Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-v5vhk Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-21T08:41:23.216Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Silence is golden? Silences as strategic narratives in Central Asian states' response to the Ukrainian crisis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 June 2022

Timur Dadabaev*
Affiliation:
University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan
Shigeto Sonoda
Affiliation:
Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Japan
*
Author for correspondence: Timur Dadabaev, E-mail: dadabaev.timur.gm@u.tsukuba.ac.jp

Abstract

In this article, we argue that Central Asian (CA) states' approach to the Ukrainian crisis should be defined as strategic silence. Such foreign policy reflects how CA's ideological and geographic factors and a shared information space, largely dominated by Russian and Russian-language media, facilitate the understanding of historical continuity among Russian and CA leaders. However, we also demonstrate that CA public officials' and general public's uses of strategic silence reflect the complicated reality of CA states. Their leaders and populations are cognizant of both their dependence on educational and labor opportunities in Russia and their necessity for postwar coexistence with Russia, China, and other states that are not sympathetic to the intentions of the European Union/USA in CA. Therefore, strategic silence is an approach for CA states to voice their disagreement with Russia's approach to Ukraine while avoiding being victimized by Russia and its allies for an openly anti-war stance.

Type
Perspectives on Asia
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

24Kg (2022a). Sadyr Japarov publicly announces position on situation in Ukraine, 24Kg. News Agency, March 9, 2022. https://24.kg/english/226827/ (accessed on May 27, 2022).Google Scholar
24Kg (2022b). Aktsiya protesta u posol'stva Rossii: militsiya prosit uchastnikov razoitis. Available at: https://24.kg/obschestvo/227726/ (accessed March 17, 2022).Google Scholar
Alimova, E (2022). “Путин тащит страны ЕАЭС на дно”. Интервью с исследователем Центральной Азии Паоло Сорбелло. Available at: https://rus.azattyq.org/a/kazakhstan-economy-policy-interview-paolo-sorbello/31739050.html?fbclid=IwAR3fe4HK_Yc6zZpXZTlXLXf7jB8y2S3wLcbtuqv9bVbrKIApQ1C0zqLlbiw (accessed 7 March, 2022).Google Scholar
Asadov, S (2022). Uzbekistan zanimaet vzeveshannuyu neitralnuyu pozitsiyu, Gazeta.uz. Available at: https://www.gazeta.uz/ru/2022/02/26/statement/ (accessed February 26, 2022).Google Scholar
Azatyk (2022). MID: Nur-Sultan ne budet reagirovat na slova moskowskogo deputata o denatsifikatsii Kazakhstana (Nursultan will not react to the words of Moscow council deputy on “denatification” of Kazakhstan), March 29, 2022. Available at: https://rus.azattyq.org/a/31775606.html (accessed March 29, 2022).Google Scholar
Cabar.Asia (2022). Sanctions against Russia: uneasy times for the Tajik economy. Available at: https://cabar.asia/en/sanctions-against-russia-uneasy-times-for-the-tajik-economy (accessed March 11, 2022).Google Scholar
Cooley, A (2012). Great Games, Local Rules. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dadabaev, T (2020). “De-securitizing the ‘Silk Road’: Uzbekistan's Cooperation Agenda with Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea in the Post-Karimov Era.” Journal of Eurasian Studies 11:2, pp. 174–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dadabaev, T (2022). “Nationhood through Neighborhood? From State Sovereignty to Regional Belonging in Central Asia.” Journal of Borderlands Studies Ahead of Print (doi: 10.1080/08865655.2021.2006750).Google Scholar
Dzhuraev, E (2015). “Central Asian Stances on the Ukraine Crisis: Treading a Fine Line?Connections 14:4, pp. 110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Eurasianet (2022). Uzbekistan lays out the red carpet for fleeing Russian IT specialists. Available at: https://eurasianet.org/uzbekistan-lays-out-the-red-carpet-for-fleeing-russian-it-specialists (accessed March 16, 2022).Google Scholar
Evdokimov, A, Davydova, T and Savkin, D (2020). “Russian Language in Central Asia: Current Status and Prospects.” Post-Soviet Issues 7:3, pp. 373–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ferghana.News (2022a). Uzbekistan vystupil za nemedlennoe prekraschenie voennyh deistvyi. Available at: https://fergana.agency/news/125481/ (accessed March 17, 2022).Google Scholar
