Uzbek-Russia Relations: Close, but Not Too Close
July 12, 2017
On July 3 the assistant commander of Russia’s Central Military District, Colonel Yaroslav Roshchupkin, announced that Uzbekistan and Russia will hold their first joint military exercises since 2005 in October of this year. The move comes on top of recent developments in bilateral relations, which have improved significantly since the death of the Uzbek president Islam Karimov in 2016.
Now the most interesting question will be whether this might lead to Uzbekistan rejoining the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) – the Russia-led military bloc that Uzbekistan left in 2012. However, despite significant progress in the economic, security and military spheres, as well as persistent rumors suggesting Uzbekistan will join the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union and return to the CSTO, Tashkent’s overriding strategy will likely remain locked in. The country will continue its official non-alignment policy and seek to foster closer relations with other regional leaders such as China, Turkey, and possibly the United States.