Panel Presenters

Mubin Abduvaliev is a Visiting Fulbright Scholar at the University of Nebraska Omaha USA. Upon completing his MS Degree at Sumy State University of Ukraine, he earned his PhD degree at the University of Basque Country. He has held positions as a researcher and visiting scholar at the University of George Washington USA, University of L’Aquila Italy, Middlesex University London UK, University of Incarnate Word Texas USA, San Sebastian Business School Spain, and Academy for International Business Officials of China. Dr. Abduvaliev has been invited to lecture at the University of Pisa in Italy, Tennessee State University USA, and Alma Management University Kazakhstan. He has coordinated several projects funded by the European Union, OSI Foundation, American Council for International Education, and U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan.  He is an expert of the Independent Agency for Accreditation and Rating based in Kazakhstan, and editorial board of Journal of Economics and Management Sciences, based in New York, USA. 

Karina Alpayeva is a second year Graduate Student in Political Science and International Relations program at Nazarbayev University. Her research interests include the areas of political economy and political behavior, namely the factors determining foreign direct investment (FDI) in developing countries, China’s investment activity in Central Asia and public perception of investment in Kazakhstan. Currently, she is a research assistant in the research project dedicated to studying the agricultural potential of Kazakhstan for cooperation with China. 

Dilovar Arabjonova is an independent researcher from Uzbekistan. She holds an MA degree in European Studies, Human Rights and Democratization in the Caucasus (Armenia and Georgia) and a BA in Business and Financial Management from the Management Development Institute of Singapore in Tashkent. Currently she works as a researcher at the Central Asia Barometer with a project related to the war in Ukraine.  

Beka Chedia, PhD is an Associate Professor of Political Science at East European University, Tbilisi, Georgia. Dr. Chedia has a long track record of working in media, NGOs, academia, think thanks, research institutions both in Georgia and abroad. He is a country expert for Georgia in a number of global research projects, including in University of Gothenburg, the European University Institute (EUI), The University of St. Gallen, political analyst and writing contributor to several leading think tanks, research centers in Europe and the US. Dr. Chedia was a visiting scholar at several higher educational institutions and think tanks in Europe. He was the recipient of numerous research scholarships, grants or awards from international scientific foundations, international organisations and foreign governments. Dr. Chedia is the author of more than 30 scholarly articles published in various international journals, several dozen analytical articles, policy papers, international research projects and 700 media articles. 

Karina Goulordava is currently completing her Ph.D. in Sociology at Koç University in Istanbul and is affiliated with the Migration Research Center at Koç University (MiReKoc). Her research focuses on studying the linkages between migration and urbanization processes, particularly in Istanbul and Beirut. Previously she completed her Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy at the American University of Beirut. Additionally, she has worked as a practitioner and a researcher in the humanitarian and development sector with MENA and European-based organizations. 

Assylzat Karabayeva is a visiting research scholar at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University. She is also an assistant professor for the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences and the Vice-Dean of Scientific Research at Suleyman Demirel University in Almaty, Kazakhstan. She holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the International University of Japan. Her research focuses mainly on the role of norms (ideas, identity, and culture) in constraining and strengthening region-building processes in Eurasia. She has professional experience working at the Ministry of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, where she was involved in negotiations between the Kazakh government and foreign governments and international institutions, including the WTO, ITC, UNCTAD, WIPO, ASEAN, and the Eurasian Economic Commission. Additionally, she has lecturing experience at Suleyman Demirel University in Almaty, KIMEP University in Almaty, and the International University of Japan in Niigata Prefecture. 

Hamed Kazemzadeh graduated with a Ph.D. East European Studies at the University of Warsaw and an M.A. Conflict Studies at the University of Ottawa. He is currently based in Warsaw and working as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Warsaw, Poland. His research interests include Peace building, Ethnography and Conflict Transformation in the South Caucasus and Eastern Europe, specifically focusing on Pluralism theory in Central Eurasian History. Additionally, he is running the Research Department at the Academic Foundation for Peace-Conflict Studies in Ottawa, Canada. 

Farrukh Khakimov is the Head of the Department on Foreign Policy and Security at the Development Strategy Center, Uzbekistan. He holds an International Master’s degree in International Relations and Security Studies from the University of Glasgow jointly awarded with Dublin City University and Charles University in Prague. Prior to joining the Development Strategy Center, Mr. Khakimov lectured World Politics and Geopolitics at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy and also worked as a research fellow at the Academy of Public Administration and at the Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies under the President of Uzbekistan during 2010-2016. Mr. Khakimov’s areas of  research interest are world politics, geopolitics, Central Asian region and digitalization processes in Central Asia.

Shamshod Khuseynov is a fourth-year student studying Economics and International Studies with a concentration in Post-Soviet Eurasia at Denison University. In the past several years at college, he has conducted several projects related to Tajikistan in the sphere of economics and human mobility.  

Ibrahim Mammadov is a Research Fellow at the Caucasian Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (QAFSAM) and a Young Scholar at the Institute for Development and Diplomacy (IDD). Currently, he is pursuing a Masters of Arts degree in Diplomacy and International Affairs at ADA University, where he also obtained his Bachelor’s degree. His research articles have been published in various platforms, including, which operates under the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR) Central Asia Office, the Politicon platform of the Topchubashov Center, the Institute for Development and Diplomacy Publications, and the Young European Ambassadors Magazine. His main areas of expertise include Post-Soviet Affairs, with a focus on the Central Asian and Southern Caucasus regions, as well as Conflict Resolution and Conflict Studies. 

Jessica Neafie, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Nazarbayev University. Dr. Neafie’s research focuses on various issues, including the impact of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) on the environment, the interactions between society and Multinational Corporations (MNCs), and the impacts of the Chinese Belt and Road initiative on Developing Countries. She also does surveys on public opinion in Central Asia and social media analysis. She has authored a peer-reviewed article for Politikon and International Politics. Her current research projects include an analysis of public opinion of China in Kazakhstan on Twitter and a survey of SDG implementation in Corporations in Kazakhstan. 

Mengxue Peng is currently a second-year master’s student and research assistant in the Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at Carleton University. She is broadly interested in interregional cooperation between the EU and ASEAN, the EU-Canada partnership, and the transatlantic sanctions against Myanmar. Her master research project (MRP) focuses on the interregional cooperation between the EU and ASEAN on non-traditional security issues. Mengxue completed her first master’s degree at the Asia-Europe Institute (AEI), University of Malaya, where she focused on ASEAN regionalism and its cooperation with Asian countries.  

Anel Rashitova is an alumna of Nazarbayev University class of 2022, with a major in Political Science and International Relations and a minor in World Languages and Literature. She has worked as an independent researcher for the Global Mobility of Talents Research Project at Carleton University.

Vera Syrakvash is a Ph.D. student in Sociology at Graduate School for Social Research, Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw (Poland). Her research is focused on feminist digital activism in Belarus and women’s agency and spans issues related to new forms of civil society, hybrid global activism based on solidarity, and global safety and cooperation. As a graduate of a Master’s program in Population and Development, and both as a researcher and practitioner, Vera is also interested in the intersection of social policy and migration, health, and education. While most of her activities have focused on Eastern Europe, she connects to a vast network of NGOs and multi-stakeholder initiatives, such as ‘SheDecides’ and the European Democracy Youth Network.  

Nadezhda Tatkalo holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University. In 2019, she graduated from the OSCE Academy in Bishkek with an MA in Politics and Security. Her work experience encompasses ten years of analytical and research activities at the Institute for Strategic Analysis and Prognosis under Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University, where she currently conducts research on the influence of external actors in Central Asian region. Apart from the Institute’s thematic analyses, her research interests include Islamic revival processes and democratic reform in Kyrgyzstan, including the informal political mechanisms that counter democratization.   

Taalaigul Usonova is a Senior Lecturer in the International Relations Department of the International Ala- Too University in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan where she teaches courses on China’s economy, politics, and foreign policy, Integration processes in Central Asia and CIS, Regionalism in World Politics and European Union and Politics of Developing Countries courses.  She received her MA in International Relations from the Diplomatic Academy of the MFA of Kyrgyzstan and World Economy from the International University of Kyrgyzstan. Taalaigul has been invited to numerous fellowships, guest lectures, seminars, and trainings at various institutions such as the University of Tartu, Adam Mickiewicz University, the Boyma Institute, the UNODC Expert Workshop, and the Eastern European Center for Multiparty Democracy. In 2016, she was awarded a fellowship from the Study of the United States Institute for Scholars in the U.S. Foreign Policy in Washington, DC, USA. She has also presented her research findings at several international conferences, including the Central Eurasian Studies Society, Indiana University, and the University of Groningen. Her research interests include EU Development Aid, regional integration, and democratization processes in Central Asia.

