Control of Central Asia also helps Russia claim great power status - and keep an eye on China.
On the other hand, Russia has always been wary of Muslim Republics. During imperial times, the area was considered backward: a weight that Russia had accepted to bear, rather than a region it had proudly conquered. Today, Russian nationalist currents have little interest in Central Asia. According to public opinion, "the region is constantly amalgamated with notions of Islamism, terrorism, and mafia", while positive references emphasizing the historical and cultural ties to the region are rare.