Is it really different? Patterns of regionalisation in the post-Soviet Central Asia
While the regional economic integration encompassing the former Soviet Union (FSU) transpires to be inefficient, there appears to be a stronger interest in regionalism in smaller groups of more homogenous and geographically connected countries of the region, specifically, Central Asia. Using a new dataset, we find that although the economic links between the Central Asian countries are more pronounced than between that of the CIS in several key areas, this advantage has been disappearing fast over the last decade. In addition, the trend of economic integration of Central Asia strongly correlates to that of the CIS in general. Currently Central Asia should be treated as a sub-region of the post-Soviet world rather than a definite integration region.On the other hand, however, we find that Kazakhstan emerges as a new centre for regional integration, which can bear some potential for regionalism in Central Asia, and that there is an increasing trend towards greater economic interconnections with China in Central Asia.
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