Keynote Presenter 

Prof. Dr. Tanja A. Börzel is professor of political science and holds the Chair for European Integration at the Otto-Suhr-Institute for Political Science, Freie Universität Berlin. She is also director of the Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Script”. Her most important publications include “The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Regionalism” (Oxford University Press 2016, co-edited with Thomas Risse), “Effective Governance Under Anarchy. Institutions, Legitimacy, and Social Trust in Areas of Limited Statehood,” with Thomas Risse (Cambridge University Press 2021), and “Why Noncompliance. The Politics of Law in the European Union” (Cornell University Press 2021). 

Chairs and Discussants 

Crina  Viju-Miljusevic is Associate Professor and Director of the Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at Carleton University. She is also the Associate Director of the Centre for European Studies at Carleton University, and she holds a Jean Monnet Chair in “EU External Relations: Competing Regionalism in Eurasia” funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. Her research interests include the economic effects of different trade policies applied within the EU, US and Canada, European economic integration, and the EU as an external actor. Crina’s current research focuses on the EU trade policy, Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) as well as the EU, Russia and China as competing actors in Eurasia. She has an extensive publication record, including edited or co-edited volumes, and numerous journal articles, book chapters and conference presentations. 

Martin Geiger (PhD, 2010, University of Bonn) is Associate Professor of Politics of Migration and Mobility at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada). He currently leads two multi-country projects on global talent mobility, and is the founding editor of Mobility & Politics (Palgrave Macmillan).  

Vladimir Gorodkov is a first-year Master student at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian studies. He came back to academia after a successful career in international marketing and event management. His academic background includes a Bachelor Degree in Economics and Political Economy from St. Petersburg State University, Russia, and Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.   

Jeff Sahadeo is Professor at the Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at Carleton University.  He is the author of Voices from the Soviet Edge: Southern Migrants in Leningrad and Moscow (2019) and Russian Colonial Society in Tashkent, 1865-1923 (2007).  He has written extensively on the relationship between Russia and the Caucasus/Central Asia and the importance of understanding relationships between the so-called core and periphery. 

David Sichinava is Adjunct Research Professor at the Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at Carleton University. He also works at New York-based opinion polling company Langer Research Associates, where he focuses on international comparative survey projects. Previously, Dr. Sichinava served as a Research Director at CRRC-Georgia, a Tbilisi-based think tank, and was an assistant professor at Tbilisi State University, cross-appointed with the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences and the International School of Economics. His research focuses on the social, spatial and temporal aspects of inequality, the politics of urban development and displacement, and the role of civil society in urban policy.  David is also a co-founder of the Tbilisi-based research initiative Collective Domain. He holds a Ph.D. in Human Geography from Tbilisi State University. 

Presentation Abstracts

Panel 1

“Perceptions of Chinese Threat and Kazakhstani Public Attitudes toward Chinese FDI”

Jessica Neafie, PhD, Assistant Professor, Political Science, Nazarbayev University
Karina Alpayeva, 2nd Year Masters, Political Science, Nazarbayev University

In Central Asia, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has brought the commodity rich region many new economic opportunities and investment projects. Central Asia is filled with countries at various levels of development, largely dependent on extractive industries that China seeks to have access to, while claiming, through the BRI, to also be working to simultaneously develop these countries. However, it’s not apparent that the BRI project is completely welcome by the citizens of these countries who have rising concerns over incoming Chinese investment. Relatively little research has been done on how these concerns over the rise of China may be shaping public attitudes, and what groups tend to have more or less Sinophobic attitudes. This study is designed to examine how concerns about the rise of China may be shaping public attitudes toward foreign direct investment in Kazakhstan. We will test the link between economic threat perceptions and preferences for FDI in Kazakhstan by putting the surveys through a causal mediation analysis to reveal the treatment effects of economic threats.

“Pitfalls of the Russian Image Building within Eurasian Integration Initiatives in Central Asia”

Nadezhda Tatkalo, Institute for Strategic Analysis and Prognosis, Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University

Eurasian Economic Union has been considered Russia’s major integration project since the 1990s. However, the enlargement of the EEU has been mothballed to five countries, which do not show their intent to deeper the integration encompassing political dimension or even creating common currency. The paper is guided by the question whether the pitfalls of Russia’s image building strategy can be the obstacles for preventing Russia to become a major integrator in Central Asia. Drawing upon Saimon Anholt’s theory of place/nation branding, it is argued that Russia does not have a coherent strategy of its image posing itself as a power that recognizes unique paths of state building in Central Asia countering “universal” democratization and acts according to norms of international law. Applying critical discourse analysis methodology, the paper rests on the substantiation of the following statements in support of the argument. First, Russia’s Eurasian integration initiatives since the 2000s are reactions to the internal dynamics in Central Asian states and/or actions of Russia’s geopolitical counterparts in the region. Second, there is an ambiguous discourse in the official documents, Russian mass media, and speeches of Russia’s public officials on common Soviet legacy and recognition of unique state building paths of Central Asian states.


