Russian, Central Asian, and Eurasian Affairs

We’re tracking 29 Congressional Research Service reports in this topic area. RSS icon

Russian Political, Economic, and Security Issues and U.S. Interests

Russia made uneven progress in democratization during the 1990s, but this limited progress was reversed after Vladimir Putin rose to power in 1999-2000, according to many observers. During this period, the State Duma (lower legislative chamber) became dominated by government-approved parties, gubernatorial elections were abolished, and the government consolidated ownership or control over major media and industries, including the energy sector. The Putin government showed low regard for the rule of law and human rights in suppressing insurgency in the North Caucasus, according to critics....

Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests

This report discusses the current status of Central Asian states and U.S. policy, which has been aimed at facilitating their cooperation with U.S. and NATO stabilization efforts in Afghanistan and their efforts to combat terrorism, proliferation, and trafficking in arms, drugs, and persons.

The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics: Security and Human Rights Issues

The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on July 4, 2007, that Sochi, Russia, had been selected as the host city for the Olympic Winter Games and Paralympics. The Olympic Games, which will be held February 7-23, 2014, are the first to be hosted by Russia as a successor state to the former Soviet Union. Reportedly, some 230 U.S. athletes out of approximately 2,900 from some 88 countries, and about 10,000 U.S. visitors, are expected in Sochi. Olympic events will take place at two main locations: a coastal cluster along the Black Sea and a mountain cluster in the...

Possible U.S. Intervention in Syria: Issues for Congress

Reports of a mass casualty chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus are reshaping the long-running and contentious debate over possible U.S. intervention in Syria’s bloody civil war. Obama Administration officials and some foreign governments report that on August 21, 2013, forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Asad attacked opposition-controlled areas in the suburbs of the capital with chemical weapons, killing hundreds of civilians, including women and children. The Syrian government has denied the accusations categorically and blames the opposition for the attack. United...

Possible Intervention in Syria: CRS Experts

The table below provides names and contact information for CRS experts on various policy concerns of interest to Congress relating to the prospect of international military responses to the suspected use of chemical weapons in Syria. Policy areas identified include the conflict in Syria, chemical weapons, military operations, intelligence issues, war powers, the humanitarian response, issues in the Middle East region, the United Nations, other international actors, and other foreign policy instruments.

Uzbekistan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests

Uzbekistan gained independence at the end of 1991 with the breakup of the Soviet Union. The landlocked country is a potential Central Asian regional power by virtue of its population, the largest in the region, its substantial energy and other resources, and its location at the heart of regional trade and transport networks. The existing president, Islam Karimov, retained his post following the country’s independence, and was reelected in 2000 and 2007. He has pursued a policy of caution in economic and political reforms, and many observers have criticized Uzbekistan’s human rights...

CRS Issue Statement on NATO

The April 2010 Coup in Kyrgyzstan and its Aftermath: Context and Implications for U.S. Interests

Kyrgyzstan is a small and poor country in Central Asia that gained independence in 1991 with the breakup of the Soviet Union (see Figure A-1). It has developed a notable but fragile civil society. Progress in democratization has been set back by problematic elections (one of which helped precipitate a coup in 2005 that brought Kurmanbek Bakiyev to power), contention over constitutions, and corruption. The April 2010 coup appears to have been triggered by popular discontent over rising utility prices and government repression. After two days of popular unrest in the capital of Bishkek and...

Iran: Regional Perspectives and U.S. Policy

As the Administration and Congress move forward to pursue engagement, harsher sanctions, or both, regional actors are evaluating their policies and priorities with respect to Iran. Iran’s neighbors share many U.S. concerns, but often evaluate them differently than the United States when calculating their own relationship with or policy toward Iran. Because Iran and other regional concerns—the Arab-Israeli peace process, stability in Lebanon and Iraq, terrorism, and the ongoing war in Afghanistan—have become increasingly intertwined, understanding the policies and perspectives of Iran’s...

NATO Enlargement: Albania, Croatia, and Possible Future Candidates

At the April 2-4, 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, a principal issue was consideration of the candidacies for membership of Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia. The allies agreed to extend invitations to Albania and Croatia. Although the alliance determined that Macedonia met the qualifications for NATO membership, Greece blocked the invitation due to an enduring dispute over Macedonia’s name. After formal accession talks, on July 9, 2008, the foreign ministers of Albania and Croatia and the permanent representatives of the 26 NATO allies signed accession protocols amending the North...

