Russian Policy Towards Central Asia-I

Jyotsna Bakshi, Research Fellow, IDSA


From the second half of the 19th century unto the Soviet disintegration in the closing days of 1991, Western Turkestan comprising of the present-day five Central Asian Republics (CARs--Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan) remained under exclusive control of Moscow. Russia continues to be the most important actor in the former Soviet space, both because of its geographical location, size, economic and military weight as also its historical legacy. Of all the regions of the former Soviet Union, Central Asia is geographically the closest to India and holds considerable geopolitical significance for it as from times immemorial developments in Central Asia have tended to have a spill-over effect on India. The purpose of the present paper is to identify and analyse the broad geopolitical trends and processes in the region. The paper is presented in two parts with the first one focussing on the early post-Soviet period, Russia's strategic concerns in Central Asia and the nature of its economic relations with the CARs.

Central Asia is situated on the cross junction of cultures and civilisations where the borders of important powers have traditionally met. Since ancient times, important travel and trade routes connecting Asia with Europe--known as the Silk Route--passed through the region. The possession of Central Asia and Transcaucasia brought Moscow very close to the warm waters of the southern seas and enabled it to make its influence felt in the rimland surrounding the vast Eurasian 'heartland' where the writ of Moscow ran.

During the Soviet rule, Western Turkestan was divided into present-day five republics on the basis of ethnicity and nationality. However, all these states are quite heterogenous in their ethnic and national composition. Their borders are also artificial cutting across various ethnic groups. During the Soviet period they became the model of the 'non-capitalist' path of development of backward Asian republics towards socialism. The lagacy of seventy years of Soviet rule in Central Asia has imparted the CARs with distinct features of their own which separate them from countries towards their south-east and south-west.

On the eve of Soviet disintegration and in the period immediately following it, Russian thinking and policy towards Central Asia was marked by a mixture of condescending feeling of a big power towards its smaller and weaker neighbours, a desire to get away from the Central Asian problems.1 Yet there was a strong underlying belief that these new republics would not really break free from the apron-strings of Moscow and that Russia would retain its preponderant power and influence in the former Soviet space. Russia happens to be the largest, most dominant and advanced of the former Soviet republics. It has nearly three-fourths of the Soviet military territory and more than half of its population. It is estimated that Russia accounts for 75 per cent of the GDP of the former Soviet republics.2 Russia and other former Soviet republics inherited the legacy of seventy years of 'socialist integration' which resulted in intricate weaving together and inter-dependence of their economies. Russian language still remains the lingua franca in the former Soviet space as well as the language of higher studies and research, although the study of English and other foreign languages is being encouraged. Each of the new republics has declared its respective republican language to be the state language in which all work is to be conducted.

Independence was rather thrust on the Central Asian republics for which they had neither striven, nor were they really prepared. In fact, on the eve of the Soviet collapse a move was made to form a confederation of the three richest and the most advanced Slavic republics of the Soviet Union--Russia, Belarus and Ukraine--to the exclusion of others, the more independence-minded Baltics, 'troublesome' Transcaucasians, and the more 'backward' Central Asians. The move did not materialise and others joined in--the Central Asians et al, to form a loose Commonwealth of Independent states (CIS) through the Alma-Ata Declaration on December 22, 1991 signed by 11 of the former Soviet republics in place of the USSR.

The Early Post-Soviet Period

It is widely agreed that immediately after the Soviet break-up the entire orientation of the Russian policy was towards the West. Russia hoped to become a prosperous liberal democracy based on the Western model with generous aid and assistance from the West. Moreover, preoccupation with her own political and economic turmoil did not allow Russia to pay much attention to the other former Soviet republics. Russia's pro-Western Foreign Minister at that time, Andrei Kozyrev, was believed to be ready to accept the independence of the new republics.3 Despite initial problems and teething troubles, the new republics proceeded to cement their new-found independence by establishing diplomatic, political and economic ties with the outside world. It seemed that the interests of Yeltsin government in Moscow and those of the ruling elites in the new republics tended to converge. President Yeltsin appeared to be the best guarantor of the independence of the new republics. They feared the return to power of the Communists and the ultra-nationalists, who wanted to resurrect the Soviet Union. Thus, President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan remarked: "As regards the state leadership of Russia," it has begun to "understand the need of juridical equality within the CIS. We share Boris Yeltsin's opinion that 'the restoration of the former Soviet Union will turn out to be a tragedy."4

In the immediate post-Soviet period ideological and political vacuum was believed to have been created in the Muslim--majority republics of Central Asia. The Islamic countries towards the South--Turkey, Iran and Pakistan--saw in it an unprecedented opportunity to enhance their own influence in the region. Much was written at this time about Iranian and Turkish rivalry for influence in the region. The West energetically advocated the secular and pro-Western model of Turkey for the Central Asian republics in contrast to the radical Islamic model of Iran.

The disintegration of the Soviet Union did not lead to the change of regimes in Central Asia. The old Communist nomenklatura continued to rule in these states after renouncing Communist ideology and adopting pragmatic nationalism as the new guiding principle. Despite their authoritarian rule, it seems, the present regimes in Central Asia do suit the Russian government and the foreign policy establishment. They are opposed to Islamic fundamentalism. They also stand for status quo and maintaining present state borders. In their list of priority, regime protection, maintenance of ethnic peace and economic development come first rather than immediate introduction of Western-type democracy. They also provide security to the large Russian diaspora in the region. The protection of the rights and legitimate interests of the ethnic Russians and Russian-speakers is a particularly emotive issue in Russia. Moscow regards it as its duty to protect the rights and interests of the Russian minorities in the new republics. Of the 25 million Russians that remained in other former Soviet republics after the fall of the Soviet Union, nearly 10 million happened to be in Central Asia. Out of the total 55 million population of Central Asia, the Russian diaspora constituted the second largest ethnic group after the Uzbeks.5 The largest concentration of Russians is in the northern industrialised part of Kazakhstan bordering on the Russian Federation. Russians in Kazakhstan constitute nearly 35 per cent of the population.6 The second highest concentration of Russians is in Kyrgyzstan, where they constitute around 20 per cent of the population. In Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan the number of Russians is estimated to be 8 and 9 per cent respectively. In Tajikistan that witnessed a bloody civil war, the number of Russians declined from 400,000 in 1990 to just 70,000 in 1996.7 The Russians in Central Asia are generally highly qualified and skilled professionals. The Central Asian regimes are interested in their continued stay for the benefit of the economies of their states. Moreover, they are generally interested in maintaining ethnic peace and do not want to exacerbate relations with Moscow. However, Russians in Central Asia find it difficult to adapt to local languages and see little future for themselves and their children, which has resulted in steady out-migration of the Russians from Central Asia. However, the situation is rather complex as going back to Russia in today's bleak economic situation is not a very attractive alternative either. There are also reports of those who had left earlier having returned back to Central Asia.

The shadow of Russia loomed large on the Central Asian horizons and still continues to do so in many ways. All transport and communication links of Central Asia as well as oil and gas pipelines moved northward towards Russia. They were part of the rouble zone and Moscow was the custodian of the rouble mint. Their dependence on Moscow in economic and security fields was almost total.8 Although Russia reduced subsidies to these states it did not completely stop them immediately. For instance, it was reported in 1994 that gratuitous Russian assistance accounted for 40 to 70 per cent of the gross domestic product of the countries such as Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.9 It seemed that Russia wanted to anchor its relations with other former Soviet republics on a commercially and economically advantageous basis to itself. There were reports that Russia wanted the Central Asian republics to pay back Russian debt by giving it a share in their profitable enterprises, natural resources and gold and foreign exchange reserves.10 Such policy invited the charge from the concerned republics that Russia was being neo-colonialist.

Although in keeping with the general line of the post-Soviet states, the CARs also declared their adherence to plural democracy and market-oriented economic reforms. Still, they have been rather cautious and conservative in their approach. In particular, they avoided the economic shock therapy introduced by their Russian counterparts. The Uzbek President Islam Karimov has been often quoted as having remarked that one should not destroy the old home before building a new one. In view of the destabilising influence of Russia's shock therapy--the free fall of rouble and the skyrocketing prices--the CARs sought to insulate themselves from the impact of Russian economic crisis. By the end of 1993 four of the CARs with the exception of Tajikistan had adopted their own national currencies. Tajikistan did so by the end of 1995.

