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AssessmentsNov 5, 2019 | 10:30 GMT
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev listens during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel prior to a meeting on Jan. 21, 2019, in Berlin.
Uzbekistan Comes in From the Cold
For years, isolationism guided Uzbekistan's interactions with the wider world. Now, however, reforms stemming from a political succession in Central Asia's most populous country are reverberating far beyond Tashkent. As part of its political evolution, Uzbekistan has strengthened cooperation within Central Asia while also becoming an increasingly attractive partner for Russia, China, and the United States as they engage in a strategic competition for influence and investment in the region. The opening presents significant opportunities for Uzbekistan to expand its economic and security outreach to its neighborhood, yet the changes also pose risks, as the competition among these larger powers could pull the country in directions it doesn't want to go.
SnapshotsJan 31, 2018 | 20:36 GMT
Uzbekistan: President Sidelines Former Opponent
One of the most powerful men in Central Asia has just been forced into retirement. According to unnamed senior government officials, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev dismissed the long-serving National Security Service chief Rustam Inoyatov. And on Jan. 31, Mirziyoyev announced that Inoyatov would soon be replaced by Ihtiyor Abdullaev, a former prosecutor general with a strong loyalty to Mirziyoyev.
AssessmentsNov 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.
Has Central Asia Stabilized?
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,
AssessmentsSep 26, 2017 | 16:56 GMT
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has instituted changes to open Uzbekistan to foreign investment and ease its isolationist policies.
The Risk of Reform in Uzbekistan
The countries of Central Asia are not known for rapid change or substantial reform, but Uzbekistan is experiencing both. Until his sudden death from a brain aneurism in 2016, Uzbekistan had been ruled through a centralized government headed by Islam Karimov, president since the country declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Under Karimov, Uzbekistan was highly isolationist, eschewing strategic alignments with foreign powers and engaging in bitter disputes with its Central Asian neighbors over border demarcation and water rights. A pervasive security apparatus controlled the country domestically, while the economic and monetary systems were tightly regulated and largely closed to foreign investment. Karimov's death triggered a long-planned and well-orchestrated transition of power to Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who had served as prime minister for 13 years before his ascension. Mirziyoyev took over as acting president Sept. 8, 2016, then formalized his role through a presidential election in December in which he
ReflectionsJul 13, 2017 | 21:52 GMT
Kazan is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan in Russia.
Tatarstan: The Last Autonomous Republic in Russia
In one of Russia's most important regions, a familiar struggle is building. The autonomous Republic of Tatarstan is fighting to keep its autonomy, as time runs low on the region's power-sharing agreement with the federal government of Russia. Tatarstan's state council has appealed to extend the agreement, which allows the Tatar republic to remain autonomous. But the Kremlin, which has grown wary of Tatarstan's increasingly combative stance toward the Russian government, may not be willing to grant an extension.
AssessmentsApr 13, 2017 | 09:15 GMT
The Limits of Uzbekistan's Drift Toward Russia
The Limits of Uzbekistan's Drift Toward Russia
Russia and Uzbekistan have begun to work more closely with each other on economic and security issues, a trend that will likely accelerate in the wake of the deadly subway bombing in St. Petersburg on April 3. But despite their greater cooperation, the government in Tashkent will not abandon its broader strategy of neutrality. Instead, it will continue to maintain strategic ties with China, the United States and other foreign powers.
Quarterly ForecastsApr 10, 2017 | 11:42 GMT
Trade will be at the forefront of many leaders' minds this quarter.
2017 Second-Quarter Forecast
Trade will be at the forefront of many leaders' minds this quarter as a new U.S. administration settles into the White House. Uncertainty surrounding the White House's intentions will linger, prompting the United States' biggest trade partners to look for new economic relationships elsewhere. Some will leverage security cooperation and promises of investment to get on Washington's good side -- or, at the very least, to try to fend off its punitive action.
ReflectionsMar 8, 2017 | 00:28 GMT
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) can respond one of two ways to criticism from Rustam Minnikhanov, the leader of Tatarstan: Offer the republic financial concessions or purge the popular outspoken critic of his administration.
Russia's Eyes Focus on Tatarstan
Political clashes, bank closures and protests have rumbled through Tatarstan in recent months, shaking a region that is key to Russia's stability. As in many of the country's regions, policies instituted by the federal government as it copes with a more than two-year recession have not sat well with Tatarstan, which complains that President Vladimir Putin's administration is taking too much from the region, which has had to borrow money to keep the local economy running.
AssessmentsJan 30, 2017 | 09:15 GMT
Payback Time for Russia's Federal Government
Payback Time for Russia's Federal Government
After two and a half years in a deep economic recession, the Russian economy has taken a turn for the better. Moscow has tightened its belt, and its efforts are paying off, even though oil prices have not recovered and the economic sanctions against the country remain in place. In fact, Russia stands to pull out of recession this year. The country's economy is expected to start growing again this year -- by 1.5 percent according to World Bank projections -- thanks to a budget based on more realistic oil prices and a slimmer spending plan. Foreign investment has also started trickling back in as the rest of the world grows accustomed to navigating Russia's sanctions. Western credit rating agencies such as Standard & Poor have even raised the country's outlook from negative to stable. But despite the overall economic upturn, Russia's people [LINK] are still in dire straits. One-quarter of
AssessmentsJan 18, 2017 | 09:00 GMT
A Resistance to Reform in Uzbekistan
A Resistance to Reform in Uzbekistan
Powerful clan and political factions have complicated Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev's efforts thus far to change some of the country's political and economic policies. Pressure from the country's security services, headed by clan rival Rustam Inoyatov, forced the new president to reverse a visa liberalization policy announced Jan. 9, for instance. The extent to which Mirziyoyev, who has served as president since longtime leader Islam Karimov died in September, can implement further reforms will depend on his being able to balance the country's more conservative power factions.
AssessmentsOct 12, 2016 | 09:15 GMT
The death of Uzbek President Islam Karimov casts doubt on his longstanding foreign and domestic policies.
A Transition to Test Uzbekistan's Continuity
Uzbekistan is arguably the most strategic country in Central Asia. With 31 million people living within its borders, it is the region's most populous country and the only one that shares a border with each of the four other Central Asian nations. Uzbekistan holds the majority of the Fergana Valley, Central Asia's agricultural heartland, and is a major producer, exporter and transit state of natural gas flowing to Russia and China. Today, Uzbekistan is all the more important for the unprecedented power transition currently underway there. Prior to his death in early September, President Islam Karimov had ruled Uzbekistan since 1989. During his time in office, Karimov oversaw the country's transition to independence from the Soviet Union, building its political, economic, and security structures and setting the course for its domestic and foreign policy. Though the late president died without a clear succession plan in place, Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev stepped
AssessmentsSep 1, 2016 | 09:15 GMT
In Uzbekistan, Hints of a Successor Emerge
In Uzbekistan, Hints of a Successor Emerge
Few concrete details have been released since the Aug. 29 announcement that Uzbek President Islam Karimov had suffered a brain hemorrhage, but several hints have emerged as to who his successor might be. On Aug. 31, Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev, one of the prime candidates to succeed the longtime leader of the Central Asian republic, laid flowers at an independence monument in Tashkent in a notable symbolic gesture. He is also rumored to be planning to address the country on Sept. 1, its independence day. While there is still no confirmation of how the succession process will play out, or even of the state of Karimov's health, recent indications point to Mirziyoyev being in the best position to succeed Karimov.
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