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6 November 2013

Assessing Russia’s Role in Central Asia

Vladimir Putin with Nambaryn Enkhbayar, courtesy of Commons
Creative Commons - Attribution 3.0 Unported Creative Commons - Attribution 3.0 Unported

Vladimir Putin with Nambaryn Enkhbayar

While Russia’s relationship with Central Asia has waxed and waned over the past 20 years, it now seems determined to revive its ties with the region. Some may think that’s doable, but Craig Oliphant isn’t one of them. He doesn’t believe that Moscow’s regional policies are well-suited for the task.

By Craig Oliphant for Foreign Policy Centre (FPC)

In the post-Soviet period Russia has found it hard to come to terms with its role –and the perception and indeed reality of diminished influence it now has – in the neighbouring countries that were part of the USSR. In Central Asia over the past 20 years or more the situation has fluctuated. Obituaries, though, about the demise of Russia’s place in the region would seem to be premature. On the one hand, Russia’s desire to strengthen its role in Central Asia is again intensifying in a selective way. For example the focus around the Customs Union, whose envisaged plan also involves Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (beyond Kazakhstan, Belarus and now possibly Armenia too) is a clear marker of Moscow’s intentions. But, on the other, it is hard to say what the longer term picture holds and how viable these plans will prove – not least against the backcloth of leadership change that will inevitably and eventually come to the countries in the region and what implications stem from that.

Any assessment of the current context provides a mixed picture. The geostrategic location of the region is, of course, key and -coupled with its immense hydrocarbon reserves- means that it continues to draw considerable interest from external actors. In what is a complex and fluid environment, the balance sheet would still place Russia as the most prominent external power in Central Asia, in terms of primarily i) its high-level political relationships, ii) its security co-operation in the region, and iii) arguably, its range of investment projects in these countries.

A number of changes – some underway, others afoot - makes, however, for a shifting kaleidoscope, both internally and among external actors. For example, China will continue to increase in significance as an economic actor throughout Central Asia (CA). That might be seen to pose a choice for some in the region: namely do Central Asian countries want to risk the GDP they get in trade from China; or the GDP generated from remittances from their nationals working in Russia? But the formal and informal nature of these processes (trade and remittances) also contrives to allow CA states to finesse and indeed avoid a stark choice between the two. In any case, governments only partly control trade and migration, which tend to have their own dynamic. Perhaps, though, the main consideration to bear in mind at the outset is that the five Central Asian states would prefer not to be dominated by either Russia or China - but to have options with both, and including with other external actors.

This note partly considers Russia’s foreign policy approach towards countries in CA and assesses its main identified interests in the energy, economic and security spheres. Looking ahead there are more questions than answers about Russia’s role in a changing context and how the region will fare in the face of new challenges.

Foreign Policy Approach

The Russian Federation (RF) Foreign Policy Concept speaks both to the opportunities and the value of the Central Asia region to Russia - and also to the risks and challenges[1]. On the one hand, an array of interests is not hard to identify: vital geopolitical position, economic and trade opportunities, lasting Russian cultural impact, presence of Russian-speaking communities etc. On risks and challenges, the FP Concept notes that “Russia will build up cooperation with the CIS Member States in ensuring mutual security, including joint efforts to combat drug trafficking, transnational crime, and illegal migration. Priorities here are the neutralisation of specified threats coming from the territory of Afghanistan and the prevention of destabilisation of the situation in Central Asia…”. In its focus on destabilising factors, moreover, Russia’s National Security Concept to 2020 identifies the following risks: development of nationalistic mindsets, xenophobia, separatism, and violent extremism, including religious radicalisation[2]. The NSS document underscores the need to consolidate the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), and other organisations, and to develop bilateral cooperation in the military and political spheres.

