For many years, Japan has conducted little original research on the Central Asia or Caucasus regions. Throughout the existence of the Soviet Union, these areas were not considered to be politically, economically or even culturally independent, and that view was probably justified. Of course, each of the various Soviet republics had something like a “foreign ministry” or economic ministry, but in fact, these agencies were entirely under Moscow's control and could not exercise independent policies. Consequently, studies on places like Uzbekistan and Georgia remained auxiliary subjects handled by researchers whose main focus was the Soviet Union. To put it another way, researchers looked at the satellite regions from a Soviet perspective, i. e., through the lens of Moscow. It is fair to say that true researchers of Central Asia and the Caucasus only came into being with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Now that each of the CIS countries has begun asserting its own political, economic and cultural identity, it has become impossible to look at them simply from the perspective of the Moscow government or only through Russian eyes. In recent years, Central Asia and the Caucasus have gained strategic international importance due to issues related to oil and gas reserves, Islamic fundamentalism and international terrorism. As a result, it has become vitally important to have researchers who specialize in studies of the region. Fortunately, Japanese scholars are actively interested in this region (particularly Central Asia), and we now see a steady stream of first-rate young researchers emerging. There are also several researchers studying the Caspian Sea area, some as part of business-related projects for Japanese companies and some due to environmental concerns. As there is a very positive feeling towards Japan within the Central Asian states, there has been a marked increase in the number of young researchers going to visit that area and sometimes staying on for lengthy periods of study. The current “Central Asia-Caucasus Special Number” should provide a good introduction to some of the successes these scholars have already achieved. I am extremely pleased to see the emergence of specific, individual research themes that were unthinkable during the Soviet period, and especially to see what a high level of discourse is developing. Needless to say, I am also pleased and honored as an editor to be able to introduce this body of work in the present format. Of course, true research in these areas has only just started; there are undoubtedly many points that are still undeveloped. In addition to studies in English and Russian, research in the native languages of these regions is essential, and I am happy to see such an approach now emerging. While this entire field may be considered “young, ” I believe we can expect great things from it in the coming years. I hope all our readers will join me in supporting the development and progress of this unusually interesting area of study.
Russia has still played a key role for regional security of the former Soviet Union including Central Asia in order to maintain its military presence and to protect Russian people in there. Furthermore, an old-yet-new goal of the Russian engagement policy is emerging: how to cope with influx of threats beyond the border. In this context, Russia is trying to reorganize its ministries or agencies in charge of these issues for strict border control like Federal Border Service, Federal Migration Service, Federal Security Service, and so on. In this article author also describes several examples of understanding on boundary from Russian side like Sergey Baburin and Dmitri Trenin, and the trend of revise of the Law on Border, the Law on Citizenship, the Law on Migration, and other presidential decrees relating boundary issues. Border control policies of each Central Asian countries also affect issues on Russian citizenship and its migration control. Such interaction would change the concept of boundary among countries of the former Soviet Union comprehensively. However, there is a dilemma for Russia whether to be strict control of migration for their security or to mitigate it for keep domestic work forces. Each Central Asian countries, especially Tajikistan, share an interest with Russia to send labor migrants to Russia for their economical reason. Russian government welcomes the legal labor migrants on the one hand; it takes border control strictly on the other, especially under the Putin administration, to reduce illegal migration by the reform of visa and migration control regime. Although most of the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries (except Tajikistan and Turkmenistan) deny the dual citizenship with Russia, Russia pursues its policy of the dual citizenship as remains of boundary concept of the Soviet Union. Central Asian countries, however, try to reduce such Russian influence to keep their sovereignty. Kazakhstan is vulnerable on this problem because of the inside Russian population, accounting for almost 30per cent of Kazakhstan citizen. In Turkmenistan, April 2003, dual citizenship became sensitive diplomatic issue with Russia when President Niyazov decided to ban the dual citizenship in its territory. As we see in these Russian policies, Russia does not break the legacy of the Soviet Union yet. Putin administration should manage its traditional, bureaucratic and coercive institutions to protect Russian border that were constructed during the Soviet period to defense its autarchic regime. However, Russian boundary policy also symbolizes its position to keep leading role in CIS countries to adapt the trend of globalization. Moreover, Russia pushes forward its national security against challenge and threat from the weak or failed states surrounding Russia while policies of Central Asian countries on border control and migration are fluid for searching a new strict system.
