Rising Powers and Conflict Management (2012-2016)

ESRC logoFunding

This research was supported by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Project Grant ES/J013056/1. It is one of 12 projects in the Rising Powers and Interdependent Futures ESRC Network.

About the project

In a changing world order, a better understanding of the different ways that states try to manage violent conflict is increasingly important. This ESRC-funded project examines the divergent responses of Russia, China and the West to outbreaks of armed violence in post-Soviet Central Asia as well as exploring the local politics of managing conflict.


  • Dr John Heathershaw, Principal Investigator, University of Exeter
  • Dr David Lewis, Co-Investigator, University of Exeter
  • Dr Nick Megoran, Co-Investigator, Newcastle University
  • Ivan Campbell, Bernardo Mariani and colleagues, Co-Investigators, Saferworld

A total of 13 researchers and research assistants have contributed to the project and are acknowledged in publications or included as co-authors where this is possible on safety grounds. An international advisory board of seven persons includes persons from Central Asia Russia, China, the US and the UK, including ExCAS associate Anna Matveeva.

Selected publications

By John Heathershaw:

By David Lewis:

By Nick Megoran:

News and events

China’s Overseas Investments and the Coronavirus Crisis: Towards Benevolence or Profit?

This post originally appeared at https://pandemipolitics.net/uncategorized/owen The last week of March was a big day for economic news. While the IMF declared that the world economy was in a COVID-19 induced recession and Fitch credit rating agency downgraded the UK’s credit rating from AA to AA-, observers noted signs that the Chinese economy was beginning […]

The China – US Trade War and the Future of the Liberal Economic Order

The topic on every internationally minded Chinese person’s lips when in conversation with a Westerner appears to be the US-China trade war. The following text summarises my informal discussions over lunch and during walks, with friends and colleagues in Shanghai, on the reasons behind, and potential consequences of, growing economic tensions between the world’s two […]

Round Table on Eurasian Integration brings together scholars and policy-makers in St Petersburg

On 31st May and 1st June, Dr David Lewis and Dr Catherine Owen organised and presented at an international round table entitled ‘Eurasian Integration and Public Administration’ as part of the annual Forum on Public Administration organised by the St Petersburg branch of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA). The […]

How Postcolonial is Post-Western IR? Understanding the International Politics of Russia and Central Asia

Scholars of International Relations have called for the creation of a post-Western IR that reflects the global and local contexts of the declining power and legitimacy of the West. Based on interviews with Russian and Central Asian political, economic, and cultural elites, the talk explores the emergence in a particular region of a new global […]

Russia’s shift south

By David Lewis

As relations with the West soured during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s third term, Russia launched a ‘pivot to the East’, forging a far-reaching political alignment with China and promising development in Russia’s Far East regions. At the same time, Moscow turned south, rethinking ties with Pakistan and India, and developing a new role in Afghanistan. […]

Why Russia is back in Afghanistan

Three decades after a humiliating military defeat in Afghanistan, Russia has returned to the scene. This adds Afghanistan to a long list of hotspots – from Syria and Libya to Venezuelaand Ukraine – where Moscow’s low-cost, high-impact foreign policy is challenging the West. In Afghanistan, the Kremlin is covertly supporting the Taliban and other groups, and hosting regional talks with Pakistan, Iran and […]

CfP: Workshop on Rising Powers and State Transformation (London, November 2017)

Papers on Central Asia are encouraged. Funding is provided for successful applicants. —John Heathershaw The impact of “rising powers”, mostly from the global south, on the post-war, US-dominated, liberal world order is perhaps the most widely debated issue in contemporary International Relations. For many commentators, states like China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa will […]

Kemel Toktomushev, Kyrgyzstan: Regime Security and Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2017)

Congratulations to Kemel Toktomushev on his recently published book, Kyrgyzstan: Regime Security and Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2017), based on his PhD dissertation completed at the University of Exeter in 2014. Kemel’s book presents a comprehensive study of Kyrgyz foreign policy from the early 1990s to 2011. It addresses the question of how and to what […]

Event Report: Completion of Rising Powers and Conflict Management in Central Asia project (London, 13-14 July 2016)

On 13-14 July, 2016, we held closing events in London for the ESRC research project ‘Rising Powers and Conflict Management in Central Asia’.A one-day workshop at Chatham House entitled ‘Illiberal conflict management in Central Asia’ was held on 13 July, hosted by the Russia and Eurasia Programme with James Nixey and Lubica Pollakova.  A report […]

With Uzbekistan’s dictator dead, Russia seeks to extend its influence

This article originally appeared at The Conversation on September 9 and got 30,000 reads in the first few days. The death of Islam Karimov, a dictator who ran Uzbekistan since its creation a quarter-century ago, has kicked off a new round of geopolitical competition in Central Asia. Despite the rise of China in the region, Russia has […]