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2014: geopolitical forecasts that make you think
Material posted: Publication date: 21-01-2014

Analytical center "Stratfor" has analyzed the main trends on a global scale in 2014, giving on the basis of their forecasts. In this article we have paid attention to the provisions of this report that relate to the post-Soviet space. Along with this, we conducted a comparison with some predictions that were given in the Russian media. I think that it would be interesting to think about where they intersect, and where in conflict. In General, there is an opportunity to form a General idea of the activity of major geopolitical powers in the world in 2014.

Three areas of geopolitical activity in the post-Soviet space

Analyses of the American analytical center "Stratfor" global geopolitics has always aroused interest. Organization, the founder of which is a well-known analyst and strategist George Friedman, prepared a report on the topic of geopolitical fight of great powers in the post-Soviet space in 2014 (see: 2014 Annual Forecast Preview / "", December 30, 2013). Along with the analysis given and some predictions. The ideas put forward are of interest in many respects. Of course, the theses put forward in the report, be taken as absolute truths would be wrong. But I think that it would be useful to keep in mind the points on which stops one of the leading think tanks in the world.

Immediately, we note that the report emphasizes that the geopolitical processes in the post-Soviet space will be strained. According to forecasts, it will manifest itself in three main areas: Ukraine, southern Caucasus, Central Asia. But the course of the processes in each of the three areas will be original. The factor that will determine the overall picture in Ukraine, may not act in the South Caucasus and in Central Asia generally decisive role could play a completely different factor.

This approach "Stratfor"shows that in the post-Soviet space geopolitical picture in fact is differentiated and therefore it is wrong, all States of this space "to cut under one comb". Each of them has its own characteristics. Due to this it is possible to pursue a policy towards post-Soviet countries.

Interestingly, this established in Western political consciousness the truth not yet found their place in practical politics. One thing is clear: either "Stratfor" allow contradictions in the tests or in the American political consciousness, a growing number of inconsistencies with each other moments. In any case, there is a rather interesting picture. Therefore, we consider it necessary to elaborate on the predictions about the mentioned directions.

The report presents Ukraine as the main barometer of relations between Europe and Russia. It is expected that in 2014 the geopolitical struggle between these forces for Kiev will escalate. This will bring instability in the internal political situation in Ukraine. The confrontation of government and opposition in the temporary superiority of one of the parties can be maintained. But in 2014, Ukraine will remain under Russian influence. Europe can change conflictana with Moscow on the tactics of finding a common language with her. In some matters, Brussels may be willing to make concessions. Berlin may even cooperate with Moscow to resolve specific conflicts.

According to the President of Jamestown Foundation Glen E. Howard, "In the short term, Moscow will stick to the chosen tactics for Ukraine until then, until stronger position on the absorption of Ukraine and the reincarnation of the Customs Union" (see: Stratfor: the year 2014 will be critical for Russia "Voice of America", January 7, 2014). However, the expert noted that Belarus and Kazakhstan vacillate on the question of membership in the Customs Union. Another point is the existence within Russia of opponents more resources to Ukraine. In this case, we can conclude about the possible contradictions in Russia's Ukrainian policy and change as a result of the content of the processes.

This aspect is interesting in the context of Ukrainian politics and the European Union. So, for some reason Brussels is very loyal to the patronage of the Kremlin Kiev. However, Stratfor does not pay attention to this aspect of the problem. In our opinion. Europe predicts financial difficulties for Russia. Here not believe that the Russian economy will be able to carry cargo at the same time Ukraine, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In principle for Moscow in 2014 can be difficult. In this regard it would be interesting to dwell on the scenarios in the South Caucasus.

South Caucasus "pie": who and what proportion of claims?

According to Stratfor, "geopolitical alternative to Armenia stopped." This analytical organization considers the chances of official Yerevan to get rid of Moscow are minimal. Note that the same opinion is shared by Russian experts (see: Ivan Lizin. The Caucasus-2013: Results of Eurasian integration / Information-analytical portal "However", January 7, 2014).

I. Lizin noted that the end has come "Armenian multi-vector". According to him, Armenia turned into the main ally of Russia in the South Caucasus. It is noteworthy that the Russian expert excludes the possibility that this situation will change. At this point the position of "Stratfor"and the Russian experts are the same. Apparently, it is unlikely that in the nearest future Armenia will fundamentally change its position. The impact of this factor on the geopolitical dynamics of the region cannot be ignored.

Because of the position of Armenia's European choice of Georgia is somewhat complicated. But Stratfor believes that the chances of Tbilisi to make a choice compared to a Kiev high. Therefore, Moldova is in Eastern Europe and Georgia in the South Caucasus can become the main arenas of confrontation between Russia and the West. Moscow is increasing its pressure on these countries in different directions. Hence we can conclude that to expect the stabilization of the socio-political and economic situation in Georgia in 2014 is unlikely.

Russian experts pay attention to this aspect of the issue: "Despite the change of power in Georgia, the country lost for Eurasian integration" (see: previous source). For this reason, Georgia and expects to continue economic decline.

Such arguments expert say that this year the pressure on Tbilisi from the North will continue. In this respect it is interesting that Yerevan entertains hopes of opening the Abkhazian railway. And on this background interest is the fate of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars. In any case, you have to stay on that Moscow could exploit the Armenian factor as a tool of pressure on Georgia. Thus we have to admit that the South Caucasus States have two serious geopolitical problems.

Against this background, great interest the Azerbaijani issue, because this country is the leading country of the South Caucasus. He has a wide economic opportunities and the geopolitical position of his I strengthen. This was the reason that in their forecasts regarding Azerbaijan "Stratfor" was careful. This structure was considered by Azerbaijan in terms of strengthening geopolitical influence of Iran and Turkey in the region.

In General, experts say that Ankara and Tehran will fight for Baku. Thus, in their view, much will depend on resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. At the same time, they emphasize that Moscow is a very difficult thing.

In this regard, it is surprising feature of Russian analysts of Azerbaijan as "the most antievraziyskoe" countries in the region (see: previous source). Taking this statement as true, I conclude that to "persuade" Azerbaijan, Russia in 2014 may resort to new ways.

No doubt, such arguments have nothing to do with reality. First, the relations between Azerbaijan and Russia are at a high level and continue to develop. Secondly, Baku is not going to join any Union. He's not going to become an associative member of the European Union, but is included in the CIS. In this framework, he collaborates extensively with all members of the organization. If this occurs, it is possible to accuse Azerbaijan in the accession to one or another Union there is no reason. In fact, all this confirms only one thing: Azerbaijan is pursuing an independent policy that someone not satisfied.

It is obvious that the report "Stratfor"certain points exaggerated. But overall it has enough aspects that makes one think. Of particular note is the conclusion about the likelihood of turning the South Caucasus into an arena of intense struggle of major powers. In this sense, this year in the region it is expected a number of other important geopolitical processes.


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