This paper aims to analyze how the relationship between Uzbekistan and the United States was reinforced, and at clarifying the reason why US decided to ensure the relationship with Uzbekistan. Central Asian states including Uzbekistan, widely known, are new emerging states by the collapse of Soviet Union, on the end of 1991. Since this historical background, post-Soviet Central Asia is called “Russian backyard”. Geographically and politically, Uzbekistan is in the center of Russian backyard. Since October 2001, US troops have been stationed in Uzbekistan. It is common knowledge that the first purpose of US troops in Uzbekistan is anti-terrorism mission against Taliban and Al Qaeda of Afghanistan. No deadline, however, has been set for US troops to pull out of Uzbekistan, therefore “September 11” and “anti-terrorism mission” was just a trigger for long-term US military presence in post-Soviet Central Asia. And the new Uzbek-US relationship based on long-term commitment became a new axe of International relation in Central Asia. For Uzbekistan, close relationship with US, such like long-term US military presence, is required for reinforcing sovereignty. The Russian influence is obstacle to reinforce sovereignty and independence of Uzbekistan. The hegemony of US is, therefore, most desirable factor for reducing the Russian influence. But it is questionable problem why US wanted to reinforce Uzbek-US relationship. From 1991 to 1993, Uzbek-US relationship was strained. Especially the tension reached its peak at 1993 when the Clinton Administration established. Human rights, dearth of information about Central Asia, nuclear weapon and the problem of law were obstacles to reinforce the Uzbek-US relationship. Since 1994, however, the US gradually changed its policy, and started to seek the close cooperation with Uzbekistan. This change of US policy was occurred by the economic factor. Nevertheless, as Uzbek government rejected the political and economic reform, this movement did not boost up until 1998. August 1998, Clinton administration launched cruise missiles toward Al Qaeda Camp in Afghanistan and Sudan in retaliation for attack to US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. This cruise missile attack was the opening of anti-terrorism mission. In other hand, Uzbekistan faced the threat of terrorism by Islamic extreme movement, too. The act of terrorism in Uzbekistan had a potential to weal her sovereignty. So, the interests of the Uzbekistan accords with the one of US. However, the threat of US is differ from the one of Uzbekistan. For US, Iran's influence is seriously threat, and US request Uzbekistan to progress reform for aiming to settle the poverty, which is hotbed of Islamic radicalism. It is difficult request for Uzbek government to accept, as the reform would weak her sovereignty.
This paper argues that the institutional mahalla (residential organization) developed in Uzbekistan is an applied example of the modern technology of power. With reference to the insights offered by Michel Foucault's arguments on power, this paper examines the control of “citizens” from above and the voluntary subjection of “citizens” from below through the intermediary of the institutional mahalla. Accounts by Tsarist colonial administrator/orientalists and studies by Soviet scholars show that mahallas were traditionally street-level units of selfrule in the cities and large villages of sedentary Central Asia. For several reasons, the Tsarist administration could not fully penetrate the mahalla in the old cities and rural areas to implement modern methods of control of the local population. To some extent, they had to rely on the traditional authority of community elders until the Soviets seized office. Full-fledged interests in controlling the daily life and behavior of the local population appeared after 1917 in the course of the governmentalization of the state. A 1922 circular called for the establishment of mahalla commissions in the old cities, and a 1932 decree defined mahalla committees as “supplementary social organizations under the city Soviet.” A series of decrees and resolutions aimed at the internalization of regulations among the newly labeled “citizens” (fuqarolar) followed in the Soviet period. Just as important was the subjectivation of the “citizens” from below. The voluntary activities of the “Ilg'or (avant-garde)” mahallas of the October District in Tashkent in the 1960s- early 1970s clearly illustrate this. Mahalla “citizens” themselves were activists who took part in the surveillance, preservation of the sane body, and correction of the behavior of the individual. Post-Soviet leadership discourse on mahalla as a foundation of civil society (fuqarolik jamiyati) in Uzbekistan is partly driven by the desire to maintain control and voluntary subjection of “citizens” under the reorganizing administrative system. In recent years, mahallas and its posbons(guardians) have been instrumental in the surveillance of potential Islamists in the local “war against terror.” Presently, the mahalla is frequently referred to by the authorities in the newly set dichotomy of “traditional Eastern spirituality” and “interventionist Western-style democracy.” Making use of notes and primary documents obtained from field survey, this paper explores the mahalla institutions (or formally “Organs of Self-Government of Citizens”) and their activities in Uzbekistan.
