How many independent states of present-day Central Asia exist, and they have existed for 16 years already, the question of creating some kind of integrated space of the region is being discussed for the same time. And not only in the Central Asian countries themselves. Extra-regional forces are also deeply concerned about the creation of a single space in the region.
In the countries of Central Asia themselves, the creation of a single integrated space seems to be an effective tool for solving pressing socio-economic problems, reducing the excessive pressure of large states on the processes developing in the region, preventing destabilization of the situation in each of the countries of the region and increasing their resistance to negative influences from outside.
For extra-regional forces, for example, for Western countries, the creation of a single space of Central Asia is interesting from the point of view of ensuring their own political and non-political interests. For example, from the point of view of providing access to the resources of the region and weakening the position and influence of Russia. Approximately for the same reasons, but with a different sign, Russia itself is interested in creating some kind of integrated space in Central Asia.
Most recently, the problem of Central Asian integration was actualized by the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who believes that “... the best would be to create an alliance of Central Asian states, to which I include Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Just because all over the world there is such a process ... God himself told us to unite: 55 million people, no language barriers, a complementary economy, we are in the same space, there are transport links, energy. This region can provide itself with food, without entering foreign markets, it can fully provide itself with energy and so on. What else does? We respect each other. The population will only benefit from this. ”
This raises a number of questions. And the first of them can be formulated like this - are there real prerequisites for the formation of a new single regional space? Proponents of the early integration of Central Asian states believe that a set of basic necessary prerequisites already exists for the formation of such a space in Central Asia. They are listed in the quoted statement of Nazarbayev. Some add to this list such a factor as the common historical fate of the countries and peoples of the region.
Indeed, the republics of the former Soviet Central Asia are neighbors. But it still does not say anything. Tajikistan, for example, is much more a neighbor of Afghanistan and China than of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. With the first he has a common border. At the same time, at the state level, Tajikistan has far fewer problems with them than with some of the post-Soviet neighbors in the region. The current economies of the countries of the region can not be called complementary. One can speak about the kinship of cultures only if they are based on a common civilization platform.
The cultures of the peoples of the region today are based on at least two such platforms - Islamic and Soviet. But it seems that the forces capable of determining the development of the countries of the region are stubbornly striving to get as far away as possible from both of them. At the same time, the peoples of Central Asia share the belonging of some to a sedentary Iranian-centrist civilization, others to the Turkic-nomadic, the third to some combination of both. In this regard, in general, between them, in general, not very much. In terms of the language, they are more united in the Russian introduced into the region than in any other language, which is gradually losing ground.
Not everything is fine and clear and with the common historical destinies of countries and peoples of the region. Here, at a minimum, it is necessary to determine what is meant by this community. Obviously, the leaders of each Central Asian country, and ultimately, depend on them the fate of the integration project, their own and far from similar vision and understanding of this very “common historical destiny of the region”. From all that has been said, only one thing follows - these prerequisites cannot in any way serve as the real basis for the development of integration processes in the region.
There is such a question - to what extent the formation of a single integrated space really meets the national, let's say of Tajikistan and Tajiks, interests. At least in the present and in the foreseeable future? Is it really obvious and, more importantly, is a positive answer acceptable to them?
For Tajikistan and Tajiks, the creation of an integrated, without state borders, space in Central Asia, in conditions where the formation of the modern Tajik nation is just beginning to develop in real life and is far from being soon, is fraught with far from positive consequences. In particular, the possibility of the spread on the territory of the republic of such a phenomenon as the process of “de-jejikization” of territories historically inhabited by Tajiks, but after the national-territorial demarcation of Central Asia in the mid-20s of the last century remained beyond the modern borders of the republic This prospect alone, and it is quite real, makes the idea of real regional integration as unacceptable for Tajiks.
Creating an integrated, i.e. The united, merged together space in Central Asia will necessarily be accompanied by a voluntary, and perhaps not entirely, refusal of each integrating state from part of its sovereignty in favor of supranational bodies. As the integration process develops, these bodies will strive to expand their powers by transferring to them the greater part of their sovereignty by national states.
In the conditions of Central Asia, early integration will lead to the fact that supranational bodies will reflect, above all, the national interests of states with a stronger economy. From this point of view, Tajikistan cannot compete with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan. Thus, it is completely obvious that today hasty integration into a single Central Asian space does not at all meet the interests of the republic.
At the same time, the usefulness of the immediate development of integration processes for Kazakhstan itself, as a country and Kazakhs, as an ethnic group, seems to be very problematic. Only a high level and dynamics of economic development is not enough to ensure the security of a Central Asian country as a state and, most importantly, for the ethnic security of its titular population. In the latter case, the number of this ethnos is of no less importance, the level of awareness by it of its ethno-civilizational identity and readiness to firmly defend it.
The current population of Kazakhstan is only 15-16 million people. Of this number of the Kazakhs themselves, a little more than half, and a decent part of this half already has obvious problems with its own ethno-civilizational identity. And this is despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of Kazakhstan’s neighbors are experiencing such problems to a much lesser extent, if at all. And is it not possible under these conditions that the creation of a single integrated space of Central Asia will be just a prelude to the process of ethnic reformatting of Kazakhstan, the process of its repeated, as it once was in Soviet times, “de-Kazakhization”, of course, not physical, but meaning the loss of the Kazakh part of the population of the republic of their ethnic identity?