It is generally agreed that as a consequence of growing disenchantment with the West and increasing nationalist sentiment in the country, the 'Westerners' or the 'Atlanticists' in the Russian foreign policy establishment lost their dominant position in 1993-94. On the ascendance now were the 'Eurasists,' the 'geo-politicians' and the 'nationalists' among the various schools of foreign policy thought in Russia. Yeltsin-Kozyrev team adopted some of the positions of their Communist and nationalist critics.11 Russian policy became more assertive in the 'near abroad' (comprising of the former Soviet republics). Russia claimed a special peacekeeping role in various conflicts waging in the former Soviet republics.12 It claimed a right to intervene in the new republics in the name of protection of the Russian minorities there.13 Through its Military Doctrine of November 1993, Russia took upon itself the responsibility of protecting the external borders of the CIS states.14 In keeping with its general policy of greater assertiveness in the 'near abroad,' Moscow also sought to preserve its economic predominance in the region. In 1993-94 it was reported that Russia resisted the moves aimed at eliminating its monopoly over Central Asian oil and gas pipeline links with the outside world.15

However, in its present condition of economic, political and military weakness, Russia is not able to impose its will fully on the new republics. It is not in a position of shouldering the entire aid burden to the new republics and making sizable investments in their economies. On sheer economic grounds even Russia would not like full-fledged union with the new republics. As regards the ruling elites of the new republics, they have tasted freedom and passed through the initial difficult period of independent existence. They would not like to lose it again. Although trade with Russia and other CIS countries continues to occupy an important place in their foreign trade, still all the CARs are trying to diversify their trade and economic ties with outside world. It is becoming increasingly clear to Moscow that the new republics have become fully independent states, subjects of international law and recognised by the outside world and that it would be naive to think that the process could be reversed. Moscow is realising that the relations with them must now be built on the realities of the day.16

Russia's Strategic Concerns in Central Asia

If there was any doubt about the Central Asian Republics falling within the parameters of Russia's security concerns, the developments in Tajikistan soon removed it. In the Tajik civil war between the ex-Communist ruling elite and the coalition of Islamic opposition parties, the latter was receiving aid and sanctuary in neighbouring Afghanistan, where various Mujahideen factions had come to power in April 1992. The Tajik Islamists were also getting support from Pakistan and Iran.17 Saudi Arabia was particularly active in Central Asia in disseminating Islamic literature and building mosques and madrassas. The ex-Communist ruling elites in all other Central Asian republics were afraid of the spread of the 'Tajik disease.' While they had come to terms with social and cultural resurgence of Islam, they were opposed to politically ambitious militant fundamentalist Islam. President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan played a central role in the signing of the collective security treaty in Tashkent in May 1992 for the protection of the CIS borders. In August 1992 an agreement was signed by Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan whereby a 25,000-strong Russian-Central Asian force was created to protect the Tajik-Afghan border to keep the Islamic militants at bay. Russia deployed its 201st Motorised Rifle Division in Tajikistan. The Islamic elements in Tajikistan received a resolute rebuff from these forces and the ex-Communists were put back into power. Nezavisimaya Gazeta (April 29, 1993) remarked that Russia would defend the Tajik-Afghan border as its own. Russia has its own substantial Muslim population in north Caucasus and the republics of Tatarstan and Bashkartostan, etc. and fears the spread of Islamic militancy there, particularly Sunni orthodox Wahhabist Islam promoted by Saudi Arabia. The traditional Islam in Central Asia belongs to more liberal and tolerant Sufi and Jadidist traditions.

At the height of Tajik civil war it was reported that there were two opinions amidst the Russian leadership, one favouring the withdrawal of Russian border guards from Tajikistan and the other insisting on Russia protecting Tajik-Afghan border in the interest of its own geopolitical and security interests in Central Asia. According to this view Russia has 7,000 km unprotected border with Kazakhstan which would lay open to the would be invaders in case of Russian withdrawal from Tajikistan. Fortifying the long Russian-Kazakh border and building border stations there would cost billions of dollars. Apparently the second view prevailed that a 'two border' strategy be evolved. Russian border guards on Tajik-Afghan border check the menace of illegal drugs and weapons smuggling and migrants on the outer border of the CIS. In late 1993 a Memorandum of Cooperation in the Protection of External State Borders was signed by the heads of Central Asian states and Russia in Ashkhabad. Under the agreement Tajikistan delegated its powers for the protection of its borders with Afghanistan to the Frontier Service of Russia. It was also decided that Tajikistan would allow its citizens to serve in the Russian-Frontier troops.18

