The “New Great Game” and the struggle for supremacy in Central Asia: From a Sino-Russian axis of convenience to a Chinese primacy?
Situated at the crossroads of the Silk Road, Central Asia is included in the region described by Halford Mackinder as the Heartland of the Eurasian continent and has been an arena of international competition for centuries. Today, a “New Great Game” appears to be taking place between Russia, China, and, to a lesser extent, the United States, and the European Union for regional hegemony. In the last two decades, Russia and China formed an “axis of convenience,” both to counter Western influence and to thwart regional challenges; however, recent Sino-Russian relations have experienced an increasing rivalry. Specifically, regarding geo-economic and energetic assets, China appears to be gradually replacing Russia as chief power in some Central Asian countries. To evaluate the shift towards China’s primacy, the Power Transition Theory represents a helpful methodological tool. The impact of the “Belt and Road Initiative” on the five central Asian former Soviet republics – specifically its liaisons with Kazakhstan’s “Bright Path” and with the Uzbek New Strategy of Development –, as well as the prevalent Chinese role in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, provide empirical evidence to support the Power Transition theoretical frame regarding dissatisfied challengers. The forecast of the region contemplates two scenarios, namley China's predominance or a Chinese-Russian modus vivendi based on a "division of labour".
This article considers the opportunities for Russia presented by the launch of China’s Silk Road Economic Belt initiative. This initiative is a comprehensive project for the rapid development of Central Asian countries, and not limited only to trans- port and logistics to guarantee the supply of Chinese goods to Europe. It is also China’s response to economic and political processes both within the country and in the Asia-Pacific region: the economic slowdown and transformation of its social and economic model, diverging income levels, the growing presence of the United States in Asia, and the new divisions of labour within the region. The Silk Road initiative is based on China’s intention to create strong regional value chains, to outsource labour-intensive and environmentally harmful production, to foster the development of northwest China including securing political stability in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, and to guarantee the use of Chinese construction firms’ capac- ity. Goods transit is a secondary priority and justified not by commercial benefits from using land routes, but by the need to diversify export risks, arising due to the deteriorating military and political situation in the South China Sea. The 2015 Joint Statement on Cooperation on the Construction of Joint Eurasian Economic Union and the Silk Road Economic Belt projects resolves the issue of allegedly competitive goals of these complementary projects. The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) provides an institutional base for cooperation while the Silk Road initiative provide investments for their development. Russia may benefit from participating in the Silk Road initiative. First, it would help integrate its transportation system into the region’s logistics network and provide additional opportunities for transit and associated logistical services as well as access to growing regional markets. Second, the Silk Road initiative offers opportunities to strengthen industrial co- operation among neighbouring countries to develop new economic clusters. Third, the EEU and the Silk Road may become the basis for more ambitious cooperation in greater Eurasia, which may transform into a new centre of economic develop- ment at the global level.
In Central Asia, the water deficit and water-energy problem have been one of the most acute and conflict-ridden challenges for the sustainable development of the region and for regional security. Key trade and investment partners, including Russia and the European Union, could play a considerable role in influencing this issue, due to the long-lasting status quo, the inability to find a solution through intra-regional dialogue and the region’s rising dependence on foreign trade. Indeed, water-related interactions between Russia and the EU have been developing in a complementary manner. The EU possesses new technologies and its members have access to long-term capital markets, while Russia carries influence through providing security, regulating migration and holding a favourable political position for offering mediation services to the republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This article examines EU – Russia relations regarding water issues in Central Asia over the medium term. By analyzing cooperative and non-cooperative strategies used by the major stakeholders in the water conflict (the five republics and the third parties of Russia and the EU), it confirms the continuous complementary character of EU and Russian activities in this context. Russia will take responsibility for moderating the principal questions (as with the construction of big dams such as Rogun or Kambarata), as they relate to the provision of security guarantees. The EU will act through providing support for water companies from small and medium-sized enterprises, and promoting the European Water Initiative principles and by developing its investment policy. The intersection of interests is possible when Russia will attract an independent arbiter, such as an actor available to provide guarantees related to the values of professional objectivism, human rights support and environment protection. These issues inevitably arise with relation to big infrastructure projects.
The report, written by a group of the leading experts is aimed at evaluating Russia’s goals and opportunities in the dynamic Asian Pacific region. The authors of the report stress the importance of Russia's turn towards Asia, examine current political and economic situation in Siberia and the Russian Far East and test the chances of Russia’s economy “to catch the Chinese wind in its sails.”
Since fall 2012 forming of water-energy balance in Central got a real development Asia for the first time in post-soviet history. For last 20 years, a wide range of measures was implemented but only nowadays the dialogue overcame a intra five-republics level. The paper investigated an evolution of status quoin Central Asia affected by various events and tendencies, fruitfully flourished there in 2012. Policies of external regional hegemons, Russia and China are in the focus of the paper, also some attention is dedicated to Iranian initiatives. Besides that, a comparative analysis of Russian and Chinese economic influence is provided as well as theirs policies towards upstream and downstream republics. Ways to manage water problem in Central Asia are different for Russia and China, and these differences are also investigated in this paper. As a result, we managed to prove that both countries` influence has a complementary character due to division between economic and security guaranties demanded by Central Asian republics. Iranian influence is concentrated mostly in Tajikistan and less, Turkmenistan, but still it widens regional agenda a lot.
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.