A Helping Kazakh Hand for Georgia

by Nathan Hamm on 10/2/2005

While there certainly is a strong argument to be made for Uzbekistan being the strongest state in Central Asia, it certainly lacks the soft power of its neighbor to the north. One would be hard-pressed to imagine Uzbekistan in this exact position.

“Georgia is developing and I think our experience will be very useful for Georgia,” Nursultan Nazarbayev said upon arrival in Batumi.

“We are interested in Georgia, first of all, from the economic point of view, including in the in respect of transportation of oil. You know that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline will be mainly used for transportation of the Kazakh oil. We are also interested in the Caucasian route – TRASECA, linking Europe and Asia,” the Kazakh President said.

While the trade dimension isn’t particularly unique, the presumption (which one can reasonably assume is not the result of arrogance) that Kazakhstan has something to offer to its neighbors in Central Asia and the Caucasus in terms of development sets the country apart in the region. (I recall hearing a similar statement about Kyrgyzstan lately, but cannot remember where.) And one imagines that this gap will only continue to widen as Kazakhstan continues to reap the benefits of becoming a nation among nations.

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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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