Friday, 20 November 2015 00:00

Spring 2015 Rumsfeld Fellowship

9469325398 9a8a07d299 mThe Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and the Rumsfeld Foundation continue to sponsor a fellowship program for raising regional leaders in government, commerce, and academia from Central Asia, the Caucasus and Afghanistan. The goal of this program is to foster better understanding and build stronger relations between the United States and countries of the region. Since its inaugural session in fall of 2008 the program has brought dozens of young leaders to the United States to conduct independent research and to meet policymakers, business leaders, journalists and academics.


Ms. Zara Chatinyan (Armenia), 39, is the Local Representative of German Development Bank (KfW) in Armenia. KfW has a more than 600 million euro investment portfolio in Armenia’s energy, drinking water and irrigation, and banking and agriculture sectors, accompanied by significant technical assistance in legislative reforms. Ms. Chatinyan works closely with the governments of Armenia and Germany to identify sectors for reforms and targeted infrastructure projects, facilitates intergovernmental negotiations, participates in multi-million sovereign loan negotiations and project preparations, supports the introduction of international standards in project management and implementation, and is also in charge of cooperation with international financial institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, ADB, EBRD, etc. Ms. Chatinyan has more than ten years of experience in USAID financed projects in decentralization, policy and institutional development, strategic planning and municipal service improvements. Ms. Chatinyan holds a B.A. in Philology from the Teachers’ Training Institute in Armenia (1998), a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Delaware (2000) as a recipient of the prestigious Muskie Fellowship, and a Certificate in Executive Management and Leadership from the Judge Institute of Management at the University of Cambridge (2003). Research Project: "Toward Integration or Isolation: Western Values and Free Trade vs. National Security in Armenia."

Mr. Anar Jahangirli (Azerbaijan), 36, is the Vice President for Corporate Affairs at the AzMeCo Group of Companies. Mr. Jahangirli’s experience since 2011 as a private entrepreneur also includes working in senior positions as an Adviser to the CEO at the Azerbaijan Consulting Group, and as the Director for Corporate Communications at Azercell Telecom. He has also established several of his own companies. Prior to moving to the private sector, Mr. Jahangirli worked for more than a decade at the Azerbaijan Foreign Service including a tour in the Mission of Azerbaijan to the EU in Brussels. Mr. Jahangirli holds a B.A. in International Relations and International Law from Baku State University (1999), a M.A. in European Public Affairs from the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands (2001), and a M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (2011). He has also completed courses in the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, Austria and NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy. Research project: "Transformation to a Knowledge-based Economy: The Case of Azerbaijan."

Mr. Ilgar Taghiyev (Azerbaijan), 34, is the Chief Executive Officer at EMBAFINANS, one of the largest non-bank credit organizations based in Baku, Azerbaijan, that extends microloans to retail consumers. EMBAFINANS opened in 2012 and in three years expanded its service network to 135 points of sales with $45 million in assets. Mr. Taghiyev has more than 17 years of experience in the banking industry with a focus on micro-lending. Prior to joining EMBAFINANS, he was a Deputy CEO of Qafqaz Leasing, which primarily served SMEs and was the first company in Azerbaijan to provide micro-leasing products. From 2009-2011         Mr. Taghiyev was a Senior Consultant for EBRD’s project on SME lending and co-financing. He has served in various senior positions at Demir Bank (formerly Azerdemiryolbank) and Bank of Baku. Mr. Taghiyev holds a B.A. in Finance and Banking from Azerbaijan State Economics University (2001) and is currently pursuing a joint Executive M.B.A. degree at Maastricht School of Management and ADA University. He was also a MasterCard Foundation Scholar in Microfinance at the Summer Academy of Frankfurt School of Finance and Management and received certification as an Expert in Microfinance (2012). Research project: "Fluctuations in Money and FX Market."

Ms. Nino Evgenidze (Georgia), 39, is the Executive Director at the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) in Tbilisi, Georgia, which she joined in 2004. At the same time, Mr. Evgenidze is an anchor of a morning economic show at the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and a member of the Anticorruption Policy Coordination Council of Georgia. Prior to joining EPRC, Ms. Evgenidze served in various positions in the Government of Georgia, non-governmental sector and international organizations. She holds a B.A. and a M.A. in World Culture and Literature from Tbilisi State University (1997), a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the same University (2002), and a M.A. in Economic Policy Management from the London School of Economics, UK, as a Chevening Fellow (2005). She also graduated from the Department of Economic Policy Administration of the Joint Vienna Institute in Vienna, Austria with the World Bank Scholarship (2000), has a diploma in Management of International Projects from University of Maastricht in the Netherlands as a Nuffic Fellow (2010) and was a Draper Hills Summer Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University (2013). Research project: "Economic NATO."

