Staunton, June 6 – Moscow has worked hard to maintain military bases in Central Asia and to promote the membership of the region’s countries in the Organization for the Collective Security Treaty and the Eurasian Economic Union, but neither the one nor the other has given it the capacity to keep the Central Asian states from clashing over borders and other issues.
That is especially worrisome to Russian leaders for two reasons, Moscow commentator Irina Dhorbanidze says. On the one hand, it means that the organizations Russia has promoted are failing to promote a multilateral approach in response to regional threats emanating from Afghanistan (rosbalt.ru/world/2022/06/07/1961349.html).
And on the other – and this is a vastly more serious concern – it is raising questions about how much influence Moscow can expect to have on former Soviet republics via such means as military bases and international organizations. Only complete occupation would seem to promise Russia relief, but such an approach is almost certainly beyond Moscow’s capacity.
Consequently, Putin’s plans for the restoration of a Moscow-centric empire are foundering not only on the battlefields of Ukraine but in the capitals and along the borders of Central Asian countries as well.