The French newspaper Le Monde published an article on how China is building up its influence in Central Asia. Russia used to provide military security guarantees to the countries there that were former republics of the USSR. However, as Russia is trapped and weakened in the Ukraine war, it has started losing its grip in Central Asia. Recently confrontations between Armenia and Azerbaijan and between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan demonstrated that Russia is not very effective as the police there.
On the other hand, China’s influence is growing. Beijing is the dominant economic power in that region. Its involvement in the past related more to grabbing local natural resources, such as Kazakhstan’s uranium and oil and Turkmenistan’s natural gas. It has also built up its influence through the Belt and Road Initiative. Now, Beijing is expanding to the security field. It supports these countries to be more independent and to have less control from Russia.
Source: Radio France International, October 20, 2022