As an independent think tank in Yerevan, our “think tank,” the Regional Studies Center (RSC) is committed to deeper engagement in the public policy process, working with key state institutions and ministries in support of reform. And although we remain objective in our critical assessment of a wide range of strategic issues and policy priorities, we seek to only become more active in contributing to the formulation of innovative policy ideas and initiatives.
In this regard, we are pleased to join our colleagues in an effort by the Armenian parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs to form a new “Analytical Council” working group, empowered to provide analysis, proposals and assessment to the parliament over the coming five years. This is especially important to strengthen the institutional capacity of the National Assembly as Armenia moves to fully transform to a parliamentary form of government.
In a report by Nino Dalakishvili for the Georgian Service of Voice of America, RSC Senior Analyst David Shahnazaryan’s presentation on Russian policy in the South Caucasus was cited in a special report. The VOA piece cited Shahnazaryan as saying that “for Russia, there are no red lines,” but rather, has only moved more aggressively each time there was no Western reaction. He also added that “I do not believe that Putin is the main problem. In fact, the main problem is corruption within Russian society, and the Putin that they have created. Putin is very much a product of Russian society and corruption is just soft power in the hands of Russia.”
Based on his remarks at the South Caucasus Security Forum 2017 in Tbilisi, RSC Senior Analyst David Shahnazaryan was quoted by Joshua Kucera in a piece for Eurasianet on the wider impact of the U. S. missile strikes on Syria, as a sign that the new Trump administration is willing to act tough against Russia. Shahnazaryan was quoted as saying that “I think what happened April 7 in Syria, the launching of the Tomahawk missiles, changed the situation very dramatically,” and adding that “the Kremlin now must be much more careful” and contending that “maybe this will slow down, a little bit, the possibility of another war” in the Caucasus.
As the official partner from Armenia, our “think tank,” the Regional Studies Center (RSC), was pleased participate in the 4th South Caucasus Security Forum 2017 in Tbilisi from 19-20 April. This year’s two-day conference, entitled “On the Frontline of Changing Global Dynamics,” is organized by the Strategic Policy Institute STRATPOL of Slovakia and the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS, the Rondeli Foundation). Other partners included the Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism” in Kyiv, the International Visegrad Fund (IVF), and the Open Ukraine Foundation.
The Regional Studies Center (RSC) is pleased to serve as the Armenia partner in a new, one-year collaborative project entitled, “EaP Think Bridge,” which serves as a platform to uniting expert communities in the countries of the Eastern Partnership region to “fill the gap” in distributing analytical products for stakeholders, including a new bilingual English- and Russian-language monthly publication of analysis and commentary from each of the six Eastern Partnership countries.