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3/16/15 3/20/15

On Thursday, de-facto officials in the disputed region of

Nagorno-Karabakh accused Azerbaijan of killing three
soldiers in an attack. Nagorno-Karabakhs de-facto Defense
Ministry claimed that Azerbaijan has attacked positions of its
soldiers leaving three killed and four wounded. Azerbaijan, on
the other hand, accused separatists of provocation. The
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict erupted in early 1990 and since
has caused the death of 30,000 people.
The Peninsula


The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement

denouncing the signing of the alliance and integration
treaty between the breakaway Tskhinvali Region and the
Russian Federation. The signing of the treaty coincided with
the ongoing peace-talks in Geneva. About four month ago
Moscow signed a similar treaty with Abkhazia. The NATO
secretary General, EU Foreign Policy Chief and US State
Department declared that they do not recognize the
legitimacy of the treaty.

On Monday, President Vladimir Putin attended a meeting

outside St. Petersburg with Kyrgyz President Almazbek
Atambayev after mysteriously vanishing from the public eye for
ten days. In his absence, rumors abounded as to the presidents
possible whereabouts, including that Putin had caught the flu,
and that he had been overthrown in a coup. No additional
information on his absence was released upon his return.
Atambayev stated that Putin was in excellent health at their
New York Times


On Wednesday, the White House announced that the U.S.

will begin training 750 Ukrainian volunteer troops in April.
The news broke after a phone call between Vice President Joe
Biden and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The
Pentagon announced that 290 soldiers from the 173rd
Airborne Brigade will conduct the training missions at the
International Peacekeeping and Security Center in Yavoriv,
western Ukraine. The training exercise had been put on hold
to preserve a now-defunct peace deal.
Fox News


This week, President Serzh Sarkisian gave his approval for

continued discussions regarding a constitutional referendum that
would change the Armenian government from a presidential to a
parliamentary system. On Thursday, March 12, Sarkisian met
with parliamentary leaders to discuss the reforms, which would
reduce the power of the president and strengthen the position of
the prime minister. Opposition leaders fear that the discussions
could be a way for Sarkisians political party to retain power.
No date has been set for the referendum.

At the EU foreign affairs meeting on March 7 in Riga, Latvian

Foreign Minister Edgar Rinkevics said that there is now a
window of opportunity for improving EU relations with
Belarus. Despite continued human rights violations, electoral
fraud, and political repression, the EU has noted a positive shift
recently as Belarus has taken a constructive and proactive
position in arranging peace talks to ease the conflict in Ukraine.
Rinkevics didnt specify whether Belarus would be invited to the
Eastern Partnership summit in May, but he stated that other
measures could be a future possibility.
Wall Street Journal

On Friday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev to discuss
energy ties and meet with representatives of the Crimean Tatar
community. Erdogan told reporters before the trip, Our
brothers, who in the past suffered mass deportations, were able
to return to their homelands after many years. Unfortunately
they have been seriously impacted by recent developments
there. At the same time, Turkey is deepening trade ties with
Moscow and has not openly criticized the Kremlin.

On Monday, the Secretary General of the NATO, Jens

Stoltenberg met with Moldovan Prime Minister Chiril
Gaburici. Stoltenberg called Moldova a valued partner and
reiterated that NATO allies support Moldovas sovereignty
and territorial integrity. Parties discussed the future of a
Defense Capacity Building Initiative (DCBI) for Moldova that
is designed to modernize the defense and security sector of the


Ukraine Today



Just hours before meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin

on March 16, Kyrgyzstans President Almazbek Atambayev
stopped in Moldova to meet with the oligarch-politician
Vladimir Plahotniuc. Atambayev did not meet the Moldovan
President, Nicolae Timofti, prompting anger and confusion in
Bishkek. Opposition lawmaker Ravshan Jeenbekov
demanded the Presidents office to explain the meeting and
clarify why Atambayev did not announce his trip officially.
Plahotniuc has faced numerous business scandals.

Kazakhstan is gearing up for early presidential elections, to be

held on April 26. So far, incumbent Nursultan Nazarbayev of
the NurOtan party has been confirmed to run. His main
competition will likely be Turgun Syzdykov of the Communist
Peoples Party of Kazakhstan, and Abelgazy Kussainov, who
represents the Federation of Trade Unions. Pre-election
campaigns will officially begin on March 26 and will continue
through April 24.
Astana Times

Free Press Journal

On Monday, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon appointed his

eldest son, Rustam Emomali, head of the countrys anticorruption agency. Corruption is a major problem in Tajikistan,
which ranks 152th out of 175 countries on Transparency
Internationals Corruption Perceptions Index. The 27-year-old
Emomali will replace Abdufattoh Ghoib as head of the Agency
for State Financial Control and Combating Corruption. In turn,
Abdufattoh Ghoib will take over the Customs Service, which
Emomali had led for the past year and a half.


