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Unstable Central Asia will drive Russian regional ties

Friday, January 23, 2015

Subject

Russia security and military interests in Central Asia.

Significance

On January 8, Dushanbe announced the names of four Tajikistani soldiers abducted by unidentified Afghanistan groups. With international forces largely ending their mission in Afghanistan on December 28, concern is growing regarding the threat posed to Central Asia. Central Asian nations are likely to have to cooperate more and rely on Russian military support. Moscow maintains a sizeable military presence in Tajikistan and an air base in Kyrgyzstan. In January, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree allowing foreigners to serve in the Russian military, which could lead to sizeable numbers of Central Asians enlisting.

Impacts

  • Russian military capability for deniable foreign operations will grow if significant numbers of foreigners enlist.
  • A security clampdown in Uzbekistan in the run-up to the March presidential election is likely.
  • States will probably arm local non-governmental groups to help police borders with Afghanistan.
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