A meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation between Russia and Uzbekistan is expected to take place today in the Uzbek city of Bukhara.
Infrastructure projects are likely to be a topic of discussion, particularly the status of a long-delayed China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railroad project. Conceived of almost 25 years ago, the project stalled due to Kyrgyz reservations over funding. Recent comments from Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov and indications that Moscow may be interested in resuscitating the project have suggested that high-level talks between the involved parties are underway.
Although the railroad will not pass through Russia, Moscow’s sudden re-interest is reflective of its greater regional ambitions. The Kremlin has long sought a brokerage role in Central Asian infrastructure projects despite its track record of not following through with many of its financing commitments.
While Russia may offer a $4.5 to $5 billion loan to Kyrgyzstan to finance its segment of the project, still anticipate an uphill battle to actualise the project. Expect Russia to discuss Kyrgyzstan’s reticence to pay for the project with Uzbekistan today in an effort to demonstrate its pre-eminence over its former satellite states.
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Nick is the Director of the Daily Brief and a contributing Senior Analyst to it. An attorney, his areas of expertise include international law, international and domestic criminal law, security affairs in Europe and the Middle East, and human rights.