The Completion of Eurasia ?

Continental convergence or regional dissent in the context of ‘historic turns’

by Kuralay Baizakova (Volume editor) Yann Alix (Volume editor) Pierre Chabal (Volume editor)
©2023 Edited Collection 558 Pages


The construction of Eurasia is a challenge for analysts due to its rapid progress from a Europe Asia Meeting (ASEM, 1996+) to a Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU, 2015+), an applied cross-continental Land New Silk Road since 2013-2015. Yet, in the same period, the crisis around Ukraine (2014+), a gradual then hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan by ISAF forces (2011-2021), the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran (2015), now a full member of the SCO since 2021… diplomatic decisions and interstate practical schemes seem to exceed the capacity of observers to theorise quickly enough what is happening. Conceptually, Eurasia is experiencing a mix of centripetal evolutions at its peripheries – Europe and East-Asia – and a launch of centrifugal dynamics from its core – Russia and Central Asia.
The present book’s ambitious title The Completion of Eurasia ?, which could be subtitled in the face of pressing challenges, explores a concentration of diverse – yet equally complex – issues grouped into four main clusters: organisational and diplomatic competition, logistical and infrastructural challenges, grasping the concept of Eurasia, making sense of historic turns. It provides a multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral understanding of what Eurasia “is” in its essence, despite historical turmoil and pressing insecurity issues.
This book completes a series of publications by the Europe-Asia research network formed in the late 2000s. Originally based in Europe (Le Havre, France), this network is moving to Central Asia (Almaty, Kazakhstan).

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of contents
  • List of contributors
  • Acknowledgements
  • Prologue Faire de la logistique une priorité politique et géostratégique pour l’Asie Centrale
  • Prologue Turning logistics into a political and geostrategic priority for Central Asia
  • Foreword
  • Foreword on the timeliness of studying Eurasia
  • Foreword on the importance of ‘the idea of Eurasia’
  • Preface The completion of Eurasia within the ‘new Shanghai Asia’
  • Preface A case of re-imagining Eurasia?
  • Endorsement
  • Introduction Eurasia, why its thriving matters
  • Part I Organisational and Diplomatic Competition
  • Preventing threats of terrorism and religious extremism in CA: The experience of European countries
  • Multilateral relations in Central Asia: Perspectives on the Central Asian Consultative Forum
  • Eurasian partners for Kazakhstan during the power transition
  • Reciprocal challenges for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and Eurasia in mutual globalisation
  • The impact of a ‘Regional Governance Structure’ on US post-cold war policies in Eurasia
  • Northeast Asia’s construction and Mongolia’s structural contribution to Eurasia
  • How membership in a Eurasian organisation complies with the expectations of sub-regional actors: The case of Kyrgyzstan in the EAEU
  • Between authoritarianism and charm offensive: Chinese soft-power policy in Central Asia
  • China’s ‘BRI soft power’ towards Kazakhstan and neighbours as a means to enhance regional security
  • Cultural diplomacy: Building bridges between Central Asia and South Asia
  • Central Asian perceptions of the Chinese factor in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan
  • Building Central Eurasia ‘softly’ from the peripheries: Russia and China ‘in’ Kyrgyzstan
  • Part II Logistical and Infrastructural Challenges
  • Developing Eurasia: How China ‘acts’ to build cooperative contexts and infrastructures
  • Eurasian trade logistics and port dynamics: The China Pakistan Economic Corridor
  • The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Mongolia and China: Ulaanbaatar’s Eurasian Policy in relation to the Silk Road
  • Water resources-management initiatives: Cooperation opportunities for the EU and Central Asia
  • The political effects of Broadband Satellite Internet for Russia and China as Eurasian powers
  • The role and dilemmas of Chinese local governments in the railway facilities connecting China and Europe
  • The armies of West-African and Central-Asian countries faced with cross-border insecurity: The consolidation of alliances as an alternative
  • Energy dynamics and conundrums in a changing Eurasia
  • Transition Pakistan and regional cooperation
  • Transition Mongolia and regional cooperation
  • Part III The concept of Eurasia in academia
  • A globalised Eurasian block: A revisited idea
  • Toward a contemporary Eurasian identity?
  • A ‘New Enlightenment’ for Central Asian countries: Theoretical perspectives on Eurasia
  • Eurasia: Complementarity, competition or conflict? A philosophical and cultural approach
  • Eurasia: A multi-layer geographical approach
  • The EAEU as a practical implementation of the neo-Eurasian concept in the post-Soviet space
  • Competing and converging interests of Russia and Turkey as regional powers: What next?
  • Building Eurasia while fostering a ‘youth policy’ between the EU and Central Asia
  • Who can claim or pretend to ‘make sense’ of a still-to-be-defined Eurasia?
  • Part IV Making Sense of Historic Turns
  • 15 October 1937: A special day in the modern history of Eurasia: Looking beyond subcontinental and peninsular boundaries
  • When Afghanistan ‘turns’: Short-term history vs. histoire longue
  • Iran’s eastern policy in the Eurasian region
  • The regional security complex in CA after the 2021 taliban takeover in Afghanistan
  • Central Asian connectivity to Eurasia through the prism of the Afghan conundrum
  • Religious extremism, security of northern Afghanistan and the situation in post-Soviet Central Asia
  • The consequences of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan for Eurasia and Turkey
  • Beyond Afghanistan: In search of a rationale for the US withdrawal and its implications for US policy in the Eurasian region
  • Central Asia as the heart of the new Great Silk Road
  • Building Eurasia outside of Eurasia: Russia’s strategic interests in southeast Asia and their implications for the EAEU and the ASEAN within the Greater Eurasian Partnership
  • Conclusion Eurasia, a completion to be completed
  • Postface views on the completion of Eurasia?
  • Postface to the 8th Europe-Asia conference
  • Afterword from inter-state to non-state actors? The completion of an experts’ network on Eurasia
  • Afterword towards a less Russian Eurasia?
  • Afterword the changing nature of the Eurasian region
  • Felicitating the 8th Europe-Asia conference 2022
  • Looking ahead into research directions
  • Looking ahead towards the common, peaceful development and prosperity of Europe and Asia
  • Epilogue


