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    Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

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    Viktor
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    Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  Viktor on Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:55 am

    Well after years of flirting with US, Uzbekistan is returning under Russian sphere of influence.

    Most of that has to do with the US decision to retreat from Afganistan and the fear of taliban horde at its borders.

    I guess that Karimov finally realized what could be the outcome

    Vladimir Putin will meet today Islam Karimov in Moscow


    LINK


    And after meeting with Putin

    Karimov Says Russia Provides Stabilizing Presence in Central Asia

    LINK

    So I guess we will not wait long until we see Uzbekistan returning in CSTO from which it flee in 2012

    Pyrrus
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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  Pyrrus on Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:35 pm

    well, 'Voice of Russia' still considers Uzbekistan as the country staying under NATO influence:
    'Putin is also scheduled to hold bilateral talks with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev and Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon. After the CSTO summit in Bishkek, Putin will travel to Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, where he will attend a summit of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) member states (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan). Uzbekistan has officially suspended its membership of both the CSTO and the EurAsEC.'
    Read more: http://english.ruvr.ru/news/2013_05_28/Russian-Kyrgyz-leaders-confer-on-bilateral-relations-5591/
    the source is here (RIA NOVOSTI 28th May):
    http://english.ruvr.ru/news/2013_05_28/Russian-Kyrgyz-leaders-confer-on-bilateral-relations-5591/

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  flamming_python on Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:30 am

    Can't expect anything from Karimov. Not alliances, economic ties, etc... one day we could have them, next day he could break them.
    I mean this guy boiled his enemies alive FFS if you believe what some say.

    The main good thing about him is that he is a known factor. And it's known that he absolutely detests Islamists and is willing to fight them to extermination; he doesn't need any help or encouragement from Russia on this issue.
    In fact Russia has nothing to worry about on its southern flank as long as it has the Uzbek horde keeping tabs on the Talibs Very Happy

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  flamming_python on Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:38 pm

    Big news - Uzbekistan has expressed interest in joining the Customs Union

    http://en.ria.ru/world/20131112/184673289/Uzbekistan-Shows-Cautious-Interest-in-Russia-Led-Trade-Bloc.html
    TASHKENT, November 12 (RIA Novosti) – A senior official in Uzbekistan on Tuesday expressed unusual, if cautious, support for the prospect of his Central Asian nation joining a Russia-led trade bloc.

    Uzbekistan has for many years resisted full participation in economic and military regional alliances, in particular those dominated by its former Soviet overlord.

    Senate speaker Ilgizar Sobirov told journalists during a press conference after a meeting with his visiting Russian counterpart that Uzbekistan was positively disposed to joining the Customs Union, which currently also comprises Kazakhstan and Belarus.

    Russian Senate speaker Valentina Matviyenko said she had sensed interest from Uzbekistan on further cooperation with the Customs Union.

    © Сollage by RIA Novosti

    Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan

    “Our brothers in Uzbekistan, with whom we are so bonded … are of course interested in working in this market,” she told reporters.

    Matviyenko said that any developments ahead would be slow.

    “There is no need to hurry, there is no need to pressure anybody,” she said. “Every country is sovereign, it can decide what is beneficial and in the interests of its government and its people.”

    Leonid Savin, editor of international affairs magazine Geopolitika, told the Voice of Russia radio station that Uzbekistan’s regime is structured in such a way that Sobirov was unlikely to express himself as he did unless it reflected the government’s position.

    “Uzbekistan’s economy is in many ways dependent on Russia as far as exports go. On the other hand, [Russia] could be a good market for the sale of cotton from Uzbekistan,” Savin told Voice of Russia.

    A large number of Uzbek nationals live in Russia for employment, which is often lacking back home.

    In a further signal of opening to Russia, Sobirov said Uzbekistan would create every condition to attract Russian investors.

    Sobirov said the two countries needed to revise economic and business agreements.

    “It is necessary to harmonize existing documents,” he said.

    Matviyenko said that Russian companies have invested more than $6 billion in Uzbekistan over the past five years.

    Despite the warm words Tuesday, ties between the two countries have been strained in recent years.

    Uzbekistan has bridled at Moscow’s regular efforts to build up its military influence over the region.

