Russia’s Eurasianist soft power in Central Asia

_ Marlene Laruelle, Research Professor and Associate Director at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at George Washington University. Washingtom, 22 March 2017. Published for debate.

Moscow’s Direct and Looser Public Diplomacy

Russia’s normative soft power can be divided into different categories: some instances are initiated directly by the Russian state administration at a bilateral level; some others are inspired by regional institutions (under the umbrella of the CIS or the Eurasian Union); and a third, looser type emanates from Russia’s state-sponsored civil society, which can be defined in many aspects as an illiberal civil society.

Dual citizenship and passportization

One aspect of Russia’s direct public diplomacy in the region, probably one of the most difficult to assess, is its ability to extend Russian citizenship to many post-Soviet citizens. In the early 1990s, Moscow had hoped to establish mechanisms of dual citizenship with its neighbors, but few of them agreed (Turkmenistan only until 2003, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan today). Accession to Russian citizenship for former Soviet citizens has been relatively liberal.[19] In the 1990s a special provision of law made it possible for all former Soviet citizens to apply for Russian citizenship with only a temporary or a permanent residence permit. This law was revoked in 2009; however, in 2014 came new, simpler and faster rules for granting citizenship to people who speak Russian and have at least one ancestor who was a permanent resident of Russia or the Soviet Union. A new bill was introduced to create a simplified procedure for “Russian-speaking citizens of the former Soviet Union, irrespective of nationality, who face a threat of ethno-cultural, political, or professional discrimination,” to acquire Russian citizenship.[20] Russia also replicated fast-track mechanisms, taken from Western models, to offer citizenship to investors, businessmen, highly qualified specialists, and now to those serving at least five years in the newly created Russian Foreign Legion.[21]

Russia also has informal policies to deliver passports to the populations of secessionist regions. Ninety percent of South Ossetians are said to have Russian passports, along with smaller numbers of Abkhazians and Transnistrians, which allows Russia to claim a right to protect its citizens.[22]Hundreds of thousands of labor migrants from the former Soviet Union have also managed to get a Russian passport without surrendering the passport from their home country, giving Russia potential leverage over some of its neighbors. In Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the number of dual citizens seems to be high, even if statistical data is unknown.

Eurasian and Russian World institutions

Russia-sponsored regional institutions have several understudied “soft” bodies working under their umbrellas. Among the CIS bodies, two are worth mentioning: the CIS Election Monitoring Organization (CIS-EMO), which supports established regimes and counterbalances the OSCE’s (and other Western institutions’) narrative on the lack of good governance and transparent elections in the region;[23] and the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (IPA), which strengthens bilateral and multilateral partnerships between members of parliaments (MPs) in all member countries. Kazakhstan’s Majilis has direct institutional ties with the Russian State Duma, its Senate with the Federation Council, and direct, faction-to-faction meetings occur regularly at multiple levels. Many other institutions are linked to Eurasian institutions such as the Astana-based Eurasian Development Bank,[24] the Eurasian Economic Commission,[25] the Fund for the Development of Eurasian Cooperation,[26] and the Eurasian Women’s Forum.[27]

Another set of institutions, separate from the Eurasian ones, are those related to the so-called Russian World (Russkii mir). The concept of the Russian World offers a particularly powerful repertoire; it is a geopolitical imagining, a fuzzy mental atlas on which different regions of the world and their different links to Russia can be articulated in a fluid way. This blurriness is integral to the concept and allows it to be reinterpreted within multiple contexts. First, it serves as a justification for what Russia considers its right to oversee the evolution of its neighbors, and sometimes for its interventionist policy. Second, its rationale is for Russia to reconnect with its pre-Soviet and Soviet past through reconciliation with Russian diasporas abroad. Lastly, it is a critical instrument for Russia to brand itself on the international scene and to advance its own voice in the world. The Russian World is thus in its essence a floating signifier developed by diverse actors around the Kremlin, one that speaks to different audiences and can take on specific flavors to be operationalized depending on the context.[28]

