Reluctant Sovereigns? Central Asian States' Path to Independence

Mohira Suyarkulova

in Sovereignty After Empire

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780748643042
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653270 | DOI:
Reluctant Sovereigns? Central Asian States' Path to Independence

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This chapter discusses whether the republics of Soviet Central Asia (or, rather, in Soviet parlance, ‘Middle Asia and Kazakhstan’) were indeed reluctant sovereigns. Apart from being a rather unique experience of decolonization, Central Asian republics' path to independence teaches us a fascinating lesson in the various meanings of the concept of ‘sovereignty’ that different political organizations, institutions and groups negotiated over the course of Soviet history. This history of the changing conceptions of sovereignty influenced the types of states and regimes that resulted from the peculiar process of peaceful decolonization of the USSR. It is argued that despite their unswerving resolve to try and rescue the Union, despite the fact that overwhelming majorities of their populations voted for the preservation of the USSR in March 1991, despite their exclusion from the decision-making process on the dissolution of the USSR, and even despite their tardiness in declaring independence, Central Asian states were not willing to settle for less sovereignty than would have been allocated to, or demanded by, other union republics.

Keywords: Central Asian republics; independence; Soviet Union; decolonization; sovereignty

Chapter.  10557 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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