ANDREY GROZIN THREATS ‘ARAB SPRING’ IN CENTRAL ASIA
Post-Soviet Asia clearly divided into two categories of States: with historical and cultural tradition of sedentary existence within the state structures (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan) and the republic formed nomadic titular ethnic groups who did not have a full-fledged state formation up to the accession of Russia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, ). These two blocks differ in many ways, among which is related to the integration of Russia and under its auspices.
In this state formation is not fully completed yet no country in Central Asia. Power elites in post-Soviet Asia, it is time to clearly understand the formation of states is bound to be a tough, but judging by recent events, bloody and brutal fight. And its outcome is not predetermined by the “recognition of the international community” or foreign investments.
The region has been a lot of trends occurring in direct conflict with any officially declare elites “modernizing” vectors of development of societies of the republics. These trends can be generally described as “de-modernization.”
a) After the collapse of the Soviet Union in Central Asia began to develop authoritarian political regimes with a bias rooted in local traditions and values of secular model of state-paternalistic sense. Political Leader posits itself above and below is perceived as the “father of the nation.” The whole system of government is built under this scheme. In four of the five Central Asian republics is not simply a power hierarchy, headed by President, but “the super” form of government.
b) As a carrier of political and institutional structures are the mechanisms and procedures for strong presidential republic, where leaders actually cemented its powers and prerogatives of the “president for life” that are not just seen as guarantor of the Constitution, but are above the branches of government “constitutional monarchy “scope of the powers and capabilities are close to absolute. To the maximum extent this is manifested in the phenomenon of “Turkmenbashi” Niyazov and his successor , Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov , as well as the “Uzbek model” in Kazakhstan.
c) the entrenched clan system is a constant process of self-reproduction of the elite: no educational program has not affected the quality change of the controlling authority and business FIGs. Phenomenon clan maintains a stable position in society and the ruling class by maintaining a dominant position in the structure of traditional social relations. Definitely one can predict that a certain “overcome clans” in the foreseeable future in Central Asia should be expected. This situation is complicated by the unresolved question of succession in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, will inevitably contribute to a permanent state of struggle between the major groups within the Uzbek and Kazakh elite.
This trend could theoretically be changed only when a massive presentation of requirements in place in government and business, a new generation of politicians and voters – without the baggage of internationalism, mostly do not speak Russian, less conciliatory, more radical in the aspirations and methods. But such a “surge of drive” can not be predicted: in each of the republics it can happen at any time (or not happen at all).
Overall, the entire system is hardly any way oriented upgrades: everywhere there archaism – in the ideological and practical political life. Naturally, the clan system and the elite of society, capturing all the power pulses, also, in the end, focuses on different anti-modernization, “traditional”, “state-conservative”, etc. value.
Infrastructure, roads, power plants, hospitals and schools built in the Soviet time, slowly but surely destroyed, and monitor their state of the last generation of Soviet specialists are gradually disappearing. In five to ten years in the classroom will not be teachers, hospitals – physicians, and the lack of electricity will become the norm. Perhaps the governments of all countries of Central Asia seemed that the Soviet legacy will bear fruit forever.It is the destruction of the infrastructure can be a major cause of the fall easing, which would create huge uncertainty in one of the most fragile parts of the world.
It is difficult to find another such region as Central Asia, where undermining any of the five states can trigger the collapse of the whole pyramid. So for those who are ready to undermine this “Eurasian Balkans”, the only question is which of the States should be the first to push for maximum effect.
It seems that the “collective West”, despite the difference in estimates and tactical steps in Central Asia, in the foreseeable future will stick to a single strategy in the region.
Western regional organizations (OSCE, NATO and the EU) are guided by liberal ideology. It implies a liberal-democratic governance in the Member States themselves and the organization as a whole, as well as multilateral conflict resolution. These values lead to the assessment of the political systems in Central Asia, as “defective”, requiring a substantial correction. West estimates the regimes in Central Asia, as a factor of permanent instability.
Based on data from the premises (even if you do not consider the obvious interest of Washington and Brussels in the geopolitical and resource potential of Central Asia) expect “indifference” to the situation in Central Asia from the U.S. and the EU is not possible. In the short term should rather be expected to attempt a broadcast model of the “Arab Spring” (or some of their own “Central Asian model” of regime change) at least in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and perhaps Turkmenistan.
In this case, regardless of the outcome of future elections in the United States, the policy of the Americans will be more “aggressive” and active than the “fading” of the EU, but rather an interest in maintaining stability in the region, the state, to maintain its economic position. For Americans, as their tactical decisions in the CA will depend on several factors. First, the dynamics of expansion of influence in the region, Russia and China, and secondly, the ability to preserve and expand its military, political, logistical and other infrastructure in the region in the upcoming reduction in the Western presence in Afghanistan.
Now the United States rely on Uzbekistan, which is geopolitically most convenient: bound up with all the countries of the region, the Uzbek area provides a significant increase in control of all of Central Asia. The question is how to implement this control: using the current government, or by initiating a new appearance. While there is a “withdrawal” of troops, probably “friendship” with Karimov, and then we will see. Moreover, that the fate of the former leaders of countries emerging from the “Arab Spring” have demonstrated a simple fact: No warranties Washington can not be trusted.
For Kazakhstan, Russia and China will fight for real, using all the opportunities available to them, so the “recycle mode” is not likely to happen. “Arab” technique is in its pure form will not pass, and we can try to organize a large-scale war by the elite (which, apparently, is already happening gradually.)
Through Tajikistan (as in the case of Kyrgyzstan), even in the best scenario for external operators, we can influence the CA only partially: as during the peak of the civil war in 1992-1993., Neighbors simply block the Tajik problem in this country, firmly closing of it.
Turkmenistan – and its gas resources – you can “learn” only “learn” of Iran. Trying to shake the “neutral” from inside Turkmenistan expensive and time – much more efficient to change the ruling elite in the process of “democratization of Iran.”
In the permanent instability in Kyrgyzstan is pointless – the republic lies on the edge of the region, being the most democratic (with a Western point of view) the country: there is no yet president for life. Can be influenced through Kyrgyzstan to China and his plans for economic dominance in Central Asia, however, in terms of control over the region, this is not a good area. So another “revolution” that solves little in the regional projections.
And throughout much of Central Asia can be solved by armed Islamist opposition (or disguised as her). The most dangerous place is the Ferghana Valley, which is in the midst of troubled plexus borders of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Blow to this point solves many problems at once, and without any of the “Arab spring.”
Andrei Grozin, Head. Department of Central Asia and Kazakhstan of the Institute of CIS countries