Mr. Umit Khairollayev (Kazakhstan), 31, is Chief Executive Officer at the Carlyle Group in Kazakhstan. The Carlyle Group supplies the markets in Central Asia, the Caucasus, Turkey and Mongolia with air freshening, water purifying, and health care products. In his capacity of CEO, Mr. Khairollayev manages and coordinates projects that work to solve ecological and environmental problems in the abovementioned regions. Under his leadership, over 140 environmental projects have been designed and successfully launched to improve the quality of life and the management of resources in the region. From 2008 to 2011 Mr. Khairollayev was the President of ElitEcoGarant Corporation where he built and implemented a complete distribution strategy for the Aquapick, PurePro, Lange, and Water Therapy brands in the region engaging both the B2B industrial sector and consumer channels. He introduced modern manufacturing techniques and adapted solutions to specific requirements and environments that resulted in 20% cost reduction and a 30% decrease in manufacturing cycle time. In the time of his leadership the company also achieved 86% of market coverage. Mr. Khairollayev holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Lomonosov Moscow State University (2004). Research project: "The Eurasian Economic Union: Economic and Political Outlook."

Mr. Daniel Kadyrbekov (Kyrgyz Republic), 29, is an Aide to the Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic on economic reforms and investments. His responsibilities include coordinating the work of the Government Ministries and other state institutions in the areas of economic reforms, improvement of the business environment and attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). Currently he focuses on developing and implementing reforms in the area of the state asset management. Prior to joining the Prime Minister’s office, Mr. Kadyrbekov worked as an Aide to the First Deputy Prime Minister on economics and investments, and as a Senior Expert in the Department of FDI, Foreign Aid and Public-Private Partnership at the Ministry of Economy of the Kyrgyz Republic. Mr. Kadyrbekov holds a B.A. in Finance and Taxation from the Department of Economics of Osh Trade College (2003), a Certificate in Political Science from Berea College, Kentucky (2007), a Diploma in International Relations (B.A. equivalent) from Osh Technological University (2008), and a M.A. in Political Science from the Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, Kobe University, Japan (2011). Research project: "Community Based Tourism Enterprises: Benefits and Challenges."

Mr. Badruun Gardi (Mongolia), 28, is the founder and CEO of Ger Hub and a civil society leader in Mongolia with a deep interest in issues of national development. Ger Hub is a nonprofit social enterprise that aims to develop uncommon solutions to common problems in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia. By creating opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, Ger Hub seeks to transform the living environments of the urban poor. From 2011 to 2014, Mr. Gardi served as Executive Director of the Zorig Foundation, a leading non-governmental organization in Mongolia that focuses on three main areas: good governance, youth and education, and community development. Mr. Gardi has previously been an adjunct fellow at the Urban Communities Research Center for Asia at the Kwansei Gakuin University in Sanda, Japan. Mr. Gardi also serves on the boards of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Mongolian Association of State Alumni, and AIESEC Mongolia. He is an alumnus of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program and the inaugural class of the Asia Foundation Development Fellowship. Mr. Gardi is a frequent guest at conferences and events where he talks about civil society and civic engagement. Mr. Gardi holds a B.A. with a double major in Psychology and Communication from Stanford University (2009). Research Topic: "Effective Methods for Policy Advocacy."

Mr. Tuvshinzaya Gantulga (Mongolia), 27, is the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Mongolia. He is in charge of management, public and media relations, and most importantly advocacy activities for AmCham Mongolia. Mr. Tuvshinzaya has successfully positioned AmCham Mongolia as one of the most influential business associations in the country. He also led the first-ever Mongolian trade mission to the U.S. Prior to joining AmCham, Mr. Tuvshinzaya worked for the Zorig Foundation, one of the most prominent NGOs in Mongolia, where he coordinated public policy, education, and community development projects. Forbes Mongolia recently named Mr. Tuvshinzaya on their 30 under 30 list of the most influential change-makers in the country.                   Mr. Tuvshinzaya holds a B.A. in Value Studies with a concentration in Political Philosophy and Literature from Bard College in Berlin, Germany (2012) and studied Political Science and Economics at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster. Pennsylvania. He was also a Stanford University’s Summer Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (2014). While at college, Mr. Tuvshinzaya rowed for varsity crew, and later represented Mongolia at the 2013 Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston. Research project: "U.S.-Mongolia Free Trade Agreement: Empty Dream or Real Possibility?"

