Speaking on a CSIS podcast, Carnegie Moscow Center's Alexey Malashenko said that the Arab Spring itself is likely to have little to no impact on the political situation in the countries of Central Asia and may even serve the governments there as a cautionary warning to their citizens against social upheaval and turmoil.
Malashenko drew parallels between the upheaval in Egypt and Tunisia and the potential for similar instability in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. These two Central Asian countries share certain characteristics—long-serving, authoritarian leaders and populations that have become weary of their rule—that brought down their North African counterparts. Yet he argued that the likelihood of an actual revolution in the post-Soviet space is small: while the Arab Spring was partially inspired by Europe, the Central Asian countries lack such a democratic background in their political culture. However, these countries might not be spared a “Central Asian Winter,” Malashenko added, although the reason for social upheaval would not be the example from the Middle East, but instead factors such as rising nationalism, corruption, and a host of other political and social issues.