In 2007, a presidential decree signed by Vladimir Putin established the Russian World Fund under the joint umbrella of Russia’s ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Education and Science. Through its foundation, the Russian World Fund maintains the ambiguity of focusing on compatriots (sootechestvenniki) and opening up to all those interested in supporting Russia in the world. It works in close collaboration, and sometimes overlaps with, Rossotrudnichestvo—the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation—which was established in 2008 from the Russian Center for International Scientific and Cultural Cooperation, Roszarubezhtsentr.[29] Rossotrudnichestvo’s core activities relate to the promotion of the Russian language and cultural, scientific, and educational exchanges. In cooperation with the Governmental Commission on Compatriots Living Abroad (GCCLA), it offers support to compatriots and works with a variety of associations, including the International Council of Russia’s Compatriots, the “Homeland” Association, the International Associations of Youth Compatriots, and the Moscow House of Compatriots.[30]Finally, Rosstrudnichestvo is involved to a lesser extent in Russia’s international aid programs, mostly directed at CIS countries, including the fledgling RusAid based on the USAID model.[31]

As in the rest of the post-Soviet space, Russia has progressively put in place in Central Asia strategies to promote Russian culture and language through cultural centers at Russian embassies, commemorations of historical events, maintaining the graves of Russian soldiers fallen abroad, exchange programs, joint universities and joint curricula, and grants and fellowships for CIS students and professionals who want to study in Russia.[32] If one takes the example of Kazakhstan, one can notice that the Russian university model continues to shape the Kazakhstani one. Several Russian universities, including Moscow State University and leading Siberian provincial universities, have opened branch campuses in the country.[33] Russian universities host many Kazakhstani students—estimates vary between 20,000 and 26,000 depending on the source[34]—making Kazakhstani students one of the largest groups of foreign students in Russian universities. The majority of these students are probably ethnic Russians who want to study in their native tongue, have no interest in earning a Kazakhstani diploma, and/or have not mastered the Kazakh language—but there are no statistics confirming their ethnicity. Rossotrudnichestvo serves as an umbrella for all cultural activities related to the promotion of the Russian language and culture, including contests, festivals, and Olympiads,[35] and it offers grants and fellowships of all kinds. Several associations defending the Russian language and Russian-language instructors, such as the Kazakhstani Society of Teachers of Russian Language and Literature, the Kazakhstani Association of Teachers at Russian Schools, and the Kazakhstani Association of Alumni of Russian Higher Educations Institutions, function in the country and are recognized in bilateral relations as joint associations. The Russian Center for Science and Culture, which opened in Astana in 2004, works as the main cultural body for Russia in the capital city.

Legislative copycats

Russia’s normative agenda has also influenced Kazakhstan’s and Kyrgyzstan’s parliamentary discussions on their own versions of Russia’s anti-gay and anti-NGO laws.[36] Both governments submitted anti-gay bills; Kazakhstan’s did not pass, Kyrgyzstan’s did. Kazakhstan did pass a foreign agent law and laws restricting NGO activities and unsanctioned protests. Kyrgyzstan’s Parliament refused legislation against NGOs as foreign agents[37] or unsanctioned protests, but validated a law defending the religious feelings of believers against any kind of ‘offense’ or ‘blasphemy’. All these legislative efforts are explicitly based on Russian laws.[38] The Kyrgyz homosexual propaganda bill was widely seen as an effort to gain support among the conservative electorate. In Kazakhstan, even if the bill did not pass, it appears that the interparty links between Nur Otan and United Russia inspired the copycat mechanism; a Kazakh MP noted “the geostrategic position of Kazakhstan” among other moral and cultural justifications for the nature of the bill and its timing.[39]

