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John Heathershaw Department of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science [email protected] Understanding Kyrgyz-Russian relations: New Great Game or Same Old Ideas? Outline 1. New Great Game: failure of regional cooperation or failure of understanding? 2. Same Old Ideas? Neo-Sovietism in Central Asia 3. An Illustration: reacting to Uzbekistan’s Andijon uprising 4. Post-revolutionary Kyrgyz-Russian Relations 1. The New Great Game: A Failure of Regionalism or a Failure of Understanding? • Failure of Regional Cooperation? – Central Asian ‘orphans’ that must be forced (according to realists) or persuaded and socialised (neo-liberals) into regional order • New Great Game – Regional elites – Regional academics (links to ‘Heartland’) – New Great Game in the West – Neo-Realism; Geopolitics • The Failure of Understanding – Assumes international competition and conflict; – Exaggerates international interest and intervention; – Under-estimates local and regional factors 2. Same Old Ideas? Neo-Sovietism in Central Asia The locating of ‘Central Asia’ (Tsentralnaya Aziya) ii. The idealising of ‘stability’ (stabilnost) iii. The identification of political ‘authority’ (avtoritet) • What’s new in Neo-Sovietism? i. – – Authoritarianism over Totalitarianism Dispersed production – discursive quality 3. An Illustration: Regional Reaction to the Andijon Uprising Central Asian regionalism based in Neo-Sovietism conditioned the aftermath in four ways.. i. ii. iii. iv. It produced ‘Central Asian’ versions of the ‘Facts’ which departed from the understandings of the international community It transmitted the imperatives ‘Stability’ and ‘Authority’ It, thus, provided the immaterial basis for Uzbekistan’s Split With the United States It provides space for the increased influence of Russia and China across the region 4. Post-revolutionary Kyrgyz-Russian Relations • Regional reaction to the revolution • Post-revolutionary dynamics – Military – Economic relations – Political norms/institutions • Spatial and identity basis of relationship • Alliance as association (soyuznicheskiye otnosheniya) • Possibility of a formal blok?