Central Asia in Search for its Own Way of Integration

Evgeniya V. Makhmutova – PhD in Political Sciences, Associate Professor of the Political Science Department. Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation. Russia, Moscow, Leningradsky prospect, 49, 125993. E-mail: elrus@yandex.ru.
 
Archive: 
Вся статья: 

DOI 10.24833/2071-8160-2018-4-61-78-91 (Read the article in PDF)

The article deals with perspectives for integration within Central Asian region. The existing experience of integration in the region is perceived as an important factor. Currently the discourse of regional integration is gaining ground in Central Asia. It can be seen by the updates in the foreign policy concepts of most of the post-Soviet Central Asian countries. Another driver of the issue is the growing international activity of Uzbekistan which is due to the new President of the republic elected in 2016. The article defines the context of regional development, challenges which the region face, specific traits of political process.

The rationale for integration is linked to economic problems which cannot be solved by each Central Asian country on its own. Construction of any transport and logistical infrastructure in the region as well as tackling security threats determine regional cooperation. Although the researchers give arguments for advantages of integration in the region, Central Asian leaders are still looking for more efficient format of interregional cooperation. This process is not linear with its ups and downs. The article reveals the institutional experience that Central Asia gained over 1990s in search for its own integration project. Today this experience can be treated as an important step to maturity of national governance in the region.

But the reason why there is no implementation of integration initiatives discussed in the region earlier is that the current Central Asian political elites are not favorable to any kind of cooperation that will lead in the future to the formation of supranational bodies in the region. They perceive it as a threat to a stable national development. Another factor is a higher commitment of Central Asian countries to cooperate with non-regional economies rather than within the region. In such context a strategy of “bandwagoning” (as it describes S. Walt) will hamper any regional integration project.

Key words: Central Asia, CIS, integration, regionalism, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, security, infrastructure.

