TAJIKISTAN AND REGIONAL INTEGRATION IN CENTRAL ASIA
Rashid Abdullo, Independent political science analyst (Dushanbe, Tajikistan)
The idea of an independent integrated Central Asian expanse was born when perestroika in the Soviet Union was on its last legs. There was the strong feeling that the crisis of Soviet statehood gave rise to numerous and multiplying challenges that needed to be opposed by all means. For the first time in their Soviet history the local republics were confronted with a very real need to act on their own to cope with the problems created by the Union center’s loss of ideological, political, and administrative competence.
In the past, the Central Asian republics developed under Moscow’s supervision; the center-initiated perestroika reforms led to a breakdown in economic ties between the region and Moscow. The Central Asian republics found themselves in a quandary; they gradually became convinced that they had reached the point of no return. Under these conditions, the local political elites tried to compensate for the lost economic ties with the center by establishing contacts among themselves. It was tacitly accepted that they would stay within the Soviet Union, while the Union itself would transform (without dropping its Soviet nature) from a unitary into a genuinely federal state (which meant it would acquire the form it should have had from the very beginning). As distinct from the Baltic and some other republics,neither the political community, nor the ruling circles, nor society in the Central Asian republics as a whole wanted any other arrangement prior to………………….