Inside Central Asia


An Exodus Amid Tripled GDP: The Mirage of Uzbekistan’s Economic Miracle

Evidently, most of Uzbekistan’s economic indicators are subject to statistical manipulations, be it a 90 percent voter turnout for presidential elections or refrigerator manufacturing, where a 50-fold increase was reported. In this context, numbers on labor migration out of the country shed more light on the efficiency of Karimov’s economic model than all of his statistical data.

Keeping it in the Family: Tajikistan Vote Secures Ruling Clan

Changes passed in a recent referendum amending Tajikistan’s constitution allow President Emomali Rahmon to run for office an infinite number of times and pave the way for his family to take over the reins of power. The veteran president is adept at protecting his regime and keeping his powerful neighbours at bay.

Uzbeks in Russia: Not Homesick Yet

Uzbek President Islam Karimov has begun to make an issue of getting Uzbek migrant workers to return home from Russia. He wants political control. But the current situation, where migrants send millions of dollars in remittances and provide cheap labor in Russia, suits everybody.

A New Russian Turn to Turkmenistan?

Russia and Turkmenistan have a new set of issues to tackle: Russian military activities in the Caspian Sea and problems along the Afghan border have joined natural gas contract negotiations and the status of ethnic Russians in Turkmenistan atop the countries’ bilateral agenda.

Caught in the Middle: Central Asia and the Russia-Turkey Crisis

The Kremlin has embarked on an anti-Turkish campaign that does not differentiate between the government and ordinary people, the economy and cultural ties, or even the concepts of “Turkish” and “Turkic.” This approach risks alienating Moscow from its most loyal allies in Central Asia.

The Silence of the CIS: Russia’s Neighbors and the Syria Crisis

The limited information available from the recent CIS summit in Kazakhstan suggests that Russia’s neighbors—and especially the states bordering the Caspian Sea—did not approve of Moscow’s military strikes in Syria.

Trouble in Tajikistan

An army mutiny is the only latest of many new threats to Tajikistan's veteran president. Russia is the only country he can rely on to support him and it will take advantage of his predicament.

Another BRIC(S) in the Great Wall

Vladimir Putin will likely see the BRICS summit as proof that the West’s attempts to isolate Russia have failed. However, Russia’s growing fascination with the BRICS and the SCO coincides with diminishing Chinese interest in both projects.

Smiles and Waves: What Xi Jinping Took Away From Moscow

The Xi’s visit to Moscow was the realization of a “win-win” formula beloved by the Chinese. The negotiations between Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin can be seen as a shared symbolic victory and as a broad declaration of good intentions, but the fight over who can benefit more in practical terms has already begun

Nazarbayev’s Election Assured, What Comes Next?

The most pressing threat to Kazakhstan’s stability may turn out to be Nazarbayev himself. He is an elderly man who also reportedly suffers from cancer and he has no clear successor.
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