Wider Eurasia
Central Asia and Russia on the Path to Building a Community of Common Destiny

The modern geopolitical and geo-economic situation in the world today is uncertain and unpredictable. The Second Cold War is already in full swing and could enter a hot phase at any moment, that is, a third world war could begin, writes Rustam Haidarzoda, Director of the Institute for the Study of Asian and European Countries, National Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan, for the 4th Central Asian conference of the Valdai Discussion Club.

Today we witness global and regional players violate international law, interacting with each other in a confrontational format and involving more and more new participants. In this context, some global players are demanding that sovereign countries take certain positions regarding this or that international conflict. Additionally, these global players set conditions for how the countries choose a foreign policy or foreign economic partner, compelling compliance with their terms using coercion, threats and sanctions. If this trend continues, the world community will not be able to extricate itself from the current deep political and economic crisis for a long time. In our opinion, this state of affairs in the system of international relations is due to the fact that the international organisations and institutions created to resolve controversial issues between nations have either been paralyzed or do not work at all.

So far, due to inertia in solving global problems and conflicts, hopes have been pinned on international organisations that were created more than half a century ago. If we look objectively at the current potential of these organisations, we can say that they are obsolete and are no longer able to solve the contemporary problems which face humanity. These global problems include conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, trade wars between global players, planetary environmental deterioration, the widening technological gap between the countries of the Global North and the Global East, etc. 

Wider Eurasia
The Southern Circuit of Russia: New Dynamics
Timofei Bordachev
The uniqueness of Russia's geopolitical position lies in the fact that it is the only world power naturally focused on the four most important strategic regions of Eurasia: Western Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Northeast Asia. When it comes to prioritising foreign policy efforts and interests, these areas represent both a challenge and an opportunTaking into account how the internal situation is developing in a number of Central Asian countries, we cannot exclude the possibility that in the future, these “allies” of Russia will follow in Armenia’s footsteps. Whether Russia itself needs this, and what strategy it can offer as a paradoxical answer, we will have to find out in the coming years, Valdai Club Programme Director Timofei Bordachev writes. ity for Russia.

Meanwhile, today new players – or, rather, anomalies, which the world community did not take into account at all 20 years ago – have appeared in the system of international relations. These are, first of all, transnational corporations which produce digital technology, through which they have a destructive influence on world politics and the economy. However, international law does not apply to these manufacturers and their products. Another anomalous phenomenon in the system of international relations is transnational, religiously motivated terrorist organisations such as Islamic State . In fact, in its organisational structure, it looks like an international corporation, with all its inherent attributes.

Today, many regions of the world are feeling the impact of these anomalies on their politics and economies. Therefore, I am convinced that the modern system of international relations needs to be updated and optimised. Humanity today needs modern international institutions and organisations that reflect the real balance of power and interests in the world.

Today, the world demands new international platforms for dialogue. Moreover, these should be new venues that have not discredited themselves with the policy of “double standards”. In our opinion, the SCO is precisely such a platform today.

This organisation, at each stage of its evolution, has solved particular problems within a certain period of time, acquiring authority in the international community. Therefore, we can confidently state that today the SCO has transformed from a regional organisation into an international structure. However, the complex current situation in the world requires that such relatively young international organisations or structures as the SCO and BRICS+ join forces and create a new international structure of global significance and assume planetary responsibility for the fate of humanity. In our opinion, the countries of Central Asia and Russia could initiate this process immediately.

Today, all constructive forces, especially in the post-Soviet space, need to join efforts to preserve peace and stability throughout the world. This requires constant dialogue at different levels and in different formats. For these purposes, it is necessary to attract all available resources – our values, our common history, the experience of living together in the USSR, our shared Victory in the Great Patriotic War, etc. It is necessary to take into account the fact that with the arrival of Russia in our region, the destinies of our peoples were united. In the history of our relations, different rulers have come and gone, but the peoples remained and have continued to interact.
The dialogue between the peoples of Russia and Central Asia has always taken place, through trade and economics, through education and science, etc. The destinies of Russia and Central Asia in the Eurasian space are interconnected and inextricable.

Amid the current difficult situation in the world, when some forces want to create a quarrel between the peoples of Russia and Central Asia, only through continued dialogue, in our opinion, can we improve the mutual understanding of our peoples, preserve the history of our relations and raise them to a qualitatively new level.

With the acquisition of independence, all Central Asian countries have showed an interest in dialogue and the development of equal, respectful relations with Russia. The countries of Central Asia have always shown and continue to demonstrate respect towards the Russian language and culture, and towards Russia’s foreign policy choices. At the same time, the countries of Central Asia expect from our partners the same attitude towards themselves, that is, respect for our history, culture and traditions, for the choice of foreign policy guidelines of the Central Asian states. We, the peoples of Central Asia and Russia, must realise that if there is no mutual respect and recognition, then our relations can reach a dead end and simply end, which would certainly be taken advantage of by some destructive forces in the world.

I would like to especially emphasise that Russia, as a strategic partner of the Central Asian states, can always count on our support. At the same time, we also hope for support from Russia in increasing its economic presence in the countries of Central Asia. The arrival of Russian capital in our region will strengthen the anti-sanction immunity of the national economies of the region, allow the creation of new jobs and thereby create conditions for the regulation of migration flows.

