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About the author: provides information and analysis about political, economic, environmental and social developments in the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Turkey, and Southwest Asia.

Moldova: Pondering Unification with Romania?

Date: 10 July 2015

Hard times in Moldova are prompting some Moldovans to warm to the idea of unification with neighboring Romania.  On July 5, thousands of Moldovans, carrying Romanian flags, marched in the Moldovan capital, Chișinău, voicing a preference that Moldova, a predominantly ethnic Romanian country that signed an integration agreement with the EU last year, give up on independence and join Romania, which is already a member of the EU and NATO.

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Kremlin Convenes Anti-Western Gatherings

Date: 8 July 2015

Russia kicked off three days of high-level summitry on July 8, hosting leaders of several Asian and developing countries that it hopes will form the foundation of a new, non-Western world order.

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Tajikistan’s Currency Controls Boost Black Market

Date: 7 May 2015

Tajikistan's government is struggling to prop up its currency amid downward fiscal pressure emanating from Russia. Dushanbe’s policies appear to be creating a black market for currency traders with potentially long-term repercussions for the ailing economy.

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Kyrgyzstan’s Premier Says No Gold Deal as Mining Industry Fizzles

Date: 15 April 2015

Kyrgyzstan’s prime minister has ordered a halt to the country’s two-year effort to renegotiate operating terms at its flagship gold mine, reasoning that a joint venture is no longer in the country’s best interests. Despite lawmakers’ near-constant chest thumping and promises to nationalize the Kumtor mine, the announcement seemed to catch them off guard.

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'We Want a Voice': Women Fight for Their Rights in the Former USSR

Date: 11 March 2015

Women had stood shoulder to shoulder with men in the Russian Revolution of 1917, according to its leader Vladimir Lenin, and were said to be at the vanguard of the drive to build an equal society in the world’s first communist state; the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

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Russia: Capital Flight Surges

Date: 10 March 2015

Amid a spreading climate of fear in Russia, underscored by the late February assassination of Boris Nemtsov, Russians with something to lose are increasingly trying to find safe havens abroad for their assets.

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Kyrgyzstan’s National Bank Governor Analyzes Effects of Russian Downturn

Date: 3 March 2015

The fallout from Russia’s economic downturn is forcing Kyrgyzstan to spend its limited reserves to fend off speculators and ease pressure on its currency, National Bank Governor Tolkunbek Abdygulov tells Abdygulov is using the crisis to try to strengthen rules for the Central Asian country’s under-regulated financial sector. 

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What Is the EU’s Game in the Caucasus Separatist Territories?

Date: 26 February 2015

The European Union is making a push to raise its profile in two trouble spots in the South Caucasus, Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Brussels insists its forays in the region are nothing more than routine diplomacy. But some observers believe the EU is hoping to push back against Russia’s troublemaking in Ukraine. 

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Kyrgyzstan Silences Popular Imam with Extremism Charges

Date: 18 February 2015

On a normal Friday, Kara-Suu’s Al-Sarahsiy Mosque is packed with thousands of worshipers from across southern Kyrgyzstan. They come to this town of 20,000 to listen to the sermons of Rashot Kamalov, the mosque’s charismatic imam. Kamalov is respected for criticizing brutal and corrupt officials, society's moral decline and Western pop culture. 

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Armenia: Yerevan Mending Fences with EU

Date: 11 February 2015

With the Russian economy hitting the skids, it looks like Armenia wants to hedge its economic bets. Although Yerevan became a member of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union in January, a senior Armenian government official told that the country is working to complete an updated version of an EU Association Agreement that Armenian officials put on hold back in 2013. 

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Kazakhstan Anxious About another Devaluation

Date: 6 February 2015

February can be a spooky month for anyone with a pocketful of tenge. Kazakhstan’s embattled currency has been devalued twice in the last six years, both times in February. With plenty of indications the tenge is overvalued again, would-be investors are putting decisions on ice, distressed banks are reluctant to issue credit, and private citizens are hoarding dollars. 

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Looking at Armenian-Iranian Relations through a Russian Lens

Date: 5 February 2015

The late January visit to Armenia by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif got little media attention, but it could have significant ramifications for geopolitics in Eurasia. Specifically, the trip could help Russia gain a trade outlet that softens the blow of Western sanctions. 

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