Along with the collective security arrangements with Russia, all the Central Asian states have also entered into bilateral mutual security arrangements with it for ensuring their security against outside threats. These arrangements were seen as having given Russia "the right to oversee military policies in the region."19

From the very beginning Turkmenistan took a separate line from the other four CARs. Turkmenistan has a common border with Iran and Afghanistan and is regarded as the 'gateway to Central Asia from the south.' Turkmenistan declared itself to be permanently neutral and did not sign the Tashkent collective security treaty of 1992. Turkmenistan also keeps away from all regional moves to promote cooperation among the CARs themselves.20 Turkmenistan with a small population of over 4 million has the fourth largest gas reserves in the world. Under the Turkmen supremo Separmurad Niyazov the country wants to become another Kuwait. However, even Turkmenistan has thought it fit to enter into bilateral security arrangements with Russia. In fact, Turkmenistan is the only Central Asian Republic which has granted dual citizenship to the ethnic Russians. All other Central Asian states have refused it for fear of dividing loyalties.

At present there are Russian troops in four out of the five CARs. Besides Tajikistan, there are Russian troops in the Baikonour space station area of Kazakhstan which has been leased to Russia. In Kyrgyzstan, Russian troops are posted on the republic's border with China. In Turkmenistan they are deployed on the republic's border with Iran. According to Alvin Z. Rubinstein, the military ties have enabled Russia to have important basing facilities in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.21

Uzbekistan--the largest of the Central Asian state from the population (23 million) point of view--is the only state in the region where there are no Russian troops.22 Uzbekistan has opted for relying on its own armed forces for the protection of the small tract of the border with Afghanistan (around 140 kms). Amu Darya or Oxus divides the border between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. Soviet built Salang Highway connects the Uzbek border town of Termez with Afghanistan.

Moreover, all the five Central Asian states have decided to join the unified CIS air defence system, the agreement regarding which was signed at Kishinev in October 1997.

In June 1997, a peace accord was signed between the Tajik government and the Islamic opposition in the bringing about of which both Russia and Iran played a major role. In late 1997 there were reports of a move to reduce Russian border guards in Tajikistan in view of shortage of funds. But the opponents of the move argued that Russia should maintain its military presence on Tajik-Afghan border, where the border guards were doing a commendable job of keeping a check on the uncontrollable smuggling of drugs from Afghanistan. They were also preventing the export of 'instability' from Afghanistan. It was also argued that as the USA and NATO were evincing increasing interest in Central Asia, it was particularly important for Russia to maintain its military presence in Central Asia.23 In an interview to Krasnaya Zvezda Lt. Gen. Alexander Manilov, the Deputy Director of Russian Federal Frontier Service, made it clear that "Russia will not sit safely behind its own border fence." He added that there can be no vacuum in politics. If Russia relinquished the borders of the former Soviet Union then other states would take up Russia's place in a bid to "strengthen their influence" in the region. He, reiterated that Russia is pursuing a "two border" strategy of protecting the national interests of the CIS states on the external borders of the CIS, and the interests of Russia on its own borders. He said that in Central Asia the Russian troops jointly with the national frontier forces of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan were protecting the external frontiers of the former Soviet Union.24

Recently Russia also sought to particularly cultivate Uzbekistan which was showing signs of moving away from Russia. In his book Uzbekistan On the Threshold of the Twenty-First Century, President Islam Karimov gave first priority to the establishment of relations with the USA and other Western countries, opposed the formation of military-political grouping in the former Soviet space, while positively evaluating the role of NATO and its Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme. He advocated for Uzbekistan the role of a 'buffer state' between Russia and the outside world.25

Russia has tried to tie Uzbekistan to itself through a tripartite union between Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan against Islamic fundamentalism and extremism. President Karimov is conducting a concerted campaign against Islamic fundamentalism, particularly against Saudi-inspired Wahhabi Islamic elements entrenched in its eastern Namangan province and Fergana valley. Russia has also shown sensitivity and understanding towards Uzbekistan's aspirations and major concerns in the region. In the joint statement signed on May 6, 1998 at the time of President Karimov's visit to Moscow, Russia "positively assessed Uzbekistan's significant role in Central Asia." The joint statement also says that "Russia has taken into consideration Uzbekistan's position in advocating numerous alternatives in transporting oil and gas exports, including transit via Russian territory." On its part, Uzbekistan, says the joint statement, "recognizes Russia's strategic interests in the region and admits that Russia's involvement enhances political balance, economic expansion, and regional security and stability." During the visit the two Presidents instructed their respective governments to draw an economic cooperation plan for the next 10 years.26

Thus, Russia has sustained its position in the strategic field in Central Asia fairly successfully. The same is not, however, true of Russia's standing in the economic field.

