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  • Author: Janusz Bugajski
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Russian authorities are engaged in a policy of “pragmatic reimperialization” in seeking to restore Moscow's regional dominance, undermining U.S. global influence, dividing the NATO alliance, neutralizing the European Union (EU), limiting further NATO and EU enlargement, and re-establishing zones of “privileged interest” in the former Soviet bloc, where pliant governments are targeted through economic, political, and security instruments. Russia's strategies are pragmatic and opportunistic by avoiding ideology and political partisanship and focusing instead on an assortment of threats, pressures, inducements, and incentives. Despite its expansive ambitions, the Russian Federation is – potentially – a failing state, and may be resorting to increasingly desperate imperial reactions to intractable internal problems that could presage the country's territorial disintegration.
  • Topic: NATO, Imperialism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Andrew Liaropoulos, Sophia Dimitrakopoulou
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The publication of Russia's National Security Strategy in May 2009 provoked a discussion regarding the security challenges that Moscow is facing. This article reviews, firstly, the security context that defined the Putin era and then relates the analysis of the latest national security strategy to the broader dilemmas that Russia will encounter in the next decade. The purpose is to identify the priorities and threat perceptions that are outlined in the latest national security strategy and to question whether Russia will become a great power in the near future.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Moscow
  • Author: Dilyara Suleymanova
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: This paper explores the role of international language rights norms in the dispute over script reform in the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. In the late 1990s, the authorities of Tatarstan initiated reform to change the orthographic base of the Tatar language from a Cyrillic-to a Latin-based script. However, this reform was subsequently banned by a Russian federal law that stipulated the mandatory use of the Cyrillic alphabet for all state languages in Russia. In protesting this decision, Tatar language activists referred to international human and minority rights provisions and used categories of international law to frame their case as a violation of international norms. However, it is not clear whether this case would really qualify as a violation of international norms and whether international instruments would have the power to overturn this state decision. Rather than being practically applicable, international language rights norms have shaped the strategies minorities employ in advocating their rights and contesting state decisions.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Tatarstan
  • Author: Matthew Derrick
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Located at the confluence of the Turko-Islamic and Slavic-Christian worlds, Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, a semiautonomous region of Russia, is populated by roughly even numbers of Muslim Tatars and Eastern Orthodox Russians. The city is separately important to each group's national history. For the Tatars, it is remembered as the seat of their Islamic state that held sway over Russian principalities to the west for three centuries before facing defeat at the hands of Moscow in 1552. For the Russians, the victory over Kazan marked the beginning of a vast multinational empire. In light of its geography and history, Kazan would seemingly be counted among the world's religiously divided frontier cities. Yet Kazan, in spite of pursuing a sovereignty campaign throughout the 1990s, has managed to avoid the type of ethno-religious-based conflict visiting other frontier cities, such as Jerusalem, Sarajevo, and Belfast. What lessons might Kazan offer other religiously divided frontier cities? In approaching this question, this article analyzes bordering processes, specifically looking at the invisible socio-spatial borders socially constructed through narratives and symbols.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Moscow, Tatarstan, Kazan
  • Author: Till Bruckner
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: “At the very least, it will be all but impossible hereafter for anyone to deny that Russia had engaged in detailed planning for precisely the war that occurred,” write editors Svante Cornell and Frederick Starr of the Central Asia–Caucasus Institute Silk Road Studies Program in the introduction of their new book on the August 2008 conflict between Georgia and Russia.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus, Asia, Georgia
  • Author: Samuel Lussac
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: From the Iraq war in 2003 to the Russian-Georgian conflict in 2008, both neoconservative and neo-Eurasianist politician s have been held responsible for the recent power politics of Russia and the United States. After analyzing this issue in French in 2007 at the end of the presidential mandates of George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin, the English translation of the book allows Didier Chaudet, Florent Parmentier and Benoît Pelopidas' work to reach a wider audience during the early days of Barack Obama's and Dmitri Medvedev's mandates.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, Eurasia, Georgia
  • Author: Dr. Mehmet Bardakçı
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU's role in conflict resolution and peace building has evolved in response to the changes in the international system, the EU's own internal political dynamics, and the EU's capacity and willingness to play a major role in regional and international conflicts. During the 1990s, the EU approached the South Caucasian region the same way it approached the other former Soviet republics. In spite of the enhanced profile of Georgia in EU foreign policy after the Rose Revolution in 2003, the EU was content with providing technical and economic aid to Tbilisi and supporting the negotiations between Tbilisi and its breakaway regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Despite its failure to preclude the outbreak of the conflict, the EU's role in conflict resolution in Georgia has paradoxically been enhanced in the aftermath of the August 2008 Russian-Georgian War. It is, however, important to note that in spite of these positive developments in the EU's role in conflict resolution, Brussels' efforts to promote its visibility in the region is to some extent constrained by the lack of a coherent conflict resolution strategy for the Eastern Neighbourhood, the “capacityexpectations” gap, and an increasingly self-confident Russia.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Soviet Union, Georgia, Tbilisi, South Ossetia, Abkhazia
  • Author: Ines-Jacqueline Werkner
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: War is "contrary to the will of God", according to a 1948 statement from the World Council of Churches in Amsterdam. However, are religious communities able to prevent wars? Despite the lack of importance placed on religion, partially due to the secularisation thesis, religions' potential for violence has become increasingly important in the social sciences since the end of the Cold War and particularly since the attacks of September 11, 2001. However, a question about the peace-making potential of religions increasingly arises in international politics and peace and conflict studies. In this contribution, the role of the Orthodox Churches in the 2008 Russian-Georgian war will be empirically examined. My findings show that the Russian and Georgian Orthodox Churches acted as "double players" during this military conflict whereby they could not release their peace-making potential. I argue that the churches were perceived not only as religious players with a religious peace message but also as political players that supported national claims. As a consequence, the status of religion as an intervening variable – such as assumed in the constructivist approach – is called into question.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Georgia
  • Author: Kevin Daniel Leahy
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: On March 29, 2010, two female suicide assailants blew themselves up at two separate locations along Moscow's underground network, killing at least 39 people. Two days later, the leader of the rebel movement in the Northern Caucasus, Doku Umarov, claimed responsibility for the attacks. For those monitoring the political situation in the Northern Caucasus, Umarov's claim of responsibility came as no surprise. Even so, few analysts have been able to shed any meaningful light on Umarov's core political beliefs. This is not surprising considering that so much of Umarov's background remains shrouded in uncertainty. The following paper represents a tentative attempt to sketch Umarov's private and political background, from his early adulthood in the early 1980s up to his portentous proclamation of the Caucasus Emirate in 2007.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus
  • Author: Andrey Kazantsev
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Institution: The Caucasian Review of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The deep and multidimensional crisis of Gazprom in 2009-2010 is analyzed in this paper as a crisis of the specific geopolitical model of the “energy super-state” that was especially important for Russian foreign policy towards Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Russia’s attempts to monopolize the sphere of gas production and gas transportation in this part of the world, institutionally represented by the state-controlled monopoly Gazprom, was a key element for sustaining this geopolitical model. It is argued that this policy was based on a configuration of Russian geopolitical and economic interests that could be economically sustained only in the period of high energy prices. After the start of the global gas market crisis and, specifically, Gazprom’s crisis, this configuration has started to disappear. This may have a profound influence on Russian foreign policy towards Europe and the Former Soviet Union.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Central Asia, Soviet Union