The subtext from both these documents suggests the degree to which Russian domestic and foreign policy towards a region like Central Asia is heavily intertwined. At times, and in a perverse sense, Russia seems to be caught in two minds on Central Asia - unable to decide fully whether CA is a foreign policy or domestic policy issue. Purely domestic considerations might point towards withdrawal from Central Asia. But foreign and security considerations pull firmly in the other direction. Certainly, the core interdependence between Russia and the Central Asian states today remains very much intact. That includes mutual borders more than 7,000 km long; specifically, 12 regions or sub”ekty of the Russian Federation which border on the region, and among them such industrially-developed ones as Samara, Volgograd, Chelyabinsk, and Omsk. In short, significant industrial potential is concentrated in border areas, such as the major cities of the Volga Region, Urals and Siberia. Furthermore, strategically important communications linking central Russia to Siberia and the Far East are either close to the border or partially run through Kazakhstan’s territory.

A key question stands out: to what extent does Moscow approach CA as a region or rather as a collection of states, with a set of differentiated bi-lateral policies adjusted for each? In essence, both approaches are actively at work, but with more emphasis given to selective bilateralism[3]. Certainly, bilateralism dominates in the security domain [4]. On the one hand, as seen from Moscow or elsewhere, there are clear, objective reasons for viewing CA as a region – stemming primarily from the context of Soviet-era fixed transportation and energy infrastructure on which the five countries continue to depend, and the trans-boundary waterways that cross the region. The five states are compelled and need to cooperate regionally in these areas, however patchy and mixed that cooperation may be. On the other hand, the over two decades that have passed since the break-up of the Soviet Union have tended to accentuate the political, economic, cultural and linguistic difference between the five countries, and this pattern of differentiation is likely to continue (and perhaps become more marked) in the medium term.

For Russia, the five CA countries are certainly viewed differently and the growing divergence of domestic situations in these countries is duly noted: Kazakhstan is the key partner and regarded as such[5]. President Nursultan Nazarbayev is singled out and identified in President Putin’s eyes as worthy of special respect and attention. (Kazakhstan is one of the most consistently pro-Russian post-Soviet countries; and President Nazarbayev is the master of a multi-vectored foreign policy). Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are beneficiaries of considerable Russian aid – and are targets now for inclusion in the Customs Union, even though their economic added value to that mechanism will be slow in coming. The lever of economic aid, from a Russian perspective, needs to be - and is being - used more to get closer security cooperation, and this has been more evident particularly over the past year. Since late 2012 Moscow has written off considerable amounts of debt from each, linked in part to Russian military base and facilities agreements in each case.

Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, for their part, are seen as difficult to control. Uzbekistan’s departure from the CSTO in June 2012 seems to have been a particular catalyst, coupled with other factors in the security sphere, that suggested something of a shift in Russia’s approach. Turkmenistan in its debt and promises of gas exports has become more dependent on China since 2010. That said, Tashkent and Ashgabat also get significant Moscow attention despite the many strains and tensions that run through both sets of relationships with their northern neighbour. Ambitions, though, in relations here are necessarily more modest than with others in the region [6]. However, it has to be said the true extent of Russia’s bilateral relations with each of the CA countries is also largely obscured from view and difficult to capture fully.

What seems to emerging, though, in the Russian approach towards Central Asia is a push for deeper ties with a narrower group of states. This is what Alexander Cooley and Marlene Laruelle call a “more focused logic of hierarchy”[7]. Moscow continues to gravitate more towards Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, predominantly in the economic and security fields and drawing also on the tools of soft power (Russian language, cultural influence including via the media, etc).