    In mid-2012, Uzbekistan pulled out of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a military alliance built along the lines of NATO that draws together several post-Soviet states.

    One of the biggest investors in Uzbekistan, Russian-owned telecommunications giant MTS, last year found its subsidiary being squeezed out after a series of financially punitive government investigations that the company described as a “shakedown.”

    In the wake of the terrorist attack on the United States in 2001 and the subsequent military campaign in Afghanistan, Tashkent turned to the West.

    Uzbekistan’s border with Afghanistan has given it a valuable strategic role and the densely populated country of 30 million people has latterly served as a conduit through which the United States and its allies are drawing out their military equipment.

    Criticisms over the country’s poor human rights from the United States and European Union members has led to a gradual cooling in ties, forcing Uzbekistan to seek more intense relationship with, among other nations, China.
    I guess there is no real alternative for them as a country without any special abundance of energy riches. That's 4/5 Central Asian countries in the bag.
    Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have plenty of gas/oil so they can afford to follow an independent path; still though - we'll chalk them up as maybe's. The Azeri position, unofficially, is that Customs Union membership is an open question and pending on how its proven to work a little later down the line and what benefits it brings. I'm sure Turkmenistan has a similar attitude
    Armenia has stated its interests, albeit under pressure from Moscow, and there is some other controversy involved too.
    Even the outgoing Georgian PM has said that it's a possibility in the future.

    Over in Europe we have Moldova and the Ukraine leaving but that's of no consenquence. If Belarus continues to develop faster than them (which it is), gradually the attractiveness of the union will increase.

    And elsewhere, Vietnam, India and New Zealand have expressed strong interest in close co-operation and a free trade agreement with Customs Union members.

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  Pyrrus on Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:17 pm

    flamming_python wrote:
    I guess there is no real alternative for them as a country without any special abundance of energy riches. That's 4/5 Central Asian countries in the bag.
    Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have plenty of gas/oil so they can afford to follow an independent path; still though - we'll chalk them up as maybe's. The Azeri position, unofficially, is that Customs Union membership is an open question and pending on how its proven to work a little later down the line and what benefits it brings. I'm sure Turkmenistan has a similar attitude
    Armenia has stated its interests, albeit under pressure from Moscow, and there is some other controversy involved too.
    Even the outgoing Georgian PM has said that it's a possibility in the future.

    Over in Europe we have Moldova and the Ukraine leaving but that's of no consenquence. If Belarus continues to develop faster than them (which it is), gradually the attractiveness of the union will increase.

    And elsewhere, Vietnam, India and New Zealand have expressed strong interest in close co-operation and a free trade agreement with Customs Union members.
    we shouldn't forget about ties with some Latin American countries: Nicaragua, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru lately, and Cuba should be added as a forgotten ally. But the great and promising future could be Brazil. Who knows?

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  George1 on Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:07 am

    Uzbekistan joins CIS free trade zone

    The Federation Council of Russia has ratified the protocol on Uzbekistan’s membership in the CIS free trade zone. The document includes waivers from import rules that will be in force until December 31, 2020, or until Uzbekistan joins the WTO, RIA Novosti reports.
    The protocol was signed by the CIS Council of Heads of Governments in Minsk on May 31, 2013. Uzbekistan ratified the document in late December 2013.
    The protocol focuses on encouraging Uzbekistan to cooperate within the framework of the CIS, unify trade rules with the Customs Union (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan). The Russian Ministry for Economic Development says that the document will boost universalization of CIS free trade and bilateral trade-economic cooperation of Russia and Uzbekistan.

    The Federation Council of Russia has ratified the protocol on Uzbekistan’s membership in the CIS free trade zone. The document includes waivers from import rules that will be in force until December 31, 2020, or until Uzbekistan joins the WTO, RIA Novosti reports.

    The protocol was signed by the CIS Council of Heads of Governments in Minsk on May 31, 2013. Uzbekistan ratified the document in late December 2013.

    The protocol focuses on encouraging Uzbekistan to cooperate within the framework of the CIS, unify trade rules with the Customs Union (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan). The Russian Ministry for Economic Development says that the document will boost universalization of CIS free trade and bilateral trade-economic cooperation of Russia and Uzbekistan.