Ferghana.News (2022b). Press-sluzhba Kremlya: Sadyr Zhaparov ‘podderzhal deistviya RF po zaschite Donbassa (Press-service of Kremlin: Sadyr Zhaparov’ supported actions of RF on defending Donbass). Available at: https://fergana.agency/news/125259/ (accessed February 26, 2022).Google Scholar
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (2016). Youth in Central Asia: Kazakhstan. Based on a Sociological Survey. Almaty: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.Google Scholar
Gussarova, A (2017). Russian Soft Power in Kazakhstan (and Central Asia): Taken for Granted? Almaty: CAISS (Central Asia Institute for Strategic Studies).Google Scholar
Hess, M (2022). The ruble's rubble: economic fallout on Central Asia Local currencies rise and fall with the ruble. Eurasianet. Available at: https://eurasianet.org/explainer-the-rubles-rubble-economic-fallout-on-central-asia (accessed March 10, 2022).Google Scholar
Ibraimov, B (2022). Kyrgyzstanis flee Russia fearing military recruitment and salary collapse perennially unstable Kyrgyzstan is seeing a surge of unemployed young men return from Russia. Euraisanet. Available at: https://eurasianet.org/kyrgyzstanis-flee-russia-fearing-military-recruitment-and-salary-collapse (accessed March 11, 2022).Google Scholar
Institute for War and Peace Reporting Central Asia (2019). Online News Consumption in Central Asia. Avaiable at: https://school.cabar.asia/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/web_research_en.pdf.Google Scholar
Kalishevski, M (2014). Uzbekistan posle Ukrainskogo “pereloma”, Ferghana.news. Available at: https://www.fergananews.com/articles/8211 (accessed April 8, 2014).Google Scholar
Kaztag (2022). Rosdeputat prizval “denatsifitsirovat” i “demilitarizirovat” Kazakhstan, March 25, 2022. Available at: https://kaztag.kz/ru/news/rosdeputat-prizval-denatsifitsirovat-i-demilitarizirovat-kazakhstan-po-primeru-ukrainy.Google Scholar
Komilov, A (2022). Address to the senate. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21hPVHk7eVI&t=165s (accessed March 17, 2022).Google Scholar
Kremlin.Ru (2022a). Telefonnyi razgovor s presidentom Uzbekistan (phone conversation with the president of Uzbekistan, Russia's presidents office. Available at: http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/67857 (accessed February 25, 2022).Google Scholar
Kremlin.Ru (2022b). Telephone conversation with President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, February 26, 2022. Available at: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/67869.Google Scholar
Kumenov, A (2022a). Kazakhstan restricts the export of foreign currency and gold security is being bolstered at borders to ensure compliance. Eurasianet. Available at: https://eurasianet.org/kazakhstan-restricts-export-of-foreign-currency-and-gold (accessed March 15, 2022).Google Scholar
Kumenov, A (2022b). Central Asia frets as Russia suspends grain, sugar exports Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan both rely heavily on Russia for their grain and sugar needs. Eurasianet. Available at: https://eurasianet.org/central-asia-frets-as-russia-suspends-grain-sugar-exports (accessed March 11, 2022).Google Scholar
Kumenov, A (2022c). Russian companies eye relocation to Kazakhstan amid sanctions, Eurasianet, 24 March 2022. Available at: https://eurasianet.org/russian-companies-eye-relocation-to-kazakhstan-amid-sanctions (accessed on March 24, 2022).Google Scholar
Laruelle, M (2008). Russian Eurasianism: An Ideology of Empire. Washington, DC: The John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
Laruelle, M and Royce, D (2020). Russian Media Influence in Central Asia: Easy to Imagine, Difficult to Find, All Russians, New York: Jordan Center. Available at: https://jordanrussiacenter.org/news/russian-media-influence-in-central-asia-easy-to-imagine-difficult-to-find/#.Yh9le-jP2F5.Google Scholar
Lillis, J (2022a). Uzbek bank, but associates snap up stakes: the billionaire had bought his stake only months ago from the president's son-in-law. Euraisanet. Available at: https://eurasianet.org/sanctions-hit-russian-oligarch-quits-uzbek-bank-but-associates-snap-up-stakes (accessed March 14, 2022).Google Scholar
