The geopolitical landscape of eurasia under the pressure of caspian and central asian power projects

In the last ten years, the geopolitical situation in the Caspian region and I Central Asia has been changing rapidly under the pressure of several factors, the main of them being energy projects realized, in particular, by non-regional states. Oil and gas transportation routes have become a strong instrument of geopolitical impact on the Central Asian and Caspian countries. Through their active involvement, the non-regional states, namely, the U.S., China, and the EU countries, have rechanneled the flows of hydrocarbons and changed the Eurasian geopolitical landscape. Having won this rivalry, China expanded the area of its geopolitical influence. The United States, which since the early 1990s has been working hard to turn the oil and gas flows away from Russia to the West came second. It changed the directions of Caspian hydrocarbon flows, while the greater part of Central Asian oil and gas is now moved to China. Beijing has become the key partner of the Central Asian and Caspian countries; it determines the nature of their cooperation in the energy sphere and, to a great extent, their foreign policy priorities. For geographical reasons, Central Asia and the Caspian are active on the regional energy market that comprises China, India and Russia. While the echo of the United States’ “shale revolution” resounded all over the world and reached regional markets, the impact of Central Asian and Caspian fuels, extraction level and export routes is limited to Eurasia. It is no secret that the new pipelines undermined Russia’s monopoly on oil and gas import and transit from Central Asia and the Caspian region, and that the local states nevertheless remain dependent on the policy pursued by their neighbors. Russia, which has preserved its influence in the region, shares its role of a consumer and a transitory territory with China, Turkey and Iran. India may join them at a later time. This makes the Central Asian countries fully dependent on the energy interests of these states, which do not hesitate to exploit the mechanism of price-formation and the volume of hydrocarbons bought to channel the policies of these countries. The local pipelines did not extinguish the fire of geopolitical rivalry and did not quench the interest of Russia, the U.S., China and Turkey, Iran and India in local hydrocarbon resources: they were used in the past and are used today as a powerful instrument of foreign policies. Another spiral of geopolitical rivalry in this part of the Eurasian space is coming closer: new pipelines have been practically completed, potential projects to be realized in the next few decades have been identified, while the regional states want to extract and sell the steadily increasing volumes of their hydrocarbons. © 2019, CA and C Press AB. All rights reserved.

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  • 1 Department of Political Science and Political Philosophy, Diplomatic Academy, Foreign Ministry of Russia, People’s Friendship University of Russia, Sergey Witte University of Moscow, Moscow, Russian Federation
  • 2 Sergey Witte University of Moscow, Moscow, Russian Federation
  • 3 Department of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Humanitarian and Social Sciences, Peoples’ Friendship, University of Russia, Moscow, Russian Federation
Caspian Pipeline Consortium; Central Asia; Gas; Infrastructural geopolitics; Oil; The Caspian Region; Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Pipeline (TAPI)
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