Moscow is changing its policy toward the five Central Asian republics – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – all former Soviet republics.

From now on, Moscow will no longer develop bilateral relations with these countries, but will look at them as a coherent whole. It is an approach adopted so far by the United States, the European Union and Japan, writes “Kommersant”.

Named “AC + 1”, the new policy received its baptism on Thursday, during a video conference of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with his Central Asian counterparts.

According to Kommersant, Thursday’s video conference was only the third meeting in the 5 + 1 format and an important step in perpetuating the dialogue in this way.

The meeting ended with the publication of a paper on “strategic directions of communication”.

If the United States insists on the promotion of democracy and respect for human rights in Central Asia, Russia seeks to at least partially restore the USSR’s sphere of influence.

Designed in Moscow and presented as a product to all signatory parties, the document expresses Russia’s directions of interest. At the diplomatic level, Moscow proposes intensifying the consultation process, which should be put into practice with joint initiatives and declarations, including at the UN. With regard to defense, the signatories promise not to take measures that could threaten the interests of the partners. In fact, Russia expects Central Asian countries not to provide territory, sea and air for the military needs of extraregional powers, primarily the United States. Particular attention in the document is paid to trade relations and cooperation in the transport sector, with an emphasis on simplifying customs procedures and encouraging associations, an essential aspect for circumventing international sanctions.