By Ariel Cohen
January 24, 2022, the CACI Analyst
In the first weeks of 2022, Kazakhstan experienced its most intense protests since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The causes of the turmoil in the country – like any major upheaval – are multi-faceted and were long in the making. Despite the violence, the speed of crisis resolution is impressive, and the country appears to continue on its path of modernization, reforms, and a balanced foreign policy, which keeps the great powers: U.S., Russia, and China engaged and at a safe distance. Less than three weeks after the violent eruption, the painful “lessons learned” period has begun.
By Fabienne Bossuyt
January 21, 2021, the CACI Analyst
Since the launch of its new strategy for Central Asia in 2019, the European Union (EU) has further profiled itself in the region as a strong supporter of civil society. The EU-Central Asia Civil Society Forum that has been taking place annually since 2019 is the most visible testimony of the EU’s reinvigorated commitment to support civil society across the region. However, despite its self-proclaimed aim to help boost societal resilience in Central Asia, the EU’s neoliberal and Eurocentric approach to civil society remains ineffective and is ill-suited in a region like Central Asia, not least in a context of consolidated authoritarianism and the rise of conservative values. Instead, a locally-owned and locally-driven approach to civil society seems better suited to help empower civil society in its efforts to strengthen societal resilience.
By John C. K. Daly
December 20, 2021, the CACI Analyst
On December 10, 2020, Russian Duma deputy Viacheslav Nikonov claimed that there had been no such country as Kazakhstan in the past, and that the northern part of modern-day Kazakhstan used to be unpopulated. He did so on his “The Great Game” (Большая игра) TV program on the state-backed Channel One, dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Belovezha Accords. Rubbing salt in the wound, Nikonov added that “Kazakhstan’s territory is a big gift from Russia,” causing consternation in the Kazakh government and outrage in the country’s media. In light of Russia’s March 2014 unilateral territorial absorption of Ukraine’s Crimea, questions of post-Soviet national territorial sovereignty are not an idle concern.
By Johan Engvall
Deceber 15, 2021, the CACI Analyst
Kyrgyzstan’s recent parliamentary vote may not have been the most inspiring in the country’s modern history of competitive elections. The incoming parliament had its powers slashed because of the return to a strong presidential form of government and the parties that received the most votes in the elections are pro-government. While the new legislature appears unlikely to wield strong influence over policy formulation, it nonetheless reflects a decisive and permanent generational shift that has taken place in Kyrgyz politics. The representatives of the older Soviet-era generation are largely out of the government of the state, replaced by “the last children of the Soviet Union”, now in their mid-40s. But who are they?
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.