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Showing 1643 results for post-Soviet Kazakhstan sorted by

AssessmentsAug 3, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
An oil pumpjack operates in Signal Hill, California, on April 21, 2020, a day after oil prices dropped to below zero amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid a Global COVID-19 Resurgence, Oil Prices Are Poised to Stall
The resurgence of COVID-19 infections in many countries around the world has undermined the oil market's notion that the recovery in petroleum product demand will continue upward in the absence of a vaccine. Expectations of a swift demand recovery in recent weeks have also been hampered by concerns about new mandatory lockdowns in places where economic activity had resumed, as well as slower economic recoveries elsewhere. Crude oil prices are thus likely to stall heading into the fourth quarter of 2020 as global demand remains sluggish, while modest rises in OPEC+ supply undermine efforts to rapidly balance the market and drain excess inventories. This means the fiscal position of countries highly dependent on oil export revenues will likely continue to be strained, and that any recovery in drilling activity and the oilfield services sector will also be slow.
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AssessmentsJun 1, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A satellite image shows the arrival of Russian fighter jets at an air base in Libya controlled by Khalifa Hifter's rebel army.
Russia Deepens Its Commitment to Libya’s War -- and Political Future
Russia's deepening support for the Libyan National Army (LNA) proves the Kremlin views LNA leader Khalifa Hifter as crucial to its greater North African and Mediterranean strategy, and could grant Moscow the upper hand in shaping the war-torn country's political future. The U.S. military, among others, recently released photos confirming the arrival of a fleet of Russian fighter jets at two LNA-controlled air bases in Libya. The deployment will make it more difficult for the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) to make further military gains beyond Tripolitania. But perhaps most importantly, Russia's growing involvement in Libya's civil war -- alongside Turkey's continued support for the GNA -- will leave Moscow and Ankara at the helm of any potential negotiations between Eastern and Western Libya, much to the dismay of those in Europe and the United States. 
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GuidanceApr 14, 2020 | 17:21 GMT
A horse grazes near oil pumpjacks outside the Russian city of Surgut on March 10, 2020.
OPEC+ Has Agreed to a Historic Production Cut. But Is It Enough?
OPEC+ recently approved the largest-ever coordinated production cut to offset declining global demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the agreement is unlikely to thwart further price declines in the coming months, the current alignment of interests among the world’s top oil producers means the deal will probably remain in place through the end of the year. But as the market begins to recover, adherence into 2021 will start to wane. 
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AssessmentsApr 2, 2020 | 17:15 GMT
A man pulls a shopping trolley down a near-empty aisle in a supermarket in Paris, France, on March 2, 2020. Supermarket shelves in countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have been emptied of basic food necessities in recent weeks, such as pasta and rice.
COVID-19 Ripples Through Global Food Trade
Just as COVID-19 has caused turmoil in global financial and energy markets, the pandemic is also affecting the global food market as more countries move to shore up their domestic supplies. The attempts by food importers to increase their reserves, and by food exporters to limit the outflow, have already affected prices of core food stocks such as wheat and rice. The pandemic, however, is unlikely to lead to any major food security emergencies in the short term, as many countries are taking action to guarantee access to food and regulate food prices. Global food markets are also somewhat padded as they entered this crisis with already substantial reserves from a period of strong harvests. China, for example, currently holds over half of the 287.1 million tons of the world’s wheat reserves. But localized misalignments of supply and demand still carry risk in other areas of the world.
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AssessmentsMar 19, 2020 | 19:21 GMT
The Goptivka checkpoint, near Kharkiv on the Ukrainian-Russian border, on March 16, 2020.
In Russia, COVID-19 Border Closures Risk Cutting Off Its Public Works
As Russia starts to see its number of COVID-19 patients rise, it has started to impose more stringent measures to contain the virus and limit the fallout. As elsewhere, some measures to slow down the disease will have major economic impacts. Russia closed its border to foreigners on March 18, and will stop processing requests for work visas. While this will surely stem the potential flow of COVID-19 carriers into Russia, it will also likely hit its construction sector, which heavily depends on migrant labor. And this, in turn, could upend Moscow's long-term plans for Russia's economy.
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AssessmentsFeb 6, 2020 | 10:30 GMT
A monument depicts an oil pipeline near the Mozyr linear production dispatching station in Belarus on Jan. 4, 2020.
Russia's Oil Salvo Prompts Belarus to Explore Its Options
Fearing the loss of its last ally in Eastern Europe, Russia has weaponized its crucial oil exports to force Belarus into accepting a level of integration that would effectively guarantee its allegiance. But Belarus has rejected Russia's proposals, knowing that the kind of economic and political synthesis Moscow is demanding would severely restrict its ability to pursue opportunities with Europe and the United States. To bring Belarus to heel, Russia moved to cut off the country's oil supply on Jan. 1, which has since only pushed Minsk to seek out new foreign suppliers. But Belarus' push to diversify its oil ties will likely be short-lived, as permanently severing its trade ties with Russia would require a significant overhaul of its already fragile economy.
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GuidanceJan 30, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
Cleaners wearing protective masks clean the gate in the arrival hall at a Hong Kong rail station on Jan. 29, 2020.
The Coronavirus Outbreak Could Leave Global Tourism and Trade Ailing
The effects of the new coronavirus are not just limited to public health. Any dip in Chinese economic growth and outbound tourism will have ripple effects in countries that rely on trade with China. The existing global economic slowdown prior to the outbreak has already done a number on the likes of export-oriented economies worldwide, but the possibility of a drop in Chinese tourist numbers or a blow to Chinese economic growth could sap tourist revenue around the world, particularly in East and Southeast Asia. The next phase of the outbreak will be critical to determining the success of interventions to stop the spread of the virus and limit its impacts outside China. But even in an optimistic scenario, the effects of the virus will last for weeks, raising the possibility of sustained, monthslong disruptions to growth in countries linked to the Chinese economy.
