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Anastasia Likhacheva1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

EU-Russia Relations Regarding Water Resources in Central Asia

2014. Vol. 9. No. 3. P. 47–67 [issue contents]

In Central Asia, the water deficit and water-energy problem have been one of among the most acute and conflict-ridden challenges for the sustainable development of the region and for regional security. Key trade and investment partners, including Russia and the European Union, could play a considerable role in influencing this issue, due to the long-lasting status quo, the inability to find a solution through intra-regional dialogue and the region’s rising dependence on foreign trade. Indeed, water-related interactions between Russia and the EU have been developing in a complementary manner. The EU possesses new technologies and its members have access to long-term capital markets, while Russia carries influence through providing security, regulating migration and holding a favourable political position for offering mediation services to the republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

This article examines EU-Russia relations regarding water issues in Central Asia over the medium term. By analyzing cooperative and non-cooperative strategies used by the major stakeholders in the water conflict (the five republics and the third parties of Russia and the EU), it confirms the continuous complementary character of EU and Russian activities in this context. Russia will take responsibility for moderating the principal questions (as with the construction of big dams such as Rogunor Kambarata), as they relate to the provision of security guarantees. The EU will act through providing support for water companies from small and medium-sized enterprises, and promoting the European Water Initiative principles and by developing its investment policy. The intersection of interests is possible when if Russia will attracts an independent arbiter, such as an actor available to provide guarantees related to the values of professional objectivism, human rights support and environment protection. These issues inevitably arise with relation to big infrastructure projects.

Citation: Likhacheva A. (2014) EU-Russia Relations Regarding Water Resources in Central Asia. International Organisations Research Journal, vol. 9, no 3, pp. 47-67 (in Russian and English).
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