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Reconfigurations in Central Asia: Challenges, Opportunities and Risks of China’s Belt and Road Initiative

  • Matthias SchmidtEmail author
Chapter
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Abstract

Central Asia has a long history of external influences, ranging from the historical Silk Road, to annexation by the Russian Empire and incorporation into the Soviet Union. After more than a century of strong ties with Russia in political, economic and socio-cultural terms, since 1991, Central Asia has become part of global trade and communication networks, meaning that its inhabitants have been exposed to the forces of globalisation. China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” marks a new dimension of external influences for Central Asia, not only through large infrastructure projects such as railway lines, highways and transit hubs, but also through a network of connectivity and cooperation, including trade and investment agreements and political treaties. These developments raise great hopes as well as fears in Central Asia. The paper will shed light on the reconfigurations of exchange relations and influences on Central Asia and discuss the related challenges, opportunities and risks facing the region.

Keywords

Central Asia BRI Russian and Chinese influences 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Geography, University of AugsburgAugsburgGermany

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