Search RFE/RL

Central Asia: Not Russia’s Backyard But Still Russia’s Neighbor

It has been more than 30 years since the five Central Asian states became independent, yet the term “Russia’s backyard” is often still used by some people.

It has been more than 30 years since the five Central Asian states became independent, yet the term “Russia’s backyard” is often still used by some people, including Western media, when reporting on the region. Understandably, many in Central Asia find this way of describing their region offensive. Yet Russia remains a neighbor and a country with unique influence in Central Asia. How far has Central Asia come in being independent from Russia and what are some of the ties that still bind the region to its former colonizer? Joining host Bruce Pannier to discuss the ebb and flow of Central Asia’s relations with Russia in the last two years are guests Johan Engvall, an analyst at the Stockholm Center for Eastern European Studies; Navbahor Imamova, veteran correspondent for the Uzbek Service at Voice of America, and Temur Umarov, a fellow at the Carnegie Russia-Eurasia Center in Berlin.

Majlis podcast

Latest Episodes

Each week, host Bruce Pannier welcomes a panel of expert guests to discuss significant political developments and pressing social issues affecting the nations of Central Asia.

Clamping Down On Religious Freedom In Central Asia

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) just released its annual report on freedom of religion in the world.

British Foreign Secretary Cameron Visits Central Asia

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron just completed an official trip to all five Central Asian states.

Are Tajik Government Policies Helping Create Terrorists?

Can an authoritarian government’s policies contribute to its citizens becoming terrorists?

Tajiks In Russia Living In Fear After Moscow Terrorist Attack

Russian security forces arrested several Tajik citizens in the wake of the March 22 attack on the Crocus City Hall outside Moscow that left more than 140 dead.

Turkmenistan’s Search For New Gas Markets

In the first two weeks of March, Turkmenistan has been unusually active in promoting its potential as a natural-gas supplier.

Death, Detention, Deportation: The Plight of Karakalpak Activists

Karakalpak activists are experiencing problems in Kazakhstan and in Europe.

Kloop’s Closure: A Bad Omen For Independent Kyrgyz Media?

A court in Kyrgyzstan ordered the closure of Kloop Media on February 9.

Huge EU Investment Program Looks To Expand Middle Corridor To Central Asia

On January 29-30, Brussels hosted an Investors Forum for European Union-Central Asia Transport Connectivity.

Subscribe to the Central Asia in Focus Newsletter

RFE/RL’s Central Asia in Focus newsletter delivers the latest news and insights direct to your inbox.

By clicking above to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to our marketing platform, Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices.