Ever further from Moscow. Russia's stance on Central Asia
The post-Soviet countries of Central Asia are important for Moscow as a potential source of danger; as a site of its relationships with China, the West and the Islamic world; and not least as a space covered by Russia’s integration initiatives. Since the collapse of the USSR, Russian influence in this region has undergone a far-reaching erosion. The Kremlin’s consistent actions to build up the Eurasian Union, as well as the threat of destabilisation in region after the ISAF operation in Afghanistan winds up in 2014, have slowed down this process, although it is unlikely to be reversed. The current ‘state of possession’ (i.e. the instruments and assets which Russia possesses) still ensures Moscow a minimum level of control over the region, which means that the activity of other global players is limited. This situation may change in tandem with a rise in their ambitions, especially with the possible involvement of China in the field of ‘hard’ security.