Soon after the tragic events in Ukraine there has been appeared serious assumptions about the possibility of “Central Asian spring” as well in near future in the Central Asia.The reasons for that are seemed to be enough –beginning with the accession of Kyrgyz Republic into the Customs Union (CU) and ending with the ethnic and religious problems in the region. As a result Kyrgyz Republic is supposed to receive some restrictions and even political pressure by Russia as in the sense of the CU regarding to the internal and external security issues. However to discuss the possible future events that could be take place in Kyrgyzstan it is needed abroad analysis on these issues.
Today’s situation in Kyrgyzstan is quite satisfactory for Russia due to three pivotal causes. The first reason is that Kyrgyz officials especially the head of the state Almazbek Atambaev have made great deal of claims regarding to the advantages of the accession into the Customs Union, stressing that there is no alternative way. The second one is military airbase of the USA is removed from the country (that is considered by Russia as a thread for itself and to the whole region). And finally as a consequence of these events Russian Petrol Company “RosNeft” is embodied with the “Kyrgyz Gaz”, Russian Air Company intends to buy the shares of International Airport “Manas” to compensate the income the state used to receive from the American airbase «Gansi» and the project of the station “Kambar-Ata” is going on. So, I suppose after Ukraine’s tragedy the more investment would be involved as a help to Kyrgyz Republic to accelerate the process of the entry of the country into the Customs Union. These technics of Russia could be evaluated as a soft power.
At this moment there is another kind of problems as a great number of religious and ethnic groups in Kyrgyzstan. Especially, after the series of explosion in Russia by the terrorist groups it is trying to impose on Kyrgyzstan and other Central Asian countries strict politics towards all Islamic religious groups as Russia does. In this sense Russia would be on alert and have a pressure in the name of the peace and security in the region. In Kyrgyzstan there are about three thousands of different religious and more than 80 ethnic groups. Kyrgyzstan has experienced both ethnic and religious problems. For instance, clashesin 2010 between Uzbek and Kyrgyz clearly showed how the chaos in one sphere spill over toanother both under the influence of internal and external factors. As to religious issue it includes religious radicalism, extremism and even terrorism to some extent. For example, there were not so destructive explosion in the supermarket in city of Tokmok without victims, in Bishkek took place taking passengers of autobus hostage and many other operations were prevented.
To sum up, I came to the conclusion that the Influence of Ukraine on Central Asia at whole and especially on Kyrgyzstan is inevitable due to the variety of issues it has. First of all Russia needs to be sure of Kyrgyzstan wouldn’t repeat the scenery of Ukraine and that’s why is using the soft power like the economic aid to accelerate the entry of the country into the CU. And the second issue that scares Russia is religious extremist groups that are active in the South of country, which could be used against Russia in the whole region.
Kulpunai Barakanova, 3rd year student, Department of International Relations, Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
31 May 2014