Mr. Abdullo Kurbanov (Tajikistan), 29, is Co-founder and CEO of Alif Capital, a microcredit organization based in Tajikistan. Previously he served as Deputy Chairman of the Board of Orienbank, one of the largest commercial banks in Tajikistan. Prior to joining Orienbank in July 2012, Mr. Kurbanov was Vice-President for Mining Investments at Origo Partners PLC, a London Stock Exchange listed private equity company with investments primarily in Mongolia and China. While at Origo Partners Mr. Kurbanov was based in Ulaanbaatar and was in charge of Mongolia investments, managing the portfolio of existing assets (copper, coal, moly projects) and originating new deals. Earlier, Mr. Kurbanov was based in London working as an analyst in the Metals & Mining team of UBS Investment Bank, a Swiss global investment bank. He also worked for Oliver Wyman (Financial Consulting) out of London and Moscow, where he advised clients on risk management, particularly, modeling credit risk. Mr. Kurbanov holds a B.A. in Management from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey (2008) and a M.Sc. in Finance from the London School of Economics, UK (2009). Research Project: "Application of Mobile Distribution Technologies and Crowd-funding for Microfinance in Tajikistan."

Mr. Mirzokhid Rakhimov (Uzbekistan), 40, is Head of the Department of Contemporary History and International Relations in the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan and a Professor at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Tashkent. His academic interests include contemporary history and politics in Central Asia, and international and regional relations in Central Asia. Mr. Rakhimov has conducted research on these topics at the University of Washington, Seattle (2003), the University of Georgia, Athens, GA (2004), Leiden University, Netherlands (2005), University of Cambridge, UK (2006), NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy (2006), The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London (2007), University of Giessen, Germany (2009), Slavic-Eurasian Research Center at Hokkaido University, Japan (2010), and the University of Bielefeld, Germany (2011, 2012). He is an author and an editor of several books as well as multiple articles and chapters, and is a frequent speaker at international conferences, seminars and workshops. Mr. Rakhimov holds a M.A. in History from Navoi State Pedagogical Institute (1996) and a Ph.D. in History (2001) from the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan. Research project: "U.S.-Uzbek Relations and Their Prospects in the Context of Stability and Connectivity of Central Asia."





  • ASIA Spotlight with Prof. S. Frederick Starr on Unveiling Central Asia's Hidden Legacy
    Thursday, 28 December 2023 00:00

    On December 19th, 2023, at 7:30 PM IST, ASIA Spotlight Session has invited the renowned Prof. S Fredrick Starr, who elaborated on his acclaimed book, "The Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia's Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane." Moderated by Prof. Amogh Rai, Research Director at ASIA, the discussion unveiled the fascinating, yet lesser-known narrative of Central Asia's medieval enlightenment.

    The book sheds light on the remarkable minds from the Persianate and Turkic peoples, spanning from Kazakhstan to Xinjiang, China. "Lost Enlightenment" narrates how, between 800 and 1200, Central Asia pioneered global trade, economic development, urban sophistication, artistic refinement, and, most importantly, knowledge advancement across various fields. Explore the captivating journey that built a bridge to the modern world.

    To know watch the full conversation: #centralasia #goldenage #arabconquest #tamerlane #medievalenlightment #turkish #economicdevelopment #globaltrade

    Click here to watch on YouTube or scroll down to watch the full panel discussion.

