New Opportunities for Cooperation Between the Visegrad Four and Central Asia
Political and economic ties that existed before 1990 between Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland on the one hand and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan on the other took a nosedive after the collapse of the socialist system in these countries and the beginning of transition to democracy and market economy. Central Asian countries found themselves in a more difficult situation than their V4 counterparts. When they became independent in 1991, to a certain extent it was a premature birth. The collapse of the Soviet Union caught the elites and peoples of the republics mostly unprepared. The first post-independence years in Central Asia brought economic downturn, hardship and social instability. The republics lacked the means and coherent, long-term economic strategies that would allow them to preserve their economic and political links with the former “fraternal” countries of Eastern Europe.
ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN - A view of the Bayterek monument and observation tower. Sergei Bobylev/TASS/Forum