Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov will conclude his two-day visit to Russia. During the visit, Kamilov spoke with his Russian
Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov will conclude his two-day visit to Russia.
During the visit, Kamilov spoke with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, regarding a variety of areas of cooperation the countries intend to strengthen, mainly in the economic sphere. The two post-Soviet states have enjoyed strong relations of late, exemplified by Uzbekistan’s recent purchase of one million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines to distribute domestically. However, Tashkent also agreed in mid-February to produce a Chinese-developed vaccine whose lab trials also took place in the Central Asian country.
Expect Russia to continue in seeking strong ties with Uzbekistan, as part of a larger effort to combat Chinese influence in Central Asia—and reassert its own. The Kremlin is significantly ahead on this front, and both Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have also made vaccine purchases from Russia. To counter this, China will likely aim to double down on its position in Uzbekistan—the only Central Asian nation currently engaged with China’s vaccination efforts—in order to remain competitive against Russia through a regime of vaccine diplomacy. In the short-term, Russia and China will continue to jockey for influence through medical aid. Central Asia could in the long-term become a flashpoint between Moscow and Beijing.