  • Some Lessons for Putin from Ancient Rome
    Thursday, 04 January 2024 17:01
    By S. Frederick Starr 
    American Purpose
    January 4, 2024
    Vladimir Putin, having sidelined or destroyed all his domestic opponents, real or imagined, now surrounds himself with Romano-Byzantine pomp and grandeur. The theatrical civic festivals, processions of venerable prelates, cult of statues, embarrassing shows of piety, endless laying of wreaths, and choreographed entrances down halls lined with soldiers standing at attention—all trace directly back to czarism, to Byzantine Constantinople, and ultimately to imperial Rome. Indeed, Putin considers himself as Russia’s new “czar,” the Russified form of the Latin “Caesar.”
    But besides all the parallel heroics, Roman history offers profound lessons for today’s world. All of America’s Founders saw the Roman Republic as the best model for their own constitution. Napoleon, Mussolini, and Hitler, by contrast, found in imperial Rome a stunning model for their own grandeur. True, some of Rome’s ancient chroniclers, including the celebrated Livy, so admired specific politicians that they saw only their good sides and ignored the problems and failures. Yet there were others, notably the pessimistic Sallust, who not only wrote bluntly of history’s painful issues but delved deep into their causes and consequences.
    Is Putin likely to delve into the history of Rome for insights on his own situation? Unfortunately for Russia, Putin is not a reader, preferring instead to engage in exhibitionist athletic activities, preside at solemn ceremonies, or offer avuncular obiter dicta. However, if he would study the Roman past, he might come to realize that that model presents more than a few chilling prospects that he will ignore at his peril.
    To take but one example, a glance at Roman history would remind Putin that self-declared victories may not be as victorious as he and Kremlin publicists want to think. Back in the 3rd century B.C., when Rome was still a small state in central Italy, it was attacked by a certain King Pyrrhus, a rival ruler from Epirus, a region along today’s border between Greece and Albania. In his first battles Pyrrhus routed the Roman legions, and celebrated accordingly. But matters did not end there.
    Like Pyrrhus, Putin’s army scored some early victories in its war on Ukraine. As recently as December 1, Putin’s Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu was still claiming, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that Russian forces “were advancing on all fronts.” Pyrrhus made similar false claims, only to discover that his own soldiers were no match for the determined Romans. As the Romans drove Pyrrhus’ army from the field, he groused, “If we win one more such victory against the Romans we will be utterly ruined,” which is exactly what happened. Pyrrhus’ statement gave Romans the term “Pyrrhic victory,” which we still use today. Putin should apply it to his “victories” at Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
    Another crisis in Rome’s early formation as a nation occurred when a peasant uprising threatened Rome itself and, according to the historian Livy, caused panic in the Roman capital. In desperation, the elders turned to Lucius Cincinnatus, who was neither a military man nor a professional politician, but who had earned respect as an effective leader. It took Cincinnatus only fifteen days to turn the tide, after which he returned to his farm. George Washington rightly admired Cincinnatus and consciously emulated him, returning after the Battle of Yorktown to Mount Vernon. By contrast, Putin’s “special military operation,” planned as a three-day romp, is now approaching the end of its second year. Putin, no Cincinnatus, doomed himself to being a lifer.
    Roman history is a millennium-long showcase of motivation or its absence. In this context, Putin might gain further insights by examining Rome’s centuries-long battle against the diverse tribes pressing the empire from the north. For centuries Rome’s legionnaires were well trained, disciplined, and committed. The list of their early victories is long. Both Julius Caesar and the philosopher-emperor-general Marcus Aurelius succeeded because they motivated and inspired their troops. But over time the Roman army was increasingly comprised of hirelings, déclassé men who fought not to save the empire but for money or a small piece of the bounty. Inflation and rising costs outpaced pay increases. Punishment was severe, in some cases including even crucifixion. In the end, Rome’s army eroded from within.
    This is what is happening to the Russian army today. Putin attacked Ukraine in February 2022 with what was then an army of several hundred thousand trained professional soldiers. But after the Ukrainians killed more than 320,000 Russian troops, their replacements were unwilling and surly conscripts and even criminals dragooned from Russia’s jails. Putin quite understandably fears such soldiers. Putin’s army, like that of the late Roman Empire, is collapsing from within.
    By contrast, Ukraine’s army at the time of the invasion was small and comprised mainly Soviet-trained holdovers. Both officers and troops of the line had to be quickly recruited from civilian professions and trained. Yet they quickly proved themselves to be disciplined and resourceful patriots, not tired time-servers. True, Ukraine is now conscripting troops, but these newcomers share their predecessors’ commitment to the nation and to their future lives in a free country.
    Sheer spite and a passion for avenging past failures figured prominently in Putin’s decisions to invade both Georgia and Ukraine. Roman history suggests that this isn’t smart. Back in 220 B.C., Rome defeated its great enemy, the North African state of Carthage. Anticipating Putin, the Carthaginian general Hannibal sought revenge. Acting out of spite, he assembled 700,000 foot soldiers, 78,000 mounted calvary, and a force of war elephants, and crossed the Alps. Though he was a brilliant general, Hannibal’s war of spite turned into a disaster.
    Why did Hannibal lose? Partly because of his sheer hubris and the spite that fed it, and also because the Romans avoided frontal battles and simply ground him down. They were prudently led by a general named Fabius Maximus, whom later Romans fondly remembered as “the Delayer.” Today it is the Ukrainians who are the Delayers. By grinding down Putin’s army and destroying its logistics they have positioned themselves for victory.
    The Roman Republic fell not because of any mass uprising but because of the machinations of Julius Caesar. A victorious general, Caesar looked the hero as he was installed as imperator. As was customary at such ceremonies, an official retainer placed behind the inductee solemnly repeated over and over the admonition to “Look behind you!” Caesar failed to do so and underestimated the opposition of a handful of officials and generals who feared the rise of a dictator perpetuus. Even if Putin chooses not to read Cicero, Plutarch, or Cassius Dio, he could productively spend an evening watching a Moscow production of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.
    Turning to a very different issue, Putin seems blithely to assume that whenever Russia defeats a neighboring country it can easily win the hearts and minds of the conquered, whether by persuasion or force. This is what many Roman generals and governors thought as well, but they were wrong—fatally so. Speaking of the impact of corrupt officials sent by Rome to the provinces, the great orator-politician Cicero declared to the Roman Senate, “You cannot imagine how deeply they hate us.” Does Putin understand this?
    Finally, it is no secret that Russia today, like ancient Rome, is increasingly a land of immigrants; its economy depends on impoverished newcomers from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and elsewhere in Central Asia who fled to Russia in search of work. Yet Moscow treats them as third-class citizens and dragoons them as cannon fodder or “meat” to die by the thousands on the Ukrainian front. Rome faced a similar problem and wrestled with it unsuccessfully over several centuries. Over time the despised immigrants who poured across the Alps from Gaul demanded a voice in Roman affairs, and eventually took control of the western Roman Empire.
    Sad to say, neither Putin himself nor any others of Russia’s core group of leaders show the slightest interest in learning from relevant examples from Roman history or, for that matter, from any other useable past. Together they provide living proof of American philosopher George Santayana’s adage that, “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.” In Putin’s case, though, he seems never to have known it. 

