Vladimir Socor

Vladimir Socor is a Senior Fellow of the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation and its flagship publication, Eurasia Daily Monitor (1995 to date), where he writes analytical articles on a daily basis. An internationally recognized expert on the former Soviet-ruled countries in Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia, he covers Russian and Western policies, focusing on energy, regional security issues, Russian foreign affairs, secessionist conflicts, and NATO policies and programs. Mr. Socor is a frequent speaker at U.S. and European policy conferences and think-tank institutions; as well as a regular guest lecturer at the NATO Defense College and at Harvard University’s National Security Program’s Black Sea Program. He is also a frequent contributor to edited volumes. Mr. Socor was previously an analyst with the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute (1983-1994). He is a Romanian-born citizen of the United States based in Munich, Germany.

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    Articles by Vladimir Socor

    Putin Lights a Gagauz Fuse Under Moldova (Part Two)

    (Part One) Executive Summary: Russia can use the Gagauz autonomy more effectively than Transnistria to destabilize Moldova. The Kremlin is interested in Gagauzia remaining part of Moldova rather than seceding

    Putin Lights a Gagauz Fuse Under Moldova (Part One)

    Executive Summary: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with the Gagauz autonomy leader, Yevgenia Gutsul, shows Moscow advancing from covert to overt interference in Moldova’s politics. Emboldening Gagauz leaders to confront

    OSCE in Russia’s Tight Grip at Year-End Meeting

    Russia has practically turned the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) into a hostage, ruthlessly instrumentalizing the organization’s consensus rules. The OSCE’s year-end, ministerial-level meeting, held in Skopje

    Russia Playing Cat-and-Mouse With OSCE (Part Two)

    Russia forced what it calls “the collective West” into significant concessions for this year’s Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) annual meeting of foreign ministers. Using its statutory

    Peace Unattainable Without Victory in Ukraine

    The West’s inadequate arming of Ukraine predetermined costly failures for Kyiv’s counteroffensive. The effort to dislodge Russian forces from their entrenched positions in southeastern Ukraine has become a difficult endeavor

    Ukraine Will Not Hold Elections During Wartime

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has ended a debate that he himself had helped spark. Zelenskyy told the nation on November 6 that Ukraine cannot hold elections while fighting a war

    The OSCE in Agony (Part Four)

    Click here to read Part One, Part Two and Part Three. Moldova is the last remaining target of Russia’s “special status” playbook, in this case in Transnistria. This is also the

    The OSCE in Agony (Part Three)

    Click here to read Part One and Part Two. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has lost relevance and even access to the conflict-resolution process between Armenia

    The OSCE in Agony (Part Two)

    Read Part One here. This year’s Polish chairmanship barred Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov from entering Poland for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) year-end ministerial meeting.

    The OSCE in Agony (Part One)

    Russia’s devastating invasion of Ukraine this year is not, for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), a dramatic watershed or existential crossroads as it has been made

    Ukraine Poised to Liberate Western Kherson

    On November 9, in a televised conference, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, General Sergei Surovikin, announced another major Russian setback (TASS, November

    Pro-Russia Parties Resurgent in Moldova (Part Two)

    *To read Part One, please click here. Moldova’s Russophile parties aim to force snap parliamentary and presidential elections this year, capitalizing on an unprecedented economic crisis to topple the pro-Western

    Russia’s Invasion Manifesto to Ukraine

    Traditionally, imperial powers sending their armies into foreign countries for purposes of conquest issued explanatory manifestoes to the invaded peoples and to their own. The Kremlin issued the equivalent of

    Kremlin Announces War Aims Against Ukraine

    At 6 AM Moscow time, on February 24, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin announced in a televised address the start of a “special military operation” by Russian forces against Ukraine. At

    Ukraine in Play After Biden-Putin Discussion

    Presidents Joseph Biden of the United States and Vladimir Putin of Russia have agreed, in their December 7 video-dialogue (see EDM, December 8), to create working groups that would address

    Ukraine Looms Large in Biden-Putin Dialogue

    Presidents Joseph Biden of the United States and Vladimir Putin of Russia held a one-on-one video-conference, on December 7—their fifth direct dialogue (three by telephone, one in person, one by

    Zelenskyy Seeks a Summit With Putin Again

    Following United States President Joseph Biden’s example, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has also blinked to the Kremlin. The US president solicited a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on April

    ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’: Normandy Without Ukraine?