References
1. Bogaturov A.D. Otlozhennyi neitralitet? [Delayed Neutrality?]. Rossiia v global’noi politike, 19.06.2010. Available at: http://globalaffairs.ru/number/ Otlozhennyi-neitralitet-14859 (accessed 15.06.2018). (In Russian)
2. Butorina O.V. Regional’naia integratsiia: osnovnye poniatiia [Regional integration: basic definitions]. Evropeiskaia integratsiia [European integration]. Moscow, Delovaia literature Publ., 2011. Pp. 12-30 (In Russian).
3. Durrani A. «Bol’shaia igra» dlia vsekh [“The Great Game” for all]. Rossiia v global’noi politike, 23.12.2012. Available at: http://globalaffairs.ru/number/Bol-shaya-igra-dlya-vsekh-15794 (accessed 15.06.2018). (In Russian)
4. Golovnin M., Zaharov A., Ushkalova D. Ekonomicheskaia integratsiia: uroki dlia postsovetskogo prostranstva [Economic integration: lessons for the Post-Soviet area]. Mirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia, 2016, no. 4, vol. 60, pp. 61-69. (In Russian)
5. Kazantsev A.A. Bol’shaia igra’ s neizvestnymi pravilami: mirovaia politika i Tsentral’naia Aziia [“The Great Game” with unknown rules: the world politics and the Central Asia]. Moscow, Nasledie Evrazii Publ., 2008. 248 p. (In Russian)
6. Kushkumbaev S. Tsentral’noaziatskaia integratsiia v kontekste istorii i geopolitiki [Central Asian integration in the context of history and geopolitics]. Tsentral’naia Aziia i Kavkaz. Available at: http://www.ca-c.org/journal/16-1998/ st_04_kushkumb.shtml (accessed 20.04.2018). (In Russian)
7. Malashenko A.V. Tupiki integratsii v Tsentral’noi Azii [Deadlocks of integration in Central Asia]. Rossiia i musul’manskii mir - Russia and Islamic world. Moscow, INION RAN Publ., 2010. Pp. 96-102 (In Russian).
8. Makhmudov R. Konkurentsiia diskursov v Tsentral’noi Azii [Competition of discources in Central Asia]. Tsentral’naia Aziia v usloviiakh global’noi transformatsii [Central Asia in global transformations]. Materialy XV ezhegodnoi konferentsii KISI pri Prezidente Respubliki Kazakhstan. Astana, 2017. Pp. 89-100. (In Russian)
9. Laruel’ M., Zviagel’skaia I. Perspektivy sotrudnichestva Rossii i SShA v Tsentral’noi Azii. Sovmestnaia otsenka [Perspectives of the Russia-US cooperation in Central Asia. Joint assessment]. Doklad Rossiiskogo soveta po mezhdunarodnym delam, no. 14. Moscow, Spetzkniga Publ. 2014. 32 p. (In Russian)
10. Syroezhkin K. Rossiia i Kitai v Tsentral’noi Azii: konkurenty ili partnery [Russia and China: competitors or partnetrs]. Sovremennye rossiiskokitaiskie otnosheniia [Modern RussianChinese relations]. Moscow, DeLi plius Publ., 2017. Pp. 217-233. (In Russian).
11. Tolipov F. Teoriia i praktika regional’noi integratsii v Tsentral’noi Azii [Theory and practice of the regional integration in Central Asia]. Tsentral’naia Aziia i Kavkaz [Central Asia and Caucasus]. Available at: https://www.ca-c.org/journal/2002/journal_rus/cac-02/10.tolru. shtml (accessed 01.05.2018). (In Russian).
12. Allison R. Virtual regionalism, regional structures and regime security in Central Asia. Central Asian Survey, 2008, no. 27, iss. 2, pp. 185-202.
13. Azizov U. Regional integration in Central Asia: From knowing-that to knowing-how. Journal of Eurasian Studies, 2017, no. 8, pp. 123-135.
14. Balassa B. The Theory of Economic Integration. Routledge Publ., 2013. Pp. 43- 58.
15. Bobokulov I. Central Asia: is there an alternative to regional integration? Central Asian Survey, 2006, vol. 25, iss. 1-2, pp. 75-91.
16. Bohr A. Regionalism in Central Asia: New Geopolitics, Old Regional Order. International Affairs, 2004, vol. 80, iss. 3, pp. 485-502.
17. Development and Regional Cooperation in Central Asia and South Asia. Ed. by Berglund H., Dutta M., Hilding P. Pentagon Press Publ., 2016. Pp.64-69.
18. Dieter H. Regional integration in Central Asia: Current economic position and prospects. Central Asian Survey, 1996, no. 15, iss. 3-4, pp. 369-386.
19. Fiegenbaum E. Central Asian Economic Integration: An American Perspective // W.P. Carey Forum. CACI, John Hopkins University, 06.02.2007.
20. Geyikdagi N.V. Regional Integration in Central Asia. Journal of Asia-Pacific Business, 2005, vol. 6, iss. 4, pp. 61-74.
21. Hsiu-Ling Wu, Chien-Hsun Chen. The prospects for regional integration between China and the five Central Asian countries. Europe-Asia Studies, 2004, vol. 56, no. 7, pp. 1059-1080.
22. Kaminski B., Mitra S. Borderless Bazaars and Regional Integration in Central Asia Emerging Patterns of Trade and CrossBorder Cooperation. Washington D.C., World Bank Publ., 2012. Pp. 86-102.
23. Libman A. Regional Integration in Central Asia: A Firm-Centered View. MPRA Paper, 2008, no. 10939. Available at: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen. de/10939/1/MPRA_paper_10939.pdf. (accessed 15.06.2018).
24. Linn J.F. Central Asian regional integration and cooperation: Reality or Mirage? The economics of the post-Soviet and Eurasian integration, 31.10.2012. Available at: https://www.brookings.edu/wpcontent/uploads/2016/06/10-regionalintegration-and-cooperation-linn.pdf (accessed 01.04.2018).
25. Sadru H.A. Integration in Central Asia: from theory to policy. Central Asian Survey, 1997, no. 16, iss. 4, pp. 573-586.
26. Walt S. Alliances in a Unipolar World. World Politics, 2009, vol. 61, no. 1, pp. 86-120.
27. Weiran W. The Effects of Regional Integration in Central Asia. Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, 2014, vol. 50, iss. Sup. 2, pp. 219-232.
28. Zakhirova L. The International Politics of Water Security in Central Asia. Europe-Asia Studies, 2013, vol. 65, iss. 10, pp. 1994-2013.