Welcome to our October conference!

The conference “The Rising Soft and Hard Power of China in Central Asia” will take place at the University of Helsinki, Finland on October 19-20, 2023. This conference will bring together senior and junior researchers specializing in China–Russia–Central Asia relations to update our knowledge of China’s rising influence, both in terms of soft and hard power, in Central Asia. The topic of China’s influence in Central Asia is new and vital. Decades ago, scholars only considered Russian influence in Central Asia. But now we are facing a new era in which Chinese soft and hard power are on the rise in Central Asia. Whether this means competition or cooperation with Russia is intriguing. Observers often suggest that there is an informal division of labor between China and Russia, in which Russia takes care of the security domain while Beijing expands economically into Central Asia. As we examine China’s surging presence in Central Asia, the ultimate aim is to discover whether the current division of labor, in which “China invests and Russia protects,” will change and what this would imply for world politics in the future.  Our keynote speaker is Dr. Robert Hamilton, Research Professor of Eurasian Studies at the US Army War College.