Kuralay Baizakova, Yann Alix and Pierre Chabal1

A book such as this one and the conference from which it stems may exist only with a vast array of benevolent, professional friendships, some luck in securing budgets and, above all, a construction over time of institutional supports and encouragements. The three organisers wish to thank their institutions, notably in Almaty the Department of International Relations of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, in France the SEFACIL Foundation, and in Le Havre the Université Le Havre Normandie and the LexFEIM Research Centre.

We relied also on the CEFIR Research Centre (Liège University, Sebastian Santander), the CEIM of UQAM (Montréal, Lucie France Dagenais and her book Eurasie et puissance de la Chine: remodelage d’un continent dans la mondialisation). Originally, collaboration was expected from the Asia Centre (University of Tartu, Estonia), and of three universities in Uzbekistan (Tashkent State University of Economics, University of World Economy and Diplomacy, Tashkent State University of Oriental Studies) but changes in their leadership suggested these institutions partake in further endeavours from 2023.

Our thankfulness goes wholeheartedly to the trust we received for our very ambitious project: to analyse Eurasian dynamics ‘from Pusan/Tianjin to Tallinn/Vilnius by land’, that is ‘over the New silk roads’ and ‘transnational’ organisations, in a context of post-Covid-19 perspectives, focusing on cross-border issues within New regionalism. Our ambition meets in the end with the consistency of analyses presented in this book.

Moreover, and beyond, we thank support received for over fifteen years (and seven previous editions of these ‘Europe-Asia’ conferences). Since this book marks the “completion” of eight international publications, we are pleased to announce the transformation of the conferences into the activities of a think-tank based in Almaty that will further our Eurasian analyses from 2023 onwards.

On 11–12 May 2022 in Le Havre, we were honoured by the presence of Ambassadors Sardor Rustambaev (Uzbekistan Embassy in Paris), Aisha Farooqui (MOFA, Pakistan), Yves Manville (French Embassy in Pakistan), of Professors Archana Upadhyay (India), Catherine Poujol (France), Fatima Kukeyeva (Kazakhstan), Jahangir Karami (Iran), of Session Chairs Lucie France Dagenais (Canada), Nosgoi Altantsetseg (Mongolia), Kuralay Baizakova (Kazakhstan), Brigitte Vassort-Rousset (France), Richard Balme (France), Sebastian Santander (Belgium), Sébastien Peyrouse (United States), Yves Manville (France), as well as the participation of 40+ participants from 20+ countries, representing 30+ institutions, including numerous colleagues and long-standing friends, students, staff members.

