This article was originally published by the East Asia Forum.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is devastating the lives of Ukrainian civilians and impacting the global economy. Low-income economies that were hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as Uzbekistan, are the most vulnerable to supply chain disruptions and potential political unrest caused by the invasion.
Significant attention has been paid to the impact of the Ukraine crisis and Russia’s economic contraction on Uzbekistan. But this analysis is somewhat incomplete—Uzbekistan’s exposure to the crisis does not just stem from the contraction of remittances coming from Russia.
The greatest danger for Central Asian economies emanates from weak political institutions. The economic shock rippling from Russia to Uzbekistan is compounding the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had already spurred protectionist economic policy and threatened the reform agenda in…