A controversial referendum in Armenia on December 6 endorsed constitutional changes that will transform the country into a parliamentary republic. But allegations of rampant fraud are clouding the legitimacy of the result.
It has been a year since Azerbaijani investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova was taken into custody, marking a watershed in the government’s domestic crackdown on free speech. Individual freedoms have continued to erode since then in Azerbaijan, and the jailing of journalists and rights activists has developed into a cause celebre in the West.
Since the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, US-Russian relations repeatedly have been hit by surprise developments. In just the last couple of years, unexpected events have included Edward Snowden’s leaks, Crimea, Donbas, Syria, the Russian Metrojet tragedy and the Turkish shoot-down of a Russian Su-24. The list could go on.
A prosecutor in Sweden is seeking a life sentence for the man accused of shooting a dissident Uzbek imam. The trial included bombshell testimony that appears to link the Swedish incident to the murder of another Uzbek cleric in Istanbul.
Sandwiched between Turkey and Russia, and for centuries a battleground for the erstwhile empires, the South Caucasus is bracing for fallout from the geopolitical furor sparked by the Turkish downing of a Russian fighter jet.
When civil war broke out in Syria, Usama Nuraldin was a successful businessman raising a young family in Damascus. Now, he is a jobless refugee in Kazakhstan’s commercial capital, Almaty, one of a tiny handful of those forced to flee the brutal conflict to have made a new home in Central Asia.
Rising Turkish-Russian tension is putting Azerbaijan in a bind. At a time when low energy prices are squeezing the Azerbaijani economy, officials in Baku need to keep ties strong with both Turkey and Russia to help maintain relative domestic stability.
Three days after Turkey’s November 24 downing of a Russian fighter jet, Turkish leaders seem ready for Kremlin blowback. But analysts and officials in Ankara are less sure about how the incident will impact Turkey’s relations with its allies.