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Could the linchpin in Russia’s plan to reassert its control over former Soviet states be in danger of slipping away? Moscow fears it might. Kazakhstan has been making overtures to the U.S. and China, and chipping away at key cultural ties. For now, Astana cannot afford to break away from Russia’s orbit, especially in security matters, but an overreaction by the Kremlin could tip the balance.
Professor Stefan Hedlund
Energy cooperation between Turkey and Russia has ramped up in recent years. If it grows any closer, it could threaten EU interests, especially the key Southern Gas Corridor project. But Turkey's own interests are also at risk if its dependence on Russian gas supplies grows. The question is whether President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will prioritize diversification – and therefore cooperation with the EU and Azerbaijan – or placating his domestic political allies.
Dr. Frank Umbach
Back in the 1990s, there was a gold-rush atmosphere about the Caspian Sea, which was proclaimed as the next Alaska or North Sea in terms of its oil and gas potential. But exploitation of these riches was hobbled by territorial disputes between the littoral states Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan. Now the end of this stalemate could be in sight, but the oil and gas market has moved on.
Dr. Carole Nakhle
The region around the Caspian Sea plays a role in many of the world’s most daunting challenges. From the rise of Islamic extremism to Russia’s resurgence to Iran’s renewed assertiveness, the largest enclosed body of water on earth figures in the problems’ address book. It is rich in natural resources and sandwiched between two of the globe’s most energy hungry mark...