The Belt and Road Initiative and Sino-Russian Relations in Central Asia: Demolishing the Condominium?

Flake, Benjamin, East Asian Studies - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Womack, Brantly, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Lyons, Shawn, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia

China's involvement in Central Asia has steadily increased since the collapse of the USSR, and this process has accelerated in recent years due to major Chinese investments related to the Belt and Road Initiative. This increased involvement has the potential to seriously affect China's relationship with Russia, which has traditionally considered Central Asia to be within its sphere of influence. This master's thesis examines the likely impact of the Belt and Road Initiative on those relations in Central Asia, which have in recent years come to be described as a 'condominium.' It is divided into two parts: In the first, the history of Chinese-Central Asian relations, the rhetoric surrounding the Belt and Road Initiative Chinese grand strategy and the major economic and domestic drivers of the Belt and Road Initiative are examined, in order to project the likely trajectory of Chinese policy in Central Asia. In the second, the author examines Russian Central Asia policy, how the Chinese and Russian Central Asia policy may intersect, and the likely effects of this intersection.

MA (Master of Arts)
One Belt One Road, China - Foreign Relations, Central Asia, Russia - Foreign Relations, Belt and Road Initiative
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