The Logic of Economics

Owing to its persistent economic woes, Russia is neither willing, nor actually in a position to shoulder aid burden to the CARs and make sizeable investments in their economies. No wonder, all the CARs, are diversifying their political and economic ties with the outside world. The geopolitical importance of these states and their abundant oil and gas reserves and other natural resources are attracting the USA and other industrialised countries that have surplus investible capital and technology eagerly sought by these republics. The CARs are also looking towards West-dominated multilateral financial institutions like the World Bank, IMF (International Monetary Fund), EBRD (European Bank of Reconstruction and Development) and Asian Development Bank, etc., for loans. Large US, European, Japanese and South Korean corporations have signed big deals with the CARs for investment in their energy and infrastructure sectors.27

As the share of other countries in the economies of the CARs is increasing, Russia is losing ground economically in these countries in the same measure. Russia's share in the trade turn-over of the CARs is declining. For instance, the overall trade turn-over between Russia and Tajikistan is reported to have declined 14 times in the past five years relegating Russia to the fifth place in the Tajik foreign trade.28 It may be kept in view that Tajikistan, of all the Central Asian states, has the largest Russian military presence on its territory. Nezavisimaya Gazeta (December 23, 1997) published an article under the caption "Russia Being Ousted from the Uzbek Market." The article highlights that the trade between Russia and Uzbekistan as well as Russian investments in Uzbekistan are declining, while the investments of South Korea, the USA, Japan, Turkey, Great Britain and Germany, etc. are rising. South Korea, in fact, emerged as the biggest investor in Uzbekistan with the USA and Japan occupying the second and third place respectively.29 In October 1997 South Korea was also reported to have become the biggest investor in Kazakhstan.30 Russia's first deputy foreign minister in charge of CIS relations, Boris Pestukhov, for instance, also noted that in 1997 the loans received by the CIS countries from the third countries almost doubled and reached 25 billion dollar mark. Russian loans to these countries were several times less. He complained that the West was pushing the member states of the CIS to pursue independent foreign policy also. He called for greater Russian diplomatic effort in the CIS countries.31

Moscow has sought to stem the tide of its declining position in the former Soviet space by seeking selective integration with the inner core of the former Soviet republics, who, for various reasons, are more willing for such an integration. On March 29, 1996 a Customs Union was signed between four republics, viz., Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, the last two happen to be Central Asian republics. Although President Nazarbaev of Kazakhstan is deliberately following the policy of 'Kazakhization' of Kazakhstan by promoting Kazakh language and culture and giving top positions in the government to the ethnic Kazakhs,32 still because of its peculiar geographical and demographic position, Kazakhstan can ill afford to antagonise Russia. Nazarbaeav, therefore, is one of the enthusiastic supporters of Eurasian integration, while maintaining the independence of Kazakhstan. The other member of the Customs Union, tiny Kyrgyzstan has no borders with Russia and has perhaps more to fear from its more numerous Uzbek neighbours. It has been decided to admit Tajikistan as the fifth member of the Customs Union and it would become its full-fledged member by the end of the year.33 Thus, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are the two CARs that have remained outside Russia-led Customs Union.

The Russian move to foster closer integration with the CARs runs parallel to the move to enhance cooperation among the Central Asian states themselves. In July 1994 a trilateral economic and defence union between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan was agreed upon. In April 1996, the three agreed on dividing energy and water resources. Recently Tajikistan has also decided to join the Central Asian Union (CAU).34 Turkmenistan has consistently chosen to remain away from all these groupings. There is little doubt that Russia would not welcome Central Asian integration at the expense of Russian interests.

There have been expressions of disappointment that the Customs Union has not been able to completely fulfill the economic objectives aimed at. In an interview to Izvestia (June 4, 1998), President Nazarbaev of Kazakhstan--the most 'Russified' of all the Central Asian republics, remarked that he would give top marks to his country's political relations with Russia, but he would give two or three minus to the economic relations between the two countries. He lamented that Russian capital is not coming to Kazakhstan and as a consequence, Kazakhstan has to turn to other countries for investment.35 Nonetheless, after the formation of the Customs Union, an increase in Russia's trade with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan was reported.36 The fact that Russia has chosen to include three of the CARs in a customs union with itself attests to the importance accorded to these countries in Russian policy objectives.

