Russia faces new realities in Central Asia
Central Asia is often cited as another place where Russia could seek, through a diaspora, to exert the muscle it has flexed in Ukraine. But Russian populations are declining across the region, and governments there have a number of richer suitors. To counter this growing sense of political and economic independence, Moscow needs to re-position itself as the only ally that can deliver security.
Events in Ukraine have posed important questions concerning Russia's future approach to Central Asia.
Firstly, Central Asia is claimed as the next place where the Kremlin could seek the chance through a Russian diaspora, to exert its authority. Secondly, with the Eurasian Economic Union to be launched in January 2015, Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries will inevitably become focal points of the Russian-led initiative.
The former argument could be challenged, while the latter is undermined by the weakness of the new bloc itself.
What then is the current state of affairs between Russia and the former republics of the Soviet Union in Asia? And to what extent Moscow can impact political, social and economic processes in the region today?
This article was first published on Asia Times Online. Click here to read the full article.
Photo credit: European External Action Service.