Chinese initiatives in Central Asia: claim for regional leadership?
Being neighbors, China and Central Asian states face common problems, which require collective response and leadership. In this article, we explore to what extent China’s increased engagement in the region since the dissolution of the USSR has included attempts to lead cooperation to address some of these common problems. We answer our research question by exploring observable leadership efforts, such as institutional development, financial support, moral or belief supply, and unilateral exemplary activities. The analysis shows that in three selected issue areas, namely counter-terrorism, infrastructure development, and water management China has made certain efforts to lead, but the scope and character of its efforts have varied significantly between different issue areas and over time. This variation can be explained in the light of China’s evolving foreign policy interests, the specificities of the Central Asian states, and the role of Russia as the other prominent external actor. While earlier China’s initiatives focused on Central Asia and Russia, the more recent ones either include Central Asian states among other members or focus only on some of them. Joining China’s projects helps Central Asian states to improve their international standing and diversify their foreign relations, but also affects regional geopolitical structure.
One of the main issues facing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is its enlargement. Traditionally, this issue has been viewed in terms of practical policy. The longer this dispute over enlargement drags on, however, the greater the depth it acquires. The enlargement debate reflects the unique political culture of the SCO. Another issue well-known from other organizations also arises—“different levels” in the admission of new participants. But the question of the organization's future is emerging in discussions of enlargement as the main matter in dispute: is it to be a global future (as Russia is more inclined to see it) or a regional future (as China is more inclined to see it)? Thus, the SCO faces one of the most important conflicts of today's world—that between globalization and regionalization. While debates about these trends and the relationship between them continue in the political, economic, and social sciences, the SCO has to make a practical choice in favor of one of the trends or find a way to combine them in determining its work priorities. The authors reformulate the issue of enlargement as a problem of finding a balance between globalizing and regionalizing trends in the SCO strategy. At the practical level this will make it possible to reconcile the basic interests of Russia and China in Eurasia.
Belgorod oblast is a highly successful region in Russia. The economic successes in Belgorod stem from the dynamic leadership provided by Yevgeny Savchenko for 24 years. Savchenko supports agroholdings and industrial agriculture while also adopting policies that foster the growth of small-forms of farming and organic farming. Savchenko’s agrarian policies have led to the so-called Belgorod Miracle. The Belgorod experience shows that despite a decline in gubernatorial power vis-à-vis the federal center, governors have vast powers within their regions. Personality and leadership characteristics are important variables that impact the performance of a region.
The five Central Asian states, emerging from the failed Soviet Union, chose different ways to become successful in an increasingly globalized world. They have traveled a long way in the 25 years of independence. However, they still hardly have a clue or even properly reflect on a few security-related dilemmas, which shape their economic and foreign policies. From the early days of independence Central Asian states had three aspirations: internal stability, regional egoism, and international cooperation. All three naturally emerged as reactions to regional and international realities existing in conditions of the Soviet Union’s collapse. These natural inclinations had a lot of influence on Central Asians’ policies, ultimately underlying three dilemmas—namely, reforms versus internal security, regional cooperation versus securitization and international diversification versus external security. Within these dilemmas, internal reforms and regional and external cooperation were bound by security considerations. This chapter will demonstrate how the three dilemmas were sustained and managed through shifting regional and international conditions over more than two decades. In the last decade, two more dilemmas emerged, namely globalization versus regionalization and economic development versus geopolitics. While the foundations for these dilemmas are already in place they remain low-key so far.
Central Asia, despite being referred to as a single region, represent five countries with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds and different ways in which political and economic transformation took place in the last twenty five years since independence from the Soviet Union. Within these countries, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have relatively advanced in market reforms, while Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan still have not completed their transition to a market economy and Tajikistan represents a middle case.
In many respects, historical legacy of the 20th century and unique geographical and geopolitical location did not help Central Asian countries in their efforts for economic development and integration.
After experiencing more than a decade of growth based on hydrocarbon boom, Central Asian countries are faced with increasing challenges resulting from declining commodity prices, trade and migrant remittances. The main policy challenge is to move away from commodity-based growth strategies to macro-oriented diversification and adoption of a broad spectrum of economic, institutional and political reforms. However, structural diversification is easier said than done.
Major obstacles to the political reform and economic diversification efforts in the five Central Asian economies are posed by internal and external geopolitical factors and deeply embedded institutional weaknesses within countries, particularly in areas where economic management interacts with authoritarian political systems and legal institutions. Our analysis suggests five key policy lessons that could serve as points of departure as these countries move ahead.
This book examines the development of bilateral energy relations between China and the two oil-rich countries, Kazakhstan and Russia.