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  George1 on Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:09 am

    Russia, Uzbekistan to sign agreement on exportation of spent nuclear fuel

    Russia and Uzbekistan will sign an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in export to Russia and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel on April 9, according to the Rosatom state corporation.

    It is expected that, the document will be signed by Director General of the Rosatom company Sergey Kiriyenko and head of the State Inspectorate for Subsoil, Safe Work in Industry, Mining under the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan Bakhtiyor Gulyamov.

    In accordance with the agreement, Russia will take out SNF of Russian production from the IIN-3M research liquid reactor Tashkent's Photon company as UO2SO4 solution of not more than 30 liters and a mass of uranium enriched in the isotope U-235 not more than five kilograms. The spent fuel will be placed in temporary technological storage in Russia and subsequently processed.

    As a result of implementation of the agreement no highly enriched nuclear fuel will remain in Uzbekistan, Rosatom`s report says.

    As reported earlier, in 2012, Uzbekistan and Russia signed an intergovernmental agreement with Russia on the cooperation of import of spent nuclear fuel from research reactors.

    The irradiated fuel from the Uzbekistan research reactors is imported to Russia for disposal and replaced with low-enriched fuel that is then returned to Uzbekistan, according to the document.

    Uzbekistan is the participant of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapon and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

    A zone, free of nuclear weapons in Central Asia, was established on the initiative of President Islam Karimov at the 48th session of the UN General Assembly on September 1993. This is one of the five zones, free of nuclear weapons on the planet, and the first such zone created in the northern hemisphere, which directly borders the two states possessing nuclear weapons.

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  George1 on Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:14 am

    Putin hopes Russia’s partnership with Uzbekistan will be successful

    DUSHANBE, September 11. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes that partnership of Russia and Uzbekistan will grow on the basis of friendship and mutual respect.

    During his visit to this central Asian republic on Thursday, Putin told his Uzbekistan’s counterpart Islam Karimiv that since the treaty on strategic partnership was signed ten years ago, the two countries had made substantial progress guided by principles of “pragmatism, partnership and mutual respect of interests”.
    Russian President Putin arrives in Tajikistan for SCO summit

    Russia and Uzbekistan maintain contacts at all levels, Putin said. “We strongly believe the mechanism created in recent years will promote our relations in the economy, in the political and humanitarian sphere,” the Russian president said. “Many-centuries-long ties of interaction, friendship and cooperation have cemented our countries together. And I am confident that we will go ahead using this positive capital.”

    Uzbekistan’s Karimov said that their meetings should be regular as the two countries had to solve problems together.

    “Russia is a strategic partner to us," he said. “I think it (strategic partnership) determines that we should get more advice, get more answers on our questions and do not remain bewildered that we may have lost a leading light,” Karimov said. “From this point of view, I think our meetings must be really regular to ask and answer questions and to discuss the issues that, perhaps, are not pleasant for discussion."

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  Firebird on Sat Sep 13, 2014 3:21 pm

    I think signing Uzbekistan up would be very helpful to any enlarged CUstoms Union/Eurasian Union. 30m people and lots of oil/gas.

    Slight drawback is that the Uzbek president does seem a bit of a loon. Plus there are numerous disputes between Uzbekistan and other CIS members. Its also very sad to see the mess that is the remnants of the Aral Sea. Their president seems to be completely in denial and rather than looking to try and deal with it, he seems hell bent on making it worse. The area was once a beautiful place of natural importance.

    A concern might be large numbers of Uzbeks flooding into Russia tho.

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  George1 on Sat Sep 13, 2014 3:35 pm

    Firebird wrote:I think signing Uzbekistan up would be very helpful to any enlarged CUstoms Union/Eurasian Union. 30m people and lots of oil/gas.

    i think these are some reasons why uzbekistan follows a more non-aligned policy, which is a good chance for its president to form the image of the "independent leader" who "denies" (withdraw from CSTO) great power Russia..

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  George1 on Sat Sep 27, 2014 3:25 am

    MTS returns to Uzbekistan

    MOSCOW, September 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s cellular operator MTS is returning to Uzbekistan, the company said on Wednesday.

