New Russian President unlikely to change country’s policy toward Central Asia

Politics Materials 14 May 2012 15:19 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, May 14 / Trend V. Zhavoronkova/

Russian newly elected President Vladimir Putin will unlikely to change the country's foreign policy radically toward the Post-Soviet states including Central Asian countries, European expert on Russia and Central Asia James Nixey said.

"The policy would not change specifically," Manager and Research Fellow of Russia and Eurasia Programme in Chatham House told Trend over the phone.

Last week the newly elected Russian President Vladimir Putin was inaugurated for his third presidential term. He returned to this post after a 1-term break. One of Russian major areas of strategic interest is the Central Asia. The country is competing with other leading countries for the sphere of influence of the 5 states of the region.

The expert believes that after Putin starts fulfilling his duties on the post of the President, nothing is likely to be changed radically, but much will depend on Russian domestic policy.

Putin's new ideas with the Eurasian Union seem to be a scheme for his fourth term, the expert said.

Nixey added that the situation also depends on the individual Central Asian state.

"Today the Central Asian states have more power and more ability to have independence than they ever had during the last 20-year history," he said.

The expert believes that some of these countries are able to resist Russian seductions, and others are less able to do so partly because of economic reasons, and partly because they are afraid of a powerful neighbor.

"In Tajikistan for example Emomali Rahmon is not a particular fan of Vladimir Putin and he hasn't let Russia use particular bases in Tajikistan and that is not likely to change," Nixey added.

He said that the new government in Kyrgyzstan will be more flexible for Russian demands.

Kazakhstan, as expert believes, enjoys the very reasonable and decent relationship with Russia and it is probable the country in the world has the best relationship with Moscow in some ways.

"Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov is able to cooperate with a several number of Partners equally and they are West, Russia, China and others," Nixey added.

As of Uzbekistan, the expert said the country has very flexible relations with Russia - sometimes they are good, sometimes - the state is anti-Russian - and they are unpredictable and unstable.