CENTRAL ASIA’S POWER DILEMMAS
Viktor Budkin, D.Sc. (Econ.), professor, chief research fellow, Institute of World Economy and International Relations, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (Kiev, Ukraine)
It turned out to be much harder to create new power structures in Central Asia than elsewhere in the post-socialist world: no matter how hard it was for the Central European countries to acquire new political institutions, their advance toward the Western democratic model was much smoother. In the European part of the post-Soviet geopolitical expanse, Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova experienced fewer problems than the Central Asian region (CAR for short), though they too had their share of contradictory and, in many respects, unpredictable attempts at reforming their state machines. In Central Asia, this is due to the poly-civilizational nature of public life that could not but affect the local peoples’ political culture and the political elites’ approaches to the task of the fundamental political reconstruction in their countries.
Those responsible for such reconstruction took the Western democratic values as their starting point, but this civilizational orientation proved relative, not absolute: in most of the local countries these values are not rejected—they are merely imitated. The local peoples find it hard to embrace the values as part of their national political mentality: they are interpreted through the seemingly more European (than the traditional local culture) elements of the Soviet way of life of long standing. The Soviet educational system might have helped, but its impact on “Europeanization” was…………………..