The development of hydrocarbon resources in the Caspian Sea area inevitably takes on “geopolitical character”, for the exploitation of transportation routes is indispensable for furthering development, and coordination of interests of many countries concerned is required to realize the new export pipelines. Furthermore, the problem concerning the legal status of the Caspian Sea, which emerged with the dissolution of USSR, becomes an additional geopolitical obstacle for energy development and transportation in this area. In real construction of the energy transportation way from the Caspian Sea, the routes via Russia preceded the non-Russian routes, mainly because of 1) a gradual change of Russian policy on the Caspian energy development & transportation from an oppressive one to cooperative, and 2) the relatively small construction cost of Russian routes. On the other hand, unreliability of resource bases for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (BTC), a symbolic non-Russian route, delayed its realization in spite of the strong back up of the U. S. government. It was in September, 2002, when at last BTC's construction started, helped by some supportive factors like the discovery of huge hydrocarbon reserves at the Kashagan field in the Kazakh offshore area, etc. The operation of BTC will put “a primary period” on the past geopolitical disputes concerning the Caspian Sea resources. Emergence of the non-Russian route with the transportation capacity equal to the Russian routes will realize “diversification of energy export routes”, the long-cherished wish of the Caspian oil producing countries and the foreign investors concerned. In addition, demarcation of the Caspian seabed with subsoil resources was completed in the northern area by the protocol signed in May, 2003, by three coastal countries including Russia. This means the principle to use the Caspian subsoil resources is determined in the way of division to the national sectors, therefore it is not too much to say that the issue of the legal status of the Caspian Sea will not be able to have any further real influence upon the subsoil development, even though this problem is not to be “finally” solved until the comprehensive five-national convention is materialized. Thus the gravity of geopolitical dynamics is fading in the Caspian energy development issues under current circumstances, a substantial raise of the oil production projection caused by discovery of Kashagan, however, increased possibility of the China route's construction, which would add a new geopolitical factor to the context.
Turkmenistan, one of the Central Asian Countries, is very rich in natural resources, especially natural gas. The president of Turkmenistan, Niyazov, has dreamed of his country being the “Central Asian Kuwait” with its natural resources, but so far it seems to be nothing but a dream. Turkmenistan is landlocked and it has to negotiate with the countries around to build pipelines to export its natural gas. But it locates among the rival natural gas-producing countries and the negotiation would be very tough. When it became independent in 1991, only the pipeline route it had was to regional power of CIS, Russia, via Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, which meant that Turkmenistan had no option but to sell its gas to Russia, or other countries using Russian pipeline. From this fact, it can be deduced that Turkmenistan would be weak in negotiating the price and the condition of natural gas export with Russia. However, Turkmenistan obtains concessions from Russia on gas talks. In this essay, natural gas strategy of Turkmenistan is analyzed. It will help understanding the diplomacy of minor states when they are under difficult conditions.
