Uzbekistan: between regional cooperation and multilateralism, a multidimensional transition at the heart of the Eurasian space

The current international situation makes it more essential than ever to analyze and understand the behavior of the various political, economic and cultural actors within contemporary Uzbek society in full effervescence and change. This context offers us the possibility of considering the evolution of its role and its influence on the international scene. Moreover, it turns out that this country is much more than a simple geographical crossroads at the confluence of several geopolitical area: China, Russia or even Iran and India. Indeed, it is a territory within which rivalries and plural issues are confronted, which the tensions and the new political laboratory that emerged following the election of the reformist president, Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoyev, have highlighted.

The circumstances of development of Uzbekistan linked to the geopolitical upheavals of the Eurasian space.

Uzbekistan is today a vast pivotal space in full political, economic, social and spatial upheaval which claims a role of geographical axis at the heart of globalization, and which establishes new standards of bilateral relations. The question that currently arises, in this context of strong tensions and power rivalries within the Eurasian space, is that of the reassessment of the paradigms of the multilateral policy led by President Mirziyoyev since 2017.

With a population of at least 36 million, Uzbekistan brings together almost half of the total population of Central Asia and is the second largest economy in the region, behind Kazakhstan. The country has gone through a period of political transition following the death on September 2, 2016 of its former president, Islom Karimov, head of state since the country’s independence when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. Indeed, the Karimov government had established an authoritarian regime where forms of opposition and dissent were controlled and severely repressed. The election of former Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev paved the way for the implementation of many political and economic reforms. Among the main flagship measures announced, the free convertibility of the local currency (the soum), in force since September 2017, the expansion of export potential, the intensification of foreign trade, the strengthening of macroeconomic stability, the reform taxation, the simplification of visas and the reorganization of ministries.

The Uzbek economy is essentially based on the exploitation of raw materials. The vast majority of exports mainly concern the extraction of natural gas and metals such as gold, uranium and copper, as well as the cultivation of cotton and fertilizers. These farms represent at least 3⁄4 of the country’s exports. The economic reforms still in progress also make it possible to encourage private investment, with the support of international donors. Moreover, despite the fall in trade and the effect of measures to combat the Covid-19 epidemic which caused the drop in hydrocarbon prices, as well as the reduction in tourist flows, Uzbekistan was thus the one of the few countries in the world to avoid recession in 2020 with GDP growth of 1.7%, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

From the CIS to the SCO: the contours of a polymorphous regional integration strategy.

A founding member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in 1991, the country was granted observer status with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) on December 11, 2020. However, it withdrew from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) twice, in 1999 and in 2012, after rejoining it in 2006. In this regard, multilateral cooperation with

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