Headlines from the Caspian: February 22, 2022
Author:Caspian Policy Center
Feb 23, 2022
Energy and Economy
Germany Freezes Nord Stream 2 in Response to Russian Aggression in Ukraine
Germany halted the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline project, designed to double the flow of Russian gas to Germany, after Russia formally recognized two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine. Worth $11 billion, Nord Stream 2 was finished in September, but has stood idle pending certification by Germany and the European Union.
Oil Prices Jump Due to Developments in Donbas
Oil prices approached $100 a barrel, the highest in more than seven years, and European gas futures briefly jumped more than 13 percent, amid rising concerns over armed conflict in Ukraine after the Kremlin ordered Russian troops into separatist territories late February 21.
Source: New York Times
Kazakhstan: 13 illegal data farms found in crackdown on gray crypto-miners
Kazakhstani authorities closed thirteen facilities using over 200 megawatts of electricity for data-mining operations related to cryptocurrency mining. The Kazakhstani Ministry of Energy has identified illegal cryptocurrency mining as a challenge to the sustainable management of Kazakhstan’s electricity grid.
ADB loan to upgrade Uzbekistan roads and boost regional connectivity
The Asian Development Bank approved a US$273.85 million loan to reconstruct and upgrade national roads in Uzbekistan that are vital to regional connectivity. The project will widen the roads using low-maintenance concrete pavement and improve their condition to substantially reduce travel time and vehicle operating costs. It will upgrade alignments and junctions, provide bus stop shelters and better pedestrian facilities, and add clearer signage and other safety features. Two weigh-in-motion systems will be installed near Derbent and Denau to avoid vehicle overloading and prevent pavement damage.
Investigative Report Says Credit Suisse Harbored Dirty Money from Former Soviet Republics, Balkans
A report from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project details the largest leak from a Swiss bank to this day, including information on the accounts of Caspian region political leaders and businesspeople. Among those named are several former and current heads of state and their close associates.
Security and Politics
Kazakhstan will not recognize the DPR or LPR
The Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi said that Kazakhstan will not recognize the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics. This comes after Russia recognized the independence and sovereignty of both separatist regions.
Emergency meeting of Security Council held in Kazakhstan on situation in Ukraine
The Security Council organized an emergency meeting, chaired by Kazakhstan's President, to discuss concerns regarding Kazakhstan's socioeconomic development in light of the situation in Ukraine. President Tokayev emphasized the necessity for an anti-crisis strategy to be adopted as soon as possible in order to respond quickly to the negative impact of the expected deterioration of the international situation as a result of the military-political and sanctions confrontation. President Tokayev issued several directives to reduce potential economic and other threats to the country.
Leaders of Azerbaijan and Russia meet one-on-one
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Russian President Vladimir Putin have begun their one-on-one meeting. During his one-on-one conversation with Putin, President Ilham Aliyev stated that the Russian Federation played a significant role in ending the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This meeting will result in the signing of the Declaration on Allied Cooperation between Azerbaijan and Russia, which will cover the critical fields of bilateral engagement and is expected to be essential for the future of the countries' bilateral ties.
Two More Candidates Seen as Loyal To Turkmen President Registered In Election
Turkmenistan has registered two new presidential candidates for the March 12 early presidential election. The candidates are lawmaker Berdymammet Gurbanov and the director of a regional vocational school, Perhat Begenjov, both of whom are known to be loyal to President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov. Gurbanov and Begenjov, according to the announcement, do not represent any political parties.
Azerbaijani MPs visit Armenia for the first time in a decade
For the first time since 2012, Azerbaijani parliamentarians have visited Armenia. On February 21, Tahir Mirkishili and Soltan Mammadov arrived in Yerevan for the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly. While protestors rallied outside of the Karen Demirchiyan Complex, the Azerbaijani delegates stated their desire to restore diplomatic ties with Armenia.