Inside Central Asia

10.03.2017

Borderline Anxiety: Putin’s Central Asia Tour

Putin’s recent trip to Central Asia showed that he is willing to pay Russia’s partners in the region for their geopolitical loyalty—even if some republics have refrained from joining the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
21.02.2017

Why Turkmenistan Bothered Holding Presidential Elections

Declining hydrocarbon prices and a gas dispute with Russia have kept Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov from bringing back the luster and prosperity of Turkmenistan’s golden age. The next few years promise to be even harder for Turkmenistan’s economy, which is why parliament decided to extend Berdymukhamedov’s term in office from five to seven years.
6.02.2017

Continuity in Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev’s Curious Appeal for Constitutional Reform

If none of the Kazakh president’s current associates will agree to accept the right of another to become the country’s second national leader, it’s inevitable that Kazakhstan will be ruled by some kind of collective leadership after Nazarbayev. However, nothing in the president’s special address suggested any mechanism for the transfer of power.
19.12.2016

Will Mirziyoyev Bring Change to Uzbekistan?

It will be difficult for Uzbekistan’s new president to bring about foundational change without moving toward some kind of glasnost. Though Uzbekistan’s tightly controlled political system has its limits, Mirziyoyev will have to loosen the reins in one way or another.
2.12.2016

The Rogun Dam: A Source of Division in Central Asia

Tajikistan, plagued by frequent widespread blackouts, has begun construction of an ambitious dam project that could significantly ease the country’s perennial energy shortages. However, in a region notorious for water disputes, neighboring Uzbekistan is staunchly opposed to the dam. A long-term solution is essential to maintaining peace in the region.
21.11.2016

Does the Kremlin Have a New Agent of Influence in Uzbekistan?

The Kremlin has tried to use billionaires to do its bidding in post-Soviet states before—with mixed success. When it comes to Alisher Usmanov, the hurdles to a successful partnership are particularly high.
11.11.2016

The Eurasian Gap: Winners and Losers of the Economic Union

It’s not surprising that the members of the EAEU are struggling to adopt a Customs Code. In many ways, the problem stems from Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the EAEU, which mostly benefits Chinese exporters to Russia, who now have less red tape to deal with and more contraband routes available. The Russian budget, which may miss out on about $340 million a year, is the biggest loser.
6.10.2016

What Will Uzbekistan’s New President Do?

Although we shouldn’t expect anything drastic, Uzbekistan’s next president will likely change some of Islam Karimov’s policies, especially in the economic sphere. Because the country needs financial support and access to new technologies from the West, Uzbekistan may liberalize slightly, demonstrating greater respect for democracy and human rights.
6.09.2016

Who Will Be Uzbekistan’s Next President?

The struggle to succeed Islam Karimov is heating up. Rustam Inoyatov, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, and Rustam Azimov—three of the most powerful men in Uzbekistan—are the leading contenders to assume the throne in Tashkent.
1.09.2016

Heirless in Tashkent: How Autocratic Regimes Manage a Succession

Change is coming to the regimes of Central Asia, with Uzbekistan only the first state to experience a succession crisis. The departure of a long-standing leader can result in regime consolidation, but a struggle for power can also lead to a period of glasnost and democratization.
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