Our Team & People

Our Team SpecialEurasia
SpecialEurasia Team (Credits: Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay)

SpecialEurasia has a team of analysts and external consultants/contributors who aim to provide risk assessment and geopolitical forecasting and consult private and public companies about Eurasia’s current challenges and future opportunities.

At SpecialEurasia, we believe in team working to pursue our projects and reach strategic goals. Our team comprises specialists and experts in different fields and sectors who share their knowledge to support private and public institutions by consulting in geopolitical forecasting, intelligence analysis, due diligence, country risk assessment, and human intelligence.

At the same time, we have developed a network of partners and external contributors who support our activities by providing insights, analyses, and expertise for our research projects and working activities.

SpecialEurasia Team & Partners

Silvia BoltucSilvia Boltuc – SpecialEurasia Founder & Managing Director. She is an International affairs specialist, business consultant and political analyst who has supported private and public institutions in decision-making by providing reports, risk assessments, and consultancy. Due to her work and reporting activities, she has travelled in Europe, the Middle East, South-East Asia and the post-Soviet space assessing the domestic dynamic and situations and creating a network of local contacts. She is also the Director of the Energy & Engineering Department of CeSEM – Centro Studi Eurasia Mediterraneo and an editor/analyst at the Italian media agencies Notizie Geopolitiche, Opinio Juris, and European Affairs Magazine. Previously, she worked as an Associate Director at ASRIE Analytica. She speaks Italian, English, German, Russian and Arabic. She co-authored the book Conflitto in Ucraina: rischio geopolitico, propaganda jihadista e minaccia per l’Europa (Enigma Edizioni 2022).
Giuliano Bifolchi immagineGiuliano Bifolchi – SpecialEurasia Research Manager. He has vast experience in Intelligence analysis, geopolitics, security, conflict management, and ethnic minorities. He holds a PhD in Islamic history from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, a master’s degree in Peacebuilding Management and International Relations from Pontifical University San Bonaventura, and a master’s degree in History from the University of Rome Tor Vergata. As an Intelligence analyst and political risk advisor, he has organised working visits and official missions in the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, and the post-Soviet space and has supported the decision-making process of private and public institutions writing reports and risk assessments. Previously, he founded and directed ASRIE Analytica. He has written several academic papers on geopolitics, conflicts, and jihadist propaganda. He is the author of the books Geopolitical del Caucaso russo. Gli interessi del Cremlino e degli attori stranieri nelle dinamiche locali nordcaucasiche (Sandro Teti Editore 2020) and Storia del Caucaso del Nord tra presenza russa, Islam e terrorismo (Anteo Edizioni 2022). He was also the co-author of the book Conflitto in Ucraina: rischio geopolitico, propaganda jihadista e minaccia per l’Europa (Enigma Edizioni). He speaks Italian, English, Russian, Spanish and Arabic.
Riccardo Rossi SpecialEurasiaRiccardo Rossi – SpecialEurasia Geopolitical Analyst Desk Asia-Pacific. He holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Milan, a master’s degree in Geopolitics and Global Security from La Sapienza University in Rome and a Diploma in European Affairs from the Institute of International Politics in Milan. He studies geopolitics and writes geo-strategic reports on the Asia-Pacific region.
Christian Tratzi

Christian Tratzi – SpecialEurasia Senior Terrorism Analyst.Ph.D. Candidate at Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), he holds a Master’s degree in History and a Bachelor’s degree in Literature from the University Tor Vergata of Rome. Currently, his research and working activities are focusing on international Islamic organisation, security in the Arab-Muslim world, and terrorism and jihadist propaganda in North Africa and the Sahel. Previously, he worked as a Junior Terrorism Analyst at ASRIE Analytica. He is the author of several academic papers and working reports on Islam, the MENA region, and terrorism.

Enrico OliariEnrico Oliari – Media Partner/Journalist. He is a journalist and geopolitical analyst who has paid several visits to the Middle East and North Africa to understand the roots of the socio-economic and security problems and the impact of domestic and international policies on these regions. Since 2011 he has been the founder and editor-in-chief of the Italian media agency Notizie Geopolitiche. He is also the author of several books and investigations. He speaks Italian, German and English.
Vlad Kondratiev

Vlad Kondratiev – Media Partner/Academic Fellow. Political commentator, journalist. He collaborated with the Russian federal publication Nezavisimaya Gazeta. Currently, he is the editor-in-chief of the information and analytical portal Kaspiskij Vestnik, specializing in the problems of geopolitics, geo-economics and security of the Caspian region. He is also a researcher at the Department of Political Science and International Relations of Astrakhan State University (Russia). Author of scientific articles on various aspects of the geopolitical situation in the Caspian region, current threats to the security of the Caspian countries, and the history of international relations in the Caspian.

sinelschicovAlexey Sinelshikov – Media Partner/Academic Scholar
. He is the Director of the information and analytical portal Kaspiskij Vestnik and an Associate Professor. He has management experience in the Government of the Astrakhan region in positions related to the development of the transport complex of the region. Since 2011, he has been the head of the Astrakhan representative office of the public organisation “Caspian Cooperation Institute”. The Institute was founded in February 2010 in Moscow and is the first non-profit organisation in Russia that purposefully studies the political and socio-economic problems of the Caspian Sea and the states of the Caspian region. His scientific interests include, first of all, the development of sea and rail transport in the Caspian region,  the implementation of the North-South project, and issues of geo-economics and geopolitics of the Caspian Sea.

SpecialEurasia External Contributors

Abed AkbariAbed Akbari – Academic Scholar. Lecturer at the Allameh Tabatabai University, he holds a PhD in History from Shiraz University. He is the Managing Director of the Tehran International Studies & Research Institute. He has written several academic papers and scientific analyses in foreign policy, especially about Iran – Europe relations.
Ahsan AliAhsan Ali – Researcher. He holds a degree in International Relations from the University of Karachi, Pakistan. He is currently enrolled at ADA University in Azerbaijan in the Master of Arts in Diplomacy and International Affairs. He works as a research intern at the Russian International Affairs Council, where he published research papers. He has also written reports and political analysis for different media outlets and think tanks as Medium, The Incomplete Debate, Loop Media.
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Amir Mojtahedi – ResearcherSenior lecturer in Security and Diplomatic Studies at the Shiraz University in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Member of the Middle Middle East Studies Association Germany (DAVO), he is the author of the book Explanation of German Foreign Policy in the Middle East.

Unknown male userAntonio Graceffo – Economic Analyst. He holds a PhD and a China-MBA. He is a China economic analyst who has spent over 20 years in Asia, including 7 in China, and 3 in Mongolia, where he teaches economics at an American university. He graduated from the Shanghai University of Sport and Antai College of Economics & Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Additionally, he conducted three years of post-doctoral studies at the School of Economics Shanghai University, focusing on U.S.-China trade, and currently studies national security at the American Military University. He is the author of 5 books about China, including Beyond the Belt and Road: China’s Global Economic Expansion and The Wushu Doctor. His writing has appeared in Al Jazeera, The South China Morning Post, The Diplomat, Jamestown Foundation China Brief, Modern Diplomacy, Lowy Institute China Brief, Penthouse, and others. He is a frequent guest on various TV shows, providing China commentary on the NTD network in the United States.

Daniele Garofalo

Daniele Garofalo – Terrorism and Jihadist Propaganda Analyst. He holds an M.A. in History and Political Doctrines from the Federico II University of Naples. He is currently a Senior Analyst in Jihadist Terrorism and a member of the Scientific Committee for the Italian Center of Strategies and Intelligence – CISINT.  He has written articles and reports on terrorism and jihadist propaganda for several foreign think tanks, media outlets, and magazines such as European Eye on Radicalization, The Jamestown Foundation, Jihadica and Militant Wire. He is the author of the book Medio Oriente insaguinato (Enigma Edizioni, 2020). Currently, he manages his personal blog/page titled Monitoring Jihadist Propaganda.

Dimitris Symeonidis

Dimitris SymeonidisCentral Asia researcher at CERTH and the founder of the Decentralised Solutions Global Network (DSGN). At DSGN, Dimitris is working with local communities in Greece and the Global South in developing hybrid energy/agriculture cooperatives with maximized financial and societal value, with a network of partners in several Central Asian countries, such as Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. As a policy advisor, Dimitris has been chosen as an EU Young Energy Ambassador, an EU Climate Pact Ambassador and an OSCE Central Asia expert

Unknown male userElia Elias – Academic Scholar. Born in Beirut, he is a researcher at the University of the Holy Spirit in Kaslik (USEK) and a professor of Arab history and history of the Middle East of the 20th century in various Lebanese universities
Emanuele Aliprandi

Emanuele Aliprandi – Independent Researcher. He is a researcher and expert on the Caucasus region. Over the years, he has analysed the Armenian question, especially the case of the Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh, by paying official visits on-the-ground. He published the books Le ragioni del KarabakhStoria di una piccola terra e di un grande popolo (2010), and 1915: Cronaca di un Genocidio. La tragedia del popolo armeno raccontata dai giornali italiani (2021). His last book Pallottole e petrolio. Il conflitto del Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) e la nuova guerra che ha infiammato il Caucaso (2021) described the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and investigated the conflicts’ problems and consequences.

Evgeny PashentsevEvgeny Pashentsev – Academic Scholar. DSc., Professor, Leading Researcher, Institute of Contemporary International Studies, Diplomatic Academy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Сoordinator of the International Research Group on Threats for International Psychological Security through Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence (Research MUAI).
Habib Badawi

Habib al-Badawi – Academic Scholar. He has been a scholar of Japanese studies since 2005. His M.A. thesis and PhD dissertation covered the modern history of Japan (Meiji-tenno, Taisho-tenno, and Showa-tenno). Badawi is currently a professor at Lebanese University and a freelance researcher in international relations. In 2016, he became the coordinator of the “United States of America – History and Civilization” course at the History Department for the university’s five branches. Badawi earned the “Academic Excellence Award in the Arab World” in the category of “Academic Personality of the Year 2018” for his role in introducing “Japanese studies” to the Arab world as a stand-alone academic field of “Human Sciences.”

Unknow female userLaura Pennisi – Geopolitical Analyst. She holds a bachelor’s in International Communication from Catania University and a master`s in Translation Studies from the La Sapienza University of Rome, with a major in Modern Greek Studies. She also holds a master`s in International Relations from Staffordshire University, UK, and a master`s in Russian and Eurasian Studies from Uppsala University, Sweden. She is interested in the politics and geopolitics of the eastern Mediterranean, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. She speaks Italian, English, Greek, Russian, Swedish, French, and Spanish.
Unknown male userLorenzo Somigli – Independent Researcher/Journalist. Born in Florence, he is a journalist and MENA analyst for think tanks, foundations and research centres. He is the co-author with Roberta Văduva of the book report on Lebanon titled Ora sappiamo che le tue radici sono in noi.
Luca UrciuoloLuca Urciuolo – Geopolitical Analyst. He holds a double master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Florence and the State Institute for International Relations (MGIMO) in Moscow. Previously, he completed his bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of Naples ‘L’Orientale.’ His main research interests include the post-Soviet space, with a specific focus on the geopolitical and economic dimensions of the Central Asian region.
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Maryam Fattahi Manesh – Academic Researcher. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Middle East and North African Studies from the same institution. Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in International Relations at Allameh Tabatabai University, her research focuses on the political dynamics of the Middle East, particularly the Levant region. Specializing in the political and security issues of Islamist and Kurdish groups in Syria, she also delves into the realm of cyber security and its impact on political and international relations. Maryam has collaborated with various Iranian think tanks and institutes, with her work published in prestigious outlets. She is also the author of two forthcoming books: “Is ISIS Revived? Confrontation Resistance Groups and Terrorist Groups in Syria” and “History of Foreign Relations of Syria and Arab countries: Milestones and Trends from 1970 to 2023.

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Mohamad al Mokdad – International Affairs Specialist. He holds a PhD in International Relations from the Center for Diplomatic & Strategic Studies (CEDS) of Paris and a PhD in Geopolitics from the Paris Graduate School IKI-PGS. He is an officer of the Lebanese Armed Forces with professional experience in strategic and diplomatic studies. He speaks Arabic, English, French, and Italian.
Unknown male userRiccardo Allegri – Geopolitical Analyst. Defence and Cyber Desk Manager at Osservatorio Russia, he holds a B.A. in Political Sciences of International Studies from the University of Bologna and an M.A. in International Studies from the University of Pisa. He has written reports and articles for various online and print magazines, including Zeppelin, Il Caffè Geopolitico, Eurasia – Rivista di Studi Geopolitici, ASRIE Analytica and CSI. He specialises in Russia and the post-Soviet space, and he speaks Russian.
Riccardo ValleRiccardo Valle – Terrorism and Jihadist Propaganda Analyst. He holds a Master’s degree in diplomacy and international relations from the University of Trieste (Italy). He wrote a master’s thesis on studying the Islamic State in Afghanistan and Pakistan, its relationships with local entities, and its impact on the Af-Pak region. He has written several reports and analyses on terrorism and jihadist propaganda in the AfPak region for different think tanks, media agencies, and magazines such as  Analytica for Intelligence Studies, Porter Medium, Geopolitical Monitor and Jihadica. He has focused his research on the correlation between security and the phenomenon of transnational and local Islamism and jihadism through continuous monitoring and analysis of local and international sources concerning the developments of the MENA region and the AfPak area, with particular attention to the dynamics of some non-state groups.
Uran BotobekovUran Botobekov – Geopolitical Analyst/Academic Scholar. He is a researcher focusing on Central Asian Sunni Jihadi groups, whose activities seriously threaten the security and stability of the Eurasia region. His scientific works on the religious and political aspects of the Salafi-Jihadi movement in Central Asia and the Middle East have been published in Germany, France, Britain, Japan, the USA, Iran, China, and the post-Soviet countries. He regularly advised governments of Central Asia on matters relating to Militant Salafism and religious extremism. Uran Botobekov is writing a new book, “Transformation of Central Asian Jihad: From Local to Global.”. Uran holds a PhD in Political Science from the Institute of Philosophy and Political and Legal Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic in Bishkek and an M.A. and B.A. in Political Science and Journalism from the Kyrgyz State University. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the platform Modern Diplomacy.
Urs UnkaufUrs Unkauf – Academic Scholar. He is the Federal Managing Director of the German Federal Association for Economic Development and Foreign Trade (BWA Global Economic Network). He studied history and sociology with an emphasis on international relations at the Universities of Tübingen, Aix-en-Provence/Marseille and the Humboldt University of Berlin. His academic focus is on diplomacy, energy policy, geopolitics and security studies with a regional focus on Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the South Caucasus. Academic exchanges and projects have taken him to Israel, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Poland. He has gained professional experience in human resources management, government relations, energy policy, public affairs and foreign trade. He worked as a policy adviser to a member of the German National Parliament in 2020-2021. Several times he has also served as an international election observer. Previously serving as Adviser for Diplomacy and Director of Government Relations of BWA Global Economic Network, he has been a speaker and moderator at various national and international business and policy conferences.