Jun 6, 2007

Kazakh opposition leader arrested

Asylbek Kozhakhmetov, the leader of unregistered opposition party Alga, was arrested in Almaty today while reading Pushkin's poetry to a small group of assembled on Almaty's Central Square. The gathering apparently tried to draw attention to recent arrests of several other protesters.

Jun 3, 2007

What went wrong with Central Asia - Europe energy projects?

Last month turned out to be a setback for the pro-Western formulation of Central Asian energy policy. Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan agreed to maximize gas deliveries to Russia while practically disavowing the proposed trans-Caspian gas pipeline to Europe for lack of Russian consent. Kazakhstan declined to join the Odessa-Brody-Poland oil pipeline project, unless it is transformed to include Russia. Moreover, Kazakhstan committed additional massive oil volumes for export via Russia, instead of the proposed trans-Caspian oil transport system by tankers, westward into the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. Finally, Austria, initiator of the European Union’s Nabucco project for Caspian gas to Europe bypassing Russia, has now agreed to increase the import and transit of Gazprom’s gas.

Eurasia Daily Monitor's Vladimir Socor itemizes what went wrong with each of the projects hoping that the recent events will prove to be a valuable lesson in formulating a common energy policy in Central Asia.