The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Can it Stabilize “Greater Central Asia”?

Dr. Gayane Novikova
April 20, 2020

A Few Preliminary Remarks

The Declaration of Establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) mentions as main goals “strengthening mutual trust, friendship and good neighborliness between the member states; encouraging effective cooperation between them in the political, trade, economic, scientific, technical, cultural, educational, energy, transport, environmental and other fields; making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region and establishing new, democratic, just and rational international political and economic order.” This analysis will concentrate on some issues related to the maintenance of security and stability. Before analyzing the potential of the SCO, a few preliminary remarks are necessary.  See more …

Russian-Turkish Relations Through the Prism of Armenia’s Security Concerns

Dr. Gayane Novikova
February 12, 2020

Recent developments in Eurasia and the Middle East require a re-evaluation of the security environment and the roles of each regional and sub-regional actor. Against the background of trends in global security politics, Russia and Turkey have become key actors in the Wider Black Sea and the South Caucasus regions, as well as in Syria.

The fight against terrorism (remains of ISIS, in particular) constitutes the only issue where Russian, Turkish, and Armenian interests coincide.  In all other cases, especially regarding any possible developments in the Nagorniy Karabakh conflict, Armenia should be very cautious in evaluating any shift in Russia-Turkey bilateral relations. The Armenian government is working on a new National Security Strategy that hopefully will address current dangerous trends. A draft was discussed in November, 2019. See more …

Armenia in a Shifting Security Environment

Dr. Gayane Novikova
October 25, 2019

In the context of a broad security analysis it is necessary to bring into focus the regional geopolitical environment. It critically – and increasingly – influences developments in and around every regional state. Meanwhile, a fragile regional security per se can greatly contribute to the escalation of existing local conflicts and even transform some of them into regional ones. The global security deficit is increasing. Armenia’s geopolitical location – at the core of an area that includes the South Caucasus, Russia, Turkey, and Iran – is very challenging. A hostile US – Russia relationship, growing disagreements between the US and Turkey, a new cycle of dangerous escalation of tension between the US and Iran, some improvement in Turkish-Iranian bilateral relations and the deepening ties of both states with Russia, – all these trends directly influence and shape the trajectory of Armenian foreign and security policy. Negative and / or unexpected developments in the wider region will seriously threaten Armenia’s security. To survive “a battle” between the global and regional actors it needs to demonstrate and to implement maximum flexibility and manoeuvrability. Armenia’s strategic location contains, alongside serious limitations, also some advantages. Therefore, geopolitics matters …again. See more

A “Gold Rush”: Challenges to the New Armenian Government

Dr. Gayane Novikova
October 11, 2019

I have never considered myself as a person who can contribute to the discussion on energy, ecology, mining, and other similar issues. However, almost always there is a direct and strong connection between energy/ ecology issues and the ruling elites on the one hand, and the complex dynamic between the ruling elite and the opposition, on the other.

Since 1988, Armenia has had several waves of ecology-based movements, which – to different degree – have been challenging for the ruling elite. The current circle is related to the controversial developments around an exploitation of the Amulsar Gold Mine (the term of operation is 10 years; according to evaluations, it has 73 tons of gold and 294 tons of silver). However, there are significant differences between the earlier cases and the one now in progress.

The Policy of the United States in the South Caucasus

Dr. Gayane Novikova
April  20, 2019

Any discussion regarding the current stage of U.S. foreign policy contains more questions than answers. The more recent trend has been determined by the slogan “America First!”, which means on the one hand that the U.S. is moving toward a more isolationistic policy. Steps which aim to serve only American interests can be to some extent provocative and unpredictable: In many cases they can give an impulse to irreversible changes in the security environment in certain regions. On the other hand, there is both a visible and hidden continuity in respect to the main directions and approaches toward the core issues of the American foreign policy.