Russian, Central Asian, and Eurasian Affairs

We’re tracking 13 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....

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...

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...

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...

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...