Central Asia News and Analysis Archive

Consisting of five Soviet successor states, Central Asia lies at the heart of the Eurasian landmass. Major trade routes running through the region bringing with them new ideas, religions, and peoples back and forth from Europe and Asia. During the Soviet period, Central Asia was essentially isolated from the rest of the world. Since independence, each of the region’s new governments have sought to re-engage the world in unique ways. Untapped natural resources like oil, gas, and precious metals as well as the region’s importance to international security as Afghanistan’s northern neighbors have attracted the attention of major powers and international organizations.

At Registan, Central Asia is our obsession. Registan.net was founded to shine a light on the region for western audiences and to add context to media reporting. In our nearly ten years of publishing news and analysis on the region, we have amassed an archive of thousands of items discussing the region’s people, cultures, religions, politics, and foreign policies. All of our contributors who cover Central Asia have lived or traveled extensively in the region and most speak one or more of the languages used in the region.

In addition to publishing a widely read and recognized weblog on Central Asia, Registan offers research, analysis, and training services tailored to your individual needs. For more information on how we can help you and your organization better understand the region.

It’s a Sea! 18 years after, the Caspian finally gets a legal status

by Mathieu BOULEGUE

Copyright RIA Novosti Against all odds, the 4th Caspian Summit that took place in Astrakhan on 29 September between the “Caspian Five” – the five littoral states of Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan – ended with rather positive advances and, for once, unexpected breakthroughs. As President Putin declared after the Summit, “we agreed on [...]

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Islamic Banking Reaches the Post-Soviet Space

by Luke Rodeheffer
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I recently wrote a brief for Global Risk Insights on how Islamic Banking is rapidly spreading across Central Asia and the Caucasus: The interest in Russia for the regulation of Islamic Banking reflects an even greater interest in the sector across the post-Soviet space. The Post-Soviet states of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan [...]

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Ignorance, Incompetence, and the Islamic State on the Steppe

by Casey_Michel

There’s a peculiar belief currently coursing intellectual circles in Moscow. Combining the bubbling traits of nativism and Islamophobia, and playing squarely into the hands of those seeking to amp the region’s security structures, certain circles have begun pumping up the terror and tenor of the threat posed by the Islamic State. To be sure, these [...]

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Putin’s Words and Kazakh History

by Casey_Michel

Another summer passes, and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev grows that much closer to moving into his post-presidential period. Unfortunately, this summer moved us no closer toward identifying a successor to the 74-year-old Nazarbayev. We have candidates, from Timur Kulibayev to Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev to Dariga Nazarbayeva, but no figure has yet jumped to the fore. With [...]

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Road of Sorrow – Trafficking and Ethnicity on the Pamir Highway

by Stephen M. Bland
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Beginning in the Kyrgyz second city of Osh, the Pamir Highway – the second highest international road in the world – runs the length of Tajikistan and down through Uzbekistan before terminating in Afghanistan. Ninety tonnes of heroin is trafficked through Tajikistan each year, much of it passing through the poverty stricken, self-governing Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous [...]

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A Shot Across the Bow: The Biggest Thing in Kazakh-Russian Relations in Years

by Nate Schenkkan
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The video from yesterday of Putin answering a question about Kazakh nationalism is a really big deal. I think this is the most important political development in Kazakh-Russian relations in the last five years. I’ve noted that the transcripts in Russian and the translations in English are missing not only a lot of subtleties, but [...]

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Conceptualizing Chinese Continentalism

by Kendrick Kuo
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People have used a variety of phrases to describe the emerging phenomenon of Chinese relations with Eurasia and the Middle East. The most prominent to emerge from China itself was Peking University professor Wang Jisi’s “March West” (xijin) strategy (pictured above). This vision was outlined in a widely read Global Times essay in October 2012, which highlighted the [...]

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Marching Westward

by Casey_Michel

We always knew 2014 was going to be a year of Eurasian shift. The American withdrawal from Afghanistan, pegged to 2014, coincided with Washington’s pivot to East Asia – as well as the Americans’ unceremonious eviction from the Manas Transit Center, their most noteworthy placeholder in Central Asia. And as soon as Viktor Yanukovych made [...]

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Facebook Jihad: The IMU’s Digital Communication Strategy for the Karachi Airport Attack

by Noah Tucker
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We’re happy to announce that the Central Asia Digital Islam Project has released our first short policy paper with the The Central Eurasia – Religion in International Affairs (CERIA) program at George Washington University. Facebook Jihad: The IMU’s Digital Communication Strategy for the Karachi Airport Attack identifies the IMU’s social media tactics and strategies seen [...]

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New Interview on IMU Operations in Pakistan

by Noah Tucker
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I’ve had every intention of writing an IMU article this week after they claimed the Karachi airport attack and articles began to pop up questioning what this means for Central Asia. I still haven’t managed to write it, but was grateful to Kathy Gilsinan at World Politics Review for giving me a chance to talk [...]

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