The death of Islam Karimov sparked discussions, not only on the future of Uzbekistan, but also on the geopolitical meaning of Central Asia. One thing is clear: despite the region’s importance, the major outside powers encounter significant difficulties when attempting to improve their standing there. The West, Russia, China, India, Turkey, the Gulf states and Iran all have reasons to engage with Central Asian republics, and all need to expend a great deal of effort to secure sustainable results for their policies. In this game, Russia might be proving itself to be the strongest player.

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