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part of developed world were crushed by internal 
instability and its state of economy, it finally 
turned to its southern neighbors in order to 
address such pragmatic issues as 7.000 km of 
common border with Kazakhstan and emerging 
concerns about potential Islamization of Russian 
Muslims (Laruelle & Peyrouse, 2012). However, 
during the process of developing foreign policy 
towards CA, Russia came to more or less same 
understanding about CA as any other major actors 
had – there are no options in approaching CA 
except for bilateralism (Laruelle & Peyrouse, 
2012). Still, not wanting to lag behind the US with 
its Silk Way visions of CA, Russia and China 
came up with their own ideas about “regional 
integration” expressed in “pro-Russian” Col-
lective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and 
“pro-Chinese” Shanghai Cooperation Organiza-
tion (SCO) (Cooley, 2012). The main rationale for 
existence of both organizations is to demonstrate 
the US that CA will go any way of political 
development except for the “Western” one. This 
image of solidarity is occasionally disturbed by 
Islam Karimov who spoils spirit of indivisible 
tripartite Russian-Chinese-CA camaraderie by his 
already traditional dissident gyrations towards the 
US DoD offers (Laruelle & Peyrouse, 2012). 
Kyrgyzstan, in comparison, is much more 
trustworthy in showing its unwavering loyalties to 
Russia (but not when the US doubles the price). 
Thus, the early 2000s situational context in which 
many analysts such as Legvold, Sultanov and 
Muzaparova used to analyze CA importance for 
external world was dominated by concepts such as 
CA as historical link between the East and West, 
the “New Great Game” and CA as a “core” of 
long-term economic, geopolitical and security 
interests of “Great Powers”.  
A New “Great Game”: plans and reality 
Alexander Cooley (2012) in his latest book 
The New Great Power Contest in Central Asia 
mentions leaked diplomatic cables from the US 
mission in Tashkent where US employees 
constantly bemoaned quality of CA infrastructure 
and transportation that made them re-schedule 
their plans. Such minor entirely non-great details 
like unreliable railroads or shortages of electricity 
are major reasons why any “Great Game” in CA 
in XXI c. is doomed to exist largely in fictional 
plane somewhere along the Great Silk Way. How 
to play “great games” in the land where all  
 
Current Scholarship on the “New Great Game” in Central Asia 

72 
 
 
 
ҚазҰУ хабаршысы. Тарих сериясы. № 3(70). 2013 
infrastructure must be torn down and rebuilt  
anew to fit modern day requirements and be 
complementary to modern technology, and with 
whom to play them if overwhelming part of 
government bureaucracy and military personnel in 
CA operate and do their work in conceptually 
different terms than their colleagues in the West 
(Cooley, 2012). Moreover, it seems to many 
scholars that – surprise, surprise – local elites are 
not actually interested in the long-term 
development of their states. Certainly, the EU can 
bring specially-trained drug-sniffing dogs to assist 
the US counterdrug initiatives in CA, but who is 
supposed to stop border personnel in CA from 
immediately selling these highly-valued dogs to 
local  nouveau riche for breeding (Cooley, 2012). 
The US can provide special military training in 
terms of fighting organized crime and drug traffic 
to Uzbekistani military, but then both Pentagon 
and State Department will have to eternally keep 
awkward silence on questions about domestic uses 
of these specially trained forces by Uzbekistani 
leader (Laruelle & Peyrouse, 2012). This 
increasingly ashamed approach of the West to its 
ongoing partnership with Central Asia was best 
expressed in the self-humiliating announcement of 
the British council in Uzbekistan after Andijan 
events that the US intelligence services used 
extensive experience of Uzbek’s special services 
to interrogate terrorist suspects in infamous 
shadow CIA facilities in Uzbekistan (Fumagalli, 
2010). The point of Cooley and many other 
Western analysts is not to argue against obvious 
strategic importance of CA in the post-9/11 
strategy of the US, but to recognize that for the 
US there might be nothing “great” or “historically 
significant” in their need-driven cooperation with 
CA (Cooley, 2012). Same as the US actions 
during the Cold War period, CA is not an issue 
that State Department or Pentagon officials would 
like to discuss or have debates about in future. 
Additionally, most of the foreign policy of the US 
has already pivoted eastward towards the most 
dynamic and quickly developing regions in the 
XXI c. – East Asia and Asia-Pacific, the real 
potential location of “great games” among world 
powers in modern times (Laruelle & Peyrouse, 
2012).  
In regards to CA perspective, as Alexander 
Cooley writes in his introduction it would be self-
deceiving to imagine global politics in CA as a 
new version of XIX c. power struggle between 
major powers for dominating territories of some 
weak state formations. First of all, complex and 
constantly changing interactions among US, 
 