The countries of Central Asia in their foreign policy today are guided by the multi-vector principle, which implies the development of equal and mutually beneficial relations with all foreign countries, based on our national interests. However, we see that this position of the Central Asian countries does not always find understanding, both in the West and in the East. Perhaps this circumstance is due to the fact that certain political forces in the world do not take into account the following fact: more than 30 years have passed since the collapse of the USSR, and the political landscape in the post-Soviet space has been greatly transformed. A new political and economic elite with a developed level of national self-awareness has emerged in Central Asia. It looks at the world more broadly, and its horizons are not limited to the territory of the former USSR or any particular continent. Over the past 30 years, many countries have worked to improve the level of national identity. National traditions and holidays have been revived and special attention has been paid to the development of our national languages and support for our cultures. In this context, very important attention was also paid to a deeper study of our own history and its new interpretation. All this has contributed to increasing the level of national self-awareness among the population in the countries of the region.
The countries of Central Asia have become mature states, they have realised their importance in the world community, and in the future they will build their relations with all other countries on the basis of equality and mutual respect for each other’s interests.

At the moment, in Central Asia new geopolitical and geo-economic processes are emerging that are directly related to the functioning of the tripolar world. The three gravitational poles of the modern system of international relations are Russia, China and the United States. Central Asia is now the focus of attention not only of global players such as Russia, China and the United States, but also regional powers such as Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, India and the European Union. With each of these actors in international politics, Central Asia will develop and build relationships on a mutually beneficial basis, especially in the area of attracting investment and technology transfer, solving environmental problems, preventing threats, developing a “green economy”, etc.

At the same time, Central Asia has been and remains like-minded with Russia and China in matters of ensuring security in Eurasia, developing and deepening foreign economic relations, and implementing regional projects. In this respect, Central Asia, Russia and China must create new mechanisms and international institutions of cooperation. This is especially important now, when the world community is adapting to the realities of the Second Cold War, and the military-political conflict in Eastern Europe has reached the level of a long-term war in which no one wants or intends to lose. After all, the fate of the American-centric/Eurocentric world in the Borrell-style interpretation is now being decided, and the period of dominance of the collective West in the world is ending. Meanwhile, I would like to remind you once again that the countries of the Global South and East are tired of the American-centric/Eurocentric interpretation of human life. In our opinion, the majority of humanity will not mourn the end of the period of dominance of the Global West in the world. Now there is a historical chance, when every national culture and way of life, various national political and economic practices can take their rightful place in a diverse and multipolar world. The peoples of Central Asia also strive for this. Central Asia, despite the global geopolitical crisis, has been able to maintain political and economic stability at the regional level, and is not involved in any international conflicts, or in the process of confrontation between global and regional players. However, due to its geographical location, Central Asia has always been involved in geopolitical and geo-economic processes in Eurasia.

In the context of the disruption of global supply and trade chains, which is associated with the sanctions that the collective West has launched against Russia, the countries of Central Asia were able to create conditions for regional cooperation and support for each other. This has made it possible to minimise the negative consequences of the ongoing confrontation between global players in Eastern Europe on the region’s economy and maintain relative economic stability. In Central Asia today, there is a tendency to increase intraregional trade and economic relations, and the countries of the region have increased investments in each other’s economies. Thus, the countries of the region, as an autonomous regional zone in the world economy, have shown that they have the potential for economic cooperation. I am convinced that further deepening the economic cooperation of the Central Asian countries will minimize the impact of any global crisis on our region.
Therefore, Russia, under the sanctions dictates of the collective West, could integrate even more closely into our regional trade system and actively expand trade and economic ties with the countries of the region.

The world is entering the stage of a large, protracted proxy war between global players in different regions of the world. There is no certainty that the proxy war playing out between global players in Eastern Europe today will end in victory for one of the parties. Therefore, Russia and the countries of Central Asia cannot relax. In the context of the current situation in world politics, Russia and the countries of Central Asia must consolidate their capabilities to counter such terrorist groups as the Islamic State, which the collective West may try to use as a tool for the military-political destabilisation of our region. A great threat to the security of Central Asia is Vilayat Khorasan , the Afghan branch of the terrorist group Islamic State. Promoting security in Central Asia is a priority for Russia, as it relates to security issues in the CSTO area of influence. It is necessary to strengthen cooperation between the countries of Central Asia and Russia in countering such threats as religious and political extremism and religiously motivated terrorism.

In this context, the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, the respected Emomali Rahmon, has repeatedly stated in his speeches that “in the very difficult conditions of today’s turbulent and changing world, the increase in modern threats and dangers to independence and freedom, for the political stability and security of mankind, we must be more united and far-sighted than ever...”

With these words, President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon once again confirmed our country’s commitment to strengthening measures of mutual trust between peoples and all constructive forces around the world, as well as the cohesion of the countries in the CIS. Tajikistan will continue to promote the implementation of measures to strengthen the strategic partnership between the countries of Central Asia and Russia.

Asia and Eurasia
Prospects for Cooperation Between Russia and Central Asia Amid the New World Order
Rustam Haidarzoda
Today, the countries of Central Asia are developing equal relations with all subjects of international relations on the basis of national interests. At the same time, the region, which has taken advantage of the formation of a new world order, will try to play a more important role in the modern system of international relations. Central Asia strives to become a new driver of the growing multipolarity of the modern world order, writes Valdai Club expert Rustam Khaydarov.
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.