EUCAM Working Papers/Reports - No. 14

Security Sector Reform in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan: what role for Europe?


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The security sectors of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are to different extents corrupt, lack democratic control and can even be a threat to the population. They differ in terms of both size and quality, as well as with respect to their willingness to reform. Security Sector Reform (SSR) based on democratic principles is urgently needed but not always welcome. The Western concept of SSR is not very well-known in Central Asia. States are mainly interested in military training and equipment, and less so in long-term measures to democratise and strengthen their security agencies and institutions. European actors hesitantly support Security Sector Reform in Central Asia. Is Europe on track? Should it do more, or less?

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Before joining the Centre for European Security Studies in 2016, Boonstra worked as senior researcher, and later as head of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia programme at FRIDE, a think tank with offices in Madrid and Brussels. He completed MAs in Contemporary History and International Relations at the University of Groningen. His work focuses on Eurasian and transatlantic security issues (in particular EU, NATO and OSCE policies) as well as on development policies and democratisation in Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia. Boonstra is member of several internal research networks and regularly comments on international issues in the media.
Erica Marat, PhD, is an assistant professor and director of Homeland Defense Fellowship Program at the College of International Security Affairs of the National Defense University in Washington DC. She specializes in law enforcement and policing in former Soviet states. Before joining CISA, Marat was a visiting scholar at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC. She previously worked at the Voice of America’s Russian Service and was a research fellow at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program affiliated with the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University.
Vera Axyonova is a postdoctoral researcher / assistant professor at the Justus Liebig University Giessen and an adjunct lecturer at Fulda University of Applied Sciences. She completed her PhD in Political Science at the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences and holds an MA in Intercultural Communication and European Studies and a Diploma in International Relations. Her primary research interests are external democratisation and human rights promotion, security in the post-soviet space, and Central Asian affairs.