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TOPIC: central asia

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The De-Russification Dream: How A Ukraine Victory Could Remake Central Asia

As Russia loses in influence in Central Asia, Ukraine has an opportunity to take over a key role in relations between countries in the region and the European Union.


KYIV — When Ukraine called on Central Asian countries this spring to move away from Russia and forge closer ties to Kyiv, Moscow responded with its usual bluster that the region is Russia's untouchable fiefdom.

The reaction is a sign of the current weakness of Russian power in the region, and that Central Asian countries from Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan themselves are tired of diktat's from the Kremlin.

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But what does this mean for Kyiv? For Ukrainian Member of Parliament Oleksandr Merezhko, it is a historic opportunity for Ukraine.

From a historical perspective, Russia's attitude toward the people of Central Asia has gone through several stages. During the period of the Russian empire, Central Asia and its people were subjected to brutal colonialism. Considering them "uneducated," Russian authorities were convinced that international law did not apply to their relations with Central Asians. Therefore, they could seize the territories of this region by force and impose their law.

The Soviet era brought in a period of exploitation by the new imperial center, and a de facto cultural genocide when the Communist regime tried to destroy the culture, religion, national identity and character of Central Asia.

Modern Russia has inherited certain traditions of colonial and Soviet national policy in its attitude to the region, which today has a population of circa 72 million, in five countries: Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Its current approach is, in fact, neocolonial, and Central Asian nationals who come to Russia in search of work often become victims of humiliation, discrimination and racism.

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With Putin Shut Out, Xi Makes His Play For Central Asia — And Europe

Five former Soviet states have arrived for a key summit in China, and the absence of Vladimir Putin signals Central Asia's desire to distance itself from Moscow — and China's rising global dominance.


PARIS — They are called the five "Stans"... Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan. They used to be part of the Soviet Union and are today at the center of a strategic zone between Russia and China.

The leaders of the Central Asian countries arrived Thursday in Xi'an, in central China to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping. And there was undeniably someone missing from the picture: Vladimir Putin.

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The Russian leader's absence is highly significant: the "Stans" are getting closer to Beijing in order to put more distance between themselves and Moscow.

We are not talking about a change of direction or a rift, but rather a rebalancing, a new regional order in which the Chinese ascendancy is now an undeniable reality. But an unofficial representative of Beijing admitted it Wednesday in private: this summit between the Central Asian countries and China, without Russia, must not have pleased Putin.

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How Fleeing Russians (And Their Rubles) Are Shaking Up Neighboring Economies

Russians fled the war to neighboring countries, bringing with them billions of dollars worth of wealth. The influx of money is both a windfall and a problem.

Posting a comment on a Kazakhstani real estate listing and sales website this past fall, one user couldn't contain his enthusiasm: "It's unbelievable, hasn't happened since 2013 — the market has exploded! ... Yippee! I don't know who to kiss!"

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The boom of demand — and dollars — in Kazakhstan, and other countries in the region, is traced directly to the incoming Russians and their wealth who have arrived since the war in Ukraine began.

The ongoing wave of fleeing Russians is likely the largest emigration from the country in 100 years. There are no accurate estimates of how many Russians have left the country, much less where they will settle or how many of them will eventually return home. But between March and October, up to 1.5 million people left Russia. A conservative estimate suggests half a million haven't returned.

The main flow passed through Georgia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan (which has the longest land border with Russia). In these countries, the Russian language is widespread and visas are unnecessary. Russians can even enter Kazakhstan and Armenia without a passport.

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Can Russian Giveaways Of Old Weapons Keep U.S. Shut Out Of Central Asia

BISHKEK — Russia has reached a deal with the leaders of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to provide military aid to the two Central Asian nations. Though the details are still being hammered out, Moscow appears to have netted a deal with potentially major geopolitical implications.

“We have agreed with our colleagues regarding the delivery of weapons, which will be provided at the expense of the Russian Ministry of Defense,” Valery Gerasimov, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Russian Army, told Kommersant matter-of-factly late last week.

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Sergei Strokan

Pakistan And Russia - Another Tricky 'Reset' With Global Consequences

MOSCOW - While much has been made of a “reset” in the relationship between the United States and Russia, Pakistan is also trying to find a new starting point in its relationship with Russia, which has yet to recover from Pakistan’s cold-war alliance with the United States.

This would-be reset has had both setbacks and steps forward in recent days, but Russia’s historical alliance with India, Pakistan’s main geopolitical enemy, threatens to overshadow attempts by the two countries to work together in the Central Asian region.

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