Friday, April 12, 2024

Third Post-Soviet ‘Great Game’ Now Taking Place in Central Asia with Expanded List of Players, Satpayev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 10 – In the 19th century, Russia and Britain struggled for influence in Central Asia, a conflict in the shadows that historians now refer to as “the Great Game.” Since the collapse of Soviet power in 1991, the region has passed through two “great games” and is now in the midst of a third, Dosym Satpayev says.

            The Kazakh political analyst says the first post-Soviet great game took place between 1991 and 2001, the second between September 11 and 2021 when the US introduced and then pulled forces from Afghanistan; and the third after Putin invaded Ukraine ( and

            According to Satpayev, the current phase of the great game involves Russia, China, the US, the EU, Turkey, India, Afghanistan and the Arab world and has as its focal points six major issues:

1.     Intensified competition between these various countries for access to raw materials and especially rare earth minerals;

2.     Chinese efforts to become the paramount power as far as consumer goods are concerned;

3.     Cooperation and competition among the countries of the region in the development of transportation corridors;

4.     Increased Russian economic presence as part of Moscow’s turn to the east;

5.     Intensified competition between Turkey and the Arab countries for economic, political and religious influence in the region; and

6.     Given increasing water shortages, intensified competition for access to and use of transborder rivers.

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