Authoritarian contagion: Central Asia and the international politics of the pandemic

Anti-Covid street art, Kazakhstan

Authoritarian contagion: Central Asia and the international politics of the pandemic

Monday, 14 February 2022 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Professor Luca Anceschi (University of Glasgow)
Professor Roy Allison (St Antony's)
Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre Monday Seminar

We are witnessing a pandemic power-grab at play in Central Asia: emergency measures supposedly enacted to manage the spread of Covid-19 have been used to further entrench authoritarian control in a region where governance quality was already abysmal before the pandemic erupted. This talk introduces a larger research and writing project that discusses of the (authoritarian) politics of the pandemic in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.  Showcasing the results of intensive research work, the seminar will outline the controversial role that Central Asia has played vis-à-vis the politics of international aid and describe the region’s place in Asia’s complex vaccine diplomacy, arguing that an established logic of kleptocratic governance guided the Central Asian leaders in driving the international dimension of their Covid response.

Luca Anceschi is Professor of Eurasian Studies at the University of Glasgow, where is also the editor of Europe-Asia Studies. His research work, which focuses on the Politics and International Relations of post-Soviet Central Asia, has been published on Central Asian Survey, Nationalities Papers and the Journal of Contemporary Asia. Prof Anceschi is the author of Turkmenistan’s Foreign Policy—Positive Neutrality and the Consolidation of the Turkmen regime (Routledge 2009) and of Analysing Kazakhstan’s Foreign Policy—Regime neo-Eurasianism in the Nazarbaev Era (Routledge 2020). He can be followed on Twitter @anceschistan

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