By Stephen Blank
February 9, 2024
Virtually every assessment of trends in Central Asia since Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and many preceding analyses have postulated a decline in most if not all dimensions of Russian influence and capacity. To be sure, Russia’s imperial aspirations and ability to indulge in them remain central to Russian policy. Nevertheless, that capacity and ability to give this area the attention it merits has visibly declined, not least regarding defense policy. That decline has opened and continues to create opportunities for other interested parties to raise their regional profile, including China, Turkey, India, the EU, and the U.S.
By Farkhod Tolipov
January 25, 2024
On December 25-26, 2023, two summits were held in Saint Petersburg: the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) summit and the so-called CIS informal summit. They can be regarded as a joint summit of two organizations with similar goals. In fact, in its attempt to prevent the fate of a fading empire, Moscow seeks to resort to its soft power instruments and create a semblance or entourage of collectivity around Russia. In the context of its war in Ukraine and frequent unfriendly and threatening statements towards its neighbors, the Kremlin’s artificial collectivity looks like a disguise of its loneliness.
January 19, 2024
Turkmenistan underwent a serious rapprochement with Russia in recent years, particularly after the establishment of a ruling tandem with Serdar Berdimuhamedow as a formal president and his father, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, who retained significant influence in Turkmenistan’s domestic and foreign policy. Due to a few viable alternatives, Russia represents the balancing factor for Turkmenistan towards the increasing Chinese influence over the country and the principal supporter of the regime. On the contrary, Turkmenistan remains a loyal partner in the region for Russia, where the most significant players (Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan) expressed their cautious approach towards Russia's advance in Ukraine.
By Svante E. Cornell
December 8, 2023
Kazakhstan has been deeply affected by the geopolitical turmoil across the region in the past several years, which threatened to undermine the viability of the country’s multi-vector, balanced foreign policy. But Kazakhstan’s leaders have stayed the course, which has for twenty years sought to balance relations with Russia through the expansion of ties with powers ranging from China to the U.S. and Europe. In recent years, Kazakhstan has also embraced regional cooperation in Central Asia, while strengthening ties with Turkey as well. The continued success of this approach remains crucial to the continued independence and stability of Central Asia as a whole.
By Kornely Kakachia
November 30, 2023
On November 8, the European Commission recommended granting candidate status to Georgia. The acceptance or rejection of these recommendations will be determined by a vote from the 27 EU member states in mid-December. If approved by the European Council, this decision would mark a significant milestone in Georgia’s extensive pursuit of European integration, reflecting the historical transformations occurring in the region. As the EU endeavors to anchor Georgia within its newly defined geopolitical sphere, the country is still required to address nine priorities, along with two additional conditions related to combating disinformation. These include countering anti-EU disinformation, foreign information manipulation, and interference against the EU’s values. Another pivotal condition for Georgia involves ensuring a closer alignment of its foreign policy with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.