CENTRAL ASIA AS AN OBJECT OF CONFRONTATION BETWEEN RUSSIA AND THE UNITED STATES
Candidate of Historical Sciences
The collapse of the Soviet Union caused a major economic catastrophe in Central Asia (CA). Indicators of economic decline in the region in the 90s of the last century significantly exceeded the indicators of the great depression of the United States in 1929-1933.1 Hopes for rapid prosperity in the conditions of independence were not justified. Many factories, factories, production associations and entire industrial complexes connected by a single technological chain with enterprises of other republics are still unable to get back on their feet. Foreign investment, with a few exceptions, does not yet produce tangible results, if we understand the life of ordinary citizens as such.
The current Central Asian republics differ in the pace and methods of economic reforms, in the greater or lesser presence of market relations, democratic or authoritarian elements of government, in the structure of the economy, and in the rootedness of traditional relations. In addition, tensions continue to persist between individual Central Asian states due to regional rivalries. There are disagreements on trade and economic cooperation, the delimitation and protection of State borders, the distribution of water and energy resources, the movement of citizens, and transport and transit.
At the same time, the steady trend of rapprochement between the Central Asian republics and the Russian Federation is encouraging. Their peoples retain a mostly benevolent attitude towards Russia, and the legacy of Russian and Soviet culture continues to have a significant impact on public life and on the behavior of politicians in all Central Asian states without exception. Russia, which is growing stronger economically and politically, will undoubtedly remain a natural center of attraction for them and will play an increasingly important role in integration processes. In the long run, it should probably be more active in helping the Central Asian states to solve their internal problems, as well as to resolve differences between them.
CROSSROADS OF STRATEGIC INTERESTS
Another strong player is also active in the Central Asian geopolitical field - the United States of America, which, in the words of American politicians, protects its national interests here. However, it seems that the political, economic and military threats in this region are incomparably more urgent for Russia than for the United States.
For the Russian Federation, Central Asia is a natural zone of its geopolitical interests. The national security of Russia itself really depends on stability in this region. Thus, it cannot ignore the flow of drugs flowing through Central Asia from Afghanistan, and it does not want this region to become a base for recruiting terrorist groups in the North Caucasus. In addition, the republics of Central Asia, due to the economic and technological ties established with Russia since the Soviet Union, are of interest for joint economic projects, primarily in the field of energy (in which they themselves are interested), as well as for the Russian military-industrial complex (MIC). The integration processes that are being revived here today benefit the entire CIS, whose creative potential is still far from being exhausted.
As for the United States, back in 1994, long before the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, it declared the Central Asian CIS countries a zone of its strategic interests, although it did not specify which ones. Later, in 1997, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbot clarified: the subject of special attention of the United States is Central Asia and the Caucasus. At the same time, the United States first announced its readiness to send troops to the region. American General J. R. R. Tolkien Sheehan noted: "If the Central Asian armed forces are involved in UN-sponsored peacekeeping operations, the United States is ready to participate." 2
In the same year, 1997, Washington began actively forming the GUUAM, essentially an anti-Russian alliance that included Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Moldova. In 1999, they were joined by Uzbekistan, which claimed leadership in Central Asia. But in 2002, Tashkent, not seeing economic and political prospects for cooperation in this organization and fearing its growing anti-Russian orientation, decided to leave the union. Until 2005, the Americans did everything possible to prevent Uzbekistan from leaving the GUUAM. However, while formally remaining a member of the organization, Uzbekistan has not participated in its work since 2002.
Over time, it became increasingly clear that the rapprochement of the Central Asian republics with Russia was clearly undesirable for the United States, as well as that the zone of their strategic interests in the region of the Central Asian republics was becoming more and more obvious.-
resov in the region geographically coincides with the location of the largest energy deposits.
It is also known that the United States aggressively promotes neoliberal ideas in Central Asia. At the same time, the White House administration considers it urgent and prestigious to export democracy in the Western sense to the region. At the same time, we do not take into account the elementary unwillingness of Central Asian societies at this stage of historical development to accept the modern Western democratic model of government as a general template.
Such aspects of US foreign policy destabilize the situation in the region and outweigh the positive results of the US anti-terrorist operation in neighboring Afghanistan. They lead to radicalization of religious and nationalist movements in the region, aggravation of inter-clan contradictions. At the same time, Russian-American cooperation in Central Asia is also becoming more complicated.
At the same time, the position of Americans in the region is becoming increasingly vulnerable. The Andijan events of May 2005 had a serious impact on this.At that time, an armed mutiny took place in Andijan by supporters of the Akramiyya community, one of the branches of the Islamist Hizbut - Tahrir party banned in Central Asia. According to official figures, 173 people were killed in the suppression of the rebellion; according to human rights organizations, about 750 were killed. Based on information provided by Uzbek intelligence agencies, President Islam Karimov accused Americans who had established contacts with the Akramites through non-governmental organizations controlled by them of inciting unconstitutional actions.