Russian GONGOs

Russian state institutions have generated a very vivid ecosystem of government-organized non-governmental organizations (GONGOs) that constitute a genuine element of influence over Central Asia and push for Russia’s normative agenda. In order to wield influence in post-Soviet countries that have a more anti-Russian agenda and freer societies than the Central Asian states, Russia had to become innovative.[40] It supports Russian political parties where they are authorized, as they are in Latvia, launched the Legal Information Centre of Human Rights in Estonia, the International Council for Democratic Institutions and State Sovereignty in Transnistria, and the Caucasus Institute for Democracy and the Free Europe Foundation in South Ossetia.[41]In Central Asia, Russia felt less challenged because of a weaker and less structured nationalist atmosphere, and it did not have to invest so much in creating new tools of influence. Paradoxically, Moscow’s influence in Central Asia was preserved in part due to the lack of autonomy for local civil societies, the only exception being the more democratic Kyrgyzstan.

Many Russian GONGOs in Central Asia advance an agenda of Eurasian regional integration. Examples include the Center for Eurasian Studies (CES); the Workshop of Eurasian Ideas Fund;[43] and the Eurasian Heritage Foundation, established in 2004 by the aluminum oligarch Oleg Deripaska to promote expert, academic, and business cooperation. [44] Others advancing an agenda of connecting the Central Asian expert community with their Russian counterparts include the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Foundation, created in 2008, and the Russian Council on International Affairs, another expert platform on international affairs, founded in 2010.

Some other GONGOs are closer to the Russian World Fund, which embodies Russian “civil society”, while being financed mainly by the state. The different organizations working under its umbrella may apply for public funds through a grant process, but they are legally independent from the state, can raise money from other sources, and can display slightly differing positions. Examples include the International Fund of Slavic Literature and Culture, created during the perestroika years and supported by the Moscow Patriarchate; the Fund of Historical Perspective, created in 2004 by Natalia Narochnitskaya, now director of the Paris-based Institute for Democracy and Cooperation; the Likhachev Fund, which supports the historical and literary heritage of this major figure of twentieth-century Russian culture; the “Unity in the Name of Russia” Fund, created in 2003 and directed by Viacheslav Nikonov, which unites many prestigious academic institutions (including Moscow State University, Moscow State Legal Academy, and the Academy of Sciences Institute for Information in the Social Sciences-INION); and the St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation, created by Putin’s close associate Vladimir Yakunin and his spouse Natalia Yakunina.[45] The Fund also covers and finances the Institute of Russia Abroad, created in 2005 to manage several websites for compatriots, such as Russkie.org and Russkii vek, and to cooperate with the European Russian Alliance, a network of Russian associations in European Union countries. The main event that the Russian World Fund organizes is the so-called Assembly of the Russian World, held on November 4, the day of National Unity, and attended by the highest-ranking state figures, including the president and many government officials.[46]

A largely understudied aspect of the Russian normative agenda relates to the rise of so-called illiberalism around the theme of protecting “conservative” values. As in Russia, the Orthodox Church, under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate but recognized in all of the five Central Asian countries and very loyal to the local authorities, has been promoting conservative values such as the traditional family, respect for national traditions, and the rejection of any proselytism or conversion processes.[47]

