Turkmenistan agrees to Caspian border demarcation with Kazakhstan

In a move that adds further murkiness to an already confused situation, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have agreed to a demarcation of their maritime border in the Caspian Sea, despite the fact that previous conferences of the five Caspian littoral states (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Russia) established that borders had to be delineated and agreed…

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Iran: France Threatens Veto if Total Nuclear Access Not Granted

In a speech last week, Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamanei publicly ruled out the possibility of IAEA inspections at Iranian military sights, and stated that Iranian nuclear scientists would similarly be unavailable to IAEA personnel. Since then, Iran has softened its position to allow for “managed access” to its facilities. However, these statements reportedly contrast with…

Russia: New Law Enacted Restricting Civil Society

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law legislation granting the Russian government the authority to shut down NGOs that it deems “undesirable.” The new law extends mainly to foreign NGOs and affords the government the leeway to fine and restrict their activities if it views them as illicit or in violation of the new law.…

Turkmenistan: Pakistan’s PM visits to accelerate TAPI project

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Ashgabat, Turkmenistan yesterday to make a concerted effort to push the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project forward, which would supply energy consuming Pakistan and India with Turkmen natural gas. Sharif met with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and issued several memorandums of understanding to lay the framework for specific agreements regarding…

Making Sense of the Ruble’s Roller Coaster: An Interview with Chris Weafer

Christopher Weafer is the founder of Macro-Advisory, a research consulting company focusing on Russia, the CIS, and macro oil trends and was recently in 2013 voted the best Russian investment strategist in a poll by Thomas Reuters Extel. Before becoming a consultant, Chris was Chief Strategist at Sberbank-CIB, Russia’s largest bank. He also writes extensively…

Ukraine: Economic Shift from Russia Proves Difficult

The Wall Street Journal published an interesting piece on the hardships facing Ukrainian businesses attempting to compete in the European Union. The headline message of the piece is that it is proving much more difficult for the Ukrainian economy to shift away from its legacy affiliation with Russia and adapt in phases to the competitive…