“Regionalism in the South Caucasus: Perspective of Russia’s role in Regional Conflicts Resolution”

Hamed Kazemzadeh, PhD, Adjunct Professor at the Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw

The Second Karabakh War resulted in a significant shift in the regional balance of power, as Russia and Turkey increased their influence to shape the changing geopolitics of the South Caucasus. Then with the beginning of the Ukraine invasion by Russia, resource constraints prevent Russia from playing a dominant role in the South Caucasus. Basically, with the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we are witnessing the change of regionalism of Russians in the South Caucasus region in regional conflicts resolution. The chances of fundamental changes in the area to promote peace remain largely unclear, especially regarding South Ossetia and Abkhazia conflicts in Georgia. This paper will argue that while The war in Ukraine has become an economic and strategic predicament for the Kremlin, it still has no clear and realistic aims and continues to rest on an insufficient and shrinking resource base. The Russian leadership has no strategy for the Southern Caucasus and pays far too little attention to the potentially grave problems there. I will try to present the latest assessment and analysis of Russia’s behaviour in the policy of regionalism in the South Caucasus in order to clarify the prospects for the resolution of regional conflicts.

“New Regional Alignment in the Post-Soviet space: the EU is an Active Player in the Eastern Partnership Countries”

Beka Chedia, PhD, Associate Professor, Political science, East European University (Tbilisi, Georgia)

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the EU began an unexpected process of eastward enlargement. The three countries of the former USSR, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, have begun an immediate process of integration into the EU. The practical alignment of forces in this region is completely changing, if for many years the EU was dominated by Euro skepticism and countries such as Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova were not perceived at all, not only as potential EU members, but in general, for example, Georgia was not considered a European country at all, now the process of rapprochement with the EU of these countries has accelerated incredibly. I will analyze the new role of the EU as a regional player in the post-Soviet region using the example of the Eastern Partnership countries, especially pointing out the very illustrative case of Georgia. I will study and show how the conflicting geographical, cultural and political understanding of Europe as a region has changed over time. This can be especially interesting to demonstrate on the example of Georgia, which, on the one hand, belongs to the Caucasus region, but on the other hand, it is part of the European continent.

“Dynamics of Regional Development in Central Asia and the Format of Multilateral Cooperation “5+1””

Farrukh Khakimov, PhD Candidate, University of World Economy and Diplomacy, Uzbekistan

The overview of the recent literature and trends happening in and around the region reveal that leaders of Central Asian states are committed and willing to consolidate their efforts against growing geopolitical pressure and enhance regional cooperation. These were observed in intra-regional trade growth and frequency of high level visits in the region for the last years.  On other hand the engagement of both global and regional actors in geopolitics of Central Asian region is also intensified. In this vein, so-called “5+1” format of multilateral meetings which includes the five Central Asian states (“5”) and an external partner country (“1”) has become an effective mechanism of balancing external influence and cooperation. Therefore, the presentation will discuss the current geopolitical situation and dynamics of regionalism in Central Asia by emphasizing the “balancing regionalism” processes which helps to understand sometimes successful multi-vector foreign policy objectives of Central Asian states.

Panel 2

“IT Talent Migration and Regional Competition After Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: The Case of Georgia”

Vera Syrakvash, PhD student at The Graduate School for Social Research, Polish Academy of Science, Poland
Karina Goulordava, Ph.D. Student at Koç University, MireKoc Affiliated, Istanbul

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reconfigured regionalism in Eurasia, impacting political and economic spheres. This presentation considers the changes in regional competition through the lens of the IT sector. Russia and Belarus are now excluded from the global IT competition. Ukraine has also been removed from competition as an IT hub since the invasion – just one of many losses incurred by Ukraine due to Russia’s aggression. This paper explores the regional positionality in Georgia and the ability of its nascent IT sector to absorb the Russian and Belarusian IT talent that has arrived in Georgia since February 2022, with many Belarusians arriving in 2020 in the context of political protests in Belarus. Based on semi-structured interviews with Georgia’s IT sector and Russian and Belarusian IT specialists, and a review of media coverage, this contribution questions Georgia as a “space of arrival” and a safe “talent hub” meeting the needs of a global talent force, and providing relocated Belarusian and Russian IT specialists the chance to locally connect, immerse, and become part of Georgia’s IT ecosystem. Alternatively, this presentation questions if Georgia is merely a “space of transition”  for Russian and Belarusian IT specialists. Within this migration pattern, Georgia may be utilized as a strategic transition space during a prolonged period of uncertainty and in a context where Russian and Belarusian IT specialists face restrictions on access to both physical and digital spaces.