Russian youth movements with a Eurasian integration agenda, such as the Eurasian Movement of Russia (EDRF) led by the above mentioned Yuri Kofner, have developed some modest activities in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, mostly among Russian-speaking youth. Formerly known as Eurasian Youth (Molodaia Evraziia), this group has disassociated itself from Aleksandr Dugin’s more aggressive style of neo-Eurasianism.[48] One may also mention Eurasian New Wave Media (Evraziitsy. Novaia volna), created in Kyrgyzstan in 2010.[49] More complex to assess is the rise of youth patriotic movements in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan that offer an anti-Russian narrative in terms of identity and historical perceptions, but share Russia’s conservative values agenda and a strong anti-Western narrative. This is the case for the Almaty-based Bolashaq (Future) youth movement (not to be confused with the state-funded fellowship program of the same name). Its leader, Dauren Babamurat, has been working with rural youth and with ethnic Kazakh returnees to the country (Oralmans) since the mid-2000s, supplying books to rural libraries and screening films that promote national pride.[50] The Bolashaq movement is known for its strong opposition to Western values: in 2013 its members burned symbols of St. Valentine Day, seen as a decadent Western tradition forcing young girls into early sex, promoting instead a more national commemoration, that of the legendary Kazakh couple Bayan Sulu and Kozy Korpesh, to be celebrated on April 15.[51] A similar trend is noticeable in Kyrgyzstan, where nationalist movements such as Kyrk Choro (Forty Knights), or Kalys, led by Jenishbek Moldokmatov, oppose sexual minority rights “imposed” by the West[52]and develop anti-U.S. storylines driven by nationalist and/or Islamist points of view.

Although Russian youth patriotic movements and Kazakh and Kyrgyz ones are opposed on many aspects, there have been some instances of contact. In May 2014, as tensions around the Donbas war peaked, the Kazakhstani authorities arrested the young nationalist oppositionist Zhanbolat Mamay and Russian “white power” nationalist Alexander Belov-Potkin, the Moscow-based former leader of the powerful Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI), for inciting interethnic hate.[53] Belov-Potkin allegedly organized a training camp for young members of the Kazakh nationalist group Ult-Azattygy, including Mamay. The story surrounding Belov-Potkin and Mamay shares many features of the conspiracy theories and counter-messaging that shape the post-Soviet information space. The Kazakhstani authorities opened the case at a highly opportune moment, allowing them to kill two birds with one stone: they signaled Russia that they were taking the risk of destabilization seriously, and they neutralized the most visible Kazakh nationalist activists at a time of growing popular resentment against Kazakhstan’s entry into the Eurasian Economic Union. The allegation that Russian and Kazakh nationalists were working hand-in-hand to destabilize Kazakhstan does not look very plausible, but the existence of some personal contacts has been confirmed by several anonymous sources.

Russian Soft Power: The Media Strike Force

Another critical element of Russian soft power relates to its media. Sociological surveys in former Soviet states show public opinion in three countries of Central Asia—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan—largely sharing the same interpretations as public opinion in Russia. This parallel is less evident in Uzbekistan; yet, compared to many other post-Soviet countries, Uzbek public opinion can still be considered as closely aligned with the Russian one. We have almost no information for Turkmenistan.

However, one does not know the extent of Russian media influence, which segments of public opinion it affects, which specific issues it focuses on, or how to interpret it. Paradoxically, very little research has been done on Central Asian mainstream media. The few studies we have were mostly carried out in the 1990s and were devoted to the issue of freedom of press or teaching journalism.[54] But we have almost no study of state-controlled media, which shape the majority of public opinion.

Nonetheless, we have some good indirect data showing what can be interpreted as Russian media influence in the region. The Integration Barometer published every year by the Eurasian Development Bank shows, for example, that in 2014, during the Ukrainian crisis, the number of people in Kazakhstan supporting integration with Russia suddenly increased, indicating support for the Russian perception of the crisis, while in Kyrgyzstan it dropped noticeably, indicating a more polarized public opinion (see Table 1).[55]

Table 1. Percentage of People in Favor of Eurasian Integration (Eurasia Barometer)

  2012   2013   2014   2015
  Kazakhstan   80%   73%   84%   80%
  Kyrgyzstan   80%   72%   50%   86%
  Tajikistan   76%   75%   68%   72%
  Turkmenistan   n/a   50%   n/a   n/a
  Uzbekistan   67%   77%   68%   n/a

Source: eabr.org

We have other, more direct, data. In 2015, the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and the Gallup Organization published a series of surveys conducted throughout the whole post-Soviet region. These surveys show unambiguously that in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan, the majority of the public considers the Russian media as highly reliable, significantly more so than Western media (see Table 3).[56]