Challenging conventional assumptions about energy politics and China’s global quest for oil, this book examines the interplay of politics and sociocultural contexts. It shows how energy resources become ideas and how these ideas are mobilized in the realm of international relations. China’s relations with Kazakhstan and Russia are simultaneously enabled and constrained by the discursive politics of oil. It is argued that to build collaborative and constructive energy relations with China, its partners in Kazakhstan, Russia, and elsewhere must consider not only the material realities of China’s energy industry and the institutional settings of China’s energy policy but also the multiple symbolic meanings that energy resources and, particularly, oil acquire in China.
China’s Energy Security and Relations with Petrostates offers a nuanced understanding of China’s bilateral energy relations with Kazakhstan and Russia, raising essential questions about the social logic of international energy politics. It will appeal to students and scholars of international relations, energy security, Chinese and post-Soviet studies, along with researchers working in the fields of energy policy and environmental sustainability.
The article deals with the processes of building the information society and security in the CIS in accordance with modern conditions. The main objective is to review existing mechanisms for the formation of a common information space in the Eurasian region, regarded as one of the essential aspects of international integration. The theoretical significance of the work is to determine the main controls of the regional information infrastructure, improved by the development of communication features in a rapid process.The practical component consists in determining the future policies of the region under consideration in building the information society. The study authors used historical-descriptive approach and factual analysis of events having to do with drawing the contours of today's global information society in the regional refraction.
The main result is the fact that the development of information and communication technologies, and network resources leads to increased threats of destabilization of the socio-political situation in view of the emergence of multiple centers that generate the ideological and psychological background. Keeping focused information policy can not be conceived without the collective participation of States in the first place, members of the group leaders of integration - Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Currently, only produced a comprehensive approach to security in the information field in the Eurasian region, but the events in the world, largely thanks to modern technology, make the search for an exit strategy with a much higher speed. The article contributes to the science of international relations, engaging in interdisciplinary thinking that is associated with a transition period in the development of society. A study of current conditions in their relation to the current socio-political patterns of the authors leads to conclusions about the need for cooperation with the network centers of power in the modern information environment, the formation of alternative models of networking, especially in innovation and scientific and technical areas of information policy, and expanding the integration of the field in this region on the information content.
This special publication for the 2012 New Delhi Summit is a collection of articles by government officials from BRICS countries, representatives of international organizations, businessmen and leading researchers.
The list of Russian contributors includes Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia, Maxim Medvedkov, Director of the Trade Negotiations Department of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, Vladimir Dmitriev, Vnesheconombank Chairman, Alexander Bedritsky, advisor to the Russian President, VadimLukov, Ambassador-at-large of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry, and representatives of the academic community.
The publication also features articles by the President of Kazakhstan NursultanNazarbayev and internationally respected economist Jim O’Neil, who coined the term “BRIC”. In his article Jim O’Neil speculates about the future of the BRICS countries and the institution as a whole.
The publication addresses important issues of the global agenda, the priorities of BRICS and the Indian Presidency, the policies and competitive advantages of the participants, as well as BRICS institutionalization, enhancing efficiency and accountability of the forum.
The article is devoted to the study of the authoritarianism prevalent in the mass consciousness of Russians. The article describes a new approach to the consideration of the authoritarian syndrome as the effects of the cultural trauma as a result of political and socio-cultural transformation of society. The article shows the dynamics of the symptoms of the authoritarianism, which appear in the mass consciousness of Russians from 1993 to 2011. This paper proposes a package of measures aimed at reducing the level of the authoritarianism in Russian society.
This work looks at a model of spatial election competition with two candidates who can spend effort in order to increase their popularity through advertisement. It is shown that under certain condition the political programs of the candidates will be different. The work derives the comparative statics of equilibrium policy platform and campaign spending with respect the distribution of voter policy preferences and the proportionality of the electoral system. In particular, it is whown that the equilibrium does not exist if the policy preferences are distributed over too narrow an interval.
The article examines "regulatory requirements" as a subject of state control over business in Russia. The author deliberately does not use the term "the rule of law". The article states that a set of requirements for business is wider than the legislative regulation.
First, the article analyzes the regulatory nature of the requirements, especially in the technical field. The requirements are considered in relation to the rule of law. The article explores approaches to the definition of regulatory requirements in Russian legal science. The author analyzes legislation definitions for a set of requirements for business. The author concludes that regulatory requirements are not always identical to the rule of law. Regulatory requirements are a set of obligatory requirements for entrepreneurs’ economic activity. Validation failure leads to negative consequences.
Second, the article analyzes the problems of the regulatory requirements in practice. Lack of information about the requirements, their irrelevance and inconsistency are problems of the regulatory requirements in Russia.
Many requirements regulating economic activity are not compatible with the current development level of science and technology. The problems are analyzed on the basis of the Russian judicial practice and annual monitoring reports by Higher School of Economics.
Finally, the author provides an approach to the possible solution of the regulatory requirements’ problem. The author proposes to create a nationwide Internet portal about regulatory requirements. The portal should contain full information about all regulatory requirements. The author recommends extending moratorium on the use of the requirements adopted by the bodies and organizations of the former USSR government.