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron conferred, on March 30, by video-conference on multiple international issues, including the intensification of the “internal conflict

    Moscow Declares Pause in Normandy Negotiations on Ukraine

    Russia’s presidential envoy for conflict-management in Ukraine, Dmitry Kozak, has unilaterally announced a pause in the Normandy negotiation process, pending “clarifications to Ukraine’s positions.” Kozak’s announcements concluded and followed the

    Kozak-Yermak Plan on Donbas: The Fine Print

    The meeting of the Minsk-based Contact Group, held by videoconference on March 24–26, had been expected to officially create a new negotiating forum, named the Consultative Council—in fact, an accretion

    Ukraine Goes to Risk-Fraught Normandy Summit (Part One)

    High-level political discussions about “the Ukraine crisis” (a diplomatic euphemism for Russia’s aggression against Ukraine) are scheduled to resume on December 9, in Paris, in the “Normandy” format—Russia, France, Germany,

    NATO Shows an Irresolute Flag in Ukraine (Part Two)

    *To read Part One, please click here. On October 30–31, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) main political decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council (at the ambassadorial level), visited Ukraine

    NATO Shows an Irresolute Flag in Ukraine (Part One)

    Ambassadors from the North Atlantic Council— the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) principal political decision-making body—visited Ukraine, on October 30–31, for a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. Ukrainian President Volodymyr

    Transnistria: ‘Freezing’ as the Lesser Evil (Part One)

    Ambassadors from Russia, Ukraine, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the United States, and the European Union, collectively the mediators and observers to the Transnistria conflict-settlement negotiations,

    Zelensky-Putin Direct Dialogue? A Whiff in the Air

    President Volodymyr Zelensky’s inaugural address to the country, delivered on May 20 in the Ukrainian parliament, includes an unprecedented offer to start a direct dialogue with the Kremlin (see EDM,

    Russia Punishing Ukraine After the Presidential Election

    The Kremlin is disappointed and angry with the Ukrainian presidential election’s landslide winner, Volodymyr Zelensky. The president-elect may have over-fulfilled Moscow’s forecasts by defeating the incumbent, President Petro Poroshenko, by

    Elections Staged in Ukraine’s East Under Russian Control

    Kremlin-orchestrated, internationally unrecognized “elections” were held on November 11 in the Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics” (DPR, LPR), Russian-controlled territories in Ukraine’s east. The final returns, made public on November

    Georgia Plans Its ‘To Do’ Agenda for NATO

    United States President Donald Trump’s behavior at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) recent summit in Brussels (July 11–12) and in its aftermath has cast a shadow on this landmark

    NATO Summit Highlights Partnership With the EU

    United States President Donald Trump’s behavior at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) recent summit in Brussels (July 11–12) and in its aftermath has cast a shadow on this landmark

    NATO-Georgia: Varied Menu, Uncertain Financing

    It was a summit of modest expectations and modest results for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Warsaw on July 8–9. These results are of an interim nature: building-blocks

    John Kerry’s Unwelcome Message in Ukraine

    US Secretary of State John Kerry and Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland held talks with President Petro Poroshenko and other Ukrainian officials, in Kyiv on July 7. At the joint news

    Nord Stream Two in Ukrainian Perspective

    At Russia’s initiative, the Nord Stream Two natural gas pipeline project has advanced from agreements of intent to a binding agreement; and Gazprom has formed the project consortium with several

    Ukraine Rapidly Dismantling Gazprom’s Supply Monopoly

    Quantitative indicators show a dramatic reorientation of Ukraine’s natural gas supply strategy. Dependence on Gazprom has become a thing of the past. Kyiv demonstrates political resolve to pursue supply diversification

    Russia Subverting Armistice in Ukraine

    Russia is using the ceasefire as an opportunity to cement and expand its military presence, directly as well as through the Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” (DPR, LPR). Following the

