The Round Table on Central Asia in 2015 and Beyond

20 March, 2015

On March 19th the OSCE Academy held a round table on “Central Asia in 2015” for students of the Academy’s Politics and Security programme with the participation of a group from St Andrews University (United Kingdom).

The round table discussed key trends in domestic and international politics in Central Asia that are expected to play important role in 2015 and beyond.
2015 will be quite eventful for most Central Asian countries. The Presidential elections will be held in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, parliamentary in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. In his speech, Dr Payam Foroughi touched on issues of electoral systems in Central Asia, the interaction of the opposition with the government, with a focus on Tajikistan. He pointed to the expenses and the legitimacy providing role of international observation of elections.
The coming year will also be important for the region, and in particular for Kyrgyzstan, in connection with the accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EaEU). Dr Talant Sultanov, Director of the National Institute for Strategic Studies, gave a close-up look at the background of the Union and possible prospects of increasing the integration level among Central Asian states. So, Dr Sultanov pointed out that in addition to economic, there are social and political factors for entry into the EaEU. The possibility of working legally in the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan becomes the most important factor for the Kyrgyz citizens. In addition, the EaEU will allow Kyrgyzstan to move from an economy based on re-export towards investment in development and manufacturing. "The risks of not joining the EaEU disproportionately higher than the risk of entry" - concluded Dr Sultanov.

Professor Rick Fawn expressed his views on the interaction of external actors with the region, noting that the commitment of NATO and the EU is very hesitant to the region and the resources, both human and financial, are limited. However, the EU should continue its normative and value based work to have positive influence in the region.  

Summing up, Dr Pál Dunay talked about the real and the ostensible problems and threats the region is facing right now. Economic transformation and transition from the post-Soviet system of government to a more flexible and modern system will allow the Central Asian countries gradually to get rid of economic dependency, gray and black economy and widespread corruption. These matters are far more important than some international issues that appear on the surface of international politics in the region.

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