In Tashkent, delegations from Azerbaijan, Georgia and

Uzbekistan met to discuss the development of new railway
routes between the three countries to boost trade. The heads of
Azerbaijani and Georgian railways said they support
construction of the Angren-Pap railway, which is part of a
China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan international transport corridor.
It would provide cargo access to the Black Sea through
Azerbaijan and Georgia. The meeting concluded with a signed
Vestnik Kavkaza

Afghan security forces have killed 10 militants who claimed to

be aligned with the Islamic State in Afghanistan. Defense
ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri reported that the militants
were killed in Helmand province on Sunday. According to the
Defense Ministry, the groups commander in Afghanistan, Hafiz
Wahidi, was among those killed. The operation on Sunday was
part of a larger initiative that the Afghan army launched last
month to clear Helmand province of Taliban fighters.

Wall Street Journal

On Tuesday, March 10, conservative cleric Ayatollah

Mohammad Yazdi was elected to head Irans Assembly of
Experts. He received 47 out of 73 votes, defeating former
President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Yazdi will hold the
position of chairman until next February, when elections will be
held for all 86 seats in the Assembly of Experts. The
chairmanship was previously held by Ayatollah Mohammad
Reza Mahdavi Kani, who passed away in October. The Assembly
of Experts has the power to elect the Supreme Leader and
supervise his activities.
Tehran Times

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow met with his

Iranian Hassan Rouhani during Rouhanis official two-day visit
to Turkmenistan earlier this week. On Wednesday, the two
countries signed 17 cooperation agreements in various spheres
and announced a goal of increasing bilateral trade from $3.7
billion to $60 billion within the next 10 years. Berdimuhamedow
called on the Joint Economic Cooperation Commission to
coordinate efforts to increase trade between Turkmenistan and

Tehran Times

German corporation Ferrostaal Industrial Projects has secured a

contract to begin construction in April on what will be
Mongolias largest wind farm. The Sainshand Wind Farm, which
will be located in the Gobi desert, is estimated to cost approx.
$115 and is slated for completion in 2016. Once operational, it is
expected to have an installed capacity of 54 MW, 52 of which
will go directly to the state-owned National Power Transmission
Grid. Mongolia has sought to diversify its energy portfolio in
recent years. The countrys first wind farm opened in 2013 in
Salkhit, about 44 miles south of Ulaanbaatar.
Greentech Lead

On Monday, Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rivas said that

the negotiations over forming the coalition will take time. He
stated that the chairs of the four parties in the coalition talks
have concluded the first round of negotiations on various
issues and that negotiations will continue for coming weeks.
The ruling Reform Party won the national elections two
weeks ago, and is now set to form a coalition in the 101member parliament.

On Tuesday, the Lithuanian defense ministry announced that

Germany will send over 500 troops to Lithuania for military
drills this year, from April to July. Separate units will arrive
from Germany for exercises in July and November. Defense
Minister J uozas Olekas, who discussed the plan with visiting
German General Joerg Vollmer, said the deployments were
a demonstration of NATO solidarity. Our allies are ready to
fulfill their obligations to boost Lithuanias security
The Local
Defense News

Around 1500 people marched in Riga in remembrance of the

soldiers who fought on the side of German forces against the
Soviet occupation during World War II. The march has been
held annually since 1990 and causes tensions in small Baltic
republic. During the march counter demonstration took place
involving Russian-speaking and Jewish Latvians.

Wall Street Journal

ABC News

On Monday, the Czech government agreed to the passage of

a U.S. military convoy across Czech territory from March 29
to April 1st. The convoy will cross six countries of Central
Europe on its path to Germany. Prime Minister Bohuslav
Sobotka told reporters that the passage expresses solidarity
and confirms the Czech Republics commitments to its
NATO partners. U.S. Army spokesman Craig Childs
likewise said the convoy was a highly visible demonstration
of U.S. commitment to its NATO allies.
Ceske Noviny

Prague Post

Around 400 people gathered in front of the U.S. Embassy in

Bratislava in protest against NATO. Former Prime Minister Jan
Carnogursky supported the protesters in their claims, stating
that the NATO Enlargement is to be blamed for the Ukrainian
Crisis. The protesters held banners displaying slogans such as
Yankees Go Home and NATO divides the Slavs.

Russia Today

Slovak Spectator

A recent opinion poll has shown that the far right political party
Jobbik has gained support over the last month, narrowing the
lead held by Prime Minister Viktor Orbans Fidesz party.
Support for Jobbik increased by two percentage points from
February, reaching a new high of 18% among eligible voters.
Fidesz, on the other hand, stayed at 21%. In October, support for
Jobbik was at a mere 11%, while Fidesz was at 35%. Polls have
shown that Jobbik is doing very well with people under age 30.


