Evolving regional values and mobilities in global contexts

The emergence of new (Eur-)Asian regions and dialogues with Europe

by Pierre Chabal (Volume editor) Yann Alix (Volume editor) Kuralay Baizakova (Volume editor)
©2020 Edited Collection 372 Pages


This book analyses the gradual fusion of Europe and Asia into a Eurasian dynamic combining institutional and identity aspects. The seventh in a series of Europe–Asia conferences covering regime dynamics, cooperation policies, regional competition, the limits of regions, mutual understanding and cross-border exchanges, it shows that Eurasian continental developments are outgrowing sub-region designations such as Western Europe, Southeast Asia, East Asia and Central Asia.
Ten years ago, before the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), regional dynamics seemed clearly delineated, especially with inter-state groupings mapping out space – the EU, the ASEAN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) – and organisations overseeing pan-continental competition such as the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building in Asia (CICA), the Eurasian Economic Union, etc. Today, the less institutional and more macro-economic scheme of an infrastructure and transport network coined as "China’s BRI" changes the research environment.
Gathering about thirty scholars from a dozen Eurasian countries, this book contains views from East Asia (Mongolia, China), Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan), Western Europe (France, Belgium), Eastern Europe (Poland, Romania, Hungary, Turkey) and the Caucasus (Azerbaijan). Asia and Europe can no longer be understood except as Eurasian sub-entities. Multi-dimensionally, the book draws from history, international economic relations, politics, geography, economics, cultural studies, public and private law, business studies, peace and conflict studies, public administration, and even literary criticism to tackle the question: what is Eurasia?

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Foreword: Nargiza Muratalieva
  • Preface: Brigitte
  • General introduction: Pierre Chabal, Sosorbaram Enkhtsetseg and Janar Turtogtokh
  • The issue of regional integration in Central Asia: lessons from the past: Aigul Kazhenova
  • Russia- and China-led organisations in CA, whose interests do they serve? The case of Kyrgyzstan: Jildiz Nicharapova
  • Regions of the Russian Far-East and pragmatic Eurasian para-diplomatic relations: Maciej Raś
  • Comparing how Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) change political activity in Europe and Asia
  • Obedience-production in Europe and Asia: comparative and historical perspectives: Laure Lesur
  • Regional identity in the Caucasus and the Nagorno-Karabakh tensions: Azerbaijani diaspora’s activities monitoring visions by (pro)-Armenians abroad: Nasrin Suleymanli
  • Geo-economic competition in a China-Mongolia-Russia triangle: Mongolia’s diplomacy in the New Asia: Hermine Durand
  • The Belt and Road Initiative: a catalyst for the development of Russian land-transportation infrastructures: Olivier Faury, Yann Alix and Nicolas Montier
  • The TransArctic Russian Maritime Highway: a perspective about future Eurasian trade patterns: Yann Alix
  • The accountability of Russia on the international stage: assessing critically how experts attribute responsibility: Cindy Régnier
  • Iran in emerging West-Asian geopolitics: views from ‘the New Central Asia’: Zhulduz Baizakova
  • Kazakhstan’s integration policy and economic ‘new regionalism’: Fatima Kukeyeva
  • Towards a new regional paradigm in education. The journey to autonomy and academic freedom of Kazakhstan’s universities: Aliya Akatayeva
  • The influence of a modern European higher education on the youth of Central Asia: expectations and reality: Gulnara Baikushikova
  • Language policy and nation-building in post-Soviet Central Asian countries: Linda Masalska
  • From ‘the young Asia’ to ‘the old Europe’: demographic features as criteria of macro-regionalisation: Violeta Pușcașu
  • The evolving stakes of religious identities in ‘the New Asia’: Philippe Gast
  • The cultural identity-‘differentiation’ of Central Asia: Andrzej Wierzbicki
  • Subdivisions of the Kazakh Zhuz: a cultural and historical ‘identity-perspective’: Kunipa Ashinova and Bibigul Sydykova
  • The European Union’s New Strategy Towards Central Asia: priorities and responses to latest challenges: Kuralay Baizakova and Assiya Kuzembayeva
  • The Eurasian policies of Russia, Turkey and the EU in regional contexts: Esra LaGro and Hakan Cavlak
  • Russia’s Asian-ness and European-ness: building a constructive regional identity in the post-Cold War: Clémence Danguy Des Déserts
  • India’s Eurasian identity rebuilding Asian-ness through postcolonial literature: Mathilde Larive
  • ‘Contented’ inter-regionalism and ‘eager’ multi-lateralism between Europe and Asia: the case of ASEM: Hakan Cavlak and Esra LaGro
  • Reinforcing an identify in the face of world challenges: the values of a federal project for the EU: Michel Bruno
  • General conclusion: Pierre Chabal and Qiqige Tumen
  • Postface: Sebastian Santander
  • Afterword: Philippe Lagrange
  • List of contributors
  • Series index

