RUSSIA’S POLICY IN CENTRAL ASIA DURING THE PUTIN ERA
RUSSIA’S POLICY IN CENTRAL ASIA DURING THE PUTIN ERAAbulkhairkhan ZHUNISBEK
The period immediately after the end of the Cold War (1991–1999) is often viewed as post-imperial and marked by Russia’s loss of the areas it once dominated. During Boris Yeltsin’s presidency, Moscow’s foreign
policy was largely driven by a Euro-Atlanticist concept that put the post-Soviet countries, including those in Central Asia, on the periphery of its interests. In contrast, Vladimir Putin after his accession to power
adopted a “multipolar world” concept of foreign policy, envisaging the Kremlin’s dominance in the Eurasian heartland. This article employs empirical studies of cause-effect relationships that discuss the evolution of Russia’s foreign policy orienteers. In particular, it looks into the question of what Vladimir Putin aimed to achieve in Central Asia and whether he managed to accomplish his goals. The article argues that the geopolitical considerations are the main determinants of Russia’s approach to Central Asia, with other factors like security and policies towards the Russian community being distinctive to each state separately.
KEYWORDS: Russia, Central Asia, multipolar world, foreign policy, Vladimir Putin