It is a tough climb to the weather station: The trail leads across snow-covered boulder fields and steep, icy slopes. But for four researchers from Kyrgyzstan’s Geology and Mineral Resources Agency, the six-hour climb to the Adygene Glacier weather station, perched at 3,600 meters above sea level, is routine.
Warily watching Russia’s takeover of Crimea, Azerbaijani officials, politicians and analysts appear divided about what the crisis will mean for their own 26-year-long dispute with Armenia over the breakaway region of Nagorno Karabakh.
Russia’s escalating confrontation with the West resulting from its annexation of Crimea has thrown long-running international efforts to end the conflict over Nagorno Karabakh into uncertainty. Analysts in Yerevan believe that the standoff bodes ill for continued joint US-Russian mediation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks, which is seen as critical for achieving a compromise settlement.
A David-and-Goliath legal battle between Azerbaijan’s state oil company and a small energy firm is placing Turkey’s legislative system under a spotlight, and is stoking an already existing debate over rule of law in the country.
Twenty-seven-year-old Manucher has spent every day for the past six years cleaning out manure and, in winter, snow from his cattle barn. In his impoverished village not far from Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital, he counts himself lucky to have the work.
As the reality of the Vladimir Putin’s Crimean land grab sinks in, the most alarming aspect of it all is not the ease with which Russian troops seized the peninsula, but the way the Kremlin mobilized Russian public opinion behind its agenda.
When empires collapse, disputes over new borders – both political and cultural – are inevitable. Such disputes are especially acrimonious, and often turn violent, when the territory in dispute involves what the eminent French historian Pierre Nora called lieux de memoire – “places of memory” that are revered by citizens of a nation.
Energy-rich Azerbaijan could emerge as a winner in the international crisis over Crimea, if the West pushes away from Russia as a natural-gas supplier, Azerbaijani analysts say. Diplomatic sensitivities, namely a desire in Baku not to rile Russia, means that any Azerbaijani effort to capitalize on the crisis will take place behind the scenes.