    Russia’s MTS says work not baffled by Yevtushenkov’s arrest
    MTS will create a joint venture with Uzbekistan. The new company, Universal Mobile Systems (UMS), is planning to start providing mobile communication services in Uzbekistan from December 1, 2014.

    Under the amicable settlement agreement with the Uzbek authorities, MTS has received 50.01% of shares in the joint venture, with 49.99% going to Uzbekistan’s state-controlled Centre of Radio Communication, Broadcasting and Television.

    The joint venture will also use the assets that were previously owned by MTS’ subsidiary in Uzbekistan, Uzdunrobita.

    It has 2G/3G/LTE licenses, a frequency range, a numbering capacity and other permits for operation as well as investment guarantees under Uzbek legislation.

    MTS began to provide communication services in Uzbekistan in 2006 through Uzdunrobita. In the summer of 2012, law enforcement agencies suspected its top managers of theft and tax evasion.

    MTS President Andrei Dubovskov accused Bekhzod Akhmedov, Director-General of MTS Uzbekistan, of unfair management, misuse of funds and embezzlement.

    In April 2013, Uzdunrobita was declared bankrupt. Lawsuits followed, going to international courts. In the spring of 2014, MTS received an inquiry from the U.S. Justice Department which asked for information on the company’s operations in Uzbekistan.

    MTS and the Uzbek authorities are planning to file a petition shortly with the World’s Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, asking it to terminate the arbitration proceedings.

    The amicable settlement agreement is regulated by British law and requires all disputes to be examined by the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris.

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  George1 on Sat Nov 29, 2014 6:11 am

    Uzbekistan, Russian to sign employment agreement

    The Uzbek and Russian officials will start preparing an agreement on employment of Uzbek citizens in Russia in 2015.

    The decision was made at a meeting of the intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation between the two countries in Tashkent on November 26.

    The two sides decided that the relevant departments exchange the proposals on the draft intergovernmental agreement on employment and recruitment of Uzbek citizens in Russia by late 2014.
    They are expected to hold a meeting on relevant issues of labor migration in the first quarter of 2015, including coordination of proposals for rapid exchange of information and mutual opening of representative offices in this area.

    The sides’ positions will be worked out by July 2015. They will form the basis of the forthcoming agreement.

    According to the Russian Federal Migration Service, there are about two million Uzbek citizens in Russia. The unofficial data show that this figure is about four million.

    As of 2013, the volume of money transfer from Russia to Uzbekistan increased by 17.02 percent reaching $6.633 billion.

    Following the meeting, the two countries signed a protocol, which envisages the signing of a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) on the development of Jel gas and condensate field in Uzbekistan before March 1, 2015 by Uzbekistan and Russian Gazprom Company.

    Under the protocol, the intergovernmental commission instructed the Uzbekneftegaz National Holding Company and Gazprom to hold negotiations before December10 on preparations for signing the agreement on the basic principles of developing the Jel field in accordance with the PSA terms.

    The intergovernmental commission also instructed to prepare and conduct interstate procedures and sign a PSA on the Jel field.

    Jel field, discovered in 2009-2011, is located near the Shakhpakhty block which is being operated by Gazprom and is linked to the main gas pipelines. Therefore, the development of the Jel field is cost-effective.

    Relations between Uzbekistan and Russia successfully develop on the basis of the strategic partnership agreement dated June 16, 2004 and the treaty on allied relations dated November 14, 2005.

    The trade turnover between the two countries exceeded $7 billion in 2013 and stood at $4.55 billion in the first nine months of 2014. They have potential to even more increase the volume of bilateral trade.

    Currently, around 85 Russian firms and companies are operating in Uzbekistan. Meanwhile, some 512 enterprises with Uzbek capital operate in Russia.

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  George1 on Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:50 pm

    Is this a sign of re-establishment of cordial relations?

    Russia to Write Off Uzbekistan’s $865 Mln Debt: Finance Minister

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  George1 on Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:56 pm

    Uzbekistan president says Russia plays stabilizing role in Central Asia

    TASHKENT, December 10. /TASS/. Uzbek President Islam Karimov noted Russia’s stabilizing role in Central Asia and named any attempts to neglect Russian-Uzbek common interests unpromising.