In an example of growing tensions between Poland and Russia,

Following the resignation of Romanian Finance Minister Darius
a Russian court on Tuesday approved a move to evict Polands
Valcov on March 15 amidst allegations of bribery, the director
consulate in St. Petersburg for failure to pay rent. Russia alleges
of Romanias National Integrity Agency, Horia Georgescu, was
that Poland owes 74.3 million rubles (1.1 million euros) in
arrested on charges of a possible property scam. Valcov has been
overdue rent. The Polish Foreign Ministry claims that any move
accused of accepting over $2 million in bribes while serving as
to evict the Polish consulate would be a violation of diplomatic
mayor of Slatina from 2010-2013. Georgescu was allegedly
law, and noted that Russia also uses buildings in Poland rentinvolved in a scheme in 2008-2009 that overvalued property
free. Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna called for resolution
seized by the communist government. The scam defrauded the
through dialogue
but noted that Poland would reciprocate if
state by more than $50 million. Romania has been struggling
Russia continues to bill Poland for overdue rent.
under pressure by the EU to reduce corruption.
Radio Poland
ABC News
Deutsche Welle

The Bulgarian defense ministry announced last week that

Bulgaria and the United States will hold joint military drills
over the next three and a half months amid tensions with
Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. 350 U.S. Army officers will
arrive in the Balkan country to take part in the drills at the
Novo Selo training range in southeastern Bulgaria. The
exercises involve U.S. armored personnel carriers, helicopters
and tanks. The United States pledged to spend about $30
million to modernize the infrastructure of the Novo Selo
training facilities.
Ukraine Today

The opposition Democratic Party in Albania has vowed to

continue holding weekly protests every Thursday until the
countrys speaker of parliament, Ilir Meta, resigns. The
protests began on March 12, with thousands gathered outside
of the Albanian prime ministers office, in response to
allegations from lawmaker Tom Doshi that Speaker Ilir Meta
had tried to have him and another lawmaker killed. Meta has
denied the allegations and insists the charges are politically
motivated. He has not been charged with any crime.
Global Post

On Wednesday, Serbia arrested eight men suspected of

playing a role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia,
where more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed
after the area fell to Bosnian Serb forces. The men were
arrested from different parts of Bosnia and are accused of
killing more than 1,000 Muslim Bosniaks themselves. The
detentions mark the first in Serbia of accused gunmen
connected to Srebrenica. Bosnias prosecutors office
welcomed the arrests, saying the operation had been
coordinated between the two countries.
New York Times

Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski rallied his

supporters on Sunday, March 15 to respond to opposition
allegations and demands for his resignation. The rally took
place after Zoran Zaev, head of the opposition Social
Democratic Union, called for Gruevski to resign and hold
early elections and reiterated accusations of government
corruption and illegal wiretapping. Speaking to an audience of
around 7,000 people at the rally, Gruevski accused the
opposition of "attempting to destabilise the country on behalf
of a foreign state."
FOX News

The president of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has

delivered on her campaign pledge and removed a statue and
other pieces of art connected to ex-Yugoslav leader Josip Broz
Tito from the Presidential palace. The removal of the around
100 works of art and statues has caused controversy in Croatia.
President Grabar-Kitarovic transferred the objects to the
museum in Titos hometown near Zagreb.


Press TV

On Monday, Montenegrin prime-minister Milo Djukanovic

announced changes in his cabinet after a month of speculations
about a possible reshuffle within the government. The
parliament approved the reshuffle of the cabinet two days after
the decision. The changes involve a replacement of five
ministers, including the minister of labour, education, health,
justice and culture.

See News

Turkish Weekly

On Friday, March 13, the International Basketball Federation, or

FIBA, granted Kosovo official membership. The decision
follows the International Olympic Committees announcement of
full membership for Kosovo in December 2014. Serbia
expressed opposition to FIBAs recognition of Kosovo and
requested that matches at any level between teams from Kosovo
and Serbia be avoided.

Turkish Weekly

On Wednesday, March 11, Slovenian police raided the home and

offices of former Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek.
The raid was part of an investigation into allegations that
Bratusek abused her position when she was nominated as a
candidate to represent Slovenia on the European Commission.
Bratusek was nominated as European Commissioner last year but
was rejected by the European Parliament following a hearing and
withdrew her candidacy.
Jakarta Post


On Monday, the Bosnian defense minister announced that

the country has donated more than 550 tons of surplus arms
and ammunition to Iraq in line with its involvement in the
U.S.-led campaign against ISIS militants. The donation was
made due to a request from the United States and involves
dated arms and ammunition from the time of the Yugoslav
Federation. Under NATO defense reforms, Bosnia must
offload over 16,500 tons of ammunition and 40,000 pieces of
weaponry left over from the 1992-1995 war.


The Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies strives to
increase understanding and appreciation of the cultures and challenges of
the region stretching from Central Europe to the Pacific and from the Baltic,
Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Seas.