash threatens oil to Europe

Corruption and politics in Ukraine threaten to choke off, at least in the near term, the expansion of oil exports from Azerbaijan and eventually Kazakhstan to Europe. This is the significance of Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko's efforts in July to halt what she called the "shadowy privatization" of the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline.

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August 8, 2008

Turkey ruling spurs (brief) stock revival

The strong recovery in Turkey's stock markets that preceded and followed the rejection last week by the country's Constitutional Court of prosecution calls to ban the political party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be short-lived.

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August 13, 2008

Oil in troubled mountains

The armed conflict between Russian and Georgia has further exposed the fragile position of the energy links running through the smaller country from the Caspian Sea to developed market economies

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August 28, 2008

Turkey has a rough road ahead

The realities of Turkey's economy and politics would alone have killed off the summer revival in the country's stock markets. Russia's invasion of Georgia, on Turkey's back doorstep, made sure.

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Türkiye’nin İşi Zor

Türkiye’nin ekonomik ve siyasi gerçekleri tek başına, piyasalardaki yaz canlanmasının canına okurdu. Rusya’nın Türkiye’nin arka kapısı Gürcistan’ı işgali de bunu kesinleştirdi.

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Թուրքիան դժվարին ճանապարհ ունի անցնելու

Թուրքիայի տնտեսական և քաղաքական իրողությունները միայն բավական կլինեին երկրի արժեթղթերի շուկայում ամռանը գրանցված աշխուժությունը սպանելու համար: Իսկ Ռուսաստանի ներխուժումը Թուրքիայի դրկից Վրաստան դրան թափ հաղորդեց:

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September 17, 2008

Can Belgium Still Exist?

In mid-July, the Belgian prime minister Yves Leterme (Christian-Democrat Flemish party, CDV) tried to resign: for the third time. King Albert II once more refused to accept the resignation and appointed a three-person commission to resolve the deadlock. This week it reports back to him, although the verdict will not be known for some days.

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October 30, 2008

Kazakhstan does its own bailing

Kazakhstan, whose economy has endured a switchback progress since independence from the Kremlin in 1991, is discovering the benefits of salting away wealth in the good times as it seeks to survive the global downturn without recourse to foreign aid.

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February 6, 2009

Turkey, IMF talks go to the wire

Turkey, facing a multi-billion dollar financing shortfall, will resume efforts to reach agreement with the International Monetary Fund on a stand-by facility later this month after an IMF mission departed Ankara on January 27 without a final settlement The last such program, which expired in May 2008, was only the most recent in a series going back nearly 10 years that has been nearly universally viewed as an "anchor" for instilling the financial discipline necessary to implement successive economic reform agendas.
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February 12, 2009

Kazakhstan's tenge far from secure

Kazakhstan, its economy roiled by the global fall in prices of key earners oil and gas, may have to let its currency weaken further following the 18% devaluation earlier last week as the current account balance continues to worsen. On February 4, Kazakhstan's central bank devalued the tenge to the level of 150 to the US dollar and set up a 3% band around the new level. There was a hint of this coming when in mid-January Grigorii Marchenko was appointed the new chief of Kazakhstan's central bank.

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February 13, 2009

Зарубежные эксперты считают

… что нынешняя стабилизация тенге является краткосрочной, а об укреплении национальной валюты можно будет говорить только после повышения сырьевых цен и решения проблем коммерческих банков. За прошедшие после 4 февраля дни о девальвации в Казахстане успели написать почти все влиятельные мировые издания. Для традиционного обзора прессы на радио Азаттык мы отобрали публикации, в которых речь идет о перспективах национальной валюты и экономики в целом.

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Нынешняя девальвация тенге может оказаться не последней

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February 27, 2009

Divided Ukraine skirting default

Rising concern that Ukraine, suffering tumbling demand for its exports as the global economy slows down, is heading towards default on its international debt may yet nudge its government to rein in political infighting, even as leading factions position themselves for an election next year.

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March 11, 2009

Medvedev, Putin: Rift But No Split

Talk of a Medvedev-Putin rift is no longer only talk, as the economic crisis already pulls the two further apart regardless of their intentions, but any rumor of the conflict producing an open split is highly premature.

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March 13, 2009

Медведев и Путин: трещина, но не раскол

Разговоры о том, что между Медведевым и Путиным пролегла трещина, перестали быть только разговорами: экономический кризис разводит политиков в разные стороны независимо от их желания. Однако слухи об открытом расколе преждевременны. По мнению социологов, бунт Медведева против Путина невозможен, а его недавние шаги - всего лишь проявление популизма.