Reviving Regionalism in Central Asia: The Role of Recent IT Talent Influxes”

Anel Rashitova – Independent researcher, Kazakhstan
Dilovar Arabjonova – Independent researcher, Uzbekistan

The Eurasian region hosts and is at the crossroads of two very different economically and value-oriented projects of regionalism – the European Union and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The latter has recently ceased to meet the new demands of its members. One of the catalysts for this discontent was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, resulting in economic restrictions that spread to CIS countries. Also, due to partial military mobilization, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan experienced a mass influx of skilled individuals, many of them working in IT (information technology). In our view, these recent migration waves, along with the recent growth of IT and technology sectors in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan might offer an unexpected “window of opportunity” and help to foster a very own, new narrative and form of Central Asian regionalism.  In our contribution, we will try to examine these recent developments and the potential of a new Central Asian regionalism by analyzing recent government decisions, the responses and reactions of government and industry stakeholders, and the viewpoints of IT specialists. Our talk will identify and emphasize the importance of country differences in policymaking, the geopolitical considerations involved and requiring a delicate balance act, and highlight the potential benefits that local economies and societies might derive from the unexpected and unparalleled influx of IT talents.

“Overlooked Considerations of Human Mobility: A Case Study of  Labor Migration Between Tajikistan and Russia”

Shamshod Khuseynov, Student, Economics/ International Studies, Denison University

Economic circumstances often consume discourse on labor migration, while neglecting intermediate factors. Scholarship on human mobility often attributes labor migration solely to financial circumstances, ignoring other determinants of population movement. This paper strives to illuminate the role of additional elements in labor mobility by examining migration flows between Tajikistan and Russia. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia has transformed into an economic necessity for Tajiks as individuals seek to move north to improve their financial standing. Although numbers illustrate the drastic nature of Tajik labor migration, they do not expose the specific determinants of population movement. However, this examination explores several under-studied factors that reveal labor mobility by synthesizing numerous forms of primary and secondary qualitative literature. The paper highlights the complex decision-making process of migrants by analyzing the implications of the individuals’ level of Russian, obtaining citizenship, role and knowledge of entry barriers, and inadequate business connections that translate into flows between Tajikistan and Russia. Through the case study, the research depicts the hardships migrants across the world endure that force them to serve as the “ball” in this transnational game of tennis.

“The EU programmes in fostering sustainable regional security cooperation in Central Asia”

Taalaigul Usonova, Senior Lecturer, International Relations Department, International Ala- Too University, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Ailuna Shamurzaeva, Independent Researcher

Today Afghanistan is seen not as a source of threat but the linkage to the south for the Central Asian region due to more consolidation and willingness to seek regional solutions to the security issues. However, challenges caused by Afghanistan’s instability require regional cooperation in the security field among the Central Asian States. Regional security is a priority interest for the EU thus Central Asia became an increasingly important partner for the European Union. The paper explores how the EU fosters regional security cooperation in Central Asia through regional programs: Border Management in Central Asia; and Central Asia Drug Action Programmes. The first part of the paper overviews threats related to drug trafficking as a major regional security threat. The second part describes EU Institutions ODA to Central Asia for Conflict, Peace & Security during 2002–2020. The third part overviews EU Initiatives to foster regional security cooperation in the framework of BOMCA and CADAP programmes. The final part reveals how the EU fosters regional security cooperation in the framework of BOMCA and CADAP. We conclude with the main findings and a set of suggestions for future research.