Main Interests in Central Asia (energy, economic, security)

Energy interests:

Russia still has a dominant energy presence in Central Asia. But again the picture is mixed. Traditionally, its activities were focused on Kazakhstan where relations among the energy industry’s ruling old-guard remain extremely close. For example, the Russian company LUKOIL is active in as many as seven oil and gas onshore projects and three offshore exploration projects in the Kazakhstan sector of the Caspian shelf. It still controls the main pipeline for Kazakhstani oil and by increasing the capacity of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) - a project that continues to be a crucial test of bilateral energy cooperation - it has convinced Kazakhstan to feed more oil into it and give up more control. Currently, Kazakhstan accounts for approximately 40% of Lukoil’s proven reserves; projects in Kazakhstan provide over 90% of oil and over 40% of natural gas produced by Lukoil outside Russian territory. Rosneft, operating in Kazakhstan under the “RN-Exploration” brand, has been less successful in Kazakhstan so far. And it has to be said that Russia’s share in Central Asian oil sales overall remains modest. Despite a rapid rise since 2003, trade in the hydrocarbon sector is still below its Soviet-era levels [8].

Indicators on gas are more upbeat. In Uzbekistan, the two largest Russian companies, Gazprom and Lukoil, are not only involved in gas purchases there, but develop their own production capacities as well. The two corporations, along with their affiliates, account for over 20% of natural gas production in Uzbekistan. In Turkmenistan, Russia’s interests are restricted to the natural gas sector. ITERA is the only Russian company directly participating in the development of Turkmen energy resources, although Lukoil has been trying to find its way into the Turkmenistan market. Russia’s presence there remains limited, as Ashgabat allows foreign investment only in offshore gas fields which are more cost-intensive and technically difficult to develop [9]. More broadly, export routes are no longer exclusively in Russia’s hands. Turkmen gas is already exported directly to Iran and now to China. Kazakh oil is exported to China and also to the West via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. The market of diversified export destinations has meant that Moscow no longer can control Central Asian gas and oil prices, as in previous times. Now that is shaped by the energy needs of e.g. Iran, the West and China and what they are prepared to pay.

In Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, investments by Russian energy companies are represented primarily by Gazprom which, through its affiliated structures actually has a monopoly of the oil product markets of these countries. In both countries large-scale cooperative investment projects with Russia are focused on electric power generation. One of the main hydro-power plant projects is Kambarata hydro-power station in Kyrgyzstan. $2.1bn has been earmarked by Moscow for a second Kambarata power station, to add to an existing one already operational, but decision-making was initially delayed [10]. An agreement was reached during the September 2012 visit of President Putin to Bishkek for Russia to proceed in construction of broadly a further four hydroelectric power stations in Kyrgyzstan by 2016.[11]

In Tajikistan, there was some ambiguity about Russia’s position on the construction of the Rogun dam. But there is more clarity now on the hydro-power station construction project. In fact, the largest project in Tajikistan is the Sangtuda 1 HPS. That was commissioned in July 2009.The RF Government and Russian companies Rosatom and Inter RAO UES own 75% of Sangtuda 1 shares and have invested about US$680 million in its construction, with the Tajikistan government investing approximately $120 million[12]. Several other cooperative projects are either under discussion or waiting go-ahead. An important factor that previously held back a Moscow decision on Russian investment was Uzbekistan’s opposition to hydropower construction in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan due to environmental risks caused by the possible reduction in runoff and water levels of the Amu-Darya and Syr-Darya Rivers. That may now be changing with an indication that Russia will be an active backer of the Kyrgyz upstream position.

Economic interests (non-energy):

Russia is no longer the number one trading partner of the five Central Asian states as a whole, supplanted now in that role by China [13]. That said, Russia’s economic engagement with Central Asia is more multi-faceted, encompassing sectors such as mining, construction, the military-industrial complex, telecommunications, transport, and agriculture. Overall trade turnover in 2011 stood at $27.3 billion. Russia’s main exports to Central Asian countries are primarily manufactured goods: namely, foodstuffs, machinery, textiles, and transportation equipment. The main products exported from Central Asia to Russia are still natural and agricultural raw materials, as well as chemicals [14].