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Regions & CountriesJanuary 23, 2020 | 19:11 GMT
Kazakhstan
The ninth largest country in the world, Kazakhstan rests in the heart of Central Asia, bordering Russia to its north; China on its east; Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan along its south; and the Caspian Sea to its west. The defining feature of Kazakhstan is the Kazakh Steppe, a large dryland stretching across more than 70 percent of the country. Only 12 percent of the country's land is arable, and the majority of that is in the north connecting into Russia's agricultural belt. There is also a large pocket in the south. This expanse has largely pushed the population of nearly 18 million to the outer borderlands. The steppe is encircled by a series of sizable mountain ranges. The core of the country lies in the corridor stretching across the Shymkent (also known as Southern Kazakhstan) and the Almaty region, where the climate is warm compared with the inhospitable deserts of the steppe. This stretch of land lies in the Syr Darya river basin, creating a fertile pocket of land protected to its east, west and north by mountain ranges. Shymkent and Almaty were some of the largest stopping posts along the Silk Road, and they now have the country's densest population and swaths of the financial, industrial and agricultural sectors. To the region's south lies the Fergana Valley in Uzbekistan — a vulnerable point to its core. The Kazakh economy is dominated by its energy sector, making up nearly 20 percent of the gross domestic product. The country exports 78 percent of its oil production, regionally and along large trunk lines to China and Russia. Along with its agricultural and metals wealth, Kazakhstan's energy sector has made the country highly valuable to its neighbors. In recent decades, the country has positioned itself as the financial hub of Central Asia, tying in the banking systems of its smaller neighbors. Kazakhstan maintains strong ties with Russia, which reach back to its empire and Soviet phases. But the government in the capital, Astana, is also developing links to China and other players to balance Moscow. The country tries to maintain working relationships with its smaller neighbors, who have seen bouts of instability. Kazakhstan's challenges stem from its mostly hollow interior, from encroaching large powers and from the potential instability of smaller regions on its border.
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Contributor PerspectivesJan 22, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
Russia's Maria Butina arrives at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport on Oct. 26, 2019, after her deportation from the United States for failing to register as a foreign agent.
Russia Takes a Hard Approach to Soft Power
For all its prodigious hard power, Russia's soft power is no trifling matter. In recent years, the Kremlin has resorted to plenty of channels to undermine Western democracies by spreading propaganda -- including false-flag operations and other "information operations" -- bribing officials and politicians, cultivating corrupt ties through business lobbies and immigrant organizations, targeting specific (often radical) segments of the population with carefully tailored ideologies and making special attempts to sow friction, disagreement and conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his propaganda machine have successfully convinced the population that any intimidation and crimes by authorities are justified by the unprecedented "external threat" facing Russia. They claim that the United States is to blame for all that Russia does today because they have organized color revolutions along the Russian border, developed fifth columns and so on. Russia, accordingly, is merely trying to prove that its actions are a "mirror image" of Western
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GuidanceNov 8, 2019 | 20:21 GMT
A map of Tajikistan
Militancy in Tajikistan Could Draw in Outside Powers
A Nov. 6 attack on a Tajik security checkpoint in Rudaki district near the border with Uzbekistan reportedly left at least 17 people dead, including 15 militants, a border guard and a police officer, though subsequent reports Nov. 9 indicate that at least five more security officers than initially reported actually died. The attack highlights the persistent threat of militancy of all stripes that Tajikistan faces, something of direct concern to external powers in the region -- and especially given the U.S. drawdown of forces from Afghanistan.
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AssessmentsNov 5, 2019 | 10:30 GMT
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev listens during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel prior to a meeting on Jan. 21, 2019, in Berlin.
Uzbekistan Comes in From the Cold
For years, isolationism guided Uzbekistan's interactions with the wider world. Now, however, reforms stemming from a political succession in Central Asia's most populous country are reverberating far beyond Tashkent. As part of its political evolution, Uzbekistan has strengthened cooperation within Central Asia while also becoming an increasingly attractive partner for Russia, China, and the United States as they engage in a strategic competition for influence and investment in the region. The opening presents significant opportunities for Uzbekistan to expand its economic and security outreach to its neighborhood, yet the changes also pose risks, as the competition among these larger powers could pull the country in directions it doesn't want to go.
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AssessmentsOct 30, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
U.S. soldiers look out over the hillsides of an Afghan army checkpoint in Afghanistan's Wardak province on June 6, 2019.
To End the War in Afghanistan, the U.S. Reaches Out to Its Rivals
As the United States searches for an exit from Afghanistan, its outreach to China and Russia points to its rivals' growing influence in shaping the endgame to its longest-ever conflict. On Oct. 25, U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad visited Moscow to discuss reviving the Afghan peace process with Russian, Chinese and Pakistani officials. China is also expected to host Taliban and Afghan government officials for talks next month. A political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban remains the ultimate goal of U.S. policy in Afghanistan. And if and when that settlement is reached, it will likely include the insurgents joining a future power-sharing agreement in Kabul, which has, in turn, prompted China and Russia to establish stronger relations with the Taliban as well to advance their own counterterrorism objectives in the country. But as long as the United States maintains a military presence in Afghanistan, the prospects for lasting peace in the war-torn
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