    ABOUT THE AUTHORSS. Frederick Starr, is a distinguished fellow specializing in Central Asia and the Caucasus at the American Foreign Policy Council and founding chairman of the Central Asia Caucasus Institute.

    Additional Info
    • Author S. Frederick Starr
    • Publication Type Analysis
    • Published in/by American Purpose
    • Publishing date January 4, 2024
  • CACI Chairman S. Frederick Starr comments on "Preparing Now for a Post-Putin Russia"
    Friday, 03 November 2023 18:30

    Whether Russian President Vladimir Putin dies in office, is ousted in a palace coup, or relinquishes power for some unforeseen reason, the United States and its allies would face a radically different Russia with the Kremlin under new management. The geopolitical stakes mean that policymakers would be negligent not to plan for the consequences of a post-Putin Russia. On November 2, 2023, CACI Chairman S. Frederick Starr joined a panel organized by the Hudson Institute’s Center on Europe and Eurasia for a discussion on how US and allied policymakers can prepare for a Russia after Putin.

    Click here to watch on YouTube or scroll down to watch the full panel discussion.

  • Central Asia Diplomats Call for Closer Ties With US
    Monday, 26 June 2023 00:00

    REPRINTED with permission from Voice of America News
    By Navbahor Imamova

    WASHINGTON -- U.S.-based diplomats from Central Asia, a region long dominated by Russia and more recently China, say they are eager for more engagement with the United States.

    Many American foreign policy experts agree that a more robust relationship would be mutually beneficial, though U.S.-based nongovernmental organizations express deep concerns about human rights and authoritarian rule in the five countries: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

    Michael Delaney, a former U.S. trade official, argued in favor of greater engagement this week at a webinar organized by the American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce.

    He noted that three of the five republics are World Trade Organization members and the other two are in the accession process — a goal actively encouraged by the U.S. government.

    "I've always believed that this is a geographically disadvantaged area. There are relatively small national economies," he said. But, he said, collectively the region represents a potentially more connected market, about 80 million people.

    Key issues

    In this virtual gathering, all five Central Asian ambassadors to Washington expressed eagerness to work on issues the U.S. has long pushed for, such as water and energy sustainability, security cooperation, environmental protection and climate, and connectivity.

