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Russia: Central Asia
Country Study > Chapter 8 > Foreign Relations > Regional Policies > The Near Abroad > Central Asia

CENTRAL ASIA


In Tajikistan, oppositionist forces ousted the procommunist government in September 1992. Strong circumstantial evidence indicates that Russian forces assisted in the routing of the Tajikistani coalition government three months later. In 1993 several agreements formalized Russian military assistance. That year the new Tajikistani government deployed about 24,000 CIS peacekeeping troops from Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan (the majority of them Russian) along Tajikistani borders and at strategic sites. In late 1993, Tajikistan agreed to Russia's conditions on joining the ruble zone, including giving Russia control over monetary and fiscal policy, in return for subsidies. Tajikistan and Russia signed a cease-fire agreement in September 1994, but Tajikistani settlement talks, held under UN supervision with close Russian participation, remained inconclusive as of mid-1996. A small team of temporary UN military observers deployed in Tajikistan after the cease-fire agreement reported cooperative relations with CIS troops.

In Kazakhstan in the mid-1990s, ethnic tensions increased between the Kazaks and the large minority population of Slavs (Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians) located primarily in northern areas of Kazakhstan. The two groups represented an approximately equal share of the population, and Kazak president Nursultan Nazarbayev did a skillful job of balancing ethnic needs. He addressed many ethnic Russians' concerns while pushing language and other policies that were in the interests of the Kazak population. He resisted Russia's pressure to grant ethnic Russians dual citizenship; the legislature elected in 1995 contained a majority of ethnic Kazaks. In 1993 Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan introduced their own national currencies rather than accept Russia's onerous conditions for membership in the ruble zone. Kazakhstan also defied Russian pressure on its vital fuel industry by seeking new pipeline routes that Russia could not control. Nevertheless, for all five Central Asian republics, cooperation with Russia remains an essential element of economic and military policy.

In 1995 Yeltsin achieved a customs union with Belarus that later included Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. In March 1996, a new treaty among the four countries strengthened the terms of their economic integration. That treaty was part of Yeltsin's presidential campaign effort to show that he advocated gradual and voluntary integration among CIS members, in contrast to the threatening gestures of the State Duma and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. However, an April 1996 agreement between Russia and Belarus to set a timetable for closely coordinating their governments and foreign policies brought opposition from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, which saw the agreement as a danger to their national sovereignty.




Last Updated: July 1996


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Russia was first published in 1996. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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