Central Asia

This category covers Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

default "Nobody has ever asked about young people’s opinions”: Young people’s perspectives on identity, exclusion and the prospects for a peaceful future in Central Asia

Author: Maija Paasiaro et al
Institution: Saferworld
Keywords: Central Asia, Culture & Ideology, Community Engagement, Stabilisation
Publication date: March 2012


Young people constitute a high proportion of Central Asia’s population and have been heavily involved in the region’s social, political and religious confrontations. Their perceptions, attitudes and aspirations are therefore important in understanding the prospects for the region’s future stability and development. This report – researched by young people amongst young people – examines their thinking and present and potential roles. Given its broad implications, the report is relevant to policymakers and practitioners across the stabilisation spectrum.

default China’s Central Asia problem

Institution: International Crisis Group
Keywords: Central Asia, Stabilisation, Culture & Ideology
Publication date: February 2013


Although this report focuses on how political, economic and security developments in Central Asia affect China – especially the integrity and stability of her western border territories – it also contains perceptive insights into China’s concept of stability in Central Asia, her motives for engaging there and the impacts of her involvement. The report offers no specific recommendations, but its text and extensive footnotes include many pointers towards the challenges of, and opportunities for, co-operation with China on Central Asian stabilisation matters. The report will be useful to policymakers and practitioners seeking to understand the objectives and character of China’s approach to Central Asian stability.

default Democracy in Central Asia: Sowing in Unfertile Fields?

Author: Jos Boonstra
Institution: EUCAM
Keywords: Central Asia, Governance
Publication date: May 2012


The 2014 drawdown of western forces in Afghanistan and the changing global energy market will enable the EU and US to re-engage in Central Asia on topics beyond the hard security and energy agenda that has prevailed over the past decade. However, domestic and international developments have restricted the West’s influence on regional stability. The paper offers ideas on how to navigate the remaining space for democracy promotion. It will be of particular interest to policy-makers seeking direction for limited funding and to practitioners in politics and governance.

default Ever further from Moscow: Russia’s stance on Central Asia

Author: Wojciech Górecki
Institution: Ośrodek Studiów Wschodnich (Centre for Eastern Studies)
Keywords: Central Asia, Stabilisation, Conflict
Publication date: April 2014


Published in Poland as the Ukraine crisis was unfolding, this substantial paper covers the broad sweep of Russia’s current involvement in Central Asia. Much is not relevant directly to stabilisation. However, parts of the report together give a thorough and well-signposted overview of Russia’s perspective on the region, her perceived interests there, her goals, her concept of stability and the extent of her willingness and capability to play a stabilising role. The paper will be useful to stabilisation policymakers and practitioners seeking to understand Russia’s motives, strategy and notion of stability in Central Asia.

pdf Syria Calling: Radicalisation in Central Asia

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Institution: International Crisis Group
Publication Date: January 2015
Keywords: Central Asia, Conflict, Culture and Ideology, Stabilisation, Security and Justice, Community Engagement.


Recruitment to Daesh and other violent religion-based organisations represents a significant national security interest, and has particular implications for Central Asian stability. Drawn from fieldwork in late 2014, this paper offers current assessment of factors encouraging radicalisation.  Policy makers and practitioners specialising in conflict and stabilisation in Central Asia may benefit from its analysis around the key challenges and opportunities for change. 

default The EU and consolidating autocracies in Central Asia: a dialogue of the deaf?

Author: Pierre-Olivier Bigo and Jacqueline Hale
Institution: Civic Solidarity Programme
Keywords: Central Asia, Multinational / International Institutions, Human Rights, Governance
Publication date: October 2013


At least five of the seven elements of the EU’s Central Asia Strategy (2007) have a stabilisation dimension. This briefing was produced not long after the strategy was renewed (2012) and raises questions about its effectiveness in promoting stability. Whilst the recommendations are directed explicitly towards the EU, many apply equally to other western actors. The paper will be useful to policymakers, diplomats and practitioners concerned with political transformations and civil society in Central Asia.

default The impact of the 2014 ISAF forces' withdrawal from Afghanistan on the Central Asian region

Author: Jos Boonstra, Marlène Laruelle and Sébastien Peyrouse
Institution: European Parliament
Keywords: Central Asia, Stabilisation, Multinational / International Institutions
Publication date: January 2014


This paper addresses concerns around the potential impact on stability in Central Asia of the withdrawal of most NATO forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. At the same time, the EU’s new budget cycle envisages a 25% uplift in EU development funding for the region over the seven years to 2020. The paper will be useful to policymakers and practitioners seeking greater stabilisation impact in Central Asia after 2014, particularly where programmes are to be supported by or co-ordinated with the EU or integrated into policy towards Afghanistan.

pdf The Myth of Post-Soviet Muslim Radicalisation in the Central Asian Republics

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Author: John Heathershaw and David W. Montgomery
Institution: Chatham House
Keywords: Central Asia, Conflict, Culture and Ideology, Stabilisation
Publication Date: November 2014


Increases in violent extremism and its links to Islam are key topics both globally and in Central Asia. This paper is useful in questioning the evidence behind popular analyses on this subject. It provides contrasting evidence and narrative as to the place of Islam in politics, and the presence of violent Muslim radicalisation. Clear topic headings allow analysts to focus on specific sub-topics relating to Islam, radicalism and politics in Central Asia. 

default Water Pressures in Central Asia

Institution: International Crisis Group
Keywords: Central Asia, Conflict, Stabilisation
Publication date: September 2014


Local and international tensions over water have been a persistent feature of post-Soviet Central Asia and look set to grow in the coming decade. Already they have played a role in various inter-ethnic clashes in the region and have contributed to violence surrounding the overthrow of two Kyrgyz presidents. This report examines several water-related issues that could drive or trigger future conflict.

Though the high-level policy aspects of the report’s recommendations might appear over-ambitious in the present regional political context, the topic is likely to remain relevant for many years to come to policymakers and practitioners concerned with regional stability.

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