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The School of International Regional Studies is a research and educational centre seeking to revive international regional studies as an academic discipline in Russia. The department’s world-class professors train the next generation of regional studies specialists while developing an increasingly prestigious research school.
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Moderator Dr. Sergey Luzyanin (Professor, School of Regional Studies, Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, HSE University) outlined the general issues of the section: the place and role of the Central Asian region in the Eurasian, post-Soviet space, including the development parameters of the CSTO, SCO, EAEU, interaction in the region with the Chinese initiative “One Belt and One Road”, key bilateral interaction tracks of Russia with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other states.
Dr. Ivan Safranchuk (Candidate of Sciences (PhD), Professor, Head of the Center for Eurasian Studies, MGIMO University) in his speech “Security Issues in Central Asia. Internal and external facts of destabilization” focused on internal and external regional risks and the ability of states to respond adequately to them, noting that an acceptable balance between them (challenges and reactions) was maintained in the region. Dr. Safranchuk stressed that internal risks are not based on security issues, but on socio-economic development and attitudinal problems. The speaker elaborated on the Afghan theme, including the specifics of the Taliban's influence on the countries of the region. The report highlighted the problems of interaction of big powers with the Central Asian region, including assessments of the formation of “geopolitical compromises” in relations with Central Asia and the level of challenges and threats to it.
Dr. Vladimir Yevseev (Candidate of Sciences (PhD), Head of the Eurasian Integration and Development Department of the SCO Institute of CIS countries) in “U.S. Influence on the Central Asian Region and the Problems of the Development of Collective Security Problems of the Development of the Collective Security Treaty Organization” highlighted the Kazakhstani theme, highlighting the specifics of Russia-Kazakhstan relations. In particular, the speaker noted Kazakhstan's current dependence on oil transportation through Russian territory; on the other hand, he emphasized that Astana also has leverage over Moscow in terms of developing parallel imports. The role of the CSTO, which intervened in January 2022 and prevented an attempted coup in the country, the challenges for the Republic associated with the Ukrainian crisis and problems in bilateral Russian-Kazakh trade were noted.
Dr. Aza Migranyan (Doctor of Sciences, Professor, Head of the Economics Department, Associate Professor, Center for Post-Soviet Studies, Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), Institute of CIS countries) in her report “Eurasian Economic Union and the Problems of Economic Integration in Central Asia”, detailed the specific positioning of Central Asian states in the Western sanctions policy against Russia, their neutrality, as well as the favourable energy situation in the world market for hydrocarbon exporting countries (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan). The speaker emphasised the continuation/enhancement of integration processes within the EAEU, the difficulties and obstacles of preferential regimes in the context of Russia's interests.
Dr. Stanislav Pritchin (Candidate of Sciences (PhD), Associate Professor, Center for Post-Soviet Studies, Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO)) in “Problems of development of the Eurasian Economic Union and bilateral Russian tracks” analysed in detail Russia's models of relations with the countries of the region, focusing in more detail on the Russian-Kazakhstani and Russian-Uzbek formats. Dr. Pritchin identified the following problematic, in his view, several obstacles hindering them: a) Kazakhstan's implementation of certain anti-Russian sanctions (banks, payment system); b) Tashkent's inhibition of integration processes in the EAEU, etc. The speaker stressed that the countries of the region could use China's experience in forming financial institutions and mechanisms to establish parallel imports to the Russian Federation and circumvent Western anti-Russian sanctions.
Dr. Oleg Korneev (Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and International Affairs, Saint-Petersburg School of Social Sciences and Area Studies, HSE Campus in St. Petersburg) in “Learning in, about and from the field? Symbolic functions of EU knowledge production on Central Asia” presented the results of his work on monitoring EU humanitarian and international affairs in Central Asia. The speaker drew attention to the variety of ways in which the EU has declared and is undertaking knowledge production on Central Asia.
Anri Chedia (Research Fellow, School of International Regional Studies, Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, HSE University) made a presentation on “The main activities of the Turkish Agency for Cooperation and Coordination in Central Asia”. Concentrating on Turkish activities in the region, the rapporteur noted that after the formation of the CIS, Turkey for the first time had the opportunity to expand its sphere of influence in Central Asia, becoming an influential force. Dr. Chedia identified several key components of Turkey's soft power policy: a) cultural cooperation and language promotion; b) development of business relations; c) cooperation in education, science, and innovation; and d) active public diplomacy. Specific mechanisms and economic, financial projects to bring Turkey closer to the countries of the region were illustrated with the example of TCCA (Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency). In Turkmenistan through health care, in Kazakhstan through education and economic infrastructure, in Kyrgyzstan through administrative and civil institutions, and in Uzbekistan through civil options.
Following the presentations, moderator Dr. Sergey Luzyanin conducted a discussion session, during which different assessments and approaches on Central Asian security, economic integration of the role and extent of influence of external powers (China, the US, the EU, etc.) on the region were expressed. For the most part, the views of the panellists developed and clarified the positions of the key speakers. Dr. Sergey Luzyanin summarised the section by thanking all the participants.