Headlines from the Caspian: July 12, 2022
Author: Caspian Policy Center
Jul 12, 2022
Energy and Economy
Russia Reverses Decision on Oil Pipeline Needed by Kazakhstan
at a pipeline that Kazakhstan uses to export most of its oil. On July 11, a Russian court overturned a previous ruling to suspend operations of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC). The court ruled that the CPC would now face a $3,250 fine for alleged environmental violations, instead of the month-long freeze of operations that had been previously ordered. The freeze of operations would have cost Kazakhstan hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue.
Kazakhstan President Seeks to Diversify Oil Export Routes Away from Russia
Amid the Russian court’s decision to suspend operations on a pipeline that Kazakhstan uses to export the bulk of its oil, Kazakhstan’s president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev asked for assistance from U.S. companies in developing the country’s energy sector and finding alternative oil export routes circumventing Russia. "I instruct [state-owned oil and gas company] KazMunaiGaz to work out the best option for implementing this, including through the involvement of investors at the Tengiz project," he told officials.
Kazakhstan Introduces Visa-free Entry for Citizens of China, India, Iran
Government of Kazakhstan issued a decree on July 7, introducing a visa-free regime for citizens of the China, India, and Iran for up to 14 days. Introduction of a visa-free regime reportedly aims to further enhance the country’s favorable investment climate, to promote direct contacts between businesses, and to better utilize its potential for international tourist visits.
Source: The Times of Central Asia
Kyrgyzstan Boosts Imports of Natural Gas from Russia
According to the National Statistical Committee of Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyzstan increased imports of natural gas from Russia from January through April 2022. The amount of Kyrgyzstan's natural gas imports from Russia in the first four months of 2022 totaled $25.1 million, which is an increase of 6.8 percent compared to the same period of 2021 ($23.5 million).
Security and Politics
Support for Banning Georgia’s Far-Right Party Increases
Georgia’s public defender, Nino Lomjaria, has announced that she is preparing a lawsuit against the party, the Conservative Movement, arguing that it should be banned on the grounds that it violates the Constitution. Lomjaria claims that many of the party’s statements contain indications of overthrowing the constitution as well as encouragement of violence, which amount to war propaganda, something that is prohibited by the Georgian constitution. Lomjaria has received some support from many Georgian lawyers and lawmakers, while others fear that banning a party may endanger freedom of speech and expression.
Armenian Government Moves to Restructure Defense Ministry
Armenia has restructured its Defense Ministry making the deputy defense minister the head of the armed forces. On July 6, Armenia’s parliament on a 58-0 vote adopted amendments to the country’s defense law that makes the head of the armed forces also the deputy defense minister. Opposition deputies boycotted the vote.
Uzbek President Dismisses Chief of Staff in Wake of Karakalpakstan Unrest
Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev dismissed his chief of staff, Zainilobiddin Nizomiddinov, in what appeared to be a result of the fallout from last week’s spasm of violence in the northwestern Karakalpakstan region. According to the government statement, Nizomiddinov's dismissal was officially due to health reasons. He was viewed as an important figure in pushing proposed changes to the national constitution that were seen as limiting the autonomy of Karakalpakstan.
(Sources: Civilnet, Eurasianet, OC Media, RFE/RL, Times of Central Asia, Trend News Agency)