Multi-Vectoral Approach as the Key Model of Central Asian Countries' Foreign Policy

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-12-104-115
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23 Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.

Received 16.06.2023. Revised 26.07.2023. Accepted 02.10.2023.

Acknowledgements. The article was prepared as a part of the project “Post-Crisis World Order: Challenges and Technologies, Competition and Cooperation” supported by the grant from Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation program for research projects in priority areas of scientific and technological development (Agreement No. 075-15-2020-783).

Abstract. In the context of the conflict in Ukraine and the aggravation of relations between Russia-West and China-West, Central Asia as a strategically important region has acquired additional value in the geopolitical projects of major world players. Recently, we have seen the activation of projects in almost all major countries with global and regional ambitions. China, the USA, the EU and Germany held their summits in the “Central Asia Plus” format in 2023. Central Asian countries use this interest to their maximum advantage. Traditionally, multi-vector is the main foreign policy line prescribed in the official doctrines and strategies of the Central Asian countries. The bet on diversified contacts in the international arena without prioritizing the vector of developing relations with only external player is officially explained by the political elites by the need to maintain equidistance from the main world centers of power in order to obtain investments, technologies, access to markets, and security guarantees. The article explores the impact of four key external players for the region in four important areas of cooperation: the Russian Federation, China, the West and Turkey. Comparing the tasks and challenges facing the states with the opportunities that the multi-vector strategy brings them in reality gives grounds to assert that the multi-vector model looks like an attempt to create a constructivist narrative that is used by the authorities to balance and maneuver between the main centers of power in order to obtain benefits and privileges. An analysis of the assessments of each of the major players in the selected industries shows that, according to the totality of assessments, Russia is the most important partner for the Central Asian countries in terms of the degree of influence and in promoting stability and development of regional states. The second important country is China. The West and Turkey are noticeably inferior to their competitors in terms of their capabilities and influence in the region.

Keywords: Central Asia, Russia, China, multi-vector, constructivism, neorealism, geopolitics, the “Big Game”, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan


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For citation:
Pritchin S. Multi-Vectoral Approach as the Key Model of Central Asian Countries' Foreign Policy. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2023, vol. 67, no. 12, pp. 104-115. EDN: OMSWVP

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