Contemporary international relations are experiencing a period of turbulence and transition from a unipolar world to a world with multiple centers of power with strengthened role of regionalization. In these circumstances relatively small states try to maximize the resource of geopolitical identity to conduct their foreign policies.
While only recently the West’s dominance looked absolute, now the roles of the teacher and the student, the leader and the straggler are no longer definitely assigned. Сompetition in interpreting reality, defining meanings, and translating values will increasingly grow.
The oil- and gas-rich states of the Caspian Sea basin—Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan—registered phenomenal growth throughout most of the 2000s. However, the heady days of resource-fueled development now appear to be over, and local governments are suddenly struggling to overcome massive budget deficits, devalued currencies, and overall economic stagnation.
China’s Silk Road Economic Belt initiative has been developing at a fast pace since its launch a few years ago.
In 2011, four Central Asian states signed a Joint Plan of Action in Ashgabat pledging to work together to counter radicalization and terrorism in the region.
Central Asian countries will have to adjust their old stakes, which have failed, and make new ones. They will largely depend on the positions external partners will take. But countries in the region want economic cooperation without a geopolitical “burden.”
A hypothetical alliance between Russia and China is based on the assumption that it should serve as a counterweight to the U.S. hegemony. That thinking, however, overlooks the possibility that Moscow and Beijing might build closer relations for dealing with the important challenges they both face.
The migration corridor that has formed between the countries of Central Asia and Russia is one of the largest and most stable in Eurasia and the world.
The SCO summit in Tashkent and Russian President's visit to China which took place in June have provided a good occasion to discuss the need for strengthening multilateral cooperation and ensuring regional security.
How Washington Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Eurasian Integration
The assistance of great powers is a major resource in the struggle against the growing threat of radical Islamism in Central Asia. In this context special credit goes to Russia and the Collective Security Treaty Organization as the main mechanism for protecting the region against possible invasions from Afghanistan and potential ISIS expansion.
Russia’s active involvement in the Syrian conflict and, specifically, employment of its Caspian Flotilla for destroying Islamic State targets, has changed the balance of power in the Caspian region significantly, and highlighted the need to re-examine its legal status and security.
A reasonable choice would be a trial and error method, that is, learning partners better through joint projects. Instead of creating new regional cooperation mechanisms that may lead to conflicts, China should gradually promote its project of the Silk Road Economic Belt.
Today post-Soviet Central Asian countries are facing problems caused by old security challenges and the emergence of completely new threats. These threats may influence the prospects of secular statehood in the region. This is a serious obstacle to modernization.
National historical narratives describing the grandeur of “our” nation and its struggle for good against evil are the intrinsic ailment of history. But there are also historians who take such narratives with a grain of salt. If society prosecutes historians who lay the groundwork for critical public dialogue about the past, it will lose the only effective remedy for national narcissism.
Ever since Vladimir Putin launched the Eurasian Union project in 2011, scholars and the media have tended to analyze it as the victory of the Eurasianist ideology. This memo investigates the relationship between Eurasia, Eurasianism, and the Eurasian Union project.
“Urban boosterism” is defined as the active promotion of a city, and it typically involves large-scale urban development schemes, including constructing iconic new buildings, revamping local infrastructure, and creating a new “image” for the city.
Russia’s annexation of Crimea and subsequent support for separatists in eastern Ukraine gave rise to fears that this scenario could be repeated elsewhere. Especially worrisome is the fact that the intervention was justified by the alleged need to protect ethnic Russians.
In the early 1990s, scholars, journalists, and political observers predicted that the new Central Asian states would descend into chaos and break apart. More than 20 years later, Central Asia’s states seem relatively stable, both at their political centers and outlying territories, including states like Tajikistan that were once embroiled in civil war.
EEU is a young integration association, that was formed to help participating countries unlock their economic potential, boost economic ties within the region, and create conditions for improving the countries’ global competitiveness.
In the next three to five years, Ukraine’s political system will most likely be a mosaic of virtually independent autonomous territories nominally united in a single state. Such a compromise would be acceptable to all the main actors – Moscow, the West, and the central Ukrainian government.
At the summit in Ufa, Russia should give the green light to the establishment of an SCO Development Bank where China takes dominant positions in the authorized capital and management bodies. In exchange, Moscow could coordinate investment principles on terms that would be most favorable to itself and its partners.
The Silk Road Economic Belt has become an embodiment of the Chinese Dream in an international format. This is the first real foreign policy concept during China’s transition “from a big state to a strong one.”
Seoul believes that South Korea, with its advanced port infrastructure, is a natural gateway to the Pacific, opening access to the entire continent of Eurasia all the way to the Atlantic.
Russia proposes an integration project that envisages the strengthening of external economic borders to stimulate re-industrialization. Central Asian states are interested in the Customs Union and Common Economic Space, but they do not want to impose tighter control on their external economic borders.
Bilateral relations have always been of tremendous significance to Kazakhstan and Russia, and they always will be. In a sense, they are more important than a multi-party integration. Our relations had existed before the establishment of the Customs Union and will continue.
Skepticism is normal in any project development and it will naturally continue to accompany the Eurasian integration project. Regular monitoring of public opinion will help uncover sore points. To curb skepticism, systemic preventive measures are needed, such as an earnest and well-balanced dialogue with the public and business community.
The revolutionary fervor that has gripped the Middle East has not yet spread to the relatively stable former Soviet republics of Central Asia.
At a roundtable event in Moscow, top experts debated the “hypocritical” and “insincere” foreign policies of both Russia and the West in the post-Cold War era.
Vladimir Putin has mentioned several times that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical mistake. Although these words were often interpreted as his desire to constitute that country, there is little reason to believe this.
The April 16 referendum will focus on power distribution rather than institution building. In other words, the organizers saw it as an opportunity to expand the President’s powers and allow him to rule longer. In their turn, Turks perceived it as an institutional choice to contribute to the development of the state.
If the larger picture defies prediction, the immediate future is scarcely more transparent. In the U.S. case, the known unknowns are numerous. They begin with the question of how much deck furniture Trump is willing to overturn in order to pursue an “America First” strategy.
In the wake of the For Fair Elections protest movement in Russia in 2011-2012, the Kremlin initiated a new strategy of state-society relations that was aimed at diminishing the propensity for protest in the next election cycle.
Belarus’ traditional structural dependence on Russia is increasing, and Minsk’s freedom of maneuver continues to shrink.