Central Europe Calling Central Asia, Over?
The kaleidoscope of post-Soviet regional initiatives, which have followed the downfall of the USSR, could have raised a few eyebrows with its overlapping membership and empty declarations. There were and still are various cooperation projects aiming at filling in the gap that emerged after the direct linkages with Big Brother Kremlin were broken.
The region of Central Asia, encompassing Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan could enjoy a pride of place in this regard, as it is an area that has seen a number of such ventures.
Caught between two worlds
The process of integration has also not omitted Moscow’s satellite states, including those located in the heart of Europe. Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary launched cooperation, which, with its pros and cons, is gradually approaching its 25th anniversary. The Visegrad Group might serve as an inspiration and a source of know-how for the Central Asian republics, which, so far, have failed to produce a single and permanent platform of integration. This Central European project should by no means be treated as the one and only model to pursue. It rather provides a set of hints, through which patterns of best and worst practice can be established.
Photo credit: President of the Republic of Belarus.