Lillis, J (2022b). Central Asia to suffer as remittances from Russia nosedive: the migrant-dependent countries face a double whammy. Euraisanet. Available at: https://eurasianet.org/central-asia-to-suffer-as-remittances-from-russia-nosedive (accessed March 11, 2022).Google Scholar
Linde, F (2016). “The Civilizational Turn in Russian Political Discourse: From pan-Europeanism to Civilizational Distinctiveness.” The Russian Review 75:4, pp. 604–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mearsheimer, J J (2014). “Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West's Fault: The Liberal Delusions that Provoked Putin.” Foreign Affairs 93, p. 77.Google Scholar
Mearsheimer, J J (2018). The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities. New Haven: Yale University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mearsheimer, J J (2022). Just before Russian invasion, University of Chicago political scientist John J. Mearsheimer blamed west for Ukraine crisis by Charlie Smith. Available at: https://www.straight.com/news/just-before-russian-invasion-university-of-chicago-political-scientist-john-j-mearsheimer-blamed-West (accessed February 28, 2022).Google Scholar
Mir24 News Agency (2021). Nazarbayev: Putin vuvel Rossiyu v vekikie derzhavy (Nazarbayev: Putin led out Russia into great powers). Available at: https://mir24.tv/news/16486767/nazarbaev-putin-vyvel-rossiyu-v-velikie-derzhavy (accessed December 8, 2021).Google Scholar
Miskimmon, A, O'Loughlin, B and Roselle, L (2013). Strategic Narratives: Communication Power and the New World Order. Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
Miskimmon, A, O'Loughlin, B and Roselle, L (2017). Forging the World: Strategic Narratives and International Relations, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. https://doi.org/10.3998/mpub.6504652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Muratalieva, N (2022). What Consequences can central Asian countries expect from Russia's war in Ukraine? CABAR.Asia analytical. Available at: https://cabar.asia/en/what-consequences-can-central-asian-countries-expect-from-russia-s-war-in-ukraine (accessed February 28, 2022).Google Scholar
MVD RF (2022). Otdel'nye pokazateli migratsionnoi situatsii v Rossijskoi federatsii za Yanvar-Dekar 2021s raspredeleniem po stranam i regionam (Selected data on migration situation in Russian Federation for January–December 2021), Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russian Federation. Available at: https://xn--b1aew.xn--p1ai/dejatelnost/statistics/migracionnaya/item/28104344/.Google Scholar
Ozodlik Radio (2021). “MVD RF: Za poslednii 9 mesyatsev bolee 3 millionov Uzbekistantsev vstali na uchet (MIF of RF: During the last 9 months, more than 3 million Uzbekistanis registered for residence)”, December 14, 2021. Available at: https://rus.ozodlik.org/a/31607328.html.Google Scholar
PONARIS (2014). “Central Asian Students between Russia and the West”, April 23, 2014. Available at: https://www.ponarseurasia.org/central-asian-students-between-russia-and-the-west.Google Scholar
Pultz, C (2022). How will the war in Ukraine affect central Asian remittance flows?, The Diplomat. Available at: https://thediplomat.com/2022/03/how-will-the-war-in-ukraine-affect-central-asian-remittance-flows/ (accessed March 8, 2022).Google Scholar
Pumak, H and Landay, J (2022). U.N. General Assembly in historic vote denounces Russia over Ukraine invasion, Reuters. Available at: https://www.reuters.com/world/un-general-assembly-set-censure-russia-over-ukraine-invasion-2022-03-02/.Google Scholar
Putin, V (2007). Speech and the following discussion at the Munich conference on security policy. Available at: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/24034 (accessed February 10, 2007).Google Scholar
Putin, V (2021). Ob istoricheskom edinstve Russkih i Ukraintsev (About historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians. Available at: http://kremlin.ru/d/66181 (accessed July 12, 2021).Google Scholar
Putin, V (2022a). “St Petersburg International Economic Forum Plenary session”, Transcript, Kremlin. ru, June 17, 2022, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/68669 (accessed on June 20, 2022).Google Scholar