Another important factor to bear in mind is that, in particular, Kazakhstan’s infrastructure is linked to Russia, which views its southern neighbour as the gateway to all the other countries in Central Asia. Furthermore, the issue of Soviet-era debt to Russia is a key consideration, mainly as this is partly used as leverage by Moscow in an indirect and sometimes less indirect way to seal military-security arrangements, as observed particularly in the case of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

In order to pursue its interests in the economic sphere Moscow has initiated a number of economic institutions – although the ‘alphabet soup’ of organisations has a variable and patchy track-record so far: the Customs Union (CU); the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC); Eurasian Development Bank (EDB); Anti-Crisis Fund; CIS Free Trade Zone (FTZ) Agreement, among others. For its part, the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is mooted to be launched in 2015.[The purpose of this note is not to try to assess or evaluate these bodies, actual or potential. But suffice to say, Moscow does have notionally a number of tools (multilateral and bilateral) in the economic sphere and has a tendency, if anything, to underplay the economic scope or possibilities it has at its disposal].

A considerable part of Russian aid is channelled to development assistance to low-income countries of CA. That is done both bilaterally and in the framework of CIS and EurAsEC etc. Of note, though, is the fact that Russia is not among the top ten donors providing international assistance to any of the CA countries, a reality that reflects Russia’s modest participation in international development aid programmes. The total amount of bilateral humanitarian aid provided, for example, by Russia to Kyrgyzstan after the events of April and June 2010 was estimated at $25 million. That compares with $1.1 billion to Kyrgyzstan from international financial organisations allocated within a 30-month period for the revival of the economy, as well as the reconstruction and rehabilitation of destroyed buildings in the south of the country[15].

One of the most prominent issues in Russia’s economic interface with Central Asia is that of labour migration and regional remittances. It has become a vital aspect of the Russia-CA relationship. Precise figures are hard to come by. Some estimates put at 2 million, 800,000, and 600,000 the numbers of those who come from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, respectively, to Russia or Kazakhstan in search of seasonal or temporary work at any one time [16]. A spokesman for the RF MFA says there may be as many as “4.5 million” Central Asian labour migrants living and working in Russia[17]. For the most part, these migrants are unskilled labourers who tend to find employment as street cleaners, agricultural workers or, in particular, as labourers in the construction industry. The economic significance of labour migration for the Central Asian states is difficult to overstate. Again, reliable data is not easily obtainable. But it is clear that remittances from labour migrants have played an enormous role in supporting the economies of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan over the last 9-10 years. Tajikistan, in particular, is considered to be the most dependent country in the world, in proportional terms, on remittances from labour migrants. It is estimated that Tajik labour migrants sent back to their home country remittances totalling $2.7bn in 2011 – equivalent to over 45% of Tajikistan’s recorded GDP [18]. The figures are lower for Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, but still significant, with labour migrants’ remittances reportedly accounting for nearly 29% of Kyrgyzstan’s GDP and 8% of Uzbekistan’s.

For Moscow, the input from a sizable low-paid Central Asian labour force is not insignificant to the RF economy, not least in view of demographic challenges and needs facing Russia, and particularly because migrant workers are prepared to take on menial but essential jobs. For the poorer Central Asian states, labour migration has offered a vital economic “shock absorber”, relieving the social pressure that higher levels of unemployment would otherwise have built up or exacerbated. However, certain dynamics here are shifting: recent evidence after the global financial crisis suggests that the remuneration and rewards of migrant work in Russia are not as great as they once were; and Russian antipathy in some areas towards migrant workers has been worsening. Many resent the fact that 2% of Russia’s GDP is remitted to CA. Steps are now mooted to attempt to reduce the flow of migrants from CA. In President Putin’s address to the Russian Federal Assembly in December 2012, he mentioned 2015 as the target for the introduction of stricter oversight measures applicable to foreign nationals, especially from CIS countries. It remains to be seen how that will be implemented.

