What Does the Arab Spring Mean for Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus?
On June 28, 2011 the CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program in cooperation with the Institute for Democracy and Cooperation hosted a one-day conference entitled, "What Does the Arab Spring Mean for Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus?" The conference panels focused on the following key issues: How and Why the Arab Spring Happened; Implications of the Arab Spring for Central Asia; Implications of the Arab Spring for the “Big Caucasus”; and U.S.-Russia Relations and the Arab Spring.
The event provided an overview of the Arab Spring -- the conditions that existed prior to the uprisings, the processes that unfolded as one Arab monarchy or republic fell after another, and the events’ major economic, political, social consequences for the region and the world. Two of the panels discussed the effects of the Arab Spring on Central Asian republics and the North and South Caucasus; both regions experienced Color Revolutions and are home to numerous "regimes" and conditions ripe for similar upheaval seen in the Arab world. The lunch keynote speaker featured Thomas Carothers, who drew comparisons and differences between the Arab Spring and the revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 as well as the revolutions in Sub-Saharan Africa in the 1990s. The event also addressed the implications of the Arab Spring for the U.S.-Russia relations, which has been losing steam since the “reset” policy was launched. The panelists argued that the different reactions of either anxiety or hope from Russia and the U.S. toward the Arab Spring only add to the strained "reset" policy between the two countries.