- Ekaterina Schulmann, Associate Professor, Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences; and Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow, Robert Bosch Academy
- Alexander Gabuev, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
As Russia’s war on Ukraine has just passed the half-year mark, multiple parts of the Eurasian landmass find themselves affected in different ways. Central Asia is undergoing profound changes and multiple challenges, including global inflation pressure, a neo-imperialist Russia, and a fragile Afghanistan with a one-year-old Taliban regime at the helm. Meanwhile, the U.S. and its allies are occupied with other challenges in addition to these, such as China, inflation, an energy crisis and, last but not least, the pandemic.
Thus, the five Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – are seeking unique approaches to navigate a way forward.
After a landmark July summit in Cholpon-Ata, there is prospect for more common action among the five, and a drive for regional cooperation coming from within as opposed to an integration push imposed by one of the powerful neighbors. At the same time, key countries in the region are beleaguered by their own troubles, including power transitions, sluggish growth, rising inequality, and populism. Success or failure of the Central Asian states to address these challenges will have a profound impact on stability – not only in the region, but in the extended neighborhood, including Europe.
Under the Chatham House format, we invite you to discuss regime transformations in post-Soviet Central Asian countries: from the democratic aspirations of Kazakhstan that put its traditional relations with Russia under strain, to the slowly evolving autocracies in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. And in Turkmenistan there’s a dictatorship where changes in leadership seem to bring only new varieties of oppression . In Kyrgyzstan, democracy is turbulent under President Zhaparov.
- What are the implications of the war on Ukraine for the balance of power and the web of relations in Central Asia? What are the new risks and opportunities for the countries, and who (if anyone) could benefit from Russia's role in the conflict?
- What is going on in Kazakhstan after the constitutional referendum? Do the legislative changes entail regime transformation, or was it yet another example of autocratic window dressing?
- What is the role of China in shaping the political realities of the Central Asian regimes?
- What does the history of power transfers in post-Soviet Central Asia tell us about the possible future of the Russian political regime?
- How would a stable (or an unstable) Central Asia impact the West’s foreign policy?
A light meal and drinks will be served.
Registration for this event is closed.