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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?
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
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;
• 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
The locating of ‘Central Asia’ (Tsentralnaya
ii. The idealising of ‘stability’ (stabilnost)
iii. The identification of political ‘authority’
What’s new in Neo-Sovietism?
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..
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
• Possibility of a formal blok?