Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Given Russian Response to Terrorist Attack, Central Asian Countries are ‘Moving Away' from Moscow, Gorevoy Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 13 – Moscow has always assumed that the Central Asian countries would remain in its corner because of their authoritarian leaderships and the lack of an obvious place to go, but following Moscow’s reaction to the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack, the five countries of that region are “moving away from Russia,” Ruslan Gorevoy says.

            Indeed, the Novaya Versiya commentator argues, it is now possible to say that Moscow has “lost” Central Asia in much the same way that it has lost the Baltic countries and Moldova and that, if the Kremlin doesn’t change course and do so quickly, the problems arising from that loss will be even greater (

            Moscow has no one to blame but itself, Gorevoy suggests. Its flaunting of its use of terror against Central Asian executors of the attack, the racist comments of senior officials like Aleksandr Bastrykhin about Central Asian migrants as enemies of Russia, and the Russian government's moves to expel those migrants have outraged both the governments and peoples of the region.

            Senior Tajikistan officials, for example,  denounced the Russian use of terror against their nationals publicly and to the face of their Russian counterparts (

            But even more, Gorevoy continues, some are sending arms to Ukraine, refusing to honor Russian credit cards lest they run afoul of Western sanctions, and planning to hold joint military exercises in June “without Russian participation and not in an OCST format” (

            It is going to be extremely difficult for Moscow to reverse course, he says; but unless it does, the Central Asian countries are going to leave Russia’s orbit probably forever, something Central Asian analysts concur with ( and that China, Turkey and the West are certain to exploit.

            Indeed, the Moscow commentator suggests that this may be the most important fallout from the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack, fallout of enormous geopolitical importance that happened because Moscow officials played to and played up the nationalist, even racist attitudes of many Russians about Central Asians.

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