In early July, James Baker, the former US secretary of state, visited Tbilisi and secured the tentative support of all major political forces in Georgia for a plan designed to reduce the chances of electoral fraud in the November parliamentary election. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].
In a separate statement, the State Department says that because of Basayev's links to the al Qaeda terrorist network, the United States, Britain, and Russia had asked the UN to impose travel restrictions on him in all UN member states and to block shipments of arms and financial aid to his rebels by UN members.
While the self-declared autonomous republic of Abkhazia maintains a paltry economy and has never won recognition from Georgia, some people in its capital are ready to celebrate. September 30 marks the tenth anniversary of Abkhazia's break from Georgia.
Russian authorities on August 5 announced the detention of three suspects for possible links to the suicide car bombing that killed 50 people at a Russian military hospital last week in Mozdok, North Ossetia.
Russian policy makers are solidly backing Azerbaijan's political transition process, viewing the impending transfer of power from President Heidar Aliyev to his son Ilham as offering the best chances of maintaining political stability in the resource-rich nation. Moscow also feels an intra-family succession could help avert competition in the Caucasus between Russia and the United States.
As head of the Ministry of Education's Department of Public Education and Pre-Schools for Cities, Arif Muradov is the man in charge of implementing the new policy throughout the country, although it mainly concerns Baku. In an interview with EurasiaNet, Muradov emphasized that the new policy pertained to "all refugee children currently residing in the territory of Azerbaijan."
Azerbaijan's recent decision to allow refugees to attend public schools marks a subtle change in a domestic policy with significant regional political ramifications. The decision came after UNHCR's office in Baku convinced Azerbaijani officials that the new policy was in the country's best interest.
The renovation of a Russian air base in Kyrgyzstan is nearing completion. As Kyrgyz and Russian officials work out the last details concerning deployment of fighter jets, both sides are downplaying the possibility of Kyrgyzstan becoming a focal point in a US-Russian struggle for influence in Central Asia.
At one point the number of Molokans reached an estimated 500,000. During the 19th Century, Tsarist officials instituted policies designed to force Molokans from Central Russia to the periphery of the empire. Accordingly, Molokan communities developed in Caucasus and Central Asia.
Turkish and Russian energy officials have failed to resolve a pricing dispute concerning the Blue Stream pipeline. Turkish sources indicate the two sides remain far apart. The deadlock could cause a shake-up at Gazprom, the Russian concern responsible for exporting gas via Blue Stream, according to media reports in Moscow.