Following several hundred years of relative isolation, Central Asia has re-emerged as an important region on the international scene. Its importance derives from its strategic location astride the main economic and political centers of the Eurasian continent. While this location poses significant challenges to the landlocked states of the region, it also presents opportunities for them and their neighbors, including the gradual re-emergence of land trade and transportation routes connecting Europe and Asia. ISDP uses a historical definition of Central Asia that goes beyond the five countries of Soviet Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – to also include Afghanistan and China’s Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region.
ISDP’s activities on Central Asia, conducted within the framework of the Joint Center with the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute in Washington, D.C., focus on research and analysis of the political development and regional security in the region, Central Asia’s relations with the EU and U.S., as well as the increase in continental trade and transport. The Joint Center publishes the biweekly Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, a leading sources of analysis on regional developments.
Rethinking Greater Central Asia: New American and Western Approaches to Continental Trade and Afghanistan
Executive Summary: Greater Central Asia is reeling from the twin shocks of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The chaotic U.S. withdrawal risks postponing indefinitely […]
Kazakhstan’s June Referendum: Accelerating Reform
Introduction: The violence of January 2022 exposed both the demand for greater change in Kazakhstan’s society, as well as elite conflicts involving influential forces seeking to block President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s […]
Learning from Kazakhstan’s January Crisis
Introduction: In January 2022, Kazakhstan went through an unprecedented crisis. While it was since overshadowed in the eyes of the world by the events in Ukraine, Kazakhstan’s crisis marked a […]
Russian Federation and China: Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative
Abstract: This Issue Brief looks at six Sino-Russian projects that have been placed under the rubric of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Since, at the political level, China is […]
Between Bandits and Bureaucrats: 30 Years of Parliamentary Development in Kyrgyzstan
Executive Summary: In 2010, Kyrgyzstan took a decisive step towards establishing a parliamentary form of government. A decade later, the parliamentary experiment had, at least for the time being, come […]
Kazakhstan’s Crisis Calls for a Central Asia Policy Reboot
The recent crisis in Kazakhstan took many by surprise. Long considered the most prosperous and stable in Central Asia, it now suddenly appears fragile and weak. To draw lessons from […]