    Putin Suggests Own Terms for a Dialogue With Ukraine

    Addressing an international investment forum in Moscow yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin adopted an unusually restrained tone toward Ukraine. In effect, Putin seems to suggest a framework for political dialogue

    Putin’s Ceasefire Plan Sets Traps for Ukraine

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has Ukraine cornered on the battlefield and in diplomatic negotiations at this moment (see accompanying article). On September 3, Putin proposed a seven-point ceasefire plan to

    Russia’s Donetsk Proxies Anticipate Ukrainian Siege

    The newly-installed “prime minister of the Donetsk people’s republic (DPR),” Aleksandr Zakharchenko, was apparently asked to convey a reassuring message to Russia’s public in anticipation of a Ukrainian siege of

    Donetsk ‘Republic’ Leaders’ Morale Plummeting

    Intercepts of Moscow-Donetsk telephone conversations, made public by Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), reveal pessimism and demoralization on the part of at least some of the secessionist “republic’s” leadership. On July

    Russia Pressures Ukraine to Prolong the Ceasefire

    Ukraine’s unilateral ceasefire, announced by President Petro Poroshenko on June 20, expires today (June 27). Russia and its proxy forces in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions (Donbas) have actively undermined

    Russia Suspends Natural Gas Supplies to Ukraine

    On June 16, Russia suspended natural gas supplies to Ukraine over non-payment of debts for supplies already delivered. Russia would resume the supplies on condition that Ukraine pays in advance

    Dead in Geneva: The Compromise With Russia on Ukraine

    Russia is inadvertently helping Ukraine, the United States and the European Union to escape the trap of the April 17 Geneva Joint Diplomatic Statement “On the Situation in Ukraine” (https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/04/224957.htm).

    Russia Completes the Annexation of Crimea

    Addressing Russia’s bicameral parliament on March 18, President Vladimir Putin announced Crimea’s incorporation into the Russian Federation. The founding documents on Crimea’s “admission” into Russia were signed on the same

    NATO and Ukraine’s Security Vacuum

    Russia has seized Crimea from Ukraine by military force, wholly unprovoked, and without having to fire a shot (see EDM, February 28, March 3–7, 10). Furthermore, Russia has “legislated” its

    Russian Putsch in Crimea Under Pseudo-Legal Cover

    In the pre-dawn hours on February 27 in Simferopol, some 50 heavily armed Russian men in camouflage uniforms without identification marks seized the parliament and government buildings of the Crimean

    Russian Energy Projects and Hungarian Politics

    Hungary’s Fidesz-led government under Viktor Orban, conservative and Europe-oriented in a traditionalist sense, and strongly anti-communist ever since Fidesz’s formative years, has turned toward Russia for solutions to some of

    Gazprom Advances in Germany

    Russian Gazprom is taking over most of the core business of its German partner, Wintershall, in the natural gas trade and storage business. The two companies had conducted that business

    Russia Conducts Trade Warfare on Multiple Fronts

    Russia’s trade restrictions against Lithuania (ban on Lithuanian dairy products since October 7, threats to ban meat and fish products, harassment of Lithuanian road transport at the Russian border—see EDM,

    Azerbaijan Earns Deferential Treatment from Moscow

    Among the six countries in the European Union’s Eastern Partnership program, Azerbaijan under its President Ilham Aliyev seems uniquely impervious to Russian forms of leverage and, consequently, unique in receiving

    Ukraine’s Gas Storage System: A Unique Asset in Europe

    Addressing Gazprom’s annual general meeting of shareholders, CEO Alexei Miller warned that Gazprom would “never again, under any circumstances” use Ukraine’s gas storage system in the process of delivering Russian

    Ukraine Diversifies Gas Suppliers, Slashes Imports from Gazprom

    Ukraine has recently initiated procurement of natural gas from European suppliers. These volumes are small but growing, correspondingly eroding Gazprom’s market share in Ukraine.The German Rheinisch-Westfaelisches Elektrizitaetswerk (RWE) is providing

