Tuesday, 10 March 2015 00:00

The Transfer of Power in Central Asia and Threats to Regional Stability

Written by  Sergei Y. Shenin

It is no secret that authoritarian forms of government are predominant across post-So-viet space, although some are softer than others. In Moscow, Astana, Minsk, Dushanbe, Ashkhabad and so forth across almost the entire region, each country is governed by “strong personalities,” some enlightened, others not. Even today’s Ukraine, which is a little closer to the West in terms of geography and mentality, con-tinues to hesitantly fluctuate between poles of democracy and authoritarianism. Truth be told, these endless oscillations will ultimately mean the death of the country.

Authoritarianism offers uncontested advantages that help the former Soviet repub-lics to find and maintain stability during transition: authoritarian methods are the short-est path to consensus, and facilitate control and governance. The population, mean-while, has no objection to “strong personalities,” tolerating figures that might be over-thrown elsewhere, because they are “saviors of the homeland” – a legend discreetly confirmed by all-pervasive state propaganda. All of history, both recent and more dis-tant, tells us of endless “foreign chicanery,” the permanent state of being “surrounded by enemies,” as if living in a “besieged fortress,” where it is so often necessary to “power through,” “resist and rebuff” and so on, and so forth.