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March 26, 2009

Finance: Eastern Europe’s Response

The significance of the recent European Council summit is less its failure to address the full effects of the global financial crisis on Eastern members and more the rallying around a response that diverges from Washington’s.

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April 2, 2009

Taiwan's ambiguous recovery

The Taiwan presidential election victory of opposition Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Ma Ying-jeou a year ago was expected to bring an upsurge in trade with the mainland resulting from increased economic integration across the strait - that was one of the winner's campaign promises.

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April 9, 2009

Indian stocks give poll cheer

The hopes of the India's United Progressive Alliance as it heads towards next week's general elections are being encouraged by a stock-market revival that has seen shares recover 20% since the Satyam Computer Services fraud scandal broke on January 23.

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April 16, 2009

Turkish magic

A sparkling performance by the Turkish stock market is defying gloom across the country's economy, which has shown little sign of lightening since a disillusioned public reined in support for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in municipal elections on March 29.

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April 30, 2009

China deal helps out Kazakhs

The US$10 billion deal this month allowing China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to purchase 50% of Kazakhstan's privately owned MangistauMunaiGaz (MMG) and a $5 billion loan from China will come as welcome boost to the Central Asian country's economy, which shrank in the first quarter after years of double-digit growth.

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May 22, 2009

Indian stock surge doutful guide

The UPA's positive showing against the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), based around the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), banished for the moment fears that the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) elections would produce an unstable if not internally fractious government and increased the prospect of successful legislation for economic reforms. Congress alone increased its representation from 165 to 205 seats, and with its allies inside the UPA will have 262 members of parliament, or nearly half of the 545 seats.

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July 16, 2009

Nabucco ink starts to flow

The signing this week of a transit agreement to govern the Nabucco natural gas pipeline marks an important staging post in bringing to reality the long-touted energy route, which is projected to run 3,300 kilometers from the Caspian Sea region to Europe. Yet it is important to understand what such a transit agreement is intended to do - and what it is not intended to do.

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July 31, 2009

The Kurds and the Constitutional Crisis in Iraq

Question: The future of Iraq is related to the success of the political process and national reconciliation among Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis. To avoid dictatorship of the majority, consensus democracy has been pursued in Iraq. What is your opinion as how this process will succeed and how these three main components of Iraq may unite?

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August 27, 2009

Australia approves gas megaproject

In order to understand energy geopolitics in Asia, even in East Asia, it is no longer adequate to look westward to Central and Southwest Asia across the Arabian Peninsula to North Africa. A new, massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) development in Australia has just passed an important environmental hurdle, and China, India and Japan are lined up to be customers.

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October 10, 2009

Kazakhstan points route out of crisis

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to Kazakhstan for the signing of an energy pipeline deal marked a week that included two other significant events, including a novel approach to bank restructuring, that trace how the embattled country is seeking to surmount the economic crisis. Kazakhstan, Central Asia's largest economy, has moved to reinforce its banking system, hard hit by the world economic crisis, by agreeing with the creditors of Alliance Bank on terms for restructuring the financial institution. This is the first time that such a deal has been struck without the bank first having been taken under the state's protection.

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October 13, 2009

Казахстан указывает на путь выхода из кризиса

Визит президента Франции Николя Саркози в Казахстан для подписания сделки по трубопроводу ознаменовал собой неделю, на которой произошло два других важных события (в том числе новый подход к реструктурированию банка), "отслеживающие", как страна, приведенная в боевую готовность, стремится преодолеть экономический кризис.

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Қазақстан туралы шет елдерден келіп түскен күнделікті жаңалықтар

«Asia Times Online» басылымының авторы Роберт М.Катлер (Robert M Cutler) қазанның 10-ы күні «Kazakhstan points route out of crisis» атты мақала жариялап, соңғы уақытта біздің еліміздің халықаралық деңгейде үлкен саяси-экономикалық маңызы бар шешімдерге қол жеткізіп, дағдарыстан шығар жолды көрсеткені туралы тұжырым жасаған.

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November 20, 2009

Medvedev urges change to "primitive" economy

The differentiation in Russian policy and politics between President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minster Vladimir Putin is becoming more accentuated.

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December 16, 2009

Surprises aplenty in Iraqi oil selloff

The distinguishing feature of Iraq's auction of oil rights this weekend is the relative absence of American companies, in contrast to five weeks ago, when US firm ExxonMobil and Anglo-Dutch Shell signed an agreement to develop the West Qurna Phase 1 field.

