The complex geopolitical situation and unresolved border problems, accompanied by bloody conflicts, determine the growth of militarization in Central Asia.

To find out which countries export weapons to the Central Asian region and what trends in this area can be identified, analyzed data from the Stockholm International Peace Institute (SIPRI).

The SIPRI methodology is a system for measuring the volume of deliveries of major conventional weapons and components using a common unit – the trend indicator value (TIV), which is intended to reflect its military potential, rather than its financial value.

SIPRI’s analysis demonstrates that in all Central Asian countries, except Turkmenistan, Russia is the leader in the supply of weapons.  Of course, this is due to the fact that Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan are members of the CSTO, and Uzbekistan actively cooperates with Moscow on a bilateral level on security issues.  


Tajikistan Arms imports (1991-2020)

In the table below, one can see that Tajikistan receives arms imports from a very limited number of countries. Russia owns 110 (TIV), while China has only 4 (TIV) and Bulgaria has 3 (TIV) since 1991. As one can see, Russia has been a leader in the import of weapons in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan since 1991. Russian scientist, political scientist, and orientalist Vasily Kashin argues that “this is mainly due to the fact that the countries are members of the CSTO and receive Russian weapons at significantly reduced prices.” He also noted that “unlike Kazakhstan, countries such as Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have limited arms procurement opportunities. They mainly receive it in the form of assistance, and here the main source is again Russia.”