It is not possible to verify this information. However, it is known that on the eve of the uprising in the country's leadership, the position of the so-called "Tashkent group", led by young ambitious politicians and businessmen who zealously demonstrated their loyalty to Washington, strengthened. The "Tashkent people" relied on the Ferghana clans, who wanted to get their share of the "pie of power". Such an alliance would be the most desirable for the United States, since it was becoming increasingly difficult for them to do business with the intractable Islam Karimov. The President and his inner circle pursued an independent policy and did not want to enter into an open confrontation with Russia, as, for example, the leaders of Georgia did. In the course of the subsequent Andijan events, the "Tashkent group" lost its former political and economic influence.3
The fate of the American air base stationed at the Khanabad airfield near Karshi was also closely connected with these events. It was deployed there in December 2001 as part of the US counterterrorism operation in Afghanistan. Shortly after the Andijan events, in July 2005, the Americans offered to release her. In response, the United States put undisguised pressure on the Uzbek authorities. Washington has demanded an independent international investigation into the Andijan events. Then a draft resolution was submitted to Congress demanding that the "Andijan case" be referred to the International Criminal Court, which was already directly directed against President Islam Karimov. Washington has long refused to complete settlements with Tashkent for the lease and logistics of the base, delaying the issue in every possible way. Since 2001. The Pentagon paid Uzbekistan only $ 15 million to use the base, owing it $ 22.9 million by early 2005. With great difficulty, money from the Americans was obtained only in November of the same year4. This dispute, by the way, has led to the fact that other Central Asian republics have become more cautious about military-political and economic cooperation with Washington.
Russia has tried to step up its eastern policy, seeking to speed up integration processes with its southern neighbors in the CIS. However, at present, the military-political component continues to dominate the integration processes with Central Asian countries, while economic, scientific and cultural ties are being restored with great difficulty. Hundreds of intergovernmental agreements, both between the Central Asian republics themselves and within the CIS, are not being implemented. On the other hand, the activities of the military departments of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) member states-states that are members of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) - are noticeably intensified.
When the CSTO was established in 2002, it included Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Uzbekistan joined them in 2006. In Central Asia, the collective rapid deployment forces of the CSTO are represented by a group of 4 thousand. military personnel. It consists of more than 300 tanks and combat vehicles, as well as planes and helicopters stationed at the Russian military airbase "Kant" in Kyrgyzstan.
The Eurasian Economic Community was established in 2000. Initially, it included Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan; in 2006, Uzbekistan joined them. This organization is engaged in the formation of customs borders and rules, the development of a unified foreign economic policy, tariffs and prices, as well as other "components" of the emerging common market.
In 1996, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was established. First, it included Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and China. Uzbekistan also became a full member in 2001. India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan are observer States to the SCO. Initially, the organization gave priority to security cooperation, including the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking. The Regional Anti-terrorist Structure (RATS) was established It is headquartered in Tashkent. Over time, trade and economic cooperation began to come to the fore. Nevertheless, the power component of the SCO also remains. Joint exercises are being held in the SCO-CSTO format. The SCO has an anti-terrorist center. Main target
the military is a growing militant Islamic extremism. This factor plays a crucial role in bringing the positions of the security agencies of the Central Asian states closer together. But this rapprochement, alas, is only a forced tactical measure in the absence of a common strategy of cooperation.
There is no doubt that conflicts in the region - real and potential-must be extinguished and prevented. However, in our opinion, the emphasis in the security concepts of the parties to the mentioned agreements is placed incorrectly. The fight against terrorism, extremism, and drug trafficking is declared the "main strike area". Meanwhile, this is just a struggle with the consequences of phenomena that have taken very deep roots. At the forefront should be the work to prevent the causes that give rise to these troubles of our time. And these reasons are primarily internal, inherited from the Soviet era and aggravated in the post-Soviet period.
In the southern regions of the CIS, it is increasingly necessary to deal with conflicts generated by systemic crises covering the economy, culture, politics, socio-economic and environmental spheres. 5 Unfortunately, it is not yet possible to finally resolve them, they are only driven deeper, melting the danger of more extensive and uncontrolled processes. Instability and destructive processes in the Central Asian republics hinder their development.
WESTERN STANDARDS AND ASIAN REALITIES
It is impossible to get out of systemic crises only by introducing liberal political institutions. Overlapping with the matrix of local social relations and economic culture, they do not bring the expected effect, but on the contrary, sometimes hinder social development.