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December 18, 2009

Blindfolded on a cliff edge

If the Chinese stock market is still an indicator of global investor appetite for risk, as analysts viewed it a few months ago, then that appetite has lately diminished. Perhaps they are finally absorbing some of the revelations about statistical manipulations.

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January 14, 2010

China tries to cool down

China has now entered, or is trying to enter, a cooling phase of the economic stimulus that, according to reliable estimates, accounted for as much as 95% of the country's economic growth through the first nine months of 2009.Yet according to Caixin Media, a Beijing-based media group, commercial banks issued loans worth 600 billion yuan (US$88 billion) during the first full week of January, and this despite instructions from banking regulators and the People's Bank of China (PBoC) to the contrary.

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January 15, 2010

Zoning In on Greece

The fiscal crisis between Athens and Brussels puts EU credit and currency problems in the spotlight.

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January 22, 2010

Bangladesh breathes in hope

Bangladesh, long known in the West as an "international basket case", is doing its best to consign to history the dismal label so firmly attached to it by US diplomat Henry Kissinger. The economy is humming and the stock market surging. Now the government is being urged to pursue reforms while the opportunity lasts.

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January 28, 2010

Sri Lanka's economy onwards and upwards

The continuity inherent in incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa's election victory, based on early returns, is likely to further strengthen confidence in Sri Lanka's economic revival after decades of civil war.

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February 5, 2010

Ukraine poll may deliver oil to Europe

Ukraine's run-off election between Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and rival Viktor Yanukovych, to be held on Sunday, may decide the future of a pipeline that could be used to deliver Caspian Sea oil to Europe, bypassing both Russia and Turkey.

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February 12, 2010

Kazakhstan innovates banking development

Of the "newly independent states" of the former Soviet Union, Kazakhstan continues to lead the economic recovery from the continuing global financial crisis, based in part on an innovative approach to financial restructuring of the banking sector that statutorily limits the prerogatives of creditors.

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February 17, 2010

Greek Tragedy Averted for Now

The EU has affirmed itself as the last resort to save Greece’s finances, but without making any specific promises and insisting that Greece must first do much more on its own.

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March 5, 2010

Kazakhs tighten grip on Karachaganak

Kazakhstan, which is seeking to strengthen its influence over the scale and pace of development of its natural resource projects, appears to have the onshore Karachaganak natural gas venture in its sights after driving through a shake-up at the offshore Kashagan deposit.

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Казахи и контроль над Карачаганаком

Казахстан, стремящийся усилить свое влияние над масштабом и темпом развития своих проектов по природным ресурсам, похоже, имеет в поле зрения прибрежное газовое месторождение Карачаганак после проведения коренной реорганизации на месторождении Кашаган.

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March 19, 2010

Stocks ride out Erdogan offensive

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent moves to weaken institutionally the two principal centers of resistance to the conservative-populist rule of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) have met with little resistance from the country's stock markets, buoyed by positive trade figures and upgrades in Turkey's sovereign debt ratings.

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Brussels Fiddles While Athens Strikes

The EU is taking its time in deciding what real policy actions to implement regarding the crisis over Greek finances and the eurozone, but publics in Greece and elsewhere are not waiting to express their disenchantment with national and supranational elites.

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March 30, 2010

Белые пятна в отношениях ЕС и Украины

Евросоюзу не следует спешить и поздравлять себя с тем, как он поступил в ситуации, связанной с проведением президентских выборов на Украине. Будущее, а не прошлое, покажет, что произойдет дальше. И будущее должно отличаться от прошлого.

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Blind Spots in EU-Ukraine Relations

The EU should not be too quick to congratulate itself for its handling of the situation surrounding Ukrainian presidential elections. The future, not the past, will tell the story, and the future has to be different from the past.

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April 9, 2010

Ukraine seeks pipeline threesome

Ukraine's new government, formed by President Viktor Yanukovych after he was inaugurated in March, this week affirmed that the country's gas transportation network is for sale to no one, including Russian gas monopoly Gazprom. At the same time, Russia has made it clear that it is willing to cooperate with the European Union in any project to modernize the network, which includes more than 60,000 kilometers of pipe plus 71 compressed air plants and 13 underground gas storage facilities. Last year, it carried over three-quarters of natural gas exports from Russia to Europe.

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April 13, 2010

EU Uncritical of Turkish Constitution Plan

The EU should recall Talleyrand’s dictum that “the devil is in the details” when evaluating Turkish constitutional amendments proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara, writes Robert M Cutler for ISN Security Watch.

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April 21, 2010

Complicating Cyprus

The election of Derviş Eroğlu as president in northern Cyprus complicates Turkey’s EU accession negotiations, as well as the already thorny negotiations over the island republic’s reunification.