    “Russia always had interests in Central Asia, and its presence was always stabilizing,” Karimov said at the start of talks with visiting Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

    The two leaders began narrow-format talks and will later continue with delegations of the two countries joining talks.

    Putin’s visit to Uzbekistan is needed to harmonize positions amid a thorny situation in international affairs, Karimov noted. He suggested debating bilateral relations, including those “which should be changed.”

    Meanwhile, the two leaders should talk about the issues of “ensuring peace and stability in the Central Asian region,” Karimov said. “The Afghan problem is far from being settled finally. We should share views on what will happen after the withdrawal of troops (International Security Assistance Force) from Afghanistan,” he said.

    Moscow and Tashkent have mutual interests in this issue that “cannot be settled without Russia’s positions taken into account,” Karimov noted.

    The Russian president thanked the host for “a cordial atmosphere” which the latter always provides during bilateral contacts. Putin recalled that an election cycle would begin in Uzbekistan in the near future, at first polls in the Legislative Chamber, the lower house of Uzbekistan’s parliament, and then presidential election, and wished Karimov success in these large-scale events.

    “Russia takes confidently the leading place among trade and economic partners (for Uzbekistan) and seeks to keep this position,” Putin noted.

    “Uzbekistan is one of Russian priority partners in the region,” the Russian president noted. “Russia takes this as a matter of fact, because Uzbekistan is the largest country (in Central Asia),” the Russian leader added.

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  George1 on Sat May 28, 2016 2:40 pm

    The Implications of Tightening Russia-Uzbekistan Ties

    By improving frosty relations with Tashkent, Moscow can boost its leverage over Central Asia as a whole.

    On March 30, 2016, TASS news agency reported that Russia agreed to pardon 95 percent of Uzbekistan’s outstanding debt to Moscow. This landmark deal was heralded by the Russian state media as a major breakthrough in improving the often-strained relationship between Russia and Uzbekistan.

    Negotiations between Moscow and Tashkent over Soviet-era debt had been suspended for two decades, due to Uzbekistan’s insistence on claiming its share of the Russian Diamond Fund. Due to the opacity of Uzbekistan’s state media and political system, the exact terms of the debt agreement remain shrouded in secrecy.

    Nevertheless, a settlement on this historical dispute is a major U-turn from the nationalist sentiments so frequently voiced by Uzbekistan’s president, Islam Karimov. Karimov has consistently shunned the legacy of Soviet leaders like Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin in his speeches and has expressed his disdain for “Russian imperialism” in all of its forms, from the looting of Uzbekistan’s cultural heritage to a potential Russian military base presence.

    Despite lingering question marks surrounding the debt deal’s terms, Russia’s thaw in relations with Tashkent is a shrewd foreign policy decision that will contribute greatly to bolstering Russian leverage over Central Asia for two reasons. First, it will allow Russia to strengthen its economic position relative to China in Central Asia. Second, common security interests between Moscow and Tashkent provide the foundations for a security partnership that could be vital for long-term stability in Eurasia.

    Economic Implications of the Tightened Russia-Uzbekistan Partnership


    Uzbekistan’s weakening economic position provides Russia with an opportunity to consolidate a durable trade partnership with Tashkent. While official and IMF statistics pin Uzbek economic growth levels at 7.5 to 7.8 percent, Bruce Pannier for RFE/RL recently argued that there are serious economic problems behind this favorable growth façade. Rising inflation, a black market charging twice the official rate for the national currency, and difficulties paying state employees all suggest that Uzbekistan is in need of foreign investment.

    By settling a debt dispute with Tashkent that dates back to the early 1990s, Russia has taken its first step toward capitalizing on Uzbekistan’s growing vulnerability. It also allows Russia to harness its competitive advantages relative to its principal trade rivals in Uzbekistan: China and South Korea. These advantages are derived from Russia’s considerable leverage over the Uzbek economy. Three million Uzbek migrant workers live in Russia, and their productivity is responsible for 25 percent of Uzbekistan’s GDP.

