Thomas de Waal

Senior Associate
Russia and Eurasia Program
De Waal is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, specializing primarily in the South Caucasus region comprising Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia and their breakaway territories as well as the wider Black Sea region.


BA, Balliol College at Oxford University


English; Greek; Russian


Tom de Waal is a senior associate in the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment, specializing primarily in the South Caucasus region, comprising Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia and their breakaway territories, as well as in the wider Black Sea region.

De Waal is an acknowledged expert on the unresolved conflicts of the South Caucasus: Abkhazia, Nagorny Karabakh, and South Ossetia. From 2002 to 2009, he worked as an analyst and project manager on the conflicts in the South Caucasus for the London-based NGOs Conciliation Resources and the Institute for War and Peace Reporting.

He is author of the authoritative book on the Karabakh conflict, Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War (NYU Press, 2003), which has been translated into Armenian, Azeri, and Russian. His latest book is The Caucasus: An Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2010).

De Waal has worked extensively as a journalist and writer in the Caucasus and Black Sea region and in Russia. He has twice worked as an analyst and reporter for the BBC World Service in London, from 1991 to 1993 and from 1998 to 1999, and continues to make documentaries for BBC Radio.

From 1993 to 1997, he worked in Moscow for the Moscow Times, the Times of London, and the Economist, specializing in Russian politics and the situation in Chechnya. He is the co-author (with Carlotta Gall) of the book Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus (NYU Press, 1997), for which the authors were awarded the James Cameron Prize for Distinguished Reporting. 

  • Eurasia Outlook April 24, 2014
    Armenia and Turkey: 2015 Begins Today

    In his statement on the “Armenian Question,” Erdogan goes further than any other Turkish leader before him and offers condolences to the descendants of Ottoman Armenians. However, instead of rhetoric, it would be better for each of the nations to concentrate on normalizing Armenian-Turkish relations and opening the closed border.

  • Eurasia Outlook April 9, 2014
    Georgia in Ferment

    Despite the fact that political feuds continue, there is a clear political consensus in Georgia on a European path.

  • Eurasia Outlook April 2, 2014
    Adrift on the Black Sea

    The Black Sea region could do with some Turkish soft power, but it looks as though this is not a priority for Prime Minister Erdogan.

  • Eurasia Outlook March 26, 2014
    Crimea and Karabakh

    As soon as the Crimea crisis struck, both Armenia and Azerbaijan immediately hardened their positions on the Nagorny Karabakh conflict.

  • Eurasia Outlook March 19, 2014
    Welcome to the Twilight Zone, Crimea

    Most Crimeans probably do not realize it yet, but without a shot being fired and in the space of just a few days, Crimea has joined the list of European territories that live in the twilight zone of international sovereignty.

  • Op-Ed POLITICO Magazine March 13, 2014
    Putin on the Couch

    Western leaders need to craft a long-term strategy that reckons with the immense challenge of deterring further overreach or provocative moves by Moscow in eastern Ukraine and beyond.

  • Eurasia Outlook March 12, 2014
    Watching Moldova

    If Vladimir Putin has a new doctrine of intervention, Moldova is vulnerable. But thus far both Chisinau and Transnistria have been quiet, while the crisis rages next door.

  • Op-Ed Wall Street Journal March 11, 2014
    Toward a Scottish Solution for Crimea

    The complaints of ethnic Russians in Crimea should be heard, but efforts to separate from Ukraine must take into account the aspirations of all Crimeans and utilize protracted, equitable negotiations.

  • Op-Ed POLITICO Magazine March 6, 2014
    The Novel That Explains Putin’s Crimean Land Grab

    There is now a danger that suppressed tensions between local Russians, Ukrainians, and Tatars could lead to a mini Crimean civil war.

  • Eurasia Outlook March 5, 2014
    Playing the Compatriot Card

    It is not clear whether “protection of compatriots” is a new foreign-policy goal Putin intends to apply elsewhere—or whether he is just using any weapon he can to undermine the new authorities in Kyiv. In any case, playing the “compatriot card” is a dangerous game.

