Security stakes in Central Asia

After having held a secondary role in Russian foreign and security policies, post-soviet Central Asia has acquired an increasing importance in it, ever since Vladimir Putin came to power. This ‘renewal’ of Russia in Central Asia reflects the priority Moscow puts on reinforcing integration and cooperation within the Community of Independent States. It also betrays the perception of a greater emergency in regional security problems. A number of observers suppose that the Kremlin is trying to use, by exaggerating it, the security argument, so as to justify a re-assertion of its political and military positions in the region. This article aims at bringing this hypothesis to light at a time when, indeed, in the shadow of the developments that occurred in this zone after the events on 9/11, notably the arrival of Occidental military forces, Russia’s policy concerning Central Asia seems to waver, more than it ever did, between historical reflexes (the hegemonic temptation and the geo-political rivalry) and the pragmatic acceptance of a collective management, on a regional scale, of diversified security challenges. – Summary AFRI-2004