    The energy sector promises to be a particularly lucrative source of joint Russia-Uzbekistan investment. In synchrony with its debt forgiveness pledge, Russian natural gas giant Gazprom signed a landmark agreement with Uzbekistan’s state gas company UzbekNefteGaz to purchase 4 billion cubic meters of Uzbek natural gas. While Russia maintains an entrenched energy trade partnership with Kazakhstan, it has historically looked to supplement its ties with Astana with deeper relations with another energy-rich Central Asian partner.

    Turkmenistan was the Kremlin’s trade partner of choice for much of the post-1991 period. But distrust has brewed since Ashgabat alleged that Gazprom exploded its Turkmen pipeline in 2008. The complete suspension of energy linkages with Turkmenistan earlier this year left Russia without a viable alternative partner. Russia’s gas deal with Uzbekistan arrives at a perfect time, as Moscow seeks to fill that void and enhance its stature as an energy superpower.

    Improved relations between Uzbekistan and Russia will also enhance the modest uptick in manufacturing trade linkages between the two countries. Western sanctions against Russia had severe reverberations for Central Asian economies, especially in the manufacturing sector. Automobile sales to Russia from GM Uzbekistan had fallen to one-sixth of their 2012 levels by January 2016, though a subsequent recent 3 month increase (the most consistent growth since the pre-sanctions period) is a positive sign.

    A more liberal flow of investments resulting from the recent debt deal should escalate this improvement. Uzbekistan has ruled out joining the EEU, due to Karimov’s concerns about potential Russian sovereignty violations. But expanded Moscow-Tashkent trade linkages in a diverse array of sectors could allow Uzbekistan to eventually form a trade partnership resembling the association agreement pact the EU recently signed with Ukraine. This development would greatly strengthen Russia’s position as it seeks to prevent China from emerging as the undisputed economic hegemon in Central Asia.

    Security Implications of a Potential Russia-Uzbekistan Thaw


    Closer Russian economic ties with Uzbekistan could also result in tighter bilateral security cooperation. Even though Uzbekistan is a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Russian journalist Sergei Blagov recently noted that Tashkent’s historic reluctance to cooperate with the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has stymied progress toward durable security policy coordination against common threats facing the region.

    Putin’s efforts to restrict the intake of or pressure Uzbek guest workers into leaving Russia could give Uzbekistan the impetus it needs to change its policy towards the CSTO. In order to pander to nationalist anti-immigrant sentiments in Russia during a time of economic recession, and restrict the prospect of radicalization from Islamic immigrants, Putin has imposed Russian-language tests on new migrants and denied entry to 1.5 million migrants from 2013-2015 for previously tolerated immigration law violations.

    As a result of these restrictions, the Uzbek migrant population declined by 17 percent in 2015. This trend is very problematic for Karimov, as job opportunities in Uzbekistan that provide the quality of life guest workers have become accustomed to in Russia are scarce. These discontented workers could become attracted to liberal or Islamic extremist organizations, undermining Karimov’s regime security. This is an outcome that both Moscow and Tashkent would seek to avoid. And the fear of instability in Uzbekistan could also be a catalyst for deeper security cooperation and/or a deal to prevent a mass exodus of Uzbek migrant workers from Russia.

    In tandem with improved bilateral economic ties, Uzbekistan’s rhetorical willingness to cooperate with Russia on combating Islamic extremism has expanded over time. In December 2014, Karimov asked Putin for Russian military assistance in combating ISIS. He also praised Russian military forces in Central Asia for their role in preserving regional peace and security. Uzbekistan has also mirrored Russia’s hardline anti-Islamist stance, with the arrest of at least 200 migrant workers returning home in November 2015, demonstrating its commitment to pre-empting possible domestic terrorism.

    In addition to improved counter-terrorism cooperation, Uzbekistan has a vested interest in cooperating with Russia to ensure that its borders with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan remain secure. After Kyrgyzstan sought assistance from the CSTO in March 2016, Uzbekistan agreed to withdraw troops from the border town of Chalasart. This resolved the diplomatic crisis precipitated by an Uzbek military deployment to Chalasart, which had resulted in the shutdown of Kyrgyzstan’s border with Uzbekistan.