Comparing Global Influence: China’s and U.S. Diplomacy, Foreign Aid, Trade, and Investment in the Developing World

This report compares the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) and U.S. projections of global influence, with an emphasis on non-coercive means or “soft power,” and suggests ways to think about U.S. foreign policy options in light of China’s emergence. Part One discusses U.S. foreign policy interests, China’s rising influence, and its implications for the United States. Part Two compares the global public images of the two countries and describes PRC and U.S. uses of soft power tools, such as public diplomacy, state diplomacy, and foreign assistance. It also examines other forms of soft power...

Azerbaijan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests

This report discusses political, economic, and security challenges facing Azerbaijan, including the unsettled conflict in the breakaway Nagorno Karabakh region. A table provides basic facts and biographical information. Related products include CRS Report RL33453, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, Political Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests, by Jim Nichol.

Enlargement Issues at NATO’s Bucharest Summit

NATO held a summit in Bucharest on April 2-4, 2008. A principal issue was consideration of the candidacies for membership of Albania, Croatia, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM, or the Republic of Macedonia). These states are small, with correspondingly small militaries, and their inclusion in the alliance cannot be considered strategic in a military sense. However, it is possible that they could play a role in the stabilization of southeastern Europe. The allies issued invitations only to Albania and Croatia.

At Bucharest NATO decided not to offer a Membership Action...

Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade: Key Issues for the 110th Congress

The 110th Congress will face a number of pressing foreign affairs, defense, and trade issues in the opening days of its tenure. This report identifies major issues most likely to be on the legislative agenda, discusses critical policy choices at stake, and summarizes some of the major alternatives that Congress may consider. The report lists Congressional Research Service reports that address these issues, and it identifies key analysts and their areas of responsibility.

A major issue confronting the new Congress is what to do in Iraq. The Baker/Hamilton-led Iraq Study Group recommended...

International Efforts to Control the Spread of the Avian Influenza (H5N1) Virus: Affected Countries’ Responses

A strain of the avian influenza virus known as H5N1 threatens to develop into a human pandemic. First appearing in birds and humans in Hong Kong in 1997, the virus re-surfaced in late 2003 and since has spread throughout Asia, causing over 100 reported human deaths from Vietnam to Turkey and appearing in birds in Africa and Europe. The strain is considered particularly dangerous because of its human fatality rate to date of over 50% and because of the risk that the virus may develop the ability to pass efficiently between humans.

This report focuses on the efforts of overseas governments...

Russia's Arrest of "Oligarch" Mikhail Khodorkovskiy: Background and Implications for U.S. Interests

This report discusses the Russian government's arrest of "oligarch" Mikhail Khodorkovskiy in late October 2003 and other moves against his Yukos oil company. The background of the arrest and subsequent political and economic fallout are presented, as well as implications for Russia and U.S. interests. This report may be updated as events warrant. Related products include CRS Issue Brief IB92089, Russia , updated regularly.

Azerbaijan's 2003 Presidential Election and Succession: Implications for U.S. Interests

This report discusses the victory of Ilkham Aliyev -- the son and designated political heir of ailing incumbent Heydar Aliyev -- in Azerbaijan's October 15, 2003, presidential election. It describes the campaign and results, and examines implications of this political succession for Azerbaijani and U.S. interests. This report will not be updated. Related reports include CRS Issue Brief IB95024, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia , updated regularly.

Turkmenistan's Attempted Coup: Repercussions and U.S. Concerns

Turkmenistan's President Saparamurad Niyazov announced on November 25, 2002, that assassins had just tried to kill him, and alleged that several prominent expatriate oppositionists had been aided at least tacitly by neighboring countries in hatching the attempted coup. The United States, international human rights organizations, and others have raised strong concerns about apparent human rights abuses committed by the Turkmen government in pursuing the coup plotters. This report may be updated. Related products include CRS Issue Brief IB93108, Central Asia's New States , and CRS Report...

Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade: Key Issues for the 108th Congress

The 108th Congress will be faced early on with a number of pressing foreign affairs, defense, and trade issues. This report provides background information on the issues most likely to be taken up in the first session, analyzes the congressional role in shaping U.S. policy on these key issues, and lists CRS products that provide more detailed discussion and analysis. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon dramatically altered the U.S. political environment, pushing issues of war and homeland security to the top of the policy agenda. Of particular concern to...