A special mention to Madame Nathalie Zemiac (LexFEIM), without whom nothing would be possible, today or ever.

In view of events in Eurasia from January 2022, some colleagues, with much acumen even if without malice, suggested to rename this conference, from “The completion of Eurasia?” to “The revision of Eurasia!”. They are right from a military and perhaps diplomatic viewpoint. Yet, historically and politically, Europe and Asia have long overcome tensions and crises from the earliest times onwards, and will continue to do so while constructing Eurasia. As academics, our task is to analyse trends and uncover logics, notably the building of regions and the regionalisation of Eurasia as a gradual process, at times an entropic one but… in just over thirty years, the structuring bipolarity of the cold war has yielded to at least a dozen Eurasian Organisations, notably a CICA echoing its senior ‘cousin’, the CSCE.

One such dynamic is the ‘Shanghai Cooperation’ in ‘the New Asia’, with ‘affiliates’ spanning from Minsk to Phnom Penh, from Ulaanbaatar to Cairo, from Moscow and Beijing to Islamabad, New Delhi and Tehran. We rejoice that this book contains texts by (i) representatives of all three new Members of the SCO: India (Professor Upadhyay), Pakistan (Her Excellency Farooqui), Iran (Professor Karami), and (ii) the current SCO Presidency Uzbekistan (Ambassador Rustambaev); and forewords by Professors Lucie France Dagenais (UQAM), Kuralay Baizakova (KazNU) and Bayram Balci (IFEA in Istanbul), and afterwords by Professors Adrien Fauve (IFEAC in Bishkek), Isabelle Facon (FSR in Paris) and Jakub Zajaczkowski (Warsaw University). The Endorsement is authored by Professor Daniel Bach (IEP Bordeaux), the General Conclusion equally masterly crafted by Professor Catherine Poujol (INALCO in Paris).

Looking back, we express gratefulness for the support that enabled research and publication since the early 2010s. The present construction of Eurasia is a challenge for analysts. Given its fast pace, from a Europe Asia Meeting (ASEM) since 1996 to a Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) since 2015 (a Eurasian Economic Community was formed in the 1990s) and the applied cross-continental Land New Silk Road since the same key period, 2013–2015 (Ukraine’s crisis and US/NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan, first nuclear agreement with Iran, now a full member of the SCO), clearly diplomatic decisions and interstate practical schemes exceed the observers’ skill to conceptualise fast enough what is happening. Eurasia is experiencing a mix of (i) various centripetal evolutions at its peripheries and (ii) a launch of its (diverse!) centrifugal dynamics from its core: Russia and Central Asia.

Such a challenge led our international conferences to evolve from a dual European and Asian ‘perspective in comparison’ to a Eurasian ‘prism’, even if the latter must be at the same time both utilised and defined, which creates tensions in ‘epistemological feasibility’. Thus, from a first edition devoted to the issue (now classic) of the institutionalisation of regions (published as a 2010 book Institutionalising Regions in French in France), to a second edition devoted to the policies of regional cooperation (published as a 2011 book Régions, Institutions, Politiques in English in France), to a third focusing on the competition among regions (published as a 2015 book Concurrences interrégionales in French in Belgium), to a fourth one probing into the limits of regions (published as a 2014 Journal issue in English in Mongolia), a fifth asking whether regions can really understand each other (published as four 2016 Journal issues in English and French in Mongolia and Romania), this series of international conferences opted naturally for a Eurasian focus, merging the words Europe and Asia into one, and, as to methodology and epistemology, suggesting comparative approaches of the present re-emergence of a continent around a Chinese-Russian-European-Turkish paradigm (cf. Dagenais, Eurasie et puissance de la Chine).

The sixth and seventh editions thus dealt with Eurasian flows across borders (published as a 2018 book Cross-Border Exchanges in English in Belgium) and on changing Eurasian values (published as a 2020 book Evolving Regional Values and Identities in English in Belgium). The time is right for (re)-appraising a “continent se faisant”.

