It's striking just how quickly Moscow's authority in Central Asia has collapsed. A thread, spinning off the claim by National Anti-Corruption Committee (NAC) Kirill Kabanov chair that "there is no respect for Russia in Central Asia" 1/
Kabanov claims that, despite close economic ties and direct aid from Moscow, "the people and elites of these countries do not extend their love to Russia. On the contrary, a common history is being destroyed or rewritten from the positions of colonialism and oppression" 2/
Of course, there is a sinister threat: Kabanov claims that after the visits of US officials, state sponsored "anti-Russian rhetoric has moved to a new level" in the region 3/
To this end, Kabanov wants Moscow to expect more friendship for its assistance, “Otherwise, why should we throw away huge amounts of money on potential pro-American traitors-Russophobes? As has already happened in Ukraine" 4/
Putting aside the question of whether the Ukrainians actually felt greatly supported by Moscow, it is interesting how Moscow is waking up to the sudden shift in opinion in CA. Kazakhstan even closed a trade mission while PM Mishustin was in Almaty! 5/
Yes, there are close economic ties, not least with all the migrant labourers still in Russia, despite a record outflow because of the war and economic contraction. However, this has always been a transactional relationship, no more 6/
For a long time, Russia's real strength in CA was as a security guarantor: they looked to Beijing for money, to Moscow for muscle. Indeed, Russia actually was quite effective and reliable, recently evident also in its quick and effective mobilisation of CSTO forces in Jan 22 7/
(Supporting Tokayev in Kazakhstan, who is now perhaps the sharpest CA thorn in Putin's side - there is no loyalty among opportunist strongmen) Of course, it is v dubious Moscow could repeat that op today, and that's the point as forces are also being drawn down from Tajikistan 8/
This is not so much about 'decolonising CA history' or the like, even if it may sometimes take that idiom. This is rather about hard-nosed politics. 9/
As in the South Caucasus, as it becomes clear that Russian political authority is on the wane and its military capacity overstretched, then local leaderships have less reason to case what Moscow thinks or to regard it as a useful patron, so they look elsewhere. 10/
It's not just that Putin has conclusively 'lost' Ukraine, his catastrophic bid to reassert authority there is also breaking the rest of Moscow's informal empire, and it's a process I don't think he can reverse. (Even if he understands it, which I doubt) 11/end

Recommended by
Recommendations from around the web and our community.

Interesting thread