Russia and Eurasia

The Roots of Putin's Strategic Fiasco in Ukraine

June 8, 2022

From many conversations held with Russian policymakers, we know that the vision which denies Ukraine peoplehood, and the Kremlin's resulting aggressions, are nothing new. This war's atrocities flow from the dark misapprehensions held by many Moscow elites concerning Russia's destiny, history and geopolitics.


Is a Marshall Plan right for Ukraine?

June 7, 2022

Even before battlefields are silent, the battle for billions in Ukrainian reconstruction budgets has already begun. Top U.S. policy makers, including Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen championed the initial assistance package to Ukraine, which passed (86-11) in the Senate on May 19.


Kazakhstan Needs Stability And Economic Institutions To Develop Energy Resources

June 6, 2022

To understand the international agonies and opportunities that rising energy supply costs, exogenous shocks, increasing interest in renewables, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine present, there is no better example than Kazakhstan. It is singularly damaged by the current crises while simultaneously having so much potential to benefit from the global need for energy.


Viktor Orban’s Goulash Energy Policy Makes Hungary Putin’s Trojan Horse In Europe

May 17, 2022

On Wednesday, Hungary demanded that shipments of Russian oil be exempt from the European Union’s proposed sanctions. This statement comes amidst tense negotiations between Budapest and Brussels over the EU’s sixth round of penalties against Moscow. Budapest has proven the most skeptical of the plan, which requires the unanimous consent of member states.


Energy-Driven Ruble Rebound Won’t Rescue Russia

April 20, 2022

On Monday, President Vladimir Putin claimed that Western sanctions imposed against Russia have failed in a televised address. He said the strategy of economic blitzkrieg did not provoke an immediate meltdown of the economy as expected. Instead, he touted the strength of the ruble, Russia’s currency.


The U.S. Can Win Over Russia’s Neighbors

April 7, 2022

Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine has provided the U.S. with a critical opportunity to diminish Russia’s influence over its neighbors by giving them technical assistance, economic development and security that neither Moscow nor Beijing can.


To Defeat Putin's Totalitarianism, Work With Russians

April 5, 2022

The White House walked back President Joe Biden's recent remarks in Poland calling for Russian strongman Vladimir Putin's removal from power. Coming from the American president, the statement was unnecessarily inflammatory amid a strategic environment fraught with dangers of unintended escalation.


Putin’s War in Ukraine Forces New Energy Reality on Europe

March 28, 2022

During President Joe Biden's visit to Europe, the US has struck a deal with the EU to boost its liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply as the trade bloc seeks to reduce its dependence on Russian gas. The war in Ukraine highlighted the Old Continent's unsustainable Russian energy habit.


A New President Could Change Turkmenistan’s Export Prospects

March 21, 2022

An impending political transition could alter Turkmenistan’s China-dominated foreign policy, one defined almost exclusively by energy exports and international seclusion.


Can Energy Exports Save The Russian War Machine Facing Western Sanctions?

March 18, 2022

Last week President Joe Biden announced a complete ban on Russian oil and gas imports – the latest in a series of debilitating sanctions meant to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for his crimes against Ukraine.


The US Bans Russian Energy Imports – Symbolically

March 11, 2022

As Russia’s war in Ukraine intensifies, the Biden administration banned Russian oil and natural gas purchases. This move represents a departure from initial Western sanctions against the Kremlin, designed specifically to avoid interference in Russian energy flows – particularly to import-dependent Europe.


As Russia Seizes Europe’s Largest Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine Battles Wartime Energy Challenges

March 7, 2022

Russian forces in Ukraine seized the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station Friday, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Brazen tank and artillery attacks on the Ukrainian forces defending the plant resulted in a hazardous fire on some of the facility’s auxiliary buildings.


Western Sanctions Aim to Cut Off Russia from Critical High-Tech Goods

February 28, 2022

As Russia further invaded Ukraine last week, the West is deploying an arsenal of painful sanctions against Moscow, targeting energy projects such as Nord Stream 2, Russian debt trade limitations, financial systems such as SWIFT, and the flow of high-tech goods including advanced computer chips.