The whole question of economic cooperation between Russia and Central Asian countries is closely linked to security issues, primarily counteracting drug trafficking from CA to Russia, the scale of which is estimated to be comparable to the volume of mutual official trade (around $20bn or more). In Russia this problem has, apart from the humanitarian impact, an economic dimension - and constitutes as elsewhere a major priority concern. Drug trafficking financially supports the illegal economic sector, corruption, and organised crime in both Russia and Central Asian countries [19]. According to the UN, the Russian narcotics market accounts for 20% of the world turnover; the annual revenue from all drug sales amounts to about $13 bn. Thus, Russia has the second largest volume of drug turnover – second only to Europe, where the figures are cited as 26% and $20 bn., respectively, according to a UN report[20]. And narcotics production in Afghanistan, far from being reduced after over a decade of ISAF intervention, is soaring again.

Security interests:

Russia is the most powerful security actor in the region. On the one hand, it has both the means to react to a crisis and an assumed responsibility to engage. But on the other, it also has a palpable reluctance to intervene and would only do so if Russian territory or key interests were at stake. That was seen during and after the 2010 Osh pogroms in Kyrgyzstan to which Russia failed to respond, as it did not view the violence as a direct threat to its interests[21]. While multilateral arrangements (CSTO, SCO) play their role in Moscow’s eyes, there is a strong sense, and an important development in Russia’s policy towards Central Asia, where bilateralism increasingly dominates in the security domain. With the key emphasis on bilateral ties with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, two equally important pillars stand out: military cooperation and also economic support/leverage.

In the military sphere, Russia’s bilateral security cooperation with Tajikistan involves the deployment of its second-largest military contingent abroad – the 201st Motorised Rifle Division. About 7000 troops are deployed at the base near Dushanbe and in three motor-rifle regiments. In October 2012 a bilateral agreement was concluded between Dushanbe and Moscow which provides for rent-free basing rights for Russian forces until 2042. It remains to be seen whether Russian border guards will again return to a role on the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border at some point over the coming year. RF border guard units left Tajikistan in 2004.

In Kyrgyzstan, an extension on the Russian military facilities at Kant takes those arrangements through to 2032, with a possible extension beyond that for a further five years. The new agreement will run from 2017 and provide for a unified or integrated Russian military base in Kyrgyzstan combining all the various facilities at Kant and elsewhere in the country[22].The Russian side has written off substantial Kyrgyz debts to Russia, amounting to $489 million. The same has been done in the Tajikistan context. Russia will spend over $1.5 billion to bolster the Tajik and Kyrgyz militaries[23]. Kyrgyz debts were also converted into a capital holding for Russia in Dastan, one of Kyrgyzstan’s military-industrial complex’s only enterprises. Thus, debt cancellation, and substantial aid (e.g. $2 billion to Kyrgyzstan), are used to leverage these military-security arrangements into place.

In the multilateral security sphere the loose organisation and requirements of frameworks such as the CIS, CSTO and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, in which Moscow shares leadership with Beijing, allow for flexible arrangements in which some members can choose deeper integration – as with the Customs Union – while others can opt out of initiatives. The drawback is that many of the agreements nominally adopted by these structures are never implemented, with members often not ratifying the needed national legislation to bring them into force or else providing inadequate financing to support them. But, as seen from Moscow, attempts to create stronger institutions have their own drawbacks. While such efforts could make these institutions more effective instruments of Russian power, the changes also alienate other members, who typically either pay lip service to the outlined obligations and then decline to enforce them or, as with Uzbekistan, escape them by exiting the institutions. Uzbekistan’s most recent withdrawal from the CSTO (June 2012) and its reluctance to fully engage in an integration framework that involves Russia and Kazakhstan are nothing new in that regard.