Putin, V (2022b). “Meeting with young enterperprenurs, engineers and scientists” Transcript. Kremlin.ru, June 9, 2022, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/68606 (accessed on June 10, 2022).Google Scholar
Putin, V (2022c). Obraschenie prezidenta Rossijskoi federatsii (Address of the president of Russian Federation. Available at: http://kremlin.ru/d/67843 (accessed February 24, 2022).Google Scholar
Radio Azatik (2022). Ruslan Kazakbaev prizval Rossiyu i Ukrainu t poisku novyh formatov effektivnogo dialoga (Ruslan Kazakhbaev called upon Russia and Ukraine to look for a new effective formats of a dialogue). Available at: https://rus.azattyk.org/a/31729529.html (accessed March 1, 2022).Google Scholar
Razma, A (2015). “The Geopolitics of Central Asia after the Annexation of Crimea in 2014.” Lithuanian Annual Strategic Review 13:1, pp. 125–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ria.Ru (2022). Otbrosit sentimenty: Otvernutsya li ot Moskwy ekonomicheskie soyuzniki (No sentiments: Will the allies turn their backs to Moscow), March 29, 2022. Available at: https://ria.ru/20220329/soyuzniki-1780543334.html.Google Scholar
Roselle, L, Miskimmon, A and O'Loughlin, B (2014). Strategic Narrative: A New Means to Understand Soft Power. Media, War & Conflict 7:1, pp. 7084 https://doi.org/10.1177/1750635213516696.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sadykov, M (2014). Central Asian leaders cautious after Russia annexes Crimea, Eurasianet. Available at: https://eurasianet.org/central-asian-leaders-cautious-after-russia-annexes-crimea (accessed March 25, 2014).Google Scholar
Sakwa, R (2017). Russia against the Rest: The Post-Cold War Crisis of World Order. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Talipov, F (2014). Ukraine and the CIS perspective: implications for central Asia, CACI Analyst. Available at: https://www.cacianalyst.org/publications/analytical-articles/item/12949-ukraine-and-the-cis-perspective-implications-for-central-asia.html (accessed April 4, 2014).Google Scholar
Talipov, F (2022). Ukraina: chego ozhidat v Uzbekistane, interview, alter ego channel. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0PCUXdRADI (accessed March 7, 2022).Google Scholar
Tass.Ru (2021). Nazarbaev obyasnil pochemu ne priznal Krym rossyiskim (Nazarbayev explained the reason for Kazakhstan's non-recognition of Crimea as Russian). Available at: https://tass.ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/13112385 (accessed December 4, 2021).Google Scholar
Tass.Ru (2022). V Kazakhstane zayavili chto vopros o priznanii DNR and LNR na povestke dnya ne stoit (Kazakhstan stated that the issue of recognition of DNR and LNR is not on its agenda). Available at: https://tass.ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/13797785 (accessed February 22, 2022).Google Scholar
Tokaev, K. 2022. “St Petersburg International Economic Forum Plenary session”, Transcript, Kremlin. ru, June 17, 2022, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/68669 (accessed on June 20, 2022).Google Scholar
Trenin, D (2006). “Russia Leaves the West.” Foreign Affairs 85, p. 87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Trenin, D (2013). Vladimir Putin's fourth vector: changes in Russian foreign policy, Russia in global affairs. Available at: http://eng.globalaffairs.ru/number/Vladimir-Putins-Fourth-Vector-16048 (accessed June 30, 2013).Google Scholar
Tsygankov, A P (2014). “The Frustrating Partnership: Honor, Status, and Emotions in Russia's Discourses of the West.” Communist and Post-Communist Studies 47:3–4, pp. 345–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tsygankov, A P (2018). “The Sources of Russia's Fear of NATO.” Communist and Post-Communist Studies 51:2, pp. 101–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tsygankov, A P (2021). “The Revisionist Moment: Russia, Trump, and Global Transition.” Problems of Post-Communism 68:6, pp. 457–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
UNGA (2014). General Assembly Adopts Resolution Calling upon States not to Recognize Changes in Status of Crimea Region. New York: United Nations General Assembly.Google Scholar
UNNews (2022). General Assembly passes resolution demanding aid access, by large majority, United Nations News: Global perspective Human stories, March 24, 2022. Available at: https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/03/1114632.Google Scholar