    Political instability in Tajikistan also poses a threat to Uzbekistan’s security, due to the strained relations between the two countries. The presence of Russian peacekeepers in Tajikistan is reassuring for Uzbekistan. As Dushanbe’s economic viability and Rahmon’s regime security depend so greatly on Moscow’s assistance, Russia can use its strengthened relationship with Uzbekistan to deter a flare-up of tensions between the two countries.

    Uzbek officials have also been critical of NATO’s swift withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. The recent Taliban strike in Kaldor, near Uzbekistan’s eastern border with Afghanistan is yet another reminder of the need for a stable military presence in Afghanistan to restrict the spillover of terrorism. In light of these lingering threats, Russia’s greater willingness to intervene militarily to pre-empt security crises could enhance its stature amongst Uzbek officials fearful of growing instability in Central Asia.

    However, as Catherine Putz noted in her recent article for The Diplomat, Uzbekistan has been opposed to SCO involvement in Afghanistan, but is open to Russian peacekeepers operating outside the SCO umbrella. These demands will have to be reconciled for durable cooperation between Moscow and Tashkent on Afghanistan to become a reality.

    Despite many lingering sources of disagreement, Russia’s decision to thaw relations with Uzbekistan through debt forgiveness is a vital step toward expanding its influence in Central Asia. In addition to consolidating an economic partnership with Tashkent, a host of common security concerns have the potential to make Uzbekistan a valuable strategic ally for Russia in the region, should the normalization process continue. While Russia’s efforts to build a viable EEU have gained widespread coverage, this much more subtle, under-the-radar diplomatic gesture from Putin to Karimov might end up having even greater implications for Eurasian security and Russian geopolitical influence in the years to come.

    Samuel Ramani is an MPhil student in Russian and East European Studies at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, specializing in post-1991 Russian foreign policy. He writes regularly for the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Kyiv Post and his work has been featured in the Moscow Times, Carnegie Endowment, and Hudson Institute amongst others.

    http://thediplomat.com/2016/05/the-implications-of-tightening-russia-uzbekistan-ties/


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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  Khepesh on Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:39 pm

    Karimov died, so eyes on Tashkent to see if there is power struggle, increased activity at American embassy etc etc... http://www.fergananews.com/news/25235

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  George1 on Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:52 pm

    Khepesh wrote:Karimov died, so eyes on Tashkent to see if there is power struggle, increased activity at American embassy etc etc...    http://www.fergananews.com/news/25235

    Do we have any info on possible successor?


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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  Khepesh on Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:47 am

    Probably head of government Shavkat Mirziyoev. However, tho it was one of Karimov's daughters who announced he was dead, Dmitry Peskov has denied knowledge of his death. One fact is known for certain, and that is that three days ago he had a severe stroke and is in coma. At 78 years he is unlikely to survive, if he is not in fact already dead.

    Edit: Ridiculous confusion over this, with some media saying he is alive and carrying reports by Duma officials saying he will recover, all will be well, bla bla bla, while others publish articles speculating on who will replace him. Cutting thru all the crap it seems he died yesterday at 1535 Moscow and his death will be officially announced tomorrow. But really this nonsense is not surprising when long time leader of any country dies. I think four days before death of Stalin was announced, then Brezhnev's longest and worst "cold" in history. But I guess nobody dies until Swan Lake on TV....


    Last edited by Khepesh on Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:21 am; edited 1 time in total

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  par far on Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:33 pm

    What is Russia here to get more influence, Russia needs to be right in the thick of this and a friendly government.

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  Khepesh on Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:20 am

    It seems that Karimov is actually dead and that the date and time of 1535 Msk is when he was declared brain dead, the nonsense about him still being alive is because his bodily functions are worked by life support, and semantics are engaged in, probably due to perceived threats from opposition. All stupid and paranoid IMO, and who knows if he will be kept "alive" for 8 years like Ariel Sharon, or 92 like Lenin. Today it was Mirziyoev taking Karimov's place at ceremony on Independance Square in Tashkent, so presumably he is the successor, but there is still doubt and Karimov's daughters are still a factor in any potential power struggle.

