THE CASPIAN REGION:Politics, Economics, Culture

Scientific journal

RUSSIA AND CENTRAL ASIAN COUNTRIES IN YOUTH EXCHANGES WITHIN THE SCO

2021. 1, pp. 115-121

Muratshina Ksenia G. - Ural Federal University, 51 Lenina Ave., Yekaterinburg, 620083, Russian Federation

Bakhtin Evgeny L. - Ural Federal University, 51 Lenina Ave., Yekaterinburg, 620083, Russian Federation

Youth exchanges have become an essential component of people-to-people exchanges in international relations, both in bilateral and multilateral formats. This paper analyses the participation of Russia and its Central Asian partners (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) in youth exchanges in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. The authors consequently discuss the institutional structure and formats of the multilateral cooperation, its development within the last decade, and the representation and role of the member states. The research is based on the study of the SCO multilateral documents, SCO institutions’ documentation, official addresses and interviews of the SCO politicians and NGO leaders, online news archives of NGOs and media. The authors conclude that the SCO has formed a multilateral cooperation mechanism for youth exchanges, in which Russia and Central Asia are fully represented, with minor exclusions. Meanwhile, the cooperation demonstrates the evident rivalry between Russia and China in this cooperation. The Central Asian countries have become subject to this rivalry, however, at the same time they have already started to put forward their own initiatives, too, which can be significant for the development of multilateral dialogue. Finally, the paper discusses the potential benefits of cooperation for its participants.

Key words: Russia, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, youth, youth exchanges, people-to-people exchanges, SCO

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