Russian Leverage in Central Asia


  • Charlotte Niklasson

Publish date: 2008-05-13

Report number: FOI-R--2484--SE

Pages: 56

Written in: English


  • Central Asia
  • Russia
  • security policy
  • leverage
  • military
  • economic
  • energy
  • human-based
  • conflict prevention


This report is a continuation of the report Russian Leverage on the CIS and the Baltic States by J. Hedenskog and R. Larsson, but with the specific focus on Central Asia. It analyses the level of Russian leverage in Central Asia through five main areas: political, human-based, energy, economic and military leverage. The report also considers whether Central Asia is different from the rest of the CIS when it comes to Russian use of leverage and levels of influence. The main conclusion of this report is that Russia continues to prioritise the Central Asian region as a sphere of interest and to retain and strengthen its geopolitical influence. This is mainly done through a standing security political context, increasingly seen as a priority and as a method for exerting leverage. Russia is continuously supporting the regimes in the region to ensure stable political development and favourable economic circumstances. Bilateral relations with individual states have proven more productive than regional organisations as means to secure strategic interests and avoid external power interests. The Central Asian countries differentiate themselves from other parts of the CIS by welcoming Russia as a partner for both political and economic cooperation. Russia continues to be widely regarded as a natural and in many cases necessary partner, and a sincere admiration for the northern neighbour is often the basis for the relationship.