This 2022 edition is the 8th edition, under the ambitious topic of The Completion of Eurasia. Probably better phrased with a “?” as The Completion of Eurasia in the Face of Pressing Challenges?, it explores a concentration of diverse – yet equally pressing – issues to be grouped into clusters and specific sessions, chaired by a blend of academics, practitioners and well-established analysts within the international community especially in its inter-continental meaningfulness.

Finally, we express an unequivocal thank you to our families for their boundless generosity and love that make all the rest seem easy!

Almaty, Ulaanbaatar, Le Havre – Summer 2022

1 It is P. Chabal’s failure not to have secured final texts by (Part II) Aida Serikova “The role of FDI in the economic development of emerging countries: the case of Kazakhstan” and Janar Turtogtokh “Election participation during the 2020 pandemic lockdown: comparing elections in Mongolia, South Korea, Germany”, (Part III) Sosorbaram Enkhtsetseg “The Idea of Eurasia: historic connections and consequences for Mongolia”, and (part IV) Aigul Kazhenova “Making sense of the CA regional cooperation (Forum) in new Eurasian realities: Afghanistan, EAEU”. P. Chabal apologies for (t)his inconsistency not caused by his doing.

Prologue Faire de la logistique une priorité politique et géostratégique pour l’Asie Centrale

Yann Alix

Les crises pandémiques et militaires depuis 2019 ont plongé ostensiblement le nomadisme capitaliste dans une forme de perplexité politique rarement expérimentée dans l’histoire contemporaine. Les sociétés occidentales ont (re)découvert leurs dépendances industrialo-manufacturières avec une Chine qui célébrait ses vingt ans d’adhésion à l’OMC dans l’obstination, une doctrine « zéro-Covid ». Ces mêmes Occidentaux, gloutons énergivores, apprennent à projeter leur futur décarboné en se privant des ressources gazières et pétrolières d’une Russie prompte à renforcer ses liens de dépendance avec Beijing, quitte à accélérer les desseins énergétiques édictés dans la stratégie Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). Enfin, et cela sans aucune forme d’exhaustivité ou de déterminisme, les États émergents les plus dépendants des matières premières agricoles russo-ukrainiennes éprouvent leur asservissement alimentaire dans une spéculation céréalière globalisée qui menace de famine les plus démunis du continent africain.

Le point commun de ces événements : le télescopage de trois dimensions complexes qui doivent se lire dans une systémique globalisée :

  • Les États-Nations et leurs chefs apprennent que la mondialisation heureuse et marchande peut se déliter en très peu de temps par la conjugaison de phénomènes qui n’ont que peu de liens entre eux ;
  • Les consommateurs se voient confirmer que l’énergie est et sera un des facteurs clés de la domination du monde de demain ; et,
  • La population apprend que la logistique n’est pas simplement un service support du triptyque production/distribution/consommation mais bien une organisation complexe qui dessine nos modes de vie.

La quatrième dimension a trait à l’urgence climatique et ses effets irréversibles sur nos vies mais cela, une grande partie de l’Humanité s’en émeut sans changer une once d’habitude comme tendent à le prouver les principaux indicateurs macro-économiques publiés depuis 2019 aux États-Unis ou en Europe.

De ces constats généraux émergent des pans entiers de recherche prospective et stratégique que la Fondation SEFACIL cherche à embrasser depuis ses premiers pas en février 2011. Fort d’un réseau d’experts-observateurs de plus de 300 personnes disséminées dans plus de 60 pays dans le monde, SEFACIL déploie des projets sur les cinq continents avec un tropisme revendiqué envers les mondes maritimes, portuaires et logistiques. Et c’est cette dernière dimension logistique qui a fécondé un premier groupe de travail sous la houlette de Pierre Chabal (Université du Havre) et Kuralay Baizakova (Al-Farabi Kazakh National University). En 2014, une initiative pionnière inscrivait les mots clés logistique et diplomatie au programme des réflexions des enseignants-chercheurs et des praticiens-logisticiens kazakhs.

L’hypothèse de travail est simple : Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) alors plus communément dénommé One Belt One Road (OBOR) à l’époque, constitue un fait géopolitique majeur et une ambition géostratégique déterminante pour tous les États partenaires identifiés par Beijing. Au cœur du processus, les États asiatiques les plus proches de la République Populaire de Chine, à commencer par les pays membres de l’Organisation de Coopération de Shanghai (OCS).

Figure 1.L’Organisation de coopération de Shanghai et la construction de la « nouvelle Asie » sous la direction de Pierre Chabal (2016)

Figure 1.L’Organisation de coopération de Shanghai et la construction de la « nouvelle Asie » sous la direction de Pierre Chabal (2016)

Parmi eux, le géant énergétique et géographique du Kazakhstan, choisi par le président chinois Xi Jinping pour dévoiler une partie de ses ambitions collaboratives lors d’un discours à Astana en septembre 2013. Le Kazakhstan, puis l’ensemble de l’Asie Centrale, deviennent un nouveau terrain d’expérimentation avec comme sujet de convergence les mécanismes politiques et économiques qui permettraient de transformer les contraintes de l’enclavement géographique en opportunités logistiques (Table 1). Le couple Logistique & Géopolitique ou celui plus précis de Logistique & Diplomatie apparaissent d’emblée comme des évidences intellectuelles dans les premiers échanges tenus sous l’égide de la fondation SEFACIL. Sans ordre précis sont évoqués par les participants les relations internationales, les dynamiques régionales, les modalités de coopération, les réseaux de transport, les échanges d’informations, les passages transfrontaliers, les héritages historiques, les perceptions idéologiques, les barrières culturelles, les ambitions bilatérales/multilatérales, etc.

Table 1.Landlocked nature of a territory: a complex sum of constraints interacting on a dynamic perspective (Source: Yann ALIX, 2014)

Table 1.Landlocked nature of a territory: a complex sum of constraints interacting on a dynamic perspective (Source: Yann ALIX, 2014)

La canalisation des idées et la spécialisation des analyses ne constituent pas une option et les séminaires de 2014 et 2016 à l’Institute for Security and Cooperation Studies à Almaty confortent la pertinence d’approches pluridisciplinaires avec un premier recueil de textes publiés par les organisateurs kazakhs et sous la supervision du Prof. Dr. Kuralay Baizakova. Le cœur du questionnement collectif de l’époque est bien de comprendre comment BRI façonne les futures intégrations régionales, renforce les connectivités logistiques, décide des interrelations énergétiques, orchestre des formes plus ou moins abouties de dépendances politiques, géopolitiques et géostratégiques (Figure 2).

Figure 2.Logistics and Diplomacy : pour une première ébauche intellectuelle (2018)

Figure 2.Logistics and Diplomacy : pour une première ébauche intellectuelle (2018)

Le séminaire de 2016 tenu à la National University of Mongolia à Oulan-Bator donne lieu à d’intenses débats sur la construction des consensus politiques, le multilatéralisme, la maturité politique eurasiatique, les problématiques sécuritaires, les enjeux des approvisionnements et de la sécurisation énergétiques… et le rôle de la logistique et des transports dans l’élaboration d’un hypothétique futur marché commun de l’Asie Centrale. Une nouvelle publication vient sanctuariser les principales contributions de cette manifestation qui marque un tournant dans la maturation du projet Logistics & Diplomacy de la fondation SEFACIL.

Figure 3.World Affairs – Le cas de la Mongolie en perspective

Figure 3.World Affairs – Le cas de la Mongolie en perspective


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2023 (June)
Silk Road Eurasia diplomatic competition
Bruxelles, Berlin, Bern, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2023. 558 pp., 17 fig. col., 6 fig. b/w, 7 tables.

Biographical notes

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

Kuralay BAIZAKOVA, Sc. Dr of Historical Sciences, Director of the Institute for Security and Cooperation Studies, at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazNU), is Professor at and former Dean of the KazNU Faculty of International Relations. Yann ALIX, General Delegate of the SEFACIL Foundation (PhD in Transport Geography, Caen; PhD in Geography, Concordia), is editor of the series Les Océanides since 2012 and coordinator of the Logistics and Diplomacy research network. Pierre CHABAL, Sc. Dr of International Relations (IEP), director of the research center in law and political science (Lexfeim, Le Havre university), is visiting professor at KazNU (Kazakhstan), NUM (Mongolia), UWED (Uzbekistan), JNU (India).


Title: The Completion of Eurasia ?