25 Years of Rural Development in post-Soviet Central Asia: Sustaining Inequalities

Open access

Abstract

To show that post-Soviet rural development in Central Asia has been confronted with sustained inequalities, three particular factors are analysed in this paper have being viewed as fundamental in influencing national and rural development. Firstly, most countries have based their growth models on economic nationalism (not only creating borders and national institutions, but also choosing inward-looking strategies), while leaning one-sidedly on their natural resource wealth (carbohydrates such as oil, natural gas and minerals, but also industrial crops like cotton). Secondly, and related to the first explanatory factor, the region has been struck by hidden and open resource-based conflicts, in particular on land and water. Inter-state tensions have emerged, in particular between downstream (irrigation water dependent) countries, such as Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and the upstream (hydropower energy dependent, and carbohydrate-poor) ones, such as Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Thirdly, all the countries analysed here have followed a rather unequal capital city-centric growth model, using the proceeds of exports of mineral wealth (or cotton) for rapid urbanisation with little or no investment in rural development, resulting in a growing urban-rural divide and increasing rural-urban and cross-border migration. While it is recognised that this region is indeed a bridge between West and East (also re-emphasised by the Chinese ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative), it is argued in this paper that there is a need to reduce these inequalities and unbalanced growth, being that they will be an obstacle to the sustainable growth and development of rural areas.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Abdulaev I. H. Manthrithilake and J. Kazbekov 2010 ‘Water and Geopolitics in Central Asia in: M. Arsel and M. Spoor (eds.) Water Security and Sustainable Rural Development Conflict and Cooperation in Central Eurasia London and New York: Routledge pp. 126–143.

  • Alkire S. and J. F. Foster 2007 Counting and Multidimensional Poverty Measurement. OPHI Working Paper No. 7. Oxford: University of Oxford.

  • Arsel M. and M. Spoor (eds.) 2009 Water Security and Sustainable Rural Development Conflict and Cooperation in Central Eurasia London and New York: Routledge.

  • Djanibekov N. K. van Assche I. Bobojonov and J.P.A. Lamers 2012 Farm Restructuring and Land Consolidation in Uzbekistan: New Farms with Old Barriers. Europe-Asia Studies 64(6): 1101–1126 doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/09668136.2012.691720

  • Dudwick N. K. Fock and D. Sedik 2007 Land Reform and Farm Restructuring in Transition Countries: The Experience of Bulgaria Moldova Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. World Bank Working Paper No. 104. Washington DC: New York.

  • FAO 2011 Food security and the transition region. Working paper by J. Swinnen and K. Van Herck for the EBRD. London European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

  • FAO 2015 Regional Overview of Food Insecurity: Europe and Central Asia. Rome: Food and Agricultural Organization.

  • Frank A.G. 1992 The Centrality of Central Asia. Bulletin of Critical Asian Scholars 24(2): 50–74.

  • Franz J. and F. Fitzroy 2006 Child mortality in Central Asia: social policy agriculture and the environment. Central Asian Survey 25(4): 481–498 doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/02634930701210476

  • Gassmann F. 2011 Protecting Vulnerable Families in Central Asia: Poverty vulnerability and the impact of the economic crisis. UNU-MERIT Working Paper Series No. 42. Maastricht: Maastricht University.

  • Heggenes H. 2014 Central Asia’s missing war: Natural resources as a mechanism for peace and armed conflict. MA Thesis of Russian and Eurasian Studies. University of Leiden The Netherlands.

  • ICG 2002 Central Asia: Border Disputes and Conflict Potential’ Asia Report No. 33 International Crisis Group. Available at: http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/central-asia/033-central-asia-border-disputes-and-conflict-potential.aspx (26.02.2016).

  • Kimhi A. and Z. Lerman (eds.) 2013 Agricultural Transition in Post-Soviet Europe and Central Asia after 25 Years. Halle: IAMO.

  • Lerman Z. 2013 ‘Tajikistan’s vulnerability to climate change: an agricultural policy approach’ in: Kimhi A. and Z. Lerman (eds.) Agricultural Transition in Post-Soviet Europe and Central Asia after 25 Years Halle: IAMO.