 
Russian and China in Central Asia are often far 
from being “competition” and so rarely take forms 
of compromises and cooperation (Laruelle & 
Peyrouse, 2012). Secondly, CA states and 
Kazakhstan are not exactly “victims” as the title 
of “Great Game” pre-supposes, moreover, CA 
leaders have become quite skilled in using short-
term needs of major external actors for their own 
benefits (Cooley, 2012). A broad range of external 
experts and institutions agree that main threats for 
CA security and integrity come not from external 
threats but from three completely non-military 
issues – lack of capable governing institutions, 
deteriorating infrastructure and lack of compe-
titive human capital. In comparison with, for 
example, terrorist attacks, these issues are less 
visible and require longer time to develop at the 
full scale, but when they do, the extend of their 
damage is much more encompassing than the 
most radical Islamic terrorist group could have 
ever accomplished (Laruelle & Peyrouse, 2012). 
Paradoxically, concerns with issues like the US 
“neo-imperialism”, color revolutions in post-
Soviet space and preservation of the Holy Grail of 
the whole post-USSR world – state’s sovereignty 
from the US and China – have left almost no 
space in public discourse for discussions of such 
as, for example, declining human resources, fai-
lures of national modernization projects, increasing 
rent-seeking nature of economies, huge regional 
inequalities and social injustices.  
In summary, CA importance in terms of stra-
tegic security, of course, would keep and maybe 
even escalate depending on the US-labeled 
“AfPak” situation in the region, but as a subject of 
genuine interest for external actors’ ambitions and 
investments it will continue to be restricted by its 
status of world’s “periphery” (and exporter of 
hydrocarbons) as it was bluntly described by 
Laruelle and Peyrouse. Kazakhstan is considered 
to have the most chances (and resources) to make 
a giant effort and use oil revenues to finally 
produce something resembling true modernization 
and construction of its infrastructure, possibly 
really becoming some version of “Eurasian hub” 
(Laruelle & Peyrouse, 2012). However, majority 
is still very skeptical towards real possibility of 
such outcome due to many structural restraints 
and lack of genuine political will on all levels in 
Kazakhstan. First of all, in order to achieve it, 
Kazakhstani ruling elite would have spon-
taneously to “realize” the problem of fading 
human capital, damaging nature of rent-seeking 
economy and economic losses from widespread 
corruption (Laruelle & Peyrouse, 2012). 
 
 
Gulnara Dadabayeva, D.Sc. 

73 
 
ISSN 1563-0269
0223
                        Bulletin KazNU. History series. № 3(70). 2013 
 
Moreover, they would have to go further and 
perform even more complex calculations in order 
not to bluntly call for any industrialization as it 
was done during the Soviet period, but as Laruelle 
and Peyrouse point out to take into account 
influence of geographical position and compe-
tition from China before choosing final type of 
economic model that might, in the end, focus on 
building service economy. Secondly, as almost all 
experts point out while Kazakhstan might be very 
different from other CA states, its security and 
prosperity still depends much on its less fortunate 
neighbors in terms of regional infrastructure, 
markets, electricity, water, labor migration, 
influence of Islam, etc. (Fumagalli, 2010). There 
is no way around the pressuring need to have 
some real forms of regional integration which are 
not summits and cultural events but, first of all, 
recognition of some essential collective interests 
that overweigh individual benefits for each state, 
creation of consistent long-term strategies and 
establishment of working institutions that would 
exercise them. But as Matteo Fumagalli (2010) 
points out such form of thinking is very unlikely 
to develop in CA in any foreseeable future.  
Who is who in the region? 
China is increasing its economic presence and 
is seen as a source of loans for large-scale 
infrastructure projects. United States have become 
an important source of income for a number of 
Central Asian countries, as America pays the rent 
for the use of military bases. To a lesser extent, 
through programs of economic and cultural 
cooperation between its increasing roles in the 
region, there are also India, Iran, Pakistan and 
Turkey. Despite this abundance of countries 
interested in cooperation, past experience and 
common heritage as before make Russia a major 
target for the management of Central Asia, 
especially in the area of security. Yet such a 
decision should be regarded as more pragmatic 
than related to ideological considerations. The 
elites in the countries of Central Asia is often see 
in Russia a viable and reliable sponsor of their 
own regimes and security guarantees and 
economic assistance necessary for the existence of 
their states. At the same time, they see Russia as a 
country to which they shouldn’t be too much 
dependent, because Russia will use the situation to 
control their internal politics of self-interest. Thus, 
the countries of Central Asia, often in their own 
interest use Russia and other foreign players in 
expanding influence in the region, pushing 
Moscow towards other influential states. In other 
words, while Russia is a very important player in  
 