  • WBEZ January 22, 2014
    Sochi’s Security Threat

    The Sochi Olympics may actually be one of the safest places in Russia, but terrorists could still affect the Olympics by carrying out an attack elsewhere.

  • Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty January 13, 2014
    Armenia, the Eurasian Customs Union, and the Future

    There are still many questions about Armenia’s future in the Russia-led Eurasian Customs Union, as well as the future of the union itself.

  • Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty October 24, 2013
    Georgia’s Presidential Elections

    Georgia elects a new president on October 27, a key moment in the country’s transition to a parliamentary republic.

  • CNN April 27, 2013
    Boston Terror: Behind the Bombings

    The two suspected terrorists were influenced at least indirectly by the Chechen wars which devastated Chechnya. While this was traumatic for most, a small minority have become radicalized.

  • PRI’s The World March 5, 2013
    Why Stalin Remains Popular in Parts of Former Soviet Union

    Stalin is a figure not just of the past, but of the present.

  • BBC World News March 5, 2013
    Remembering Stalin

    The figure of Stalin still provokes many positive reactions in the former Soviet Union.

  • Voice of America February 28, 2013
    Tensions Between Armenia and Azerbaijan

    The situation in the South Caucasus continues to be perilous as leaders of both Armenia and Azerbaijan find themselves increasingly boxed in by domestic political constraints.

  • Worldview October 1, 2012
    Georgia’s Parliamentary Elections

    With the ruling party’s loss to the opposition Georgian Dream coalition, the country’s leading political parties must find a way to share power and enable a peaceful political transition.

  • BBC World News June 5, 2012
    Smoldering Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Could Re-Erupt

    The unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan has the potential to flare up again as tensions mount on their interstate border.

  • ABC Radio's Saturday Extra December 11, 2010
    The Caucasus: History Needn't Repeat

    While the nations of the Caucasus are heavily influenced by historical narratives of intractable ethnic conflicts, a more critical look at the region’s history reveals a number of surprising alliances and pragmatic resolutions.

  • February 12, 2014 Washington, DC
    Georgia’s Conflicts: A New Approach to Reconciliation

    Despite an improvement in relations since 2012, Georgia and Russia remain at odds over the breakaway territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

  • January 24, 2014 Washington, DC
    Roundtable on Government Crisis in Turkey

    Upcoming elections will be a test of Prime Minister Erdoğan’s continued political strength, which has been shaken by a major corruption scandal, an increasingly vocal opposition, and mounting economic challenges.

  • November 18, 2013 Washington, DC
    Turkey’s Energy Strategy: Weathering Uncertainties

    A regional conflict in Syria and a fast-expanding economy are pushing Turkey to embrace new energy strategies, focusing on new technologies and a realignment of partnerships.

  • October 11, 2013 Washington, DC
    Looking Ahead in Azerbaijan

    Azerbaijan votes in a presidential election on October 9, and there is little doubt as to who the winner will be.

  • June 20, 2013 Washington, DC
    Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War

    Ten years after its initial release, Black Garden remains the definitive account of war and peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the conflict over Nagorny Karabakh.

  • May 14, 2013 Washington, DC
    North Caucasus Under the Spotlight

    Since the Boston Marathon bombings, Russia’s relationship with its Muslim minorities has become the focus of intense scrutiny in the West.

  • March 14, 2013 Washington, DC
    Governance and Democratic Reform in Georgia

    Following last October’s elections, Georgia is living through an unprecedented state of “cohabitation” between president and prime minister and a very lively parliament.

  • March 1, 2013 Washington, DC
    The Stalin Puzzle

    Sixty years after his death on March 5, 1953, Joseph Stalin still commands worryingly high levels of admiration in the post-Soviet space.

  • February 22, 2013 Washington, DC
    Georgia's Legal Reform Revisited: Agenda for Improvement

    Georgia’s new government has said that the rule of law is one of its top priorities.

  • Saakashvili; Yanukovych
    January 14, 2013 Brussels
    Georgia and Ukraine: Road to Democracy?

    Recent developments in Europe’s post-Soviet neighborhood, in countries like Georgia and Ukraine, have highlighted the region’s struggling efforts for democratization.


Areas of Expertise

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