Soviet Central Asia (1989) explores the economic development of the four republics of Central Asia that suffered under Moscow’s economic policies – Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kirghizia. The Soviet literary weekly Literaturnaia gazeta described Soviet economic policies there as a ‘tragic experiment’, and this book argues that Central Asia serves as a prime example of the failure of Soviet regional development policies. It analyses the special role of the region in the Soviet economy and such key issues as industrial development, cotton production, water resources and labour. It also addresses the social ramifications of the underdevelopment of the region’s economy and the impact of new policies under Gorbachev.

1. Introduction: Regional Economic Policy in the USSR  2. Central Asia’s Role in the Soviet Economy and Its Economic Structure  3. Problems of Industrialization  4. Cotton  5. Water  6. Labour and Employment  7. The Standard of Living  8. The Shadow Economy and Organized Crime  9. The Impact of the Gorbachev Reforms on Central Asia  10. Conclusion