For the Central Asian republics, specially developed programs are required to comprehensively address the problems of the state structure, democratize society, and improve economic activity. The expansion of economic ties between Central Asian states and other countries should be planned, taking into account their cultural and civilizational characteristics. In the era of the USSR, a certain "division of labor" developed between the republics, more precisely, the distribution of productive forces. Now it requires adjustment depending on natural conditions, economic structures, traditional values, demographic and other processes in various republics.
New technologies for sustainable development should be introduced primarily in the most conflict-prone regions of Central Asia. It is important that these schemes find a successful interface with the traditional social relations and connections that have developed there. Without this, it is impossible to ensure a stable and progressive movement of the states of the region within the framework of a market economy and a democratic vector of development.
In recent years, the main efforts of Americans in Central Asia have been aimed at introducing neoliberal ideas and principles into the economies of Central Asian countries. However, no significant progress has been made in this area. The most striking example of this is Kyrgyzstan, which is a faithful follower of the recommendations of the IMF and the World Bank on the denationalization of the economy and social sector. Following them, it has fallen to the level of war-torn Tajikistan by all indicators and is teetering on the brink of civil war.
In Tajikistan, free-market elements have also produced more bitter fruits than sweet ones. The stagnation of the industrial sector has become chronic in this republic, and the majority of citizens survive at the expense of guest workers, mainly working in Russia, as well as the non-manufacturing sector, i.e. services and trade.
In Kazakhstan, the radical privatization of heavy industry, energy, housing and utilities, and the introduction of private ownership in rural areas have turned into serious social and environmental problems that are hidden behind the facade of the "economic miracle"advertised by the authorities. Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, on the contrary, managed to avoid socio-economic shocks to a greater or lesser extent under the conditions of economic autarky and to implement separate structural reforms in a number of sectors of the economy. But they also face a lot of unresolved problems, especially in rural areas.6
However "rosy" the figures published by statistical agencies describing economic growth in the Central Asian republics may be, they do not reflect the real life of the population. In fact, human development indicators are changing very slowly here, and in rural areas they are even declining. Corrupt officials and a fairly narrow layer of employees in leading industries flourish. Current programs of market industrialization are sacrificing the social sector and the State's sphere of responsibility. Health care, education, and education systems are being degraded, and there are no programs to support small businesses, help the poor, or protect the environment. Science is falling apart.
Despite different rates and methods of reforms, a greater or lesser share of market relations in the economy or, on the contrary, state intervention, almost all Central Asian republics face fundamental social and environmental problems, without which long-term stability in the region cannot be achieved. Everywhere, there is a high anthropogenic load against the background of demographic growth and an acute shortage of water and land resources.
Thus, security issues in Central Asia are directly intertwined with the existing socio-economic problems in this region. It is becoming increasingly clear that instead of promoting the cliched economic and political "values" of globalization, development policies should be brought to the fore, which would accelerate the resolution of the most acute and closely related social, economic and environmental problems.
FROM CONFRONTATION TO COOPERATION
Russia has a serious advantage in Central Asia : it still has many sincere friends among the elite and ordinary citizens in this region of the former USSR. Americans, on the other hand, have very few such friends almost everywhere. For the most part, there are allies, "fellow travelers" and business partners. However, there is still hope that America will change and will be able to win the trust and friendship of different peoples, including Central Asian ones. There are certain prerequisites for this.
Among the American intellectual elite, the influence of new ideas related to development and international security is growing. Concepts that are alternative to market fundamentalism are gradually being introduced into politics. Among the opponents of neoliberal globalization are many well-known scientists and politicians in the United States.
Among them is Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, a former vice-president of the World Bank, who left the post due to disagreements with the WB leadership. In an interview with the Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta, this respected economist noted:: "The American economy has almost certainly already moved from a state of some economic decline to a full-blown recession. Americans are now thinking about the wisdom of their unilateral approach to foreign policy... There is a growing sense that we may have lost our way by placing too much emphasis on our own material gain and clearly not enough on our common interests... America has declared the advent of globalization. At the same time, it must recognize that with globalization comes interdependence, and in the context of interdependence, there is a need for joint decision-making in all areas that affect us all."7
There is no doubt that the American presence in Central Asia, even if somewhat weakened, will continue for the foreseeable future. Most likely, mainly in the form of humanitarian and economic cooperation. Including on the principles of mutually beneficial economic cooperation in this region with Russia. It seems to us that Russia should also strive for this. Both powers should move away from fierce competition and competition in energy projects that are crucial for the development and security of Central Asia. To begin with, we could discuss the possibility of Russia's participation in the American project to transfer Central Asian electricity to South Asia.
This project was developed by the U.S. State Department's Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. It provides for the creation of an electricity supply network that will connect Central and South Asia. 8 Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are planned to be used as the main suppliers of electricity to Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
However, there are concerns that the implementation of the project will lead to "energy isolation" of Uzbekistan and "exclude" Iran and China from Central Asian energy flows. Russia's participation in this grandiose project would help eliminate such distortions. This project can be supplemented with programs for the development of agriculture and environmental protection, which are of crucial importance for the region. In turn, why not attract American business and advanced American technologies to the project of the Caspian gas pipeline, which has already been approved by the heads of Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan?
Russia, in turn, would do well to take a closer look at the activities of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), which, along with Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, includes the Central Asian republics. ECO's work has noticeably intensified in recent years. In the near future, the ECO Bank for Trade and Development, the ECO Center for Technology Transfer, the Regional Center for Risk Management in the Field of Natural Disasters, and the Regional Institute for Standardization will start functioning. A feasibility study is being prepared for the project of combining the energy networks of the ECO member countries. There are ECO Scientific Foundation, Educational Institute, specialized agencies and institutes in the field of management and engineering, agriculture. A special regional environmental program is being implemented and expanded 9.
ECO activities are supported not only by the UN, the EU, Japan, China, and leading international financial, investment, and charitable foundations, but also by the US government, despite America's difficult relations with individual ECO members, such as Iran and Uzbekistan. Globalization and regionalization, as can be seen in this example, have many-sided manifestations. With this in mind, Russia should also find a new form of support for the processes of regional cooperation in Central Asia. In particular, it could promote the rapprochement of the ECO with the EurAsEC and the SCO. After all, in the last two, the Russian Federation plays a very prominent role.
Regional cooperation between the Central Asian countries and their neighbors will expand beyond Russia and the United States. This is the reality of a globalizing world, in which the accelerated internationalization of economic activity is accompanied by the emergence of various associations that are geographically, socially, culturally and economically close to each other. Cooperation of states even with different political systems will make it possible to solve security and development problems in Central Asia and its adjacent regions more successfully, to resist the destructive manifestations of globalization more effectively, and to conduct a dialogue with the West. Linked to the common cause of sharing and conserving their natural resources, Central Asian Governments and their non-regional partners will be ready to take on greater responsibility both to their citizens and to the international community.
The current confrontation between the interests of Russia and the United States in Central Asia serves as a catalyst for various conflicts at the regional and local levels. But there is hope that the tough competition may change to action.-
a truly creative strategic partnership. This requires a new scheme of cooperation, which should be based on the principle of interaction, interweaving large-scale economic programs, and joint mutually beneficial participation in them instead of promoting confrontational projects. Finally, the fruits of such cooperation should be used primarily for developing the region's domestic markets, improving the environment, and promoting democratic principles, including in the area of economic decision-making.
Falkingham J. 1 Welfare in Transition: Poverty and Well-being in Central Asia. L. CASE. 1999. IV. P. 43 - 46.
Bhatty R., Bronson R. 2 NATO Mixed Signals in the Caucasus and Central Asia // Survival. L., 2000. Vol. 42. N 3. P. 154.
Grozin A. 3 Next! Who will replace Islam Karimov? - http://arabeski.globalrus.ru/opinions/152692
4 http://www.news.ntv.ru/77882/05.12.2005, http://www.newizv.ru/news/2005 - 10 - 03/32717, http://www.newizv.ru/news/2005 - 09 - 28/32474
5 See about this in more detail: Niyazi A. Sh. The South of the CIS: fundamental problems of development / / Central Asia and the Caucasus. 2003, N 6 (30), Sweden, Lulea, pp. 168-178.
6 See about this in more detail: Niyazi A. Sh. Central Asia: development and security in the conditions of new bipolarity / / Collection of articles "Transformation of Central Asian societies and regional security". Bishkek, Moscow. Center for Strategic and Political Studies, 2005.
7 J. Stiglitz New prioritization. It's time for America to free itself from economic selfishness // Nezavisimaya Gazeta. 16.10.2001. Cited in: Azroyants E. A. The future: evolutionary and eschatological alternatives / / Proceedings of the Club of Scientists "Global World", Vol. 2. Moscow, Institute of Microeconomics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 2002.
8 For more information about the Greater Central Asia Energy Project, see " Fifteen Years That Changed Central Asia "(ed. Except for Erhard). Moscow, 2006. p. 234.
9 See: Information on ECO is provided by V. Ya. Belokrenitsky, Head of the Department of Near and Middle East of the Institute of Information Technology of the Russian Academy of Sciences; see also: http://en/wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_cooperation_Organization
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