Moscow had every opportunity to make the Central Asian nations gravitate toward it of their own accord. Yet now Russian soft power in Central Asia is dissipating before our eyes.
All the crises that have erupted in Central Asia this year have the same underlying causes: weak political institutions, and governments that dismiss public frustration until it erupts into bloodshed on the streets.
The region is dependent on Russia but wary of endorsing Moscow’s actions.
Despite close economic ties with Russia, not a single Central Asian country has endorsed President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine.
A lively discussion of powerful similarities and intriguing differences across four regions—Southeast Asia, Latin America, Central Asia, and South Asia—and what can be learned by comparing local strategies and Chinese responses around infrastructure, investment, and training.
Even if there is cause for competition in Central Asia, both Moscow and Beijing see friendly bilateral relations as a priority, especially against the backdrop of their escalating confrontation with the West.
Assuming that the situation in Afghanistan is unlikely to stabilize in the foreseeable future, it may fuel the Rahmon regime for another few years.
Tajikistan has no intention of getting into a direct confrontation with the Taliban. Rather, by taking a few more risks than its neighbors, the Tajik leadership is counting on boosting its popularity, both at home and abroad.
Chinese firms are adapting to an ever-changing business environment as Central Asian leaders and citizens demand more local job creation, value-added industry, and opportunities for skills and advancement.