Published in Forums & Events

 Tuesday, October 21, 2014, from 5 PM to 7 PM

CACI Forum

Kyrgyzstan: Prospects for Sovereignty and Stability

Kyrgyzstan went through two major political upheavals in the past decade--in 2005 and 2010, with the latter followed by serious inter-ethnic violence in the country’s south.  At the same time, Kyrgyzstan embarked on the experiment--unique for the region--of introducing a parliamentary form of government.  The country has also committed to join the Russian-led Eurasian Union.

How has Kyrgyzstan’s political system fared in the past four years?  Have inter-ethnic tensions in the south been alleviated, and what is the role of Kyrgyz nationalism in the country’s politics?

And finally, what are the prospects for Kyrgyzstan’s sovereignty and independence in joining the Eurasian Union?

Published in Forums & Events

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, from 5 PM to 7 PM

CACI Forum / Book Launch

"Putin's Grand Strategy: The Eurasian Union and Its Discontents"

New book on Putin's objectives and tactics in Eurasia

Over the past year we have assembled a group of leading American and European experts to produce the first book-length study of Russian President Vladimir Putin's effort to create an Eurasian Union. The book indicates the ideological origins and character of this project, focusing not only on Putin's strategic objectives, but also the tactics he employs to achieve them.  

The volume stresses the high degree of coordination that has been achieved among sectors of the Russian state that are accustomed to function as sovereign bureaucracies.  Subsequent chapters analyze the response of eleven post-Soviet states to Putin's initiative, as well as the attitudes of China, Europe and the United States towards the initiative. The book suggests that Putin’s effort, if successful, would jeopardize the gains of two decades of independence in countries ranging from Moldova to Tajikistan.  At the same time, however, the book traces processes by which those countries potentially affected have already worked to limit, dilute, and even undermine the union before it comes into being.

Published in Forums & Events

Monday, September 8, 2014, from 5 PM to 7 PM

CACI Forum

"Looking Forward: Kazakhstan and the United States"

On September 8, Dr. Fatima Kukeyeva and Dr. Askar Nursha (Kazakhstan), together with Dr. Svante Cornell, Dr. Frederick Starr, and Mr. Enders Wimbush (U.S.), authors of the comprehensive report "Looking Forward: Kazakhstan and the United States," will discuss the future of this important strategic partnership. The forum will explore the Kazakhstan-U.S. relationship in the context of recent geopolitical developments in the region, including Ukraine.

Published in Forums & Events

Tuesday, June 10 2014

CACI Forum

"The Ukraine Crisis, the Northern Distribution Network, and Continental Transport"

On June 10, CACI Forum's guest speaker, Dr. Andris Spruds, co-editor of an important new book on the Northern Distribution Network linking the Baltic and Afghanistan, will discuss the future of this network, including its prospective commercialization beyond 2014.  He is joined by Dr. S. Frederick Starr, a chapter contributor to the book.  Attendees are invited to participate in a wide-ranging discussion exploring the broad impact of events in Ukraine on this continental corridor, and on the emerging network of transport, trade, and security alliances in the Caucasus and Central Asia.





  • Read CACI Chairman S. Frederick Starr's recent interview on the resurgence of Imperial Russia with The American Purpose
    Tuesday, 23 May 2023 00:00

    Why Russians Support the War: Jeffrey Gedmin interviews S. Frederick Starr on the resurgence of Imperial Russia.

    The American Purpose, May 23, 2023

    Jeffrey Gedmin: Do we have a Putin problem or a Russia problem today?

    S. Frederick Starr: We have a Putin problem because we have a Russia problem. Bluntly, the mass of Russians are passive and easily manipulated—down to the moment they aren’t. Two decades ago they made a deal with Vladimir Putin, as they have done with many of his predecessors: You give us a basic income, prospects for a better future, and a country we can take pride in, and we will give you a free hand. This is the same formula for autocracy that prevailed in Soviet times, and, before that, under the czars. The difference is that this time Russia’s leader—Putin—and his entourage have adopted a bizarre and dangerous ideology, “Eurasianism,” that empowers them to expand Russian power at will over the entire former territory of the USSR and even beyond. It is a grand and awful vision that puffs up ruler and ruled alike.

    What do most Russians think of this deal? It leaves them bereft of the normal rights of citizenship but free from its day-to-day responsibilities. So instead of debating, voting, and demonstrating, Russians store up their frustrations and then release them in elemental, often destructive, and usually futile acts of rebellion. This “Russia problem” leaves the prospect of change in Russia today in the hands of alienated members of Putin’s immediate entourage, many of whom share his vision of Russia’s destiny and are anyway subject to Putin’s ample levers for control. Thus, our “Putin problem” arises from our “Russia problem.”

    Click to continue reading...

  • CACI director Svante Cornell's interviewed on the 'John Batchelor Show' podcast regarding Turkey's 2023 presidential election
    Friday, 19 May 2023 00:00

    Listen to CACI director Svante Cornell's recent interview on the 'John Batchelor Show' podcast regarding Turkey's 2023 presidential election. Click here!

  • New Article Series on Changing Geopolitics of Central Asia and the Caucasus
    Wednesday, 24 November 2021 11:53


  • CACI Initiative on Religion and the Secular State in Central Asia and the Caucasus
    Sunday, 24 January 2021 13:53

    In 2016, the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program launched an initiative on documenting the interrelationship of religion and the secular state in the region. This initiative departed from the fact that little systematic reserch had been undertaken on the subject thus far. While there was and remains much commentary and criticism of religious policy in the region, there was no comprehensive analysis available on the interrelationship of religion and the state in any regional state, let alone the region as a whole. The result of this initiative has been the publication of six Silk Road Papers studying the matter in regional states, with more to come. In addition, work is ongoing on a volume putting the regional situation in the context of the Muslim world as a whole.


    Case Studies

    Each study below can be freely downloaded in PDF format.


    Azerbaijan's Formula: Secular Governance and Civil Nationhood
    By Svante E. Cornell, Halil Karaveli, and Boris Ajeganov
    November 2016   

    2018-04-Kazakhstan-SecularismReligion and the Secular State in Kazakhstan
    By Svante E. Cornell, S. Frederick Starr and Julian Tucker
    April 2018




    1806-UZ-coverReligion and the Secular State in Uzbekistan
    Svante E. Cornell and Jacob Zenn
    June 2018




    2006-Engvall-coverReligion and the Secular State in Kyrgyzstan
    Johan Engvall
    June 2020

     Event video online


    2006-Clement-coverReligion and the Secular State in Turkmenistan
    Victoria Clement
    June 2020

    Event video online




    Articles and Analyses

    Svante E. Cornell, "Religion and the State in Central Asia," in Ilan Berman, ed., Wars of Ideas: Theology, Interpretation and Power in the Muslim World, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2021.

    Svante E. Cornell, "Central Asia: Where Did Islamic Radicalization Go?" in Religion, Conflict and Stability in the Former Soviet Union, eds. Katya Migacheva and Bryan Frederick, Arlington, VA: RAND Corporation, 2018.