    Kazakhstan's Ambassador Yerzhan Ashikbayev said that despite all factors, the United States does not want to leave the field to China, its global competitor, which actively invests in the region.

    "Recent visit by 20 companies to Kazakhstan as a part of certified U.S. trade mission, including technology giants like Apple, Microsoft, Google, but also other partners like Boeing, have shown a growing interest," Ashikbayev said.

    The Kazakh diplomat described a "synergy" of economies and diplomatic efforts. All Central Asian states are committed to dialogue, trade and multilateralism, he said. "As we are witnessing the return of the divisive bloc mentalities almost unseen for 30 years, it's in our best interest to prevent Central Asia from turning into another battleground of global powers."

    During his first tour of Central Asia earlier this year, Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, meeting separately with the foreign ministers of all five countries.

    That was deeply appreciated, said Meret Orazov, Turkmenistan's longtime ambassador, who also praised the regular bilateral consultations the U.S. holds with these countries.

    Uzbek Ambassador Furqat Sidiqov sees the U.S. as an important partner, with "long-standing friendship and cooperation which have only grown stronger over the years."

    "The U.S. has played a significant role in promoting dialogue and cooperation among the Central Asian nations through initiatives such as the C5+1," he said, referring to a diplomatic platform comprising Washington and the region's five governments.

    "This is where we address common concerns and enhance integration," said Sidiqov. "We encourage the U.S. to bolster this mechanism."

    Tashkent regards Afghanistan as key to Central Asia's development, potentially linking the landlocked region to the markets and seaports of South Asia. Sidiqov said his country counts on American assistance.

    'Possibility of positive change'

    Fred Starr, chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute in Washington, ardently advocates for the U.S. to adopt closer political, economic and people-to-people ties with the region.

    In a recent paper, he wrote that among dozens of officials, diplomats, entrepreneurs, experts, journalists and civil society leaders interviewed in Central Asia, "even those most critical of American positions saw the possibility of positive change and … all acknowledged that the need for change is on both sides, theirs as well as ours."

    This is the only region that doesn't have its own organization, said Starr, arguing that the U.S. could support this effort. "We have not done so, probably because we think that this is somehow going to interfere with their relations with their other big neighbors, the north and east, but it's not going to. It's not against anyone."

    "Easy to do, low cost, very big outcome," he added, also underscoring that "there is a feeling the U.S. should be much more attentive to security."

    "Japan, the European Union, Russia, China, their top leaders have visited. … No U.S. president has ever set foot in Central Asia," he said. He added that regional officials are left to wonder, "Are we so insignificant that they can't take the time to visit?"

    Starr urges U.S. President Joe Biden to convene the C5+1 in New York during the 78th session of the U.N. General Assembly in September. "This would not be a big drain on the president's time, but it would be symbolically extremely important," he said. "All of them want this to happen."

    Read at VOA News

  • Read CACI Chairman S. Frederick Starr's recent interview on the resurgence of Imperial Russia with The American Purpose
    Tuesday, 23 May 2023 00:00

    Why Russians Support the War: Jeffrey Gedmin interviews S. Frederick Starr on the resurgence of Imperial Russia.

    The American Purpose, May 23, 2023

    Jeffrey Gedmin: Do we have a Putin problem or a Russia problem today?

    S. Frederick Starr: We have a Putin problem because we have a Russia problem. Bluntly, the mass of Russians are passive and easily manipulated—down to the moment they aren’t. Two decades ago they made a deal with Vladimir Putin, as they have done with many of his predecessors: You give us a basic income, prospects for a better future, and a country we can take pride in, and we will give you a free hand. This is the same formula for autocracy that prevailed in Soviet times, and, before that, under the czars. The difference is that this time Russia’s leader—Putin—and his entourage have adopted a bizarre and dangerous ideology, “Eurasianism,” that empowers them to expand Russian power at will over the entire former territory of the USSR and even beyond. It is a grand and awful vision that puffs up ruler and ruled alike.

    What do most Russians think of this deal? It leaves them bereft of the normal rights of citizenship but free from its day-to-day responsibilities. So instead of debating, voting, and demonstrating, Russians store up their frustrations and then release them in elemental, often destructive, and usually futile acts of rebellion. This “Russia problem” leaves the prospect of change in Russia today in the hands of alienated members of Putin’s immediate entourage, many of whom share his vision of Russia’s destiny and are anyway subject to Putin’s ample levers for control. Thus, our “Putin problem” arises from our “Russia problem.”

    Click to continue reading...