Russian security strategy in Central Asia
The collapse of the USSR in 1991 transformed Central Asia (CA) into a zone of increased uncertainty in the eyes of Russian policymakers. Significant foreign involvement in CA began in the last years of the Soviet period. This concerned commercial interest in the energy market and revived memories of the ‘great game’ of the nineteenth century. The effect of American involvement is exacerbated by the interest shown in the region by other external powers. Russian concern about external involvement thus has had both economic and geopolitical dimensions. Economically, non-Russian producers compete against Russian producers, and the stronger they are, the more difficult Russia finds it to play a dominating role in the energy market. The Russian approach to protecting its security interests is linked to its perception of its place in the world and its broader foreign policy outlook. In 2002, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) was formed, building on a collective security treaty initially signed in 1992.