    Old and New Options Considered in the Post-Nabucco Era

    Planning the Southern Gas Corridor to Europe, the European Commission in Brussels had defined the Nabucco pipeline project as the corridor’s mainstay. With Nabucco-West’s official demise (see accompanying article and

    The Curtain Falls on Nabucco’s Last Act

    Nabucco-West, the pipeline project that was to have carried Azerbaijani gas from Turkey to the Central European Gas Hub near Vienna, is exiting from the stage. There will be no

    Azerbaijan Wins Tender for Gas Pipelines in Greece

    On June 21, Greece’s State Assets Development Fund announced that Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company (SOCAR) has won the tender to acquire control of Greek DESFA’s (Public Gas Transmission System Operator)

    Igor Sechin Door-Crashing in Croatia

    Croatia is set to join the European Union as a full member on July 1. This makes Croatia a more attractive object of Russian energy interests. The head of Zarubezhneft

    EDM analysts cited in Eurasia Review article

    Jamestown analysts Roger McDermott, Vladimir Socor, Pavel Felgenhauer, Georgiy Voloshin, Richard Weitz, and Dumitru Minzarari were cited in an article by Ariel Cohen in Eurasia Review.

    Georgia’s Reset and Russia’s Response (Part Three)

    Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili supervises Georgia’s policy toward Russia through his special envoy, veteran diplomat Zurab Abashidze. This appointment has led to the establishment of a bilateral negotiating channel between

    Polish Government Sheds Light on Gazprom-EuroPolGaz MOU

    Poland’s Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, has announced some strong measures in response to the April 5 memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between EuroPolGaz and Russian Gazprom, negotiated behind the Polish government’s

    Vladimir Socor quoted by Zawya

    Jamestown analyst Vladimir Socor was quoted by Zawya in an article titled Nabucco, TAP battle it out for Azeri gas deal.

    Ukraine Importing Gas from Germany via Hungary and Poland

    Denting Russian Gazprom’s monopoly, Ukraine is procuring small but growing volumes of natural gas from Europe. The German Rheinisch-Westfaelisches Elektrizitaetswerk (RWE) is providing the volumes through its subsidiary, RWE Supply

    Angela Merkel Opens a European Perspective for Moldova

    Visiting Moldova on August 22 (see accompanying article), German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared twice unambiguously that Moldova does have a “European perspective”—albeit in a “step-by-step process”; and “we shall accompany

    Croatia Can Call Gazprom’s Bluff on South Stream

    Moscow is “pressuring” Croatia to join Gazprom’s South Stream project urgently, before Croatia’s accession to the European Union takes legal effect in 2013. An internal analysis, prepared by Croatian government

    Gazprom’s Shtokman Project: Relic of a Past Era

    On August 7, Norway’s Statoil announced its exit from the super-giant Shtokman gas field development in the Russian Arctic. The Norwegian company, majority state-owned, is writing off its investment into

    Hungarian MOL Goes Upstream in Kazakhstani Projects

    On July 19, Hungarian-based MOL entered into a partnership with Kazmunaigaz E&P (Exploration & Production, the upstream subsidiary of the national company Kazmunaigaz) to develop the North Karpovsky oil and

    NATO and Georgia: Beyond the Open Door

    NATO’s summit on May 20 in Chicago has brought Georgia slightly closer to the “open door” of membership in the Alliance. The Chicago summit’s declaration reaffirms earlier decisions, committing NATO

    Nabucco-West in Synergy with Trans-Anatolia Project

    Hungary’s critique of the Nabucco project (see accompanying article) has prompted the other partners in the consortium to express their own views. On the whole, these reflect the stakeholders’ common

    Hungary Casts Serious Doubt on the Nabucco Project

    Hungary has raised some serious questions about the viability of the Nabucco gas pipeline project and the performance of the project company’s management. The Hungarian critique has strongly reverberated in

    Chevron Postpones Shale Gas Exploration in Romania

    After Bulgaria (see EDM, January 24), Romania might unnecessarily miss its own chance to explore a promising shale gas potential in partnership with the Chevron Corporation. Unlike the Bulgarian situation,