Central Asia: Russian Influence Overestimated -- Expert
A leading Russian political scientist asserts that the Kremlin’s influence in Central Asia is exaggerated and Moscow’s regional impact is likely to “become less and less,” despite President-elect Vladimir Putin’s desire to expand Russia’s role in Eurasia.
Alexey Malashenko, a scholar-in-residence at the Carnegie Center in Moscow, offered an iconoclastic analysis of Russia’s position in Central Asia. He spoke at the inaugural March 8 seminar of the new Central Asia Program at George Washington University in the American capital.
Malashenko described Russia’s political, economic and cultural influence as being in a “situation of decline” in Central Asia, adding that Russian leaders have failed to appreciate changing realities in the region. “In some Russian brains” the same views persist as existed “15 years ago, 20 years ago, even 10 years ago,” Malashenko said.
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Richard Weitz is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC.