News Digest


Jun 07, 2020

Media Digest

Jun 07, 2020

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Bi-weekly CAW Media Digest.
The Digest provides updates on
the most recent developments in Central Asia.
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Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev's used a recent interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda to speak about Kazakhstan's enduring connections with both Russia and China. He highlighted the economic success of these relationships as well as positive Kazakh attitudes towards their neighbors.
A new three-way format was utilized by US officials to engage Uzbekistan and Afghanistan in discussion about mutual security and infrastructure initiatives. This method could show the way forward for encouraging regional cooperation on platforms that are smaller and more flexible than the C5+1 arrangement, and these talks are a potential step forward in a long-running US interest in reconnecting Afghanistan with its Central Asian neighbors.
After yet another violent incident along the border of the Sokh exclave, Uzbek politicians have promised $100 million dollars of investment and new leadership for the troubled territory. Tension with Kyrgyz neighbors and anger with a distant Tashkent might be resolved by renewed economic support, but the appointment of an Interior Ministry district head may foreshadow a crackdown.
Catherine Putz highlights the complexity surrounding the reaction to COVID-19 in Turkmenistan. The regime's authoritarian nature has led to increased economic and diplomatic isolation precisely when the country can least afford it.
The Russian legacy in Central Asia is strong, but Ian Lynch posits that certain aspects of the Central Asia-Russia-China axis are shifting quite quickly. The nature of great-power competition in the area is complex, but he pays particular attention to the growing Chinese security presence.
Russian agriculture has been dealt a massive blow by COVID-19-related travel restrictions as borders close and Central Asian guest workers are unable to travel and find work. This dislocation has had knock-on effects back in Central Asian economies, where unemployment and low wages are impacted by the newly returned workforce.
Following the splintering of Kyrgyzstan's historically dominant Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK), a new political alliance has been created by a spectrum of smaller parties. The coalition, Jany Dem (A New Breath), could end up radically shifting the balance of power in Central Asia's sole democracy.
Turkmenistan has continued its technical collaboration with Tatarstan, the Muslim republic in central Russia. The Tatar territory has played a leading role in collaborating with Muslim countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus, and will be hosting the upcoming Commonwealth of Independent States Games in its capital, Kazan.



Regards,
CAW Team