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THE AUTHORS
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Oleg Panfilov,
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panfilov[at]cjes.ru

Dmitry Alyaev,



,
Vyacheslav Tairov (Almaty)


The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, again spoke of the need to create a Union of Central Asian States, the idea of ​​which he had voiced before. Will the new appeal to the old topic of the union of states of the region be able to live longer than a few days?,
Nursultan Nazarbayev has the image of an integrator of the post-Soviet space, and Kazakhstan has a country that is open to participation in various kinds of associations. Therefore, Nazarbayev has for several years already proposed creating a union of the countries of Central Asia. So, for example, this week, speaking to television journalists in Astana, Nursultan Nazarbayev returned to those of the Central Asian union. “God himself commanded: 55 million people, there is no barrier in language, a complementary economy, in the same space transport, energy ties. This region can fully provide itself with food, it can fully provide itself with energy, and so on. Even the market would be self-sufficient. The question is, what else do you want? We respect each other, the population will simply benefit from this, ”said the President of Kazakhstan.
Central Asian countries on the way to each other

The President of Kazakhstan, proposing to create a union of the states of Central Asia, notes two important aspects: first, the union should be built on the economic relations of countries, secondly, the creation of a community should not lead to the loss of independence by states.,
However, such seemingly interesting prospects seem to be of little interest to the states of the region. The first attempts to create an economic union of the Central Asian countries took place back in the 1990s, when the Central Asian Economic Community Organization was created one after another, which later transformed into the Central Asian Cooperation Organization (CACO). Citizens of the four countries that were members of these associations (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) had to hope for early economic prosperity, thanks to the steps taken by their leaders. But the declarations on the formation of a common market remained declarations, and the work of the organization was reduced to countless consultations between foreign ministers and presidents.
The impulse of the organization’s work should have been given by Russia's entry into OCAC, which occurred in the fall of 2004. However, the organization not only did not receive an impulse, but simply decided to merge into another economic structure. In the fall of 2005, CACO merged with the Eurasian Economic Community. This happened after Uzbekistan decided to join EurAsEC, which drastically changed its external course after the Andijan events. Duplication of the functions of two organizations, in which the same states were members (in EurAsEC, apart from Central Asian states and Russia, Belarus is also a member), has become meaningless.

At present, there is no association in the region that would include only Central Asian countries. In fact, the countries of the region, with the exception of Kazakhstan, and do not show a serious desire to have such a union.,
Kazakhstan business is everywhere
The four countries of the region, which together are members of EurAsEC, are also far apart, as, for example, Kyrgyzstan from the United States. The difference is that Bishkek and Washington have a strategy of relations with each other, and the Central Asian countries have only solid declarations with each other.

There are many explanations for this situation. One of them is the reluctance of the countries of the region to yield to each other or to allow a neighbor too close to their resources. The level of distrust in the region is extremely high. With a declared openness for all investors, the countries of the region are closed to their closest neighbors, sometimes even hostile towards them.
President Nazarbayev, speaking of the economic union of the countries of the region, notes opportunities for neighbors. “Kazakhstan can invest in our neighbors, can help in raising their economies, can share their example. This is our objective primacy in this regard, ”said the head of Kazakhstan, in particular.
The reality is that Kazakhstan’s business is now very little represented in Central Asian countries. In a situation where investments in the nearest neighbors are either risky or unprofitable because of the political games around them, Kazakhstan’s business is looking in the direction of other countries, investing money, for example, in Georgia, for which Kazakhstan has become one of the main investors in just one -two years. Information about Kazakhstan’s investments in Uzbekistan, for example, is extremely difficult to find. The main reason is that there is practically no such investment. Kazakhstani state and business structures are afraid to invest in Uzbekistan due to the lack of serious guarantees of long-term business and fears of a possible change of power and destabilization of the situation that may follow.

The situation is different in Kyrgyzstan. Kazakhstan's business, which willingly engaged in business projects in this country, is in a “hanging state” because of the unstable political situation. Kazakh banks, which rapidly opened their branches and acquired banks in Kyrgyzstan, are now inclined to act more cautiously. When the political situation stabilizes, the mood of Kazakhstan’s business may also change.,
Tajikistan has repeatedly noted that it is open to Kazakhstani investments, expressed willingness to provide security guarantees for invested funds. At the same time, there is another problem in this country - not only Kazakhstan, but also Russia and Iran strives for the Tajik market. The planned construction of hydraulic structures, aluminum plants is beneficial to several players at once. And the long negotiations are the result not only of the fact that building these objects is expensive, but also of the fact that Dushanbe wants to find the best partner, while at the same time playing a multi-pass game with a periodic change of guidelines and adjustment of sympathies.
Communications interference

The inability and unwillingness to negotiate make the Central Asian region a place not of friendship, but of separation. The countries of the region not only do not become closer to each other, but, on the contrary, are increasingly moving away. So, because of the confusion inside the country, the leadership of Kyrgyzstan is not able to devote time to creating alliances. In Uzbekistan at the end of this year, the presidential elections are likely to take place, which may not make changes to the political map of the region, but will force the local authorities to focus exclusively on their preparation and conduct. The new leadership of Turkmenistan is concerned about how to keep the situation in the country in the same sleepy state as under Saparmurat Turkmenbashi.,
And only Kazakhstan, headed by the leading integrator of the CIS, is not going to stop. In late April, Nazarbayev plans to visit Kyrgyzstan, where he is likely to discuss, including, the prospects for the creation of a Central Asian union. Whether the current Kyrgyz authorities will have time to realize them or will they have to start a dialogue with a new one soon, it is not clear. It is not clear how Nazarbayev will be able to convince his Central Asian colleagues to become closer to each other, what arguments he will find. At a press conference in Astana, he himself told reporters: “Why is it not possible for us to have such a union, I still just can’t understand.”
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