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This book owes much to the resilience of many colleagues who displayed unwavering efforts, despite the world pandemics of 2019–2020, in order to ensure that this 7th edition of our joint Europe-Asia conferences be carried out to the end. The co-organisers and co-editors cannot express with enough accuracy just how much debt, both human and professional, they have towards the participants and contributors.

Of particular note are two kinds of support received. Institutionally, we wish to thank all universities where participants teach and research for facilitating participation to this conference and book, both in Europe and in Asia, whether it is financial support, moral encouragement or departmental flexibility: Université Le Havre Normandie (LexFEIM), al-Farabi KazNU (Department of International Relations) in Almaty, the SEFACIL Foundation in France, the Center for International Relations Studies (CEFIR, Liège) and colleagues in Galati, Budapest, Warsaw, Istanbul… and in Almaty, Bishkek, Baku and Oulan Bator… Interpersonally, this book echoes the continuous presence and support from colleagues since the early/mid 2000s, without whom nothing would have been possible – they know who they are. It also reflects the constant addition, conference after conference, book after book, of new colleagues, more universities and countries, making our endeavours richer and proactive. Ageing colleagues among us now know they that can count on new generations for taking over these conferences when the time comes.

Over the years, the philosophy of our original scheme – to serve Asian and European joint and comparative research – was trebly successful: to pretend (i) that financial hurdles can always be overcome, similarly (ii) that linguistic difficulties have a solution and (iii) that junior colleagues and even research students can contribute tremendously in enhancing and innovating research. On the whole, each time, about one third of new participants have joined, including about one fourth of junior academics and ongoing students. We thank all of them for their trust.

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Diversity has been our strength; and determination has provided our human energy.

This book marks almost the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the Europe-Asia research initiatives first launched after teaching visits to Korea and East Asia from the very early 2000s and to Kazakhstan and Central Asia from the mid-2000s. We chose to mark this anniversary slightly ahead of time due to the uncertainty bearing upon international travels and therefore research in the COVID and post-COVID dynamics. As the general introduction below will detail, our activities have indeed extended over both sub-continents, in France and in four Asian countries as major hosts, organisers and supporters, and without almost two decades of trust, support and even faith in what is humanly possible, nothing would have been achieved and our universities would have remained all the poorer for lack of initiatives taken to the end, that is publications and collective success.

The final lesson is indeed that success, if it is possible, is always collective.

Le Havre, Almaty Аʌматы, Oulan Bator Yʌаанбаатар

Bishkek Бишкек, Seoul Inch’eon image

Summer of 2020

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Institute for War and Peace Reporting, IWPR
Central Asian Bureau of Analytical Reporting, CABAR
The OSCE Academy, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

The year 2020 marked a dual turning point, due to the pandemic and to the transformation of international relations (IR). China, whose economy is growing despite lockdowns and pandemic, is strengthening its role not only in Central Asia but also in regional and global arenas. USA-EU relations are also changing. The Eurasian project in the form of a Eurasian Economic Union faces deep internal contradictions, the unresolved nature of which can significantly slow down or undermine Eurasia’s integration processes. The growth of protest moods in authoritarian countries points, again, to the necessity of political elite-renewal and the unacceptability of dictatorship, when the principles of transparency and feedback simply do not work.

Whether there is a change in the vector or even in the system of international relations, production chains or the forced acceleration of education digitalisation, in any case, humanity is coming to realize the necessity to stimulate, support and finance scientific researches, the needs for knowledge exchange and publications.

This book makes an important contribution to the understanding and further studying of new regional emergences, the impact of regional values and mobility on global processes. The Eurasian continent and the events taking place there will undoubtedly have an impact on the entire world “history-in-the-making”.

