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"Peacefulness" of Tashkent in relation to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is not to be regarded as a sign of weakness the new President of Uzbekistan
Material posted: Pankratenko Igor N.Publication date: 03-11-2016
If the elites in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan "peacefulness" of Tashkent towards its neighbors deem a sign of weakness, then they can expect a huge disappointment. This in an exclusive interview with CA-News said Igor Pankratenko, orientalist, expert on Middle East.

"Under the new President Tashkent, under any circumstances, will not abandon its ambitions as a regional leader. This is the cumulative position of the Uzbek elite, which must be taken into account by anyone who will take the presidency", - he said.

"Secondly, in the relations of Tashkent and Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan has not disappeared the serious problems from fotoenergetika territorial, which at any moment can cause the escalation of tensions. Of course, the new Uzbek President, who experience conflicts with Bishkek and Dushanbe will be much less burdened Karimov, will focus primarily on the process of negotiations and "peace" initiatives. But only until the moment when it will meet an adequate response from the Kyrgyz and Tajik sides. If, however, the local elites consider "peacefulness" of Tashkent a sign of weakness, fear of Uzbekistan to clash, I think they can expect a huge disappointment", - the expert believes.

According to Pankratenko, the new Uzbek leader at any time "show a smile" no worse than it did late Karimov. Once again – saving the Tashkent regional leadership in tough competition with Kazakhstan is the aggregate will of the Uzbek elite, which they will dictate to any President of his country.

Answering the question of whether it is expected that after the elections in Uzbekistan, Tashkent will disagree with its construction of the Rogun hydropower plant. (Recently in Tajikistan blocked the Vakhsh river for construction — ed.), the expert believes that it is obvious.

"In July of this year, by the way, according to your own portal (, the then Prime Minister and acting President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoev sent his Tajik counterpart qohir rasulzoda letter, which the Uzbek government once again strongly opposed the completion of the Rogun hydroelectric station," - said Pankratenko.

"Let me remind you that the letter in particular said, "Raises serious doubts about the choice of the site for the construction of such a grandiose complex of HPP unprecedented in the world at 335 meters dam in a mountainous area with seismicity of 9-10 points on the Richter scale. There is no practical clarity on the total estimated project cost, which far exceeds the stated $ 3.9 billion., not completed the project documentation is not made serious comments made by authoritative experts." And further: "the persistence with which the government of Tajikistan wants to continue the construction of Rogun, can not but cause a feeling of anxiety over the possible threat and the fatal consequences of such risky steps taken by the Tajik side."

It is clear that, first, the arguments put forward by the Uzbek side has not disappeared. Secondly, in your, to put it mildly, negative attitude to the Rogun Tashkent are fairly consistent, it is enough to recall the statement of the deceased Islam Karimov that hydropower problems in Central Asia in the future, "can be exacerbated to such a degree, causing not just serious confrontation, but even wars".

Another thing is that the rhetoric of the current Uzbek authorities may be less stringent. But from its position in relation to the fact that such projects should be implemented only with regard to the opinion of Tashkent, the Uzbek leadership will not back down, said the expert.

Answering the question of whether there will be a return to active politics in Central Asia in case of victory Hidari Clinton in US presidential elections, the expert believes that the same thing will happen in case of a victory trump, because "U.S. policy in Central Asia 3.0", which is now being formulated in Washington - it's not personal whim of the American President, but an objective requirement, stemming from the interests of the United States.

"By the way, this "politics 3.0" is stated in my reports published in Iran, China and Turkey. But, unfortunately, the Russian experts and the media they are not caused, though, perhaps because they are in this thread a lot more competent. In short, the essence of "US policy in Central Asia 3.0" to increase the effectiveness of the American presence in the region with a limited amount of the cost of foreign policy efforts. The ultimate goal – increase of indirect influence, limiting the Chinese presence and the maximum reduction of activity of Moscow. Provided, of course, if this activity would be contrary to the interests of the United States".

"In fact – is formulated, and partly already implemented a new regional challenge for Russia. How aware of his Moscow? I think, insufficient. But this is only half the problem. Because there is another question – whether Moscow is ready for the challenge to respond adequately? Here the situation is quite sad. For Russia the region is very important. If you want to – this is our "strategic depth". But the situation is in full conformity with the saying "and want, and prickly, and no money, but you stay there".

In the current crisis in the economy and in the international arena – Russia has no foreign reserves of capacity that could be directed at enhancing policy in Central Asia".

"Soft power" Moscow, about which much has been said openly fails, degenerated into a "feeder" for local activists and Moscow "experts." For a number of reasons never articulated a consolidated Russian-Chinese approach to the region. Plus the conflict with Turkey, plus the Russian "ignore" the interests of Iran, plus the inadequacy of migration policies. And so on and so forth. The result – the interest is there, but political will and resources to defending them are missing, Russia's policy in the region or is of a reflex nature, or comes from some "alternative vision". It is a sad fact, said the orientalist, expert on Middle East.

Igor Pankratenko


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