Geopolitical Dimension

There is a paradox at the heart of how Moscow views Central Asia. The region is and remains in Russia’s backyard and ‘sphere of influence’ - a zone of “privileged interests”[24]. But in slowly coming to terms with its new role in CA, Russia today recognises it is now merely one player among others, tacitly acknowledging the region is indeed multi-polar. Since third countries are increasing their impact on (not least) the economic policies of CA, Russia must adjust to those realities and interact with new actors within the region - a situation that has its advantages but also its disadvantages in Russian eyes. In terms of neighbouring regional powers – India, Iran, Turkey – Moscow sees they lack the means to displace Russian superiority. On US involvement, there is the calculation that the US focus will diminish markedly post-drawdown from Afghanistan. Broader Russian-US relations have been severely strained but have still found practical areas of cooperation in the CA region over Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the perceived inertia in the EU’s Central Asia strategy, notwithstanding the engagement of a respected EUSR, leaves a lingering impression that the EU falls short of amounting to the sum of its parts.

China, though, is in a different category altogether. It could well prove problematic to Russia in the longer term in CA [25]. More generally, Moscow is in two minds on whether China represents predominantly an opportunity or a risk and even threat to Russia. In the Central Asian context, both powers have managed to achieve their goals without clashing abrasively with one another. But the outlook is that this situation could change – and perhaps quite abruptly, particularly because the competition for control over Central Asia’s subsoil resources is likely to become acute. Thus far, Russo-Chinese cooperation in CA has been workable since Beijing seems to have an interest in keeping CA under Russia’s political and security umbrella.

If the Chinese leadership, however, were to consider that, for whatever reason, activities from their side should be modified in CA to become involved in political, military and cultural issues, and not just in economic/commercial ones, then Beijing’s interests would clearly come into conflict with Moscow’s. Russian analysts and commentators discreetly acknowledge that if it wanted to, China could “buy up tomorrow” large swathes of Central Asia. That is not happening for now – but the data evidence shows a year-on-year drive that cannot be ignored[26].

Stark assessments from some Russian analysts and observers seek to depict three options for the CA region: to stay in the Russian fold; to lapse into chronic instability – whether as a result of some form of religious radicalism or through criminalisation of the state by mafia networks; or fall under Chinese domination[27].

Some tentative conclusions – and key questions

· Firstly, and as noted earlier, in what is a complex and changing context, Russia seems likely to remain for now the most prominent external power in CA, in terms of its high-level political relationships, its security co-operation in the region, and its range of investment projects in these countries. However, China’s role and significance as an economic actor continue to grow steadily throughout CA. To reiterate, as of 2010, Russia is no longer the number one trading partner of the five Central Asia countries as a whole. In Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, it has already been overtaken by China. A key variable here is whether, and (if so) to what extent China seeks to translate its growing economic presence into political influence. For the time being, China sees CA as a second-tier foreign policy priority, and has shown less interest than expected thus far in capitalising on its economic power there for increased political leverage.

· Moscow will continue to view the region predominantly through the security prism and as a set of risks to be contained rather than as an opportunity for new inroads or expansion. Russia is more inclined to deal with its own interests in Central Asia, rather than expose itself to risks that would arise if it really took on the role of regional “policeman”. The marked reluctance to make an active intervention, for example under CSTO auspices, during or after the Osh events in June 2010 underscored that caution and prudence are Moscow’s watch-words in Central Asia[28]. Even if there had been an appetite for it, intervention in Kyrgyzstan–the Moscow assessment seems to have been -would almost certainly have been misinterpreted; and the Russian calculation was probably that non-intervention had no direct political cost.

· Multilateral formats, such as CSTO and SCO, to an extent serve their purpose from the Kremlin’s perspective. The CSTO is partly a vehicle to bolster Russia’s sense of significance. But Moscow’s ambitions to use e.g. the CSTO and Eurasian Economic Community to cement its influence in the region are still rather thwarted by tensions among the Central Asians themselves. The lingering impression, therefore, for these and other reasons, is that the CSTO remains largely ineffective and will continue to suffer from the lack of a common vision.