Power Transition in Turkmenistan Could Mean Big Changes for Neighbors

February 25, 2022

The forthcoming political change will affect vast energy resources, especially natural gas, in Turkmenistan, one of the most isolated and impoverished countries in Eurasia.


The Future of Western Energy Investments in Kazakhstan

February 7, 2022

On January 2, mass protests erupted in Kazakhstan over removing price caps on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) leading to a 100% spike in fuel costs. It was the beginning of the worst political earthquake the young Eurasian country has seen since its founding in 1991.


Western Reluctance on Nord Stream II Gas Pipeline, SWIFT Emboldens Russia

January 24, 2022

As the possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine grows ever more likely, Berlin’s hesitancy to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 and other pressure points, such as SWIFT bank transfer system, erodes deterrence, and may invite Russian aggression.


Kazakhstan’s Stress Test: The January Tragedy and its Aftermath

January 24, 2022

In the first weeks of 2022, Kazakhstan experienced its most intense protests since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The causes of the turmoil in the country – like any major upheaval – are multi-faceted and were long in the making.


Kazakhstan Crisis, Part 2: The Path Forward

January 20, 2022

Overcoming recent events in Kazakhstan will require wisdom and great diplomatic skills from the country’s leadership.


Kazakhstan Crisis, Part 1: Drivers and Implications

January 19, 2022

As with any major social and geostrategic upheaval, the ongoing events in Kazakhstan are driven by several dynamics.


China And Russia Make Critical Mineral Grabs in Africa While the U.S. Snoozes

January 13, 2022

Countries across the globe are pursuing zero-emission goals, which have created a bottleneck of critical rare earth elements (REE) such as cobalt, copper, and lithium. These are essential components in producing renewable energy technology, from electric vehicle batteries to wind turbine blades. REEs also play a key role in manufacturing semiconductors and other electronics. Access to these resources – both in raw and refined forms – has never been more important.


Putin’s one-two punch European strategy to defeat America

January 6, 2022

On Jan. 9, the Biden administration will begin negotiations in Geneva over the “Putin Ultimatum,” two sets of demands presented to the U.S. and NATO. If accepted, they would destroy 30 years of post-Cold War European security policy while opening the path to Russian Empire 3.0 — the latest imperial iteration after the Romanoffs and the Soviets.


Germany And France Clash Over EU’s New “Green” Classifications for Nuclear Energy and Natural Gas

January 4, 2022

A new European Union (EU) proposal to treat new nuclear power and natural gas investments as “green” is sparking controversy over the taxonomy of sustainable energy, provoking a clash between Paris and Berlin.


Russian Aggression Puts Kyiv, Nord Stream 2 In Danger

December 10, 2021

Nord Stream 2 (NS2), Europe’s most contentious infrastructure project, seems to have survived the Putin-Biden teleconference and is likely to be approved by the German regulator. This outcome may be the purpose of the recent Russian troop mobilization. Europe’s and Germany’s dependence on Russian gas deepens and may appear irreversible, with long-term geo-strategic consequences the U.S. leaders and planners should take into account.  Yet, Russia’s clash with the West would incur very high costs on the Kremlin.


Russia's Threats, Energy Crisis Put Ukraine on The Brink

December 1, 2021

Russia is escalating pressure on Ukraine, threatening to drag the U.S. and NATO into their worst confrontation with Moscow since the Cold War. A devastating combination of external and internal threats now imperil Ukraine's security, with energy playing a key part.


Post COP26: Kazakhstan Proposes An Emerging Market Model For The Green Energy Transition

November 29, 2021

November was a big month for climate action. Attending leaders, diplomatic delegations, or recorded messages — practically every nation had some presence at this month’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. Even North Korea was represented, with its Ambassador to the United Kingdom attending a speech by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.