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April 22, 2010

Komplikacja na Cyprze

Wybór Dervisa Eroglu na prezydenta w północnym Cyprze komplikuje negocjacje akcesyjne Turcji z UE jak również już wcześniej trudne negocjacje na temat zjednoczenia wyspiarskiej republiki.

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May 20, 2010

Naxalites drill away at India's wealth

The murder by Naxalite insurgents of 35 civilians and police in a landmine attack on a bus in the eastern Indian state of Chhattisgarh on Monday, a month after another attack killed at least 75 policemen, barely registered among investors seeking to tap into the country's burgeoning economy.

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June 10, 2010

China's labor unrest and the world economy

Labor unrest in China has reached the headlines of the Western media. The suicides at Foxconn and the strike at Honda have led to significant percentage wage increases that have been widely publicized. This will eventually increase somewhat disposable income and consumer spending in the country, encouraging a shift to production for the domestic market rather than for export. With the expected appreciation of the yuan during the course of this year, the wage hikes will inevitably make China’s exports more expensive for consumers in the developed countries, where they will consequently contribute to an increase in inflation.

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Chinese exports surge, for now

Tensions created by China's tearaway economic growth emerged on full display Thursday, when figures showed an almost 50% gain in exports in May and a near-record rise in house prices in the same month. The data kept pressure on the government to raise the value of the yuan, stoked fears of more moves to cool the economy, and sent stock prices sharply up - and then down.

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July 1, 2010

Interviu cu "Petroleum Industry Review" (Ploiesti)

Petroleum Industry Review: Cum evaluaţi evoluţia pieţei internaţionale de energie, având în vedere cererea crescută (în Uniunea Europeană şi în SUA consumul energetic a crescut cu peste 40% din 1970, în Japonia acesta s-a dublat, iar în China este de peste patru ori mai mare), dar şi declinul resurselor mondiale de hidrocarburi? Care este opinia dvs. cu privire la resursele alternative? Reprezintă energia regenerabilă o soluţie pentru economia mondială în perioada de criză? Dar pentru viitor?

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July 2, 2010

Turkey's markets on hold

Despite recent improvements in Turkey's economic performance, political uncertainty is weighing on the country's stock markets, with little prospect of relief until the outcome is known of a September 12 referendum on proposed constitutional amendments.

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July 8, 2010

Russia tries a ménage à trois

With moderate fanfare, yet another multilateral economic cooperation agreement was signed among a limited number of the Soviet successor states this month, in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signed up to a customs union in the margin of a meeting of the EurAsian Economic Community (EurAsEC), which also counts Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan as members.

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Россия пробует "любовь втроем"

В столице Казахстана Астане под несколько приглушенные звуки фанфар было заключено очередное многостороннее соглашение об экономическом сотрудничестве между некоторыми из стран-наследниц Советского Союза. На встрече Евроазиатского экономического сообщества (ЕврАзЭС) три его члена (Белоруссия, Казахстан и Россия) из пяти (остальные — это Таджикистан и Киргизия) подписали договор о вступлении в Таможенный союз.

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July 26, 2010

US-China Economic Conflict: Not Dead, but Asleep

Political friction over economic issues between the US and China has faded for the time being, but its sources remain and may reappear at any time.

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July 28, 2010

Nazarbaev faults Europe on Nabucco

President Nursultan Nazarbaev of Kazakhstan publicly endorsed the Nabucco natural gas pipeline earlier this month, then criticized Europe for putting too much talk into the project and not enough action.

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September 9, 2010

Turkish strength fragile in referendum run-up

The Turkish government's hopes for a victory in this weekend's closely fought referendum on changes to the constitution are being strengthened by an economic performance that in the first six months was possibly second only to China, after expansion of nearly 12% in the first quarter.

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September 17, 2010

Sri Lankan economy powers on

Whatever doubts Sri Lanka's local and overseas investors had about constitutional amendments reinforcing President Mahinda Rajapaksa's already appreciable powers, they did not show up in the stock market in the week since parliament approved the changes.

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September 30, 2010

Kazakhstan continues economic recovery

Kazakhstan's economy has responded strongly to the return of international demand for its energy, mining and manufacturing exports, growing at an 8% rate during the first half from the equivalent period in 2009. That is helping to fuel optimism that Astana looks like weathering the global financial crisis in much better shape than many other countries.

Continue reading "Kazakhstan continues economic recovery" »


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About Domestic & Reform

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Robert M. Cutler on Energy and Eurasia in the Domestic & Reform category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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