· In another domain, though, the Customs Union will be an important project and indicator to monitor in the coming year or two, with regard not only to Kazakhstan but also to Kyrgyzstan and perhaps Tajikistan. In all of this, it is likely to remain the case that bi-lateral relations, based on a differentiated approach, will constitute the main focus for Russian interaction and dealings in the region, with Kazakhstan very much in prime position. A recent Russian International Affairs Council report (RIAC, No 10, 2013] noted that Moscow’s policy towards Central Asia, in the face of a lack of regional unity, should be largely based on designing Russian strategies on a country-by-country basis.[29]

· In essence, though, a basic component of the Russian approach hitherto, offering uncritical support where it can to the Central Asian states and economic benefits in exchange for geo-political loyalty to Moscow, seems set to continue unchanged. That is predicated on a view that Central Asia is the last bastion of Russia’s ‘sphere of influence’ outside its own borders.

The next few years will be a key period for the region. For now, the challenges are perhaps best captured in a set of pressing questions, which give a sense of the fluidity, shifts, and uncertainty ahead. No comfort in easy answers – and none offered here. Rather an invitation to reflect further:

· How does Moscow view the impact and implications of drawdown by NATO forces (ISAF)from Afghanistan and the post 2014 implications for security in Central Asia and its own role in the region?

· What risks and opportunities do succession politics in Central Asia hold for Moscow, and specifically regarding Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan?

· To what extent have developments from the Arab Awakening and civil strife in the Middle East been prompting a rethink in Russia’s CA strategy?

· How would Russia react to future conflict/crisis in Central Asia?

· What is the medium-term outlook for Sino-Russian relations in the region, particularly if Beijing seeks to shift gear from mainly an economic to also a more proactive political and even security role?

September 2013




[1] The Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation (12 Feb 2013).

[2] Russia’s National Security Strategy to 2020, (12 May 2009).

[3] The Future of Russia’s Involvement in Central Asia”, Central Asia Policy Forum, George Washington University, Dec 2012

[4] Marlene Laruelle “Russia in Central Asia: Old History, New Challenges”, EUCAM, Sept 2009

[5] Russia’s Interests in Central Asia”, Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), No 10 2013.

[6] Ibid

[7] “The Changing Logic of Russian Strategy in Central Asia”, PONARS Eurasia Policy Menu No 260, Alexander Cooley & Marlene Laruelle, August 2013.

[8] Economic Cooperation between Russia and Central Asian Countries: Trends and Outlook”, Irina Sinitsina, University of Central Asia Bishkek, Working Paper No 5 2012.

[9] Ibid

[10] Laruelle, op. Cit

[11] Christian Science Monitor, 27 October 2012

[12] Sinitsina, op. Cit.

[13] James Nixey “The Long Goodbye: Waning Russian Influence in the South Caucasus and Central Asia”, RIIA, June 2012

[14] RIAC, op, Cit.

[15] Sintsina, op. Cit.

[16] From author’s discussions with analysts in Moscow at the RF Diplomatic Academy, March 2013

[17] Regnum, 22 January 2013, op. Cit.

[18] RIAC, op. Cit.

[19] Sintsina, op. Cit.

[20] “Addiction, Crime and Insurgency: The International Threat of Afghan Opium”, UN report UNODOC, 2009.

[21] “The Future of Russia’s Involvement in Central Asia”, Central Asia Policy Forum, George Washington University, Dec 2012.

[22] Defence News, 20 September 2012.

[23] Ibid

[24] Former President Dmitry Medvedev, quoted in interview with New York Times, 31 August 2008

[25] “China as a Neighbour: Central Asian Perspectives and Strategies”, Silk Road Monograph, CACI, Washington DC, Marlene Laruelle & Sebastien Peyrouse, April 2009.

[26] From author’s discussions with Russian analysts at a roundtable in Moscow at the RF Diplomatic Academy, March 2013.

[27] Ibid

[28] For a fuller discussion of these issues see “Russia’s Changing Security Role in Central Asia”, European Security, Anna Matveeva, February 2013.

[29] RIAC, op. Cit.

Craig Oliphant, Senior Research Associate at Foreign Policy Centre.

Editor's note:

This article was originally published by the Foreign Policy Centre in September 2013. It is also available in the Digital Library.


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