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  George1 on Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:25 pm

    Khepesh wrote:It seems that Karimov is actually dead and that the date and time of 1535 Msk is when he was declared brain dead, the nonsense about him still being alive is because his bodily functions are worked by life support, and semantics are engaged in, probably due to perceived threats from opposition. All stupid and paranoid IMO, and who knows if he will be kept "alive" for 8 years like Ariel Sharon, or 92 like Lenin. Today it was Mirziyoev taking Karimov's place at ceremony on Independance Square in Tashkent, so presumably he is the successor, but there is still doubt and Karimov's daughters are still a factor in any potential power struggle.

    Shavkat Mirziyoyev is considered pro-russian, nice


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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  Khepesh on Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:56 pm

    Still no announcement that he is dead, only denials. However, under Uzbek law only the president can announce that the president is dead. As Uzbekistan is not hereditary monarchy and a new president does not appear at same moment by magic as old president dies, the Tsar is dead, long live the Tsar etc, it can be seen why there is no announcement. It is telling that the eve of Independance Day flower laying ceremony was not properly reported on by Uzbek media. They reported that it took place, but did not show it on TV and did not report on who was present and who laid the flowers, therefore avoiding any mention of why Karimov was not there. Tonight an eve of Independance Day state concert and firework display are cancelled, according to Uzbek media because a football match is being played, a reversal of normal proceedure as when Brezhnev died an ice hockey match was cancelled on TV and replaced by Tchaikovsky. As for who takes over, it would seem that while Karimov's daughters may possibly throw hat in ring, they have been discounted, partly by Karimov himself previously. Otherwise it seems to be between Mirziyoev and deputy prime minister Rustam Azimov, with Mirziyoev seen as much the better man as Azimov is seen as not much more than a gangster. These reports are from Uzbek dissidents in Russia as Uzbek media are silent, and so may not be in themselves 100%, but official Uzbek silence on Karimov except for nonsense such as his Independance Day address is very telling.

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  Khepesh on Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:55 pm

    Update: Preperations for funeral of Karimov in his hometowm of Samarkand have been seen. Funeral possibly on Saturday, official announcement possibly tomorrow.

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  Khepesh on Fri Sep 02, 2016 9:12 am

    Uzbek government statement this morning. "Dear compatriots, it is with a heavy heart that we inform you that in the last day our president has markedly deteriorated, and according to doctors is now in critical condition". At this time network connections to Uzbekistan seem a bit difficult. Lifenews took a screenshot of the announcement before government site seemed to become unavailable. https://life.ru/t/новости/898440/kabmin_uzbiekistana_soobshchil_o_kritichieskom_sostoianii_zdorovia_islama_karimova
    Lenta report on funeral preperations https://lenta.ru/news/2016/09/02/samarkand/

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    Re: Uzbekistan return to Russian sphere of influence

    Post  Khepesh on Fri Sep 02, 2016 2:41 pm

    Uzbek state TV and other media in last hour have pulled all adverts being shown and replaced normal TV shows with documentaries about history of Uzbekistan. Not long before graven faced announcer and Swan Lake....

    It's a bit of a clown show as even the admin of a very pro Karimov FB page that had been trying to prove he was still alive and well, has now admitted that he is dead, but says nobody dare admit this in Uzbekistan. Peskov has again today said that there is no info that he is dead, yet Turkish prime minister has given his condolences to Uzbek people on death of Karimov, https://life.ru/t/новости/898642/priemier_turtsii_vyrazil_sobolieznovaniia_v_sviazi_so_smiertiu_islama_karimova and in Samarkand the preperations for his funeral cannot be hidden they are so obvious. I suspect it might be like this when Nazarbayev goes, and perhaps even in some years for Lukashenko, but a long time yet for him I think, and longer the better IMO.

    Update: President of Tajikistan and prime minister of Kyrgyzstan flying into Uzbekistan tomorrow, Nazarbayev breaking visit to China and also flying in. Samarkand airspace to be closed tomorrow. And officially he is still alive

    Ah, he died now, probably from effects of being in morgue freezer for five days....  http://www.interfax.ru/world/526441

    Update: A miracle! Karimov rose from the dead and is now alive as Uzbek government retract statement that he died and remove page from their site, which is still almost impossible to access https://www.gov.uz/uz

    I give up on this.

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