Low Grades for Petro-States in the Former Soviet Union

By Crandall, Maureen S. | Journal of Third World Studies, Spring 2007 | Go to article overview

Low Grades for Petro-States in the Former Soviet Union


Crandall, Maureen S., Journal of Third World Studies


Over fifteen years have passed since the demise of the Soviet Union and the subsequent independence of the former Soviet republics in the South Caucasus and Central Asia. It is time to take stock of what advances these independent countries have or have not made. This report card assesses a number of measures of economic, social and political progress, and we conclude that these countries have made few advances on the road to economic growth, freedom and democracy. In some cases, they have actually retrogressed from their status before independence. In addition, the region is becoming increasingly militarized, which raises the risks of military conflict, both between and within countries. We limit our examination to the oil-and-gas rich Caspian countries of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. We address neither Tajikistan nor Kyrgyzstan, since neither is an oil or gas province, but we include Georgia since it is a key link in energy transport even though it is not rich in energy resources. In our view, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have earned failing grades, while the remaining countries are a toss-up for a C or C-. In general these governments--all one-bullet regimes--have brought almost no progress to their countries. The repressive and corrupt leaders have kept their countries impoverished and have avoided economic and social reforms. Hostilities may yet occur between countries, and civil unrest erupt within countries, in the next 7-10 years.

This essay looks at the selected Caucasus and Central Asian countries as a group from a variety of perspectives. We examine six indicators of economic and two indicators of social progress. The first three economic indicators are GDP, GDP per capita, and GDP real growth rates. The fourth is evidence on income distribution, poverty, and population age distribution. The fifth examines data measuring economic freedom. The sixth considers evidence on corruption, a severe and pervasive problem in all these countries. From a social perspective, we look at indicators of human development and human rights. On nearly all counts, the countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia have made almost no progress. We then address the growing militarization in the region and the potential for conflict.

The Size and Trend of Economies

The Caucasus and Central Asian states were the poor relations and the backwater republics of the former Soviet Union, dependent on subsidies from Moscow. They produced raw materials and sent them north to Russia. With independence came the economic shock of having to manage their own economies and build industries, to develop sources of funds domestically rather than from Moscow, and to seek new and expanded trading relationships.

GDP

We first compare the countries' macroeconomic progress by examining their GDPs, expressed in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms in U.S. 2000 dollars. This widely-used method employs an exchange rate that accounts for price differences across countries and thereby allows international comparisons of real output. It is a more accurate reflection of living standards than others that do not adjust for exchange rates and price levels. Kazakhstan had the largest GDP at over $93 billion in PPP terms in 2003 (the latest year available for OECD data), while Georgia had the lowest at roughly $12.5 billion in PPP terms, as shown in Figure 1.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

These countries' economies suffered after independence, and are only now beginning to exceed their pre-independence GDPs, although Georgia's has stagnated. Uzbekistan experienced the smallest percentage decline, probably due to the fact that before independence its economy was not as heavily integrated into the Soviet economic system as were some of the others. Kazakhstan has the largest economy of the group. Its GDP finally began rising again in 1999, but Azerbaijan is now the fastest growing of the group, largely due to its oil and gas industry. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Low Grades for Petro-States in the Former Soviet Union
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.