What is the essence and how does competition between regions manifest itself in its broad sense? How are the renewed competition between maritime and continental geopolitical strategies expressed? ←11 | 12→What new values appear on the Eurasian continent? What is the common ground for strengthening cooperation between Asia and Europe? These and other relevant issues are discussed and explored in this book written in the difficult conditions of 2020.

For centuries, Central Asia has played the role of a bridge between two parts of Eurasia – Europe and Asia. In the age of new technologies and transformation of the IR system, the destiny of Central Asia will be mainly determined by the events giving substance to interactions between Europe and Asia. Yet, only few studies based on expert analysis exist that are dedicated to the issues of modern interaction between these two sub-regions, the analysis of foreign policy strategies, initiatives and programmes.

During the pandemic, expert and analytical discourse became largely focused on the problems and consequences of globalisation: will there be a slowdown in globalization due to the lockdowns? a refocusing on the priority of nation-states at the expense of globalization? will regional and global initiatives of leading powers slow down? or will these processes be short- and medium-term? What can change of production chains lead to in the field of geo-economics and geopolitics?

Here, the research and expert-scientific contributions produced by this series of joint Europe-Asia conferences complete a gap and open the curtain on these and other issues.

I would like to wish further success to the editing team, especially to Pierre Chabal, Kuralay Baizakova and Yann Alix, and to all chapter-authors who contribute to these Europe-Asia meetings and offer the opportunity to become readers of this fundamental collective work.

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Centre d’Études et de Recherche sur la Diplomatie,
l’Administration publique et le Politique
CERDAP2 Grenoble University, France

Over almost two decades now, seven editions of joint Europe-Asia conferences have promoted comparative research on steadily changing (inter-)regional patterns and on Central Asian developments as reflecting global transformation, by scholars from several, diverse academic origins and levels of seniority in France, Europe, and Central and Northern Asia, under Pierre Chabal’s enthusiastic supervision.

As the preceding conferences and publications had focused on building the institutional framework of regions in Europe and Asia, on inter-regional competition and cooperation, and on cross-border exchanges in Eurasia, it was only fitting that the seventh book cover values and identities in inter-regional dynamics. The background is highly complex, including institutionalisation processes, great power competition/shifts and geopolitical rivalries, inter-communitarian tensions and new cultural dynamics, and emerging inter-regional patterns.

Three features of the various chapters of Evolving regional values and mobilities in global contexts emphasize the dynamic relationship between regions and inter-regionalism, move beyond narrow understandings of regions and inter-regionalism, and meet usual criticisms against inter-regionalism research.

First of all, the diversity of actors, venues, and disciplinary perspectives underlines that inter-regionalism research is no longer an exclusively Eurocentric research agenda, biased by Western-centric international relations theories.

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Secondly, detailed case-studies and comparative analysis explore how inter-regionalism as a complex social form is developing in Eurasia at different levels depending on issues, and how inter-regionalisms intersect around the world.

Thirdly, inter-regionalism being more than an epiphenomenon of international relations and regionalism, scholars can be expected to act as policy advisors, and to stress the ideational bases and resources of a more inclusive legalised, contractualised, and institutionalised system of global governance in a world of “fragmegration” (in the language of James Rosenau), in and through the practice of multilateral diplomacy (in the context of inequality, hierarchical structuring, and social customs in the international pecking order described in Vincent Pouliot’s critical engagement with contemporary diplomacy).

In other words, this book brilliantly shows that there is still space for innovation in studies on inter-regionalism (following Jürgen Rüland’s insights), taking previous studies as a point of departure, and proceeding towards “research around institutional balancing and hedging, network analysis, and inter-regional relations as norm transmitters”.

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General introduction


Invited Professor, al-Farabi Kazakh National
University, Almaty
Leading international research at Le Havre LexFEIM
Research Center


Professor, National University of Mongolia,
School of International Relations and Public Administration


Professor, National University of Mongolia
School of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science

This book is based on the presentations made on the broad topic of “regional identities” at a 2020 conference entitled Evolving Regional Values and Mobilities in global Contexts: the emergence of new (Eur)Asian regions and dialogues with Europe postponed from May (in Warsaw) to October (in Le Havre) due to international sanitary conditions (COVID-19). Co-organised by four Eurasian institutions (Le Havre university Lexfeim, al-Farabi KazNu university, the SEFACIL Foundation, Liège CEFIR research centre), it benefited from the early determination that, come what may, the book had to see light of day and be published as a tribute to past and present efforts.

