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Tag: Iran

Iran is the biggest loser in Azerbaijan’s culture war

The recent war between two of Iran’s northern neighbours has left the Islamic Republic in a problematic position. If the current status quo remains, Azerbaijan will be able to exercise an increasing influence across the border inside Iran.

December 16, 2020 - Ali Mozaffari James Barry

Russia’s geopolitical greetings for 2020

In orthodox Russia, New Year's Eve precedes Christmas. The Julian calendar, still promoted by the religious authorities, sets Christmas at January 7th. In consequence, between December 24th and January 1st, when Europe and the United States are enjoying the pleasures of family gathering, Russia is still very much active.

January 6, 2020 - Cyrille Bret

A playground for influence

The Black Sea region is once again becoming an arena attracting large powers to invest and develop. However, the growing interest among the various powers also leads to a higher risk of conflict and confrontation, something that this region is already known for, historically.

Hellenes referred to the Black Sea as Póntos Áxeinos which derives from the ancient Persian word axšaina used to describe objects of dark colour. The Black Sea region has, historically speaking, been an arena of confrontation between different nations. It has witnessed the glorious rise of empires as well as their crushing defeats. During the heyday of the Ottoman Empire, the Black Sea was referred to as an “Ottoman Lake”. European states have also been historically involved in the disputes over the region.

August 26, 2019 - Leo Sikharulidze

The new Great Game that is not

The idea that Central Asia is the nexus of a Great Game between the world’s superpowers is, in the 21st century, largely exaggerated. Undoubtedly, the Central Asian republics are actively engaging with the great powers by relying on their sovereign prerogatives and pursuing their own strategic goals. But this should be seen rather as a strategy of the local players than a competitive game orchestrated from Washington, Moscow or Beijing.

It is not uncommon to hear from academics and pundits alike that Central Asia is now at the centre of a new Great Game between the great powers (namely, the United States, Russia and China), as it was two centuries ago. The term, popularised by Rudyard Kipling’s 1901 novel Kim and first used by Captain Arthur Conolly of the East India Company’s Bengal Army in 1840, directly refers to the 19th-century competition between the Russian and British empires for control over Central Asia. An example of the pre-eminence of the metaphor in today’s intellectual circles is one of the latest books published on international politics in Eurasia, edited by Mehran Kamrava, titled The Great Game in West Asia, which claims that there indeed is a new great game afoot in the region.

Though vigorously denied by those policy-makers actually involved in the politics of the region, and often criticised by more nuanced and context-aware regional observers, the Great Game is still a widely adopted and popular metaphor, rooted in geopolitical thinking and aimed at simplifying the reality. It refers to the competition between the abovementioned states to vie for influence over and in the region, as well as to the conflicts that their different strategies may elicit in the near future. In the Great Game narrative, the five Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are the board on which the game is played.

October 31, 2017 - Filippo Costa Buranelli

Iranian gas in Georgia. A feasible option?

Over the past few months the Chief of Russia's Gazprom, Aleksei Miller, and Georgia’s Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze have been negotiating an energy deal between the two countries. The main issues on Georgia’s agenda have been its diversification plans and increasing energy consumption. Meanwhile, Georgia has not yet ruled out importing gas from Iran. According to Alireza Kameli, the Head of the National Iranian Gas Export Company, Georgian public and private sectors were interested in buying Iranian gas and Georgia and Iran have reached a preliminary agreement on the transportation of 500 mcm of gas to Georgia via Armenia. Georgia denied the statement, claiming that the two countries have not come up with any tangible agreement.

May 27, 2016 - Ilgar Gurbanov

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