Inside Central Asia


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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