Table 2: “Rating World Leaders: What People Worldwide Think of the United States, China, Russia, the European Union, and Germany” (Gallup)

Russia is the most friendly country Ready to give military support to Russia Ready to receive military and political support from Russia Prefer buying Russian products Prefer Russian cultural products
  Kazakhstan   84%   57%   69%   62%   62%
  Kyrgyzstan   89%   36%   83%   —   44%
  Uzbekistan   86%   35%   65%   49%   50%
  Tajikistan   90%   47%   79%   66%   68%
  Turkmenistan   70%   —   —   59%   64%

Table 3: “Which media source is reliable about Ukraine and Crimea?” (BBG and Gallup, 2015)

  Russian media   Western media
 Georgia   42%   85%
 Estonia   45%   36%
 Moldova   58%   44%
 Azerbaijan   64%   41%
 Belarus   67%   21%
 Kazakhstan   74%   26%
 Uzbekistan   79%   37%
 Russia   80%   10%
 Kyrgyzstan   81%   32%
Tajikistan   85%   36%

Looking specifically at the Kazakhstani case, indeed Russian media dominate the national media landscape. They deeply influence Kazakhstani television space: the most popular television channel is First Channel–Eurasia, 20 percent of which is controlled by the government of Russia; the most popular show on TV, “Field of Dreams” (Pole chudes), is Russian; the most popular miniseries are Russian; and almost half of the channels transmitted through cable networks are RussianRussia also dominates the Kazakhstani Internet space (the most popular services are Russian) along with the Kazakhstani radio space (the two most popular radio stations, Radio Retro and Russian Radio, are Russian). Finally, it also dominates a large part of the Kazakhstani print press:  Komsomols’kaia pravda, Delo no. 1, and Argumenty i fakty are widespread throughout the country.

However, Russian media domination in Kazakhstan, once noticed, still leaves us with more questions than answers. I will briefly discuss several of them here. First, can one really dissociate a television versus an Internet framework, as has often been argued? The tendency is to distinguish television, which is state-controlled, from the Internet, viewed as free. But both display more or less the same views, with the Internet simply amplifying what is said on television, for better or worse.  Obviously, on the Internet one can find non-mainstream narratives, which are not available on television; but both mediums are in fact still sharing more of their worldviews than we might assume.

Second, to note that a majority of Central Asians read Russian newspapers or watch Russian TV is not to say that they accept everything coming from these media; they may exercise critical distance. However, we have no tools to try to measure this critical distance. Third, we often do not know exactly what content is coming from Russia, and what is “genuinely” Central Asian; sometimes the information available is so general that we do not know what is produced in Russia and what is produced in Central Asia in the Russian language. This is an important distinction, because in the latter case one would be able to identify media actors in Central Asia, and not only in Russia. Another point I want to raise is that we assume that what is published in national languages is less pro-Russian than what is produced in Russian, but we have only anecdotal evidence to demonstrate that. Another assumption pertains to the role played by labor migrants in spreading Russian perceptions. We have some information showing that households with migrants working in Russia are often more pro-Russian than the average. At the same time, we do not have studies discussing how migrants manage their fear of street xenophobia and discrimination in Russia while at the same time promoting Russian perceptions.

Scholars have limited tools to capture Russian media influence. Shall we suppose that generations matter? Surveys are contradictory on that issue; some show that older generations have more in common with Russia than younger ones due to their shared Soviet past; others show that the younger you are, the more statistically likely you are to be pro-Russian. Shall we suppose that the dividing line between urban and rural populations, critical for the whole region, is also relevant for media influence? It remains difficult to demonstrate that urban populations are more pro-Russian than rural populations. Some surveys show us the contrary—that rural populations are more supportive of Russia, while urban populations, parts of which follow Western media, are more critical or distant