In Central Asia, a Timely Opportunity for Russia

With many of its other buffers secured, Moscow will turn its attention to the east.

In our 2021 annual forecast, we noted that this year, like many years before it, Russia would try to add to its strategic depth by reconstructing its near abroad, particularly Central Asia. Having secured its southern borders by deploying peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh and making sure that the current government in Belarus will stay close to the Kremlin, Russia sees the need to create a buffer in the east, where former Soviet states have, since the fall of the Soviet Union, claimed statehood, nationality and neutrality. Central Asia has an important strategic position. The historic Silk Road connecting East and West passes through the territory of modern Central Asian states, and the roads leading from Europe and the Middle East to the Asia-Pacific region intersect there. Since the early 1990s, the region has served as a barrier to less densely populated and less protected Russian lands from external threats, including China’s rapid development and the spread of terrorism from Afghanistan. The economic potential of Central Asia, with its natural resources, significant gold and foreign exchange reserves, a growing population and potentially healthy consumer base, is important too. This could prove handy for Russia as it looks for new markets that can […]

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Ekaterina Zolotova
Ekaterina Zolotova is an analyst for Geopolitical Futures. Prior to Geopolitical Futures, Ms. Zolotova participated in several research projects devoted to problems and prospects of Russia’s integration into the world economy. Ms. Zolotova has a specialist degree in international economic relations from Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. In addition, Ms. Zolotova studied international trade and international integration processes. Her thesis was on features of economic development of Venezuela. She speaks native Russian and is fluent in English.