Inside Central Asia

2.11.2020

What Will the Next U.S. Administration Mean for the Caucasus and Central Asia?

Biden’s rhetorical support for the region will make it easier for Central Asian and South Caucasus governments to bring their issues to Washington's attention. But a Biden administration may not have the bandwidth to take on many new problems.
26.10.2020

Who’s In Charge Following Revolution in Kyrgyzstan?

Sadyr Japarov’s meteoric rise was fueled by a fortunate combination of two political assets: popular radical rhetoric, and connections with influential people. But it’s unlikely they can both be juggled for long. One of them will have to be sacrificed.
15.10.2020

The Secret of the Tajik President’s Staying Power

There’s no point in expecting anything like the Belarusian protests—not to mention the revolution in Kyrgyzstan—in Tajikistan. In the decades he has been at the helm, President Rahmon has concentrated all the power in the country in his own hands.
8.10.2020

The Scramble for Power in Kyrgyzstan

The situation in Kyrgyzstan is in some ways similar to the last two revolutions. At the heart of it is not the revolt of a liberal opposition against a corrupt regime, but a brutal fight for power between regional and tribal groups disguised as political parties. The difference this time is the reluctance of world and regional powers to get involved.
1.10.2020

Reformed or Just Retouched? Uzbekistan’s New Regime

President Mirziyoyev has already solved the issues for which his predecessor Karimov was condemned. Now he must tackle the problems that have arisen on his own watch. With every year, it will be harder and harder to pass off symbolic concessions as genuine reforms.
30.03.2020

China Looms Large in Central Asia

China is gradually laying down the foundations for the construction of a Pax Sinica in Central Asia. This is particularly successful in certain sectors of the economy, but Beijing’s policy has come up against constraints, both within Central Asia and outside of it.
30.10.2019

What’s Behind Protests Against China in Kazakhstan?

China has always been considered a convenient partner for Central Asian countries, because it asked for virtually nothing in exchange for investment. But unlike with Western countries, which state the terms of cooperation in advance, with China there are unspoken rules, including a taboo on acknowledging any problems in the relationship.
4.07.2019

Tale of Two Presidents Reveals Risks of Post-Soviet Power Transition

The beleaguered former presidents of Armenia and Kyrgyzstan are both typical clan leaders with notable numbers of supporters. Both cases illustrate clearly how complex and risky the process of handing over power remains in the post-Soviet arena.
18.06.2019

New Balance of Power Takes Shape in Kazakhstan, Defying Assumptions

While civic activity in Kazakhstan remains the purview of young people in the city of Almaty, the country’s new ruling tandem has a chance to conduct political modernization from above. This would be in line with the vision of former president Nursultan Nazarbayev, who considers himself the father of independence. Successful political reforms would also bestow upon him the status of father of Kazakh democracy, and preserve his legacy unchallenged in the decades to come, when Kazakh institutions become fully operational.
17.04.2019

Accelerating the Transition: What’s Behind Kazakhstan’s Snap Election?

Kazakhstan’s power handover increasingly looks like a trap for Nazarbayev. He wants the process to go smoothly, as planned, but the entire system only works when he is at the helm. There is no one capable of replicating precisely what the first president conceived. Nazarbayev has ruled Kazakhstan with an iron fist, but that fist is gradually growing weaker. As for Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Dariga Nazarbayeva, their influence can buy them respect, but it doesn’t inspire fear.
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