TERRITORIAL AND LAND-WATER CONFLICTS IN CENTRAL ASIA: A VIEW FROM TAJIKISTAN

Ashurboi IMOMOV


Ashurboi Imomov, Ph.D. (Law), Department Head at the State Institute of Philosophy, Political Science, and Law, Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan (Dushanbe, Tajikistan)


ABSTRACT

This article examines the nature of the conflicts in present-day Central Asia (CA). It analyzes the main tangles in the border/territorial and land-energy disputes going on in CA against the background of the growing rivalry over regional resources.

It takes a look at the history leading up to the emergence of the conflicts in present-day CA and describes the main aspects of interstate relations among Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. It takes the Sokh events (January 2013) as an example to show the specific features of the border conflicts in CA, comprised of the complex border configuration, the existence of enclaves, the exclusively high population density, the acute shortage of land and water resources (in the border zones), and the difficulties with forming a civil identity. Moreover, the unresolved nature of the border problems is giving rise to attempts at political manipulation.

Disputes over the use of transboundary river water are another unresolved issue that adds to the above-mentioned tension. An analysis of the sources of CAs hydropower industry helps to understand the nature of the water disputes in the regions countries and the consequences the Soviet irrigation traditions had for Tajikistan.

The different viewpoints on reviving construction of the Rogun hydropower plant, as well as the international experts evaluation of its construction project supported by the World Bank are examined. The analysis has shown that the matter does not in fact concern the potential dangers of the Rogun hydropower plant project. The problem is rooted in the internal political contradictions inflicting CA: the rivaling elites are striving to privatize not only national, but also regional resources.

Keywords: Central Asia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, border conflicts, land-water disputes, energy problems.

Introduction

For many centuries, ethnic relations in CA have been characterized by the existence of large Jewish, Indian, Gypsy, Persian, and other diasporas in Bukhara, Samarkand, Khujand, and Kokand, and special conditions caused by the absence of strong ethnic tension.

When czarist Russia conquered CA, it introduced a certain amount of confusion into the established lifestyle and ethnic relations in the region. This was expressed in the Russian system of


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