  • Macours K. and J. F.M. Swinnen 2008 Rural-Urban Poverty Differences in Transition Countries. World Development 36(11): 2170–2187 doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2007.11.003

  • Megoran N. 2012 ‘B/ordering and Biopolitics in Central Asia’ in: T. Wilson and H. Donnan (eds.) A Companion to Border Studies Chichester UK: Wiley-Blackwell pp. 473–491.

  • Micklin P. P. 1992 The Aral Sea Crisis: Introduction to the Special Issue. Post-Soviet Geography 33(5): 269–282 doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/10605851.1992.10640900

  • OECD 2015 Labor Migration from Central Asia to Russia: Economic and Social Impact on the Societies of Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan and Uzbekistan by Irena Malynchenko. Bishkek: OECD Academy with the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs.

  • Pomfret R. 2012 Resource management and transition in Central Asia Azerbaijan and Mongolia. Journal of Asian Economics 23: 146–156 doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asieco.2011.08.004

  • Spoor M. 1995 Agrarian transition in former Soviet Central Asia: A comparative study of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Journal of Peasant Studies 23(1): 46–63 doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/03066159508438599

  • Spoor M. 1997 Upheaval along the Silk Route: The dynamics of economic transition in Central Asia. Journal of International Development 9: 579–588 doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1328(199706)9:4<579::AID-JID466>3.0.CO;2-D

  • Spoor M. 1998 The Political Economy of the Aral Sea Basin Crisis. Development and Change 29(3): 409–35 doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-7660.00084

  • Spoor M. and A. Krutov 2003 The “Power of Water” in a Divided Central Asia. Perspectives on Global Development and Technology (formerly the Journal of Developing Societies) 2(3–4): 593–614.

  • Spoor M. 2009 ‘Rural Poverty Cotton Production and Environmental Degradation in Central Eurasia’ in: M.A.M. Salih Climate Change and Sustainable Development: New Challenges for Poverty Reduction Cheltenham UK: Edward Elgar pp. 156–78.

  • Spoor M. 2010 ‘Cotton Environment and Poverty in Uzbekistan’ in: Arsel M. and M. Spoor (eds.) Water Security and Sustainable Rural Development Conflict and Cooperation in Central Eurasia London and New York: Routledge pp. 234–49.

  • Spoor M. 2013 Multidimensional social exclusion and the ‘Rural-Urban Divide in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Sociologia Ruralis 53(2): 139–157 doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/soru.12008

  • Spoor M. L. Tasciotti and M. Peleah 2014 Quality of life and social exclusion in rural Southern Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS. Post-Communist Economies 26(2): 201–219 doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/14631377.2014.904107

  • Starr S. F. (ed.) 2011 Ferghana Valley: The Heart of Central Asia Abington and New York: Routledge.

  • Swinnen J. and S. Rozelle 2006 From Marx and Mao to the Market: The Economics and Politics of Agricultural Transition. Oxford: OUP.

  • Trevisani T. 2007 After the Kolkhoz: rural elites in competition. Central Asian Survey 26(1): 85–104 doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/02634930701423509

  • UNDP 2010 Food Security in Uzbekistan. Tashkent: UNDP Uzbekistan. UNDP 2011 Beyond Transition: Towards Inclusive Societies Regional Human Development Report on Social Inclusion New York/Bratislava: UNDP.

  • UNDP 2014 Poverty Inequality and Vulnerability in the Transition and Developing Economies of Europe and Central Asia. Bratislava: UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and CIS UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support.

  • UNDP 2015 Labour Migration Remittance and Human Development in Central Asia. Central Asian Human Development Series. Bratislava: UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

  • UNECE 2008 Joint Study on Developing Euro-Asian Transport Linkages Economic Commission for Europe and Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific New York/Geneva: UNECE.

  • Visser O. and M. Spoor 2011 Land Grabbing in post-Soviet Eurasia: the world’s largest land reserves at stake. The Journal of Peasant Studies 38(2): 299–323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/03066150.2011.559010

  • World Bank 2005 Growth Poverty and Inequality: Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union Washington DC: World Bank.

  • World Bank 2009 Adapting to Climate Change in Europa and Central Asia Washington DC: World Bank.

Search
Journal information
Impact Factor

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.391
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.560

CiteScore 2018: 0.33

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.129
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.206

Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 199 199 9
PDF Downloads 117 117 14