Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, launched in February 2022, has shaped Russia’s relations with governments around the world. The impact has been noticeable also in Central Asia, where links to Russia had remained strong after the Soviet collapse. Upon Russia’s aggression, all the governments in the region have sought to position themselves as neutral while signalling various degrees of both condemnation of and support to the so-called special military operation in Ukraine. Russia, in turn, continues to display Central Asians as its solid allies, even if some commentators question the region’s commitment to supporting Russia in its confrontation with the West.
This webinar examines the evolution of Russia’s relations with the five post-Soviet states of Central Asia since February 24, 2022, in spheres ranging from economy and security to society and culture. Are Central Asian states complying with Western sanctions imposed on Russia or are they helping Moscow circumvent them? Are there changes to labour migration from Central Asia to Russia, and how are the newly arrived Russian migrants settling in Central Asia? Is Russia seen as a security threat or a security guarantor, and how have the security prospects of the region changed? And, finally, is Central Asia indeed turning away from Russia and drawing closer to China, as countless news headlines claim?
Dossym Satpayev, Director, Kazakhstan Risk Assessment Group
Kate Mallinson, Associate Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House
Mirzokhid Karshiev, Researcher, University of Helsinki
Aijan Sharshenova, Bishkek-based political analyst and Research Fellow at the Foreign Policy Centre, UK
Kristiina Silvan, Postdoctoral Fellow, FIIA