Around the Names of Regions: The Case fo Central Asia

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UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
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UNU-CRIS Working Paper
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The fall of the Soviet Union is one of the main factors which contributed to an increasing interest in the problématique of space and regional dynamics in International Relations literature. It is therefore pertinent to consider how the new independent states established after the fall of the Soviet Union are being analyzed through different spatial concepts. Since their accession to independence, there have been several regional definitions to denote to these new states. Some of these regional definitions concentrate on a group of five post-Soviet countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrghyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Actually, several regional concepts are used to refer to these countries in the international public space. Among them, I will concentrate on three: post-Soviet space, Central Eurasia and Central Asia. Of these, I will consider the terms of “post-Soviet space” and “Central Eurasia” as concepts being coined largely by outside-in approaches which respond mostly to analytical and geopolitical purposes. Then, I will elaborate on the concept of “Central Asia” as it constitutes an inside-out effort to develop a proper name for their region by the five countries in question.