The Southern Caucasus is the site of three armed conflicts with separatist backgrounds, which have remained unsolved for years: the conflicts in Georgia's Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and Azerbaijan's conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh (including the areas around Nagorno-Karabakh which were seized by Armenian separatists in the course of the war). Neither Georgia nor Azerbaijan have had any control over the disputed areas since the early 1990s. Both states are simultaneously in conflict with the separatists' informal patrons, respectively Russia and Armenia.
Under Vladimir Putin's rule, Russia consistently and systematically expanded its activity in Asia, establishing closer political contacts with key countries in the region, rebuilding relations with former allies from Soviet times, and strengthening its presence in the Asian markets, in the energy sphere also. These activities were accompanied by intensive Russian propaganda, the message of which was that relations with the West can be restricted in favour of developing closer relations with Asian states.
The energy sector, especially with regard to natural gas trade, is one of the key areas of co-operation between the EU and Russia. However, the character of this co-operation has given rise to increasing doubts both in Brussels and among the EU member states. The questions have emerged whether this co-operation does not make the EU excessively dependent on Russian energy supplies, and whether Gazprom's presence in the EU will not allow Moscow to interfere in the proces of devising the EU energy policy.
The conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia have been Georgia's main security problem since the beginning of the 1990s, and, along with the Armenian-Azeri conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, have made up the main security problems in the South Caucasus
The evaluation of Turkey's standpoint and potential regarding the aforementioned issues is especially important, considering the tensions existing in Turkey's relations with the EU and the USA, as well as the West's increasing engagement in the Caucasus, Central Asia and Black Sea regions. In this process, Ankara may play the role of a significant ally for the West.
The question of Kosovo's status is currently one of the most important issues in international politics. Since 1999, Kosovo has been an international protectorate which was created in the aftermath of the NATO intervention to stop the brutal pacification of the Albanian insurgency by Serb forces. The province has since de facto become independent of Serbia.
The present enlargement of the Schengen area will establish the foundations of Europe's geopolitical landscape for many years to come. This is why it must not be considered as a purely technical issue.
The start of accession negotiations between Ankara and the EU is vital for the future of both Turkey and the Union, including Poland as its member state, as well as for the geopolitical situation in Eurasia (the Black Sea region, Caucasus, Central Asia and the Middle East).
Institutional integration processes in the post-Soviet area have ended in failure. It proved impossible to transform the Commonwealth of Independent States into an instrument of real co-operation, even though Russia, which was the most interested in integrating the post-Soviet space, made repeated efforts to this end
This study describes the two main economic processes observed in Russia during President Vladimir Putin's second term; renationalisation, and the concentration of economic assets.