The strategic importance of Central Asia and its vast energy resources draw a lot of external interest to it. Russia traditionally has been the strongest outside player in in the region. But now China’s active involvement in energy sector of Central Asia is quickly increasing its influence and challenging Russia’s position in the region. In this interview Dr. Robert M. Cutler, Senior Research Fellow in the Institute of European, Russian & Eurasian Studies at Carleton University discusses the issues of China-Russia competition and cooperation in the context of energy security in Central Asia.
Central Asia is presently a vital area for world politics. The 9/11 acts of terror in New York and Washington showed that the collapse of states in this region as they lose control over their national borders may have serious repercussions for other parts of the world. In addition, the involvement of major world powers (China, Russia, the US, India, Pakistan) in regional affairs suggests that the borders of Central Asian countries may be changed to meet the interests of these outside players. How might national borders in the region change in one hundred years?
Lately Russia has evidently given special focus to Central Asia. On September 19th-20th Vladimir Putin paid a visit to Kyrgyzstan, and October 4th-5th – Dushanbe. The agreements signed in course of these visits should assure stable military presence of Russia in Central Asia region for 20-30 years. On this ground the experts made a conclusion that the balance in the region established between the world powers gradually, but persistently leans to Moscow, especially at the background of withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan.
Russia can’t be neutral towards the trend of “by-pass strategy” of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, their foreign policy interests and Eurasian plans
The play of positions gradually deploys between Russia, China and the USA in Central Asia. The rules of this game in general are not defined, they are still at the stage of development. But no matter what shape shall these rule take in future, now it is already clear, that three pointed foreign forces are not prone to limit their actions in this region and make them dependent from policy of counterpartners. Positionality of Central Asian play is determined with several unbiased factors. First of all, it’s necessary to note, that all five Republics of the region differ with specificity of the niches taken in general Central Asian composition of interstate preferences and configurations.
A shortage of fuel in Russia is hurting millions beyond its borders in Central Asia, where former satellite states still rely almost completely on Moscow’s gas supplies — and its decisions to tighten the taps from one day to the next.
As noted in my last post, a new report from the bipartisan Central Asia Study Group, chaired by former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and issued by the Project 2049 Institute, offers an action agenda aimed at creating a more effective and enduring partnership between the United States and the nations of Central Asia. I was the principal author of the report. But the paper is a consensus document that reflects discussion, debate, and, ultimately, broad agreement among a distinguished group of former senior U.S. diplomatic and defense officials with responsibility for, or interest in, Central Asia.
The United States intends to cut funding for assistance programs in most countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia, under the new budget proposed by the Obama administration on February 14.
MONTREAL - Attention to Central Asian energy is most often driven by such gigantic projects as the Turkmenistan-China pipeline or the question of doubling the volume of the oil pipeline of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) from northwest Kazakhstan across southern Russia to the Black Sea or other such strategic projects having a trans-continental, or at least semi-continental, scale.
‘Kyrgyz question’ will become one of the central ones at December’s OSCE Summit in Astana?