عنوان مقاله [English]
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which was accompanied by the inefficiency and the end of communism on December 26, 1991, the emergence of political behavior in Central Asia was a question for politicians and scholars. The rise of authoritarian political behavior to the accompaniment of active clan networks and clan politics in post-Soviet Central Asia that has been ruled by communism for nearly a century was not the behavior that was predicted by them. Subsequently, the communist ideology was laid down and it was succeeded with the ideology of ethnic nationalism and ethnonational statehood building.
With the independence of Central Asia’s states, except the first years of Askar Akayev in Kyrgyzstan, who tried to establish a democratic regime, the rest chose an authoritarian regime. In Central Asia, excluding Akayev, the leaders are the nomenclatures and the former communist members of the Soviet Union who concentrated their power in the form of authoritarianism, which is growing up and strongly institutionalizing, and hyper-presidential a lifetime leader. The neo-traditional structure of Central Asia did not fundamentally change with independence, as the nomenclatures managed to preserve their positions. Furthermore, the political instability of the years of independence, the low level of economic development, low political interest, efficacy among the citizens, and fear of inter-ethnic conflicts, brought authoritarianism as an indispensable system of Central Asia’s units. In addition to authoritarianism, informal agreements in the form of clan pacts between regimes and the existent clan systems and networks, which are inherently an informal system and one of the dominant power of each unit, are the main stabilizing factors in the new Central Asia established republics. Furthermore, the leaders are inclined towards ethnic nationalism, because to them the dominance of their nationality seemed to be the best safeguard and an improvement of their position in society.
This article, which is based on the descriptive-analytical method, by considering the concept of authoritarianism, focuses on the Central Asian republics and tries to analyze the roots of the growth and consolidation of authoritarianism in the Central Asian countries. Thus, the main question of the article is, “what are the factors of the emergence and consolidation of authoritarianism in post-Soviet Central Asia?” The article argues that factors of authoritarianism in Central Asia are derived from two general categories of internal and external factors, which are in a mutual relationship.
The internal factors are divided into three subcategories: Political, economic, and cultural. Central Asia lacked any experience of Western-style democracy and statehood before its creation in the 1920s. One of the dominant keys in internal factors is the political socializing of Central Asia’s leaders and citizens who lived under the Soviet Union’s authoritarian sovereignty and are the heirs of the Soviet Union’s legacy, especially in the way of governance. In addition, the article focuses on the political culture of the region, which is based on the utmost impact of political construction of power from the social construction of power through the reciprocal relationship between clans and government elites. Finally, the article has argued the impact of the economical factor with three aspects of the rate of government revenue, the independence of government revenue from society, and foreign trade partners in which the EU and China have a tangible and influential role.
The external factors are divided into two subcategories: First, the level of foreign affairs, which means the extent of foreign relationships and international interactions. In Central Asia, as the extent of foreign affairs, especially with the EU and the west increases, it causes less authoritarianism and the promotion of democratic characteristics such as the issue of human rights. Conversely, as the extent decreases and delimits to Russia and China, it promotes authoritarianism and the less manifestation of democratic characteristics.
Second, the nature of foreign affairs, which means who the main partners of Central Asia’s foreign affairs are? What type are their governments’? What are their value systems? In the arrangement of choosing partners, the factor of the economy due to the issue of having hydrocarbon supplies or other valuable supplies, which rise the GDP and economic prosperity, has a tangible role. In this aspect, Central Asia’s units can have two kinds of partners: the EU and the west with their terms and strictness on human rights and democracy, or China, which does not care about democracy or authoritarianism in its bilateral relationship.
The factor of China has three outcomes for the authoritarian Central Asian leaders: first, they ought not to have reforms in their policies on human rights and democracy as the EU and the west mentioned as their preconditions of the bilateral relationship. Second, due to China’s presence as an alternative, the EU and the west will not have their former leverage; since economic benefits and Central Asia’s hydrocarbon supplies as the Russian alternative are the priority for them, maintaining the relationship seems inevitable. Because of the two outcomes, the pressures of human rights and democratic reforms gradually recedes, therefore, Central Asian leaders can work on their personality cult and traditional foundation of legitimacy in tranquility, which are the main factors of consolidation of authoritarianism.
The consequence of internal and external factors indicates that the authoritarianism with variable intensities is the political nature of this region and with close similarities in terms of internal factors that prompted the Central Asian governments called as authoritarian. This is an external factor particularly the nature of foreign affairs differentiates the intensity of authoritarianism in these units. Eventually, the presentation of these factors and their impacts on the emergence and consolidation of authoritarianism in post-Soviet Central-Asia is for propounding a holistic view and avoiding mono-factor analysis on this subject. Nonetheless, not all of the mentioned factors can be simultaneously applied in one unit of the region, but by putting them together, we can comprehend the reason for the existence and variation in authoritarianism intensity.