Panel 3

“Competing Regional Cooperation in Central Asia by the EU, Russia and China, or The Geopolitical Game between the EU, Russia and China in Central Asia”

Mengxue Peng, MA student, Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (EURUS), Carleton University

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, five newly independent states emerged in the “heart zone” of the Eurasian continent. The unique geographical location of Central Asia, as a hub zone connecting Europe and Asia, in addition to its abundant energy resources, has made it a competition zone for “global actors” and an overlapping area of multiple regional mechanisms. The EU, Russia, and China compete for influence over the region and have respectively initiated their regional cooperation mechanisms with Central Asian countries: “the 2019 Strategy”, “the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU)”, and “the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)”, each of them with their own set of rules. This research/presentation will first address the geopolitical significance of Central Asia. Then, to elaborate and compare the converging and competing interests of three actors in Central Asia from various aspects. Additionally, to investigate the development/evolution of the Central Asia Strategies of the EU, Russia, and China in different periods and the reasons behind them. Apart from that, to examine the influences and potential future of the EU, Russia, and China in Central Asia regarding regional cooperation. Besides, the research will borrow from Cohen’s polycentrism theory to analyze how the polycentric world order shapes the competing/overlapping regional cooperation, and the latter, in turn, affects the former.

“Great Games’ shifting balance in Central Asia in the context of Eurasia’s regionalism”

Mubinzhon Abduvaliev, PhD, Fulbright Visiting Scholar, University of Nebraska Omaha, USA

In this paper, we examine new regionalisms that developed in Eurasia during the ‘Second Great Game’, during which extra-regional powers such as China through the BRI project and through the Russia project so-called EEU Community compete for control over the Central Asian region (CAR). We argue that by joining the pro-Russia trend only Kazakhstan enjoys the economic benefits, although China’s de facto role as the primary economic and development player in the CAR is often overlooked in official and public discourses. It appears, however, that traditional Russian economic influence on the CAR is diminishing, while new links have developed through the CAR’s dependence on Russian political gain and migration channels. Meanwhile, new commercial hubs, such as the European Union, have become important partners for many CACs. We assert that CAR will be able to resolve their current problems through various regional arrangements that operate throughout Eurasia.


“The Rise of Trilateral Platforms in the Context of Increasing Central Asia-EU Trade: The Role of Azerbaijan and Turkey”

Ibrahim Mammadov, Master of Arts in Diplomacy and International Affairs, ADA University (Baku, Azerbaijan)

The Russian offensive on Ukraine has brought to light the expanding potential of the Central Asian region. With stronger commercial ties to the EU, the nations of Central Asia are increasingly focused on diversifying and building resilience in their economies. Similarly, the EU has a growing interest in increasing its trade with the region to recoup the trade value lost due to Brexit and sanctions on Russia. However, a secure alternative trade route to the Russian one can only be provided through the territories of Azerbaijan and, in some cases, Turkey. This study will focus on Azerbaijan’s involvement in the trade between Central Asia and the EU. The role of trilateral trade agreements between Azerbaijan, Turkey, and each Central Asian state individually is set to grow. This study will center on identifying the best strategies for Azerbaijan to use in expanding trade between these areas. My paper will examine the effectiveness of existing trilateral trade platforms by analyzing treaties, the increase in value and volume of commodities passing through Azerbaijan and Turkey in trade between Central Asia and the EU, and the rise in trade between Azerbaijan and Central Asia, as well as Turkey and Central Asia.


“China-Central Asia Regionalization and Its Impact on the Central Asian Region”

Assylzat Karabayeva, PhD, Visiting research scholar at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES), the Elliott School of International Affairs, the George Washington University, USA; Assistant Professor of the Suleyman Demirel University, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Since gaining independence, Central Asian countries have maintained stable and friendly relationships with China. Through China-led bilateral, regional, and multilateral projects, China and Central Asia have significantly strengthened their strategic partnership and elevated the importance of their relationship in the region-building process. As a result of this partnership, Central Asia has emerged as a key player in the contemporary world order. However, it is still unclear whether China and Central Asia’s cooperation is integration-oriented. This paper characterizes China and Central Asia’s interactions as Alex Warleigh-Lack’s (2006) “regionalization process” and examines the impact of this process on diffusing Chinese ideas of regionalism in Central Asia. Specifically, the paper investigates how regionalization processes have affected relationships among the component members and third actors (Russia). The paper argues that the current Central Asian regionalism mechanism can be described as an indirect (recipient-driven) influence of China and Central Asia’s regionalization processes within the scope of both the SCO and bilateral strategic partnership agreements. It posits that, of the various types of indirect diffusion of institutional and policy models of regionalism (competition, lesson-drawing, normative emulation, and mimicry), the new Central Asian model of cooperation entails a “lesson-drawing” diffusion mechanism from the Chinese model of cooperation. The paper’s findings will assist scholars and experts in comprehending the region-building processes in Central Asia and their direction.

This workshop is an activity of the Jean Monnet Chair in EU External Relations. A copy of the draft conference agenda can be found here.