At the same time it is felt in Russia that increased oil and gas deliveries from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to European markets may offer competition to Russia's own oil and gas export industries. It may be kept in view that Russia's own fragile economy at the moment is crucially dependent on these exports. The fall in world oil prices has badly hit Russian economy and precipitated the recent financial crisis.

In March 1997 the delivery of Turkmen gas across Russian territory to Ukraine and Georgia was stopped as Russia and Turkmenistan could not agree on the transit fee of Turkmen gas. The stoppage of delivery for a year caused Turkmenistan the loss of about a billion dollars and lent further urgency to its quest for alternative southern routes for gas delivery. Turkmenistan has agreed for the construction of a gas pipeline via Afghanistan to Pakistan. However, continued turbulence in Afghanistan is obstructing its construction. Another southern route is to Iran and then to Turkey and onwards to Europe. In December 1997, the Iranian President inaugurated the 200-km gas pipeline taking Turkmen gas from Caspian Sea basin to Iran to be financed by Iran, the pipeline its regarded as a blow to both Russia and the USA. It by-passes Russian territory. Russia enjoyed unto now total monopoly over oil and gas pipeline routes emanating from Central Asia. Owing to its antipathy to Islamic regime in Iran, USA is opposed to the Iranian route. However, in this case, USA chose not to oppose the Turkmen-Iran-Turkey pipeline route as it is neither in a position of doing so, nor would it like to isolate American companies from the lucrative oil and gas business in the region.

Moscow calls for economic integration of the CIS countries within the former Soviet space and seek integration with the global market jointly. It is argued that if they seek integration in the global economy on their own they would be placed on the periphery of the international markets as the developed countries do not want new competitors to emerge. Some anaysts also observe that a certain disenchantment has set in the new republics regarding the West's sincerity and ability to really help them to come out of their current economic difficulties and bring about their smooth transition from command economy to market-oriented economy. They have come to realise that nothing is granted free. However, Russia's own economic troubles do not permit it play the role of an engine for the economic regeneration of former Soviet space. Some of the former Soviet republics have registered higher rate of growth of GDP than Russia.37 Following the recent financial and currency crisis in Russia most of the new republics are keen to insulate themselves from its fall-out on their economies.38

Having examined Russian political and economic ties with CARs, the second part of this paper shall look into the Russian policy towards these republics in the face of an increasing interest of other countries, including the USA and China, in this part of the world.



1. Since the decade of the Seventies, Soviet growth rate generally slowed down. The economies of the Central Asian republics even lagged behind the national average, while their population growth rate was higher. The republics existed on heavy federal subsidies.

2. Michael Kaser, "Economic Transition in Six Central Asian Economies," Central Asian Survey, vol. 16, no. 1, 1997, p. 5.

3. See, for instance, Kemal H. Karpat, "The Socio-political Environment Conditioning the Foreign Policy of the New Republics," in Karen Dawisha and Bruce Parrott (eds.), The Making of Foreign Policy of Russia and the New States of Eurasia, (New York, London: M.E. Sharpe 1995), p. 182.

4. Islam Karimov: Uzbekistan on the Threshold of the Twenty-First Century--Threats to Security, Conditions of Stability and Guarantees for Progress, (Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 1997), p. 56. President Karimov apprehends a threat to his country's independence from the forces of "great power chauvinism" and "aggressive rationalism" that continue to exist in present day Russia.

5. Anthony Hyman, "Russian Minorities in the Near Abroad," Conflict Studies, 299, May 1997, p. 15.

6. Ibid., Constant figures of the Russian population in Central Asia are not available because of their constant out-migration and decline in numbers.

7. Ibid., pp. 15-20.

8. Izvestia, September 15, 1992; February 19, 1993, R.G. Gidadhubli, "Economic Transition in Uzbekistan," Economic and Political Weekly, February 5, 1994, p. 240.

9. Andrei Zagorski, "Reintegration in Former USSR?," Aussenpolitik, vol. 45, 3rd quarter, 1994, p. 270.

10. See, for instance, Keesing's Record of World Events, News Digest for September 1993, p. 39648. Also, Digest for November 1993, p. 39747.

11. Jyotsna Bakshi, "Russia, India and the Central Asian Republics: Geo-Political Convergence," Strategic Analysis, vol. XIX, no. 5, August 1996, pp. 736-737.

12. Hannes Adomeit, "Russia as a 'Great Power' in World Affairs: Images ad Reality," International Affairs (RIIA), vol. 71, no. 1, January 1995, pp. 46-47.

13. Jyotsna Bakshi, n. 11, p. 740.

14. Spencer D. Bakich, "The Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation: Working Document or Anachronism?," Conflict Studies 301, July/August 1997, p. 6.

15. See, for instance, James P. Dorian, Ian Sheffield Rosi ano S. Tony Indriyanto, "Central Asia's Oil and Gas Pipeline Network: Current and Future Flows," Post-Soviet Geography, vol. 35, no. 7, September 1994, pp. 423-424.

16. Izvestia, January 22, 1998.

17. Pinar Akdali, "Islam as a 'Common Bond' in Central Asia: Islamic Renaissance Party and the Afghan Mujahideen," Central Asian Survey, vol. 17, no. 2, June 1998, pp. 279-280.

18. Krasnaya Zvezda, January 28, 1998.

19. Keesing's Record of World Events, News Digest for December 1993, p. 39790; Independent, December 24, 1993.

20. Turkmenistan's doctrine of permanent neutrality is enshrined in its constitution and endorsed by the UNO in December 1995.

21. Alvin Z. Rubinstein, "Russia: In Search of a New Role--Changing Geopolitical Compulsions in Central Asia," World Affairs, vol. 1, no. 2, April-June 1997, p. 73.

22. Uzbekistan's Military Doctrine was adopted by Oly Majlis (Parliament of the country) on August 30, 1995. See, Voennaya doktrina respubliki Uzbekistan, Tashkent 1997.

23. Nezavisimaya Gazeta, February 7, 1998.

24. Krasnaya Zvezda, May 28, 1998.

25. For details, see, Islam Karimov, n. 4.

26. Russia-Uzbekistan Joint Statement, May 6, 1998, SWB, SU/3221 B/10, May 8, 1998.

27. Jyotsna Bakshi, "No Single Power or Power Centre Can Have Exclusive Sway Over Central Asia: A Geo-Political Analysis," Strategic Analysis, April 1998, pp. 125-128.

28. Russia's trade with Tajikistan reportedly declined from $2,900 mn in 1991 to $215 mn in 1996. Krasnaya Zvezda, January 28, 1998.

29. SWB, SU/3087 G/3, November 27, 1997.

30. SWB, SUW/0509 WE/1, October 24, 1997.

31. SWB, SU/3148 b/10, February 11, 1998.

32. During Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev's visit to Moscow in July 1998, their Russian Prime Minister, Sergei Kiriyenko was reported to have confronted him with the following facts: since 1992, 1,340,000 Russians have emigrated from Kazakhstan. In 1985 Kazakhs held 50 per cent of public positions, in 1994 their number rose to 75 per cent and in 1997 to 83 per cent. Two-thirds of the members of the Cabinet and four-fifths of the President's Staff are Kazakhs. It was pointed out that deliberate attempt was being made to replace Russians by Ukranian skilled managers. The number of Russian publications is slowly decreasing. The time for Russian language broadcasts on T.V. and radio is being reduced.

As a result of Nazarbaev-Kiriyenko talks it was agreed to open off-site representative offices of the Russian Embassy in Kazakh cities with Russian population, Commersant Daily, July 7, 1998.

33. Rossiskaya Gazeta, April 29, 1998.

34. In their July 17, 1998 meeting in Kyrgyz town of Chiopon-Ata, the leaders of the four CARs decided to call their union Central Asian Economic Community.

35. SWB, SU/3248 G/2, June 9, 1998.

36. Yasmin Melet, "China's Political and Economic Relations with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan," Central Asian Survey, vol. 17, no. 2, June 1998, pp. 239-240.

37. In the first six months of 1998 Russia's GDP was reported to have declared by 0.5 per cent as compared to the same period in 1997. SWB, SUW/0547, WA/4, July 24, 1998. In the same period Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan claimed to have registered more than 2 per cent growth in their GDP. SWB, SUW, August 7, and September 4, 1998. The GDP growth rate of Azerbaijan and Estonia was reported to be more than 9 per cent in the same period.

38. SWB, SUW, August 21 and August 28, 1998.