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the theory and the movements of the politics in Azerbaijan, still in the midst of upheaval, and to offer a key to penetrate the future developments of the authoritarian system of the former Soviet Union. Many of the post-Soviet republics established authoritarian regimes after the collapse of the Soviet Union. While the negative aspects of the authoritarian regimes are emphasized, they are often positively accepted as a necessary process for the former Soviet Union. However, there are different types of authoritarian regimes, thus should not be generalized. Ayaz Mutaribov, the last communist leader, took the presidency of Azerbaijan, but he resigned due to the mismanagement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Abulfez Elchibei, then leader of the Popular Front, was elected President. Though, Elchibei was an idealist who believed in democracy, his idealism was far removed from the realities of Azerbaijan, which caused military losses, bringing chaos to the economy and to the society. Elchbei fell from power by a coup d'etat only a year after inauguration, generating skepticism over democracy among the people. What people needed was Heydar Alyiev's return to power. Alyiev, a former elite politician of the Soviet era, became President in 1993. He established a firm authoritarianism by tightening domestic policies and keeping diplomatic balance. He established a cease-fire to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in 1994, which he utilized for domestic affairs. The first half of the Alyiev's administration is regarded as “war-time authoritarianism.” However, as the cease-fire and 1 million refugees and IDPs' in the country were taken for granted, and as the changing situation exposed the limits of the Soviet-style politics, the vulnerability of “war-time authoritarianism” was revealed. Moreover, since 1999, Alyiev suffered health problems and he gradually shifted his regime to what one may call “presidential monarchy”. Alyiev maintained monarchic rule gaining both domestic and international confidence by disguised democracy, with hereditary transfer of power to his son in mind. He revised the constitution in August 2002 so as to appoint his son, Ilkham Alyiev, as his successor. Alyiev was running for the third term in October 2003 presidential election, but his health conditions failed him. He withdrew from the race in the last minute. Ilkham Alyiev won an overwhelming victory. It was the first hereditary transfer of power in the post-Soviet era. Now that the “war-time authoritarianism” is no longer accepted, and Heydar Aliev, a symbol for the unification, lost, Ilkham Alyiev is exploring ways to rule his country. There are signs of democracy such as the release of political prisoners. Yet, his political power remains unknown. The authoritarian system of Azerbaijan, now in the hands of the son of the first authoritarian by heredity, is transforming under the changing situation of the country. The experience of Azerbaijan, organizational changes and hereditary fiefdom, will be an example for other post-Soviet republics.
Between 1999 and 2004, the issue about Chechen and foreign fighters in and around the Pankisi Valley in one of the districts of the Eastern Georgia was a focus of political negotiations in the Georgia-Russia, Gerogia-USA, then Russia-USA relations. The majority of the residents of the valley are the Chechens and the Ingushes, who are called as the Kists there. Using historical and ethnographic literatures by Margoshivili, Shavkhelishvili and others which describe the immigration process of the Chechens and the Ingushes to the Pankisi Valley in the 19th century, this paper underlines the importance of traditional and national homogeneity between the Chechens and the Kists, which keeps their mutual relation and fellow feeling in the both sides of the Great Caucasus. As the Kists had no right as ethnic minority in the Soviet era, they could have merged into the Georgian masses, if they had no relation with the Chechno-Ingush Republic and the people living there. This is how the valley still remains as a semi-independent enclave of Chechnia within Georgia. The majority of the inhabitants of the valley are Sunni Muslims. Then the Pankisi Valley has a strategic value, as one of the Sunnite outputs from the Chechen and Daghestan into the South Caucasus. It is also witnessed there the re-islamization during and after the Perestroika era, the coming of the foreign missionaries and the rising in the popularity of the so called the Wahhabits among the local people. Even after the violent death of a Chechen field commander Ruslan Gelayev and the end of the War against the Terrorism in Georgia, the Kists remain as the Chechens and their majority are the Muslims. Excepting the Kists, there are the Georgian Pshavs, the Tushes and the Ossets in the valley. Any ethnic or confessional clash would be reflected in a wilder arena. With potential cause of discontents to the Georgian government, the strategic importance of the valley in the process of integrity of Georgia's ethnics and regions into one single civil society is still existing, as well as in the regional security of the South Caucasus as a whole.