China-U.S. Aircraft Collision Incident of April 2001: Assessments and Policy Implications

The serious incident of April 2001 between the United States and the People's Republic of China (PRC) involved a collision over the South China Sea between a U.S. Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane and a People's Liberation Army (PLA) naval F-8 fighter that crashed. After surviving the near-fatal accident, the U.S. crew made an emergency landing of their damaged plane onto the PLA's Lingshui airfield on Hainan Island, and the PRC detained the 24 crew members for 11 days. Washington and Beijing disagreed over the cause of the accident, the release of the crew and plane, whether Washington...

Arms Control After START II: Next Steps on the U.S.-Russian Agenda

The United States and Russia signed the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II) on January 3, 1993. This report presents the background on the Russian parliament approval of the START II ratification. The report also discusses the linkage between U.S. withdrawal from ABM treaty and Russia’s possible withdrawal from START II. It discusses the alternative approaches for the United States and the future for the U.S.-Russian arms control process.

Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Policy: Key Issues in the 107th Congress

Among the 107th Congress' first orders of business will be dealing with the initiatives--both domestic and foreign policy--proposed by President Bush throughout his presidential campaign. The 2000 congressional campaigns suggested that the agenda of the 107th Congress will be largely domestic: Social Security, health care, education, taxes, and military pay were prominent in campaigns across America and on post-election news programs. Indeed, many issues discussed in this report will be affected by the resolution of a contentious battle for the presidency. In the Congress, the 50-50...

Russian Presidential Election: 2000

Russian President Boris Yeltsin's resignation at the end of 1999 elevated his little-known Premier, Vladimir Putin, to Acting President and set the scene for a presidential election on March 26, 2000 that Putin is considered certain to win. There is uncertainty in Russia and the West as to what sort of leader Putin might be. Some view him as an authoritarian, others as a pragmatic reformer. There is evidence to support either view. The character and policies of post-Yeltsin Russia affect a variety of important U.S. political, military, and economic interests.

Foreign and Defense Policy: Key Issues in the 106th Congress

When the 106th Congress comes to work in January, its first order of business will be to deal with the impeachment of the President of the United States. The 1998 congressional campaigns and elections suggested that the agenda of the 106th Congress also will be largely domestic in its focus: Social Security, health care, and education were the order of the day in campaigns across America and on post-election news programs. Indeed, of the issues discussed in this report, only increased defense spending to address military readiness and retention of trained military personnel has been...

Russian Missile Technology and Nuclear Reactor Transfers to Iran

Many in Congress and the Clinton Administration charge that Russian entities are assisting Iran in developing ballistic missiles. Russia is also building a nuclear power station in, and is furnishing other nuclear services to, Iran. Congress has passed legislation requiring the President to impose sanctions for missile technology transfers, arms sales, nuclear technology transfers, and large-scale investments in Iran. H.R. 2709 , which includes the "Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act of 1997," is one of several bills designed to tighten existing sanctions law. It was amended and...

Holocaust-Related Legislation of the 105th Congress

Over 30 bills and resolutions related in some way to the Nazi-era Holocaust were introduced in the 105th Congress. Five of these were enacted or adopted: S. 1564 ( P.L. 105-158 ), the Holocaust Victims Redress Act, authorizes $25 million for Holocaust survivors and $5 million for archival research on Holocaust-era issues. It also urges the 15 European states receiving gold from the final disbursement of the Tripartite Gold Commission to donate those proceeds to Holocaust-related charities. S. 1900 ( P.L. 105-186 ), establishes the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust...

Russian Political Turmoil, August 1998

Russian President Yeltsin's dismissal of Premier Kirienko and his nomination of former Premier Chernomyrdin mark an intensification of political turmoil. This was triggered by a financial crisis and underlying economic depression. These political and economic developments have serious implications for Russia's stability, the post-Yeltsin succession, and U.S. interests in and policy toward Russia. This report will be updated if warranted by developments in Russia.

Russian Conventional Armed Forces: On the Verge of Collapse?

All quantitative indicators show a sharp, and in most cases an accelerating, decline in the size of the Russian armed forces. Since 1986, Russian military manpower has decreased by over 70 percent; tanks and other armored vehicles by two-thirds; and artillery, combat aircraft, and surface warships by one-third. Weapons procurement has been plummeting for over a decade. In some key categories, such as aircraft, tanks, and surface warships, procurement has virtually stopped. This has led not only to a decline in present inventory, but implies a long-term crisis of bloc obsolescence in the...