Central Asia, the countries of the region do not 
experience anxiety or even difficulty in playing 
the balance of interests of Moscow and other 
powers. And really, when it is considered that in 
the Central Asia there are two largest economies 
in addition to Russia's, the countries of the region 
to some extent act as a consumers and can claim 
for themselves the concessions and discounts from 
each of them. 
Speaking of the Collective Security Treaty 
Organization, a remarkable fact in this context is 
Moscow's desire to establish a general framework 
of the CIS Security Council that can later turn into 
over-governmental body to coordinate efforts to 
prevent changes in the form of so-called velvet 
revolution. In addition, Central Asia means a lot 
to Russia as a source of threats to its security. It is 
believed that the current insurgency in the region 
and extremist groups linked to militant organiza-
tions in the North Caucasus, which were unsolvable 
problem for the internal security of Russia. In 
addition, Central Asia is the main transit route for 
illegal drug shipments to Russia and on to Europe. 
The objectives of Russia in Central Asia are 
associated with a variety of broader foreign policy 
objectives. In addition to the real benefits of 
cooperation within the CSTO, EurAsEC and the 
CES, the promotion of Russia mechanisms and 
organizations is an important part of its strategy 
according to the status of the main and 
predominant actor in "their" region, and the title 
of "great power" on a global scale, as Moscow has 
played a leading role in the post-Soviet 
integration. Speaking of the SCO, China is 
superior to Russia of its economic power, forcing 
her out of the region. However, in terms of the 
security Russia and those multilateral asso-
ciations, which she heads, are still more important 
and significant. Many believe that the partici-
pation of Moscow and Beijing in the Shanghai 
Cooperation Organization is an unwritten 
agreement, according to which Beijing does not 
challenge the predominant role of Russia in 
security matters, and Moscow does not object to 
strengthen the economic position of China in 
Central Asia. An important element here is the 
insistence of Moscow to maintain the Collective 
Security Treaty Organization and the Eurasian 
Economic Community, together with the SCO as 
an organization under Russian influence, although 
to some extent they duplicate the functions of the 
SCO. From the point of view of the Kremlin
these parallel structures guarantee the preservation 
of Moscow's position as the main sponsor of some 
Central Asian countries in matters of security. 
Current Scholarship on the “New Great Game” in Central Asia 

74 
 
 
 
ҚазҰУ хабаршысы. Тарих сериясы. № 3(70). 2013 
Speaking of GCAP, the initiative has been 
supported by the US State Department, and has 
considerable effects on Central and Southern Asia 
policy of the US. The majority of these concerns 
have been directly related with “poverty”, which 
is the apparent fact of the region. Despite the 
progress after the remove of Taliban regime, 
Afghanistan remains extremely poor, and highly 
dependent on foreign aid. The primary step to be 
taken for the permanent stability in Central Asian 
countries is to solve the poverty problem. No 
advancement seems to be achieved in the near 
future unless current authoritarian regimes and the 
Moscow-dependent economic systems are rep-
laced. There are various considerable projects 
initiated by UN, EU, Asia Development Bank and 
Japan about this issue, and GCAP is among these 
projects. 
The geopolitical importance of Central Asia 
increased after the 9/11 attacks and America’s 
military operation in Afghanistan to demolish 
Taliban regime. Similarly, the importance of 
Central Asia region for American foreign policy 
increased even more. The US, which was trying to 
approach the region through economy and energy, 
began to surround the region with politic and 
military means. As it is believed in context of GCAP 
region wide trade would enable Afghan farmers to 
get their legal produce to world markets, create 
jobs, and provide revenue to the central govern-
ment; for other Central Asian countries, it would 
lead to expanded relations with countries to the 
south, providing g an alternative to Russia’s mo-
nopoly over their export of hydrocarbons, electri-
city, and cotton, and expanded relations with 
China. One of the functions of the GCAP would 
be a tool for more effectively delivering and coor-
dinating aid and assistance programs. 
Murat Laumilin, who describes the GCAP as 
the new “Mega Project” of the US, claimed that 
the main aim of the project was to avoid the 
region turning to sphere of influence of Russia 
and China. According to Laumilin, if the project 
was realized, Central Asia would be separated 
from its integral part of Eurasia and it would be 
removed from Russia and CIS. On the other hand, 
some US specialists are thinking that US policy 
would only have a marginal effect of minimizing 
Russian or Chinese presence in the region. The 
SCO is gaining in geopolitical throw-weight quite 
substantially. So this initiative could be seen as a 
geopolitical “counterweight” to SCO. Through 
this project, the US is pushing to open up trade 
and relations between Central and South Asia,  
particularly in the energy sector. GCAP could be 
also seen as the US response to Russia’s and 
China’s growing influence in Central Asia. 
Speaking of CAU, in order to establish a union 
between the states, their level of socioeconomic 
development and potential should be comparable. 
Such reasoning is quite rational as the five states 
of the region have very different political, 
economic and social prerequisites. For instance, 
the Central Asian states have adopted strikingly 
different approaches to economic development
with Kyrgyzstan embarking on the most ambitious 
economic liberalization reforms in the region and 
Turkmenistan proclaiming neutrality and isolatio-
nism. Of no less importance is the unequal 
distribution of the natural resources of the region 
that constitute a significant portion of Central 
Asia’s export commodities. It should be kept in 
mind, however, that Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, 
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are members of regio-
nal organizations such as the Eurasian Economic 
Community and the Shanghai Cooperation Orga-
nization. The former includes Russia and Belarus, 
the latter Russia and China. Thus, an institutional 
framework of regional cooperation does, in effect, 
exist. However, the incentive for joining these 
organizations may not be to seek closer coope-
ration among the states of Central Asia, but rather 
at establishing better relations with their larger 
neighbors – Russia and China. 
Conclusion 
The future restoration of Central Asia's links 
with India and Pakistan, which were also ruptured 
through war in Afghanistan, opens up the 
possibility of access to Pakistani and Indian ports 
as well as markets for Central Asian goods. Given 
Moscow's ongoing interest in reviving the North-
South freight transportation corridor, Russia can 
play a particularly important role in developing 
infrastructure and bringing the landlocked Central 
Asian countries into the global marketplace. Here, 
the United States could also play a role by 
encouraging and assisting Russia in the devel-
opment of this route as a complement to the East-
West transportation routes from Central Asia 
across the Caspian, to the Caucasus and the Black 
Sea, promoted by the U.S in the 1990s. While the 
East-West route became a focus of early compe-
tition between America and Russia, the develop-
ment of a North-South route that binds Central 
Asia to Europe and Asia could just as easily 
become a vehicle for cooperation. Without coope-
ration between the U.S. and Russia, the prospects 
for stability in Central Asia are fairly slim. A 
renewal of competition will undermine both coun-
tries efforts to ensure their security in the region. 
 
Gulnara Dadabayeva, D.Sc. 

75 
 
ISSN 1563-0269
0223
                        Bulletin KazNU. History series. № 3(70). 2013 
 
References 
 
Cooley, A. (2012). Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest in CA. New York: Oxford University Press. 
Fumagalli, M. (2010) The United States and Central Asia. In Kavalski, Emilia (Ed.), The 'New' CA. The Regional Impact of 
International Actors. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing, pp. 177-190. 
Laruelle, M., & Peyrouse, S. (2012). Globalizing CA: Geopolitics and the Challenges of Economic Development. New York: 
M.E. Sharpe , Inc. 
Legvold, R. (2003). U.S. Policy Toward Kazakhstan. In Legvold, Robert (Ed.), Thinking Strategically: The Major Powers, 
Kazakhstan, and the CAn Nexus. Cambridge: MIT Press, pp.67-106. 
Sultanov, B., & Muzaparova, L. (2003). Great Power Policies and Interests in Kazakhstan. In Legvold, Robert (Ed.), Thinking 
Strategically: The Major Powers, Kazakhstan, and the CAn Nexus. Cambridge: MIT Press, pp.187-216. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Current Scholarship on the “New Great Game” in Central Asia 

76 
 
 
 
ҚазҰУ хабаршысы. Тарих сериясы. № 3(70). 2013 
 
 
 
 
УДК 930.1 
 
Аррахман Хуру оглу Ахмедов 
 
Азербайджанский Педагогический Университет, 
Доцент кафедры «Общая история», доктор философии по истории, Азербайджан, г. Баку 
 
Азербайджан-Казахстан: из истории возникновения  
политических отношений (90-е гг. ХХ века) 
 
В статье нашли свое отражение конкретные и фактические материалы о создании и развитии отношений 
между  Азербайджаном  и  Казахстаном  после  восстановления  независимости.  После  распада  Советского 
Союза  наряду  с  Азербайджаном  и  другие  постсоветские,  тюркоязычные  страны,  обладающие  большим 
экономическим  и  человеческим  потенциалом  и  вошедшие  в  мировое  единство  как  независимые  и  равно-
правные государства, начали сотрудничать с другими странами. 
В  результате  исследования  вышеуказанных  документов,  автор  приходит  к  выводу,  что  после  восста-
новления  независимости,  по  сравнению  с  другими  постсоветскими  тюркоязычными  государствами,  отно-
шения Азербайджана с Казахстаном были более беспроблемными и стабильными. Систематические встречи 
официальных  лиц  Азербайджанской  Республики  и  Республики  Казахстан  послужили  созданию  искренних 
отношений  и  углублению  в  результате  подписания  двусторонних  договоров  политических,  экономических, 
культурных взаимоотношений.  

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