In the context of Soviet collapse, three main economic puzzles are assessed in this chapter. The fi rst introduces the economic reform programme promoted by the international community and some insights into how the introduction of a ‘market’ is negotiated from below. The second looks at the policies in greater detail: why they were chosen, how they have fared and what is sustaining them further. As Richard Pomfret ( 2006 : 2-3) writes, examining these different trajectories is ‘intellectually exciting’ because of their similar origins. The role of natural resources, both in their effects on initial policy directions and in reform sustainability, is the central element of this discussion. Finally, in common with the political (Chapter 4) and security (Chapter 7) realms, the economic realm is not in a vacuum and Central Asia’s economic challenges are set in a broader regional and international context.