Headlines from the Caspian: October 31, 2022
Author:Caspian Policy Center
Nov 1, 2022
Security and Policy
Russia Hosts Summit with the Leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan
Russian President Vladimir Putin will be holding trilateral peace talks with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on October 31. The Kremlin announced that talks in Sochi should “further steps to strengthen stability and security in the Transcaucasus.” More specifically, the leaders will discuss steps towards implementing cease-fire and peace in contested territories between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Russia’s peacekeeping efforts come amidst re-vamped hostilities in the contested regions in September.
Some 200,000 Foreigners Have Applied for Kazakh Identification Since September
Since Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization, about 200,000 individuals have applied for foreign identification and eligibility to work and about bank accounts in Kazakhstan, according to Kazakh Deputy Minister of Digital Development Aset Turysov. Turysov did not provide the number of Russians included in this influx of applicants, but it is estimated that 300,000 Russian citizens have fled into Kazakhstan borders to avoid the draft since the September 21 mobilization announcement.
European Council President Calls for Closer Ties at the First EU-Central Asia Summit
On October 27, while at the EU-Central Asia Summit in Astana, European Council President Charles Michel called for closer relations between the European Union (EU) and Central Asian States; “Central Asia and Europe are coming closer together and becoming more and more connected." He then added that he is looking forward to continuing investment discussions at the EU-Central Asian Substantial Connectivity conference in Uzbekistan in November. The Summit was attended by heads of state of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, as well as Turkmenistan’s Deputy Chair of the Cabinet of Ministers.
Energy and Economy
Kazakhstan Signs $50 Billion Deal on Renewables with the European Union
On October 27, Kazakhstan's government announced it signed an investment agreement with European energy group Svevind to begin construction of one of the world’s largest green hydrogen production plants. Hyrasia One, a subsidiary project developer of Svevind, stated its goal is for the facility, located in the steppes of the South-Western Mangystau region, to start production by 2030, and produce two million tons of hydro-energy annually. The project, worth around $40 to $50 billion, is still looking for long-term investors, and it will reach its final investment decision in 2026.
Georgia Announces Scheme to Support Investors
Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili announced October 31 a new scheme meant to foster construction of 1,500 MW power plants in Georgia within the next three years. Garibashvili stated that “we expect at least $3 billion of investment in the energy sector,” and that it is important to invest in the development Georgia’s hydropower resources.
Source: Georgia Today
Gulf Countries Sign Agreement on the Employment of Kyrgyzstanis
Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Jordan signed a cooperation agreement with Kyrgyzstan on October 31. This agreement, signed by Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Labor, sets regulations and processes for the legal employment of Kyrgyzstan citizens in the Gulf-region countries. According to the Minister of Labor, Social Security and Migration, Kudaibergen Bazarbaev, host companies will now cover airfare and visas, and the employer will now also be responsible for any employment document.
Kazakhstan’s Central Bank Raises Interest Rates
On October 26, The National Bank of Kazakhstan raised interest rates to their highest level since 2016 in order to control inflation. Major drivers of inflation are reportedly related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, namely supply chain disruptions and the “migrant shock” which have caused an increase in consumer prices. Currently, inflation is running at 19.7 percent, and the bank’s officials stated that they’re aiming to bring it down to 7.5-9.5 percent next year.
Kyrgyzstan Sees 27% Increase in Turkish Imports in 2022
The Turkish Statistical Institute announced on October 30 that Turkish imports to Kyrgyzstan have increased by 27% during the 9-month period between January and September 2022 when compared to last year.
Sources: AKI Press, Eurasianet, European Council, Politico, RFE/RL