Brighter prospects for Central Asian integration come amid political and economic liberalization in Uzbekistan, hardening authoritarianism elsewhere in the region, widespread economic distress, and China’s growing influence—the five major trends that marked Central Asia in 2018.
The five states of Central Asia — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan — mark 27 years of independence in 2018.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has become the organizing foreign policy concept of the Xi Jinping era.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization will likely become less functional and coherent as the group gets bigger. Form will start to drive function, and the group will begin to search for a purpose.
Tajikistan faces multiple threats to its stability, and its aging president offers no solutions to these problems. Instead, he is trying to cling to power ever more tightly.
Major geopolitical shifts and internal dynamics are setting the stage for possible increased great-power competition in Central Asia between Russia and China at a time when the region is becoming less hospitable to the projection of U.S. power and to the promotion of democracy.
Twenty-five years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, all of the countries of Eurasia remain in the midst of difficult transitions and face unpredictable futures.
Beijing should approach its energy-centered partnership with Moscow in Central Asia with a degree of caution.
An army mutiny is the only latest of many new threats to Tajikistan's veteran president. Russia is the only country he can rely on to support him and it will take advantage of his predicament.
Central Asia has long defied predictions that it might soon harbor violent extremism, but the defection of a senior security official to the self-proclaimed Islamic State points to a crisis in Tajikistan’s governing structures.