Indeed, preceding founding conferences had already taken place over the years in both Europe and Asia, first in France, then in Korea, in France again, in Kazakhstan, in Mongolia and in 2018 in Kyrgyzstan. The present book thus ascribes to a series of previous analyses of (i) “Regional regime dynamics”, published in English in France in 2011 as a book ←15 | 16→Institutionalising Regions: East-Asian and European perspectives; (ii) “The policies of regional cooperation”, published in French also in France in 2011 as a book Régions, Institutions, Politiques: perspectives euro-asiatiques institutionnelles et fonctionnelles; (iii) “Interregional Competition Europe-Asia in the 21st century”, published in French in Belgium in 2015 as a book Concurrences interrégionales Europe-Asie au XXIe siècle; (iv) “The limits of regional cooperation”, published in English in Mongolia in 2015 as a special issue of the Journal Contemporary Political Society; (v) “Can regions understand each other?”, published in 2016 as five special issues of, in Mongolia, World Affairs (diplomacy), Contemporary Political Society (1-policies; 2-Afghanistan) and, in Romania, Public Administration and Regional Studies (1-economics; 2-logistics); and (vi) “Cross-border exchanges: Eurasian perspectives on logistics and diplomacy”, published in English in Belgium in 2019 as a book (Peter Lang, New International Insights).

These 6 conferences and 10 publications 2011–2019 highlight the dedication of a team of researchers engaged in international comparisons, opening up to new colleagues from Poland, Hungary, Azerbaijan… in addition to existing partners in France, Belgium, Turkey, Romania, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, China, Korea… The present book covers both continental and maritime Eurasia1. The eighth and final such conference and book in 2022 will conclude on transcontinental Eurasian dynamics and be held in west Europe in order to symbolise the ports and harbours of destination of the new Eurasian transportation routes.

And so, after analysing elsewhere – as detailed supra – the context and framework of region-building, and its limitations and results, this further book focuses on the cultural basis for identity-building through and thanks to region-building. To be sure, the relaunch of regions in the 1990s and the ensuing expansion of the European construction (Maastricht 1991, its enlargements of 1995, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2018) as well as its hesitations (Brexit 2016+) are superseded by Asian and Eurasian successful initiatives: the Shanghai process (1996 as a Group, 2001 as an Organisation of 6 members, now enlarged to 8), the Eurasian process ←16 | 17→(Customs Union, Economic Community, today Eurasian Economic Union with 5 members, soon 6), and a number of other initiatives, among which the CICA, the Silk road One Belt One Road, and security organisations such as the CSTO or cooperative associations (ASEAN, SAARC…) have added to the panorama formed already by the NATO, the EU, the OSCE, the Council of Europe…

Such a dual “proliferation” of regional (and almost pan-regional) frameworks for cooperation should create a strong incentive to “back up” these multi-state entities with a legitimising adherence on the part of citizens “accepting” this trend consisting of managing international affairs at the regional level. Regional constructions thus tend to modify the nature of identities, from national to international. The book addresses several aspects of the question: the need for regions; regions as formal constructs; values derived from regional (student) mobility; reactive Asian initiatives among regions; European reactive strategies… This is done with a view to better understand (i) post transnationalist achievements, (ii) regions as irreversible constructs, (iii) the geopolitics of education, (iv) the globalisation of Asia, (v) the contemporary adaptation of Europe.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2021 (February)
Bruxelles, Berlin, Bern, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 372 pp., 8 fig. col., 11 fig. b/w, 3 tables.

Biographical notes

Pierre Chabal (Volume editor) Yann Alix (Volume editor) Kuralay Baizakova (Volume editor)

Yann ALIX, PhD Dr in Transport Geography, is General delegate of the SEFACIL Foundation, an affiliate of Fondation de France. A long-time scientific attendee at these Europe–Asia conferences, he is Senior manager at Abington Advisory consultancy firm. Kuralay BAIZAKOVA, Sc. Dr Habil. in History of International relations, former Dean of the Faculty of International Relations of al-Farabi Kazakh National University, is director of several programmes in Security Studies, the EU and NATO, and invited professor at the University of Le Havre. Pierre CHABAL, invited professor at al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Sc. Dr Habil. in International Relations, is founder of the international research networks Europe–Asia (international relations) and the French-Kazakh-Korean (law) at University of Le Havre (Lexfeim).


Title: Evolving regional values and mobilities in global contexts