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The Central Asian Economies in the Twenty-First Century$
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Richard Pomfret

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691182216

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691182216.001.0001

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Reconnecting Central Asia as the Crossroads of Eurasia

(p.3) 1 Introduction
The Central Asian Economies in the Twenty-First Century

Richard Pomfret

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of Central Asia, after its five countries—Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—became independent with the dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 25, 1991. During the 1990s, the Central Asian countries focused on nation-building and transition to market-based economies, the nature of which varied from country to country. Indeed, the five governments adopted diverse economic strategies, from the most reformist, Kyrgyzstan, to the least reformist, Turkmenistan's personalized autocracy. Given the shared geography, history, and cultural background of the five countries, observers envisioned a natural experiment to test the efficacy of differing approaches to the transition from central planning and of the variety of market-based economic systems. However, completion of the essentials of transition by the turn of the century coincided with the start of a super-cycle in world prices for resources—most importantly oil—that dominated economic performance in the early twenty-first century.

Keywords:   Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, nation-building, central planning, market-based economies, resources

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