Central Asia in Transition: Dilemmas of Political and Economic Development

Central Asia in Transition: Dilemmas of Political and Economic Development

Central Asia in Transition: Dilemmas of Political and Economic Development

Central Asia in Transition: Dilemmas of Political and Economic Development

Synopsis

The economic, political, and geopolitical future of Central Asia has been the subject of much speculation since the region emerged from under the Soviet banner. This book offers systematic, informed analysis of the most important issues and choices facing the region.

Boris Rumer's lead chapter outlines the main factors and trends of political-economic development in the new states of Central Asia and evaluates the potential for regional integration and reintegration with Russia from both Central Asian and Russian points of view.

Chapter 2, by Oksana Reznikova of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) in Moscow, looks at the role of transnational corporations in the exploitation of the region's natural resources. Chapter 3 by Stanislas Zhukov, also from IMEMO, analyzes macroeconomic indicators for 1992-95 to compile a grim picture of the economic condition and prospects of the region and its states.

The next chapters are devoted to country studies evaluating current policies and feasible alternative strategies for economic development in Uzbekistan (Rustam Dosumov), Kyrgyzstan (Turar Koychuev), and Kazakhstan (Arystan Esentugelov, with a rejoinder by Erik Asanbaev).

In Chapter 8, comparative economist Yasutami Shimomura of Japan analyzes the lessons of East Asian Development models, and particularly the Chinese and Vietnamese experience, for the Central Asian economies, and a brief concluding chapter by the editor puts the region in geostrategic perspective.

Excerpt

Boris Rumer

One of the more significant developments in international affairs in the last decade has been the formation of five newly independent states in Central Asia. Because of their geostrategic importance and natural resources, they have attracted increasing interest in the world political community. These countries have become a kind of mecca for foreign dignitaries and leaders, who have continuously visited this region since the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991. Central Asia has elicited enormous attention in the world's mass media; suffice it to say that, of the fifty-two issues of the Economist in 1994, nineteen of them contained articles on Central Asia. A substantial number of books dealing with the political, social, and ethnic problems of the region also have appeared. As a result, there is a veritable flood of information about Central Asia--reports about its exotica and incalculable natural wealth, predictions of the inexorable spread of Islamic fundamentalism, dire warnings of inter-ethnic fratricide and an imminent Malthusian catastrophe, conflicts over the allocation and distribution of resources, ecological problems and desiccation of the Aral Sea, liquidation of nuclear weapons stationed there, the production and trans-shipping of narcotics.

Despite the sheer quantity of information, neither the media nor academic studies have given sufficient attention to the two key factors that will determine the fate of the new Central Asian states: (1) geopolitics, especially the relationship with Russia and the relations among the Central Asian states themselves; and (2) the outcome of attempts to transform their economies. These subjects are the focus of this volume.

The geopolitical factor includes a broad complex of forces both within the former Soviet Union and beyond its borders. Given the . . .

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