Has Central Asia Stabilized?

Nov 27, 2017 | 08:00 GMT
The question now is, have political transitions in Central Asia -- and the political systems of these countries in general -- stabilized and entered into a new, less volatile normal? The answer is more complex than the seemingly smooth changes taking place appear.

Central Asia is changing. In October, Kyrgyzstan had its first peaceful transfer of power from one elected president to another. Less than a year earlier, Uzbekistan's succession of power unfolded in a similarly peaceful manner. And in recent months, Kazakhstan's own long-serving president has been making preparations for his eventual succession. These developments contrast the volatile political transitions earlier in Central Asia's post-Soviet history, which includes two violent revolutions in Kyrgyzstan, a bloody civil war in Tajikistan, and an unexpected succession process in Turkmenistan. Widespread instability that many anticipated in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan's political transitions didn't -- or at least haven't yet -- come to pass. These more stable transitions are significant, given Central Asia's importance as an oil and natural gas-producing region, a hotspot for regional and global militancy, and an area of strategic interest to foreign powers such as Russia, China, and the United States. The question now is,...

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