calls’stands’ –Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – countries with many similarities. They all share the Muslim religion, secular tradition and moreover, midway Chinese Y Russia. Both giants want to influence the region for their own interests. For Moscow it is a former Soviet zone and therefore interesting for Russia. Kremlin. However, Beijing also attaches importance to this region because of its energy resources and because it is located in a region. privileged location In the New Silk Road project.
Although they compete in this part of the world, Russia and China Share they prefer their place in it in different ways. pragmatism. Fran Olmos, an independent researcher specializing in the Central Asian region, recalls a cliché referring to how the role of both is viewed: “Russia, soldier of the Middle Asia and china bankerAccording to official Chinese government sources, the Asian giant has increased over the past 30 years. 100 times to trade with Central Asian countries. It mainly takes from these energy sources as follows: gas and oilwhile selling them tech products, cars, and other manufactured goods. In some countries, such as Uzbekistan, Beijing managed to catch up with Moscow in the trade balance.
this Russian attack on Ukraine woke up right Fear among Central Asian countriesespecially in Kazakhstan, where a very large ethnically Russian minority lives in the north and where some pro-Kremlin voices warn: After Kiev will go to Astana. However, Olmos thinks that thanks to ” the region is still considered a friendly country to maintain trade relations.Russia’s soft power However, with the influence of Chinese economic projects in these countries, there is a certain sinophobia among the “stans”. The analyst added that in addition to the fact that Beijing’s infrastructure projects “do not benefit the local economy,” they are causing the proliferation of cryptocurrencies by Chinese users.
Stability in Central Asia
Although Moscow is more interested, security Both powers of the region care about this aspect. Russia must defend the role of “stability guarantor” in the region. He leads the alliance of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (OTSC) of different former Soviet republics and Military Bases inside Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Its close trade relations with these states and the major Central Asian communities in Russia mean that Moscow also wants to influence the region politically. “We see this in the Eurasian Union and CSTO (initiatives),” says the analyst.
As far as China is concerned, Olmos points out that “his biggest concern is only within the country, so he only has a so-called base in Tajikistan.” Zigor Aldama, a journalist specializing in China, said that Beijing’s takes advantage of the current Russian war context “for taking fuels The Russians are designing a gas pipeline through it at bargain prices Mongolia and to appear before the international community as partners more reliable“From there to wanting to fill the void Russia might leave in Central Asia, I guess it goes somehowAldama also draws attention to the fact that Central Asian countries are not very worried about “like” issues. human rights“, something easily seen in the democratic indexes or quality of life of the citizens of these countries. The only country that openly enjoys freedoms and democracy, Kyrgyzstan has experienced a setback in recent years.