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  • 1 Corvinus University of Budapest
  • 2 Budapest Business School
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The paper intends to give an insight into the relations of the economic and political systems of the Central Asian republics using the theoretical framework of the “rentier economy” and “rentier state” approach. The main findings of the paper are that two (Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan) of the five states examined are commodity export dependent “full-scale” rentier states. The two political systems are of a stable neo-patrimonial regime character, while the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan, poor in natural resources but dependent on external rents, may be described as “semi-rentier” states or “rentier economies”. They are politically more instable, but have an altogether authoritarian, oligarchical “clan-based” character. Uzbekistan with its closed economy, showing tendencies of economic autarchy, is also a potentially politically unstable clan-based regime. Thus, in the Central Asian context, the rentier state or rentier economy character affects the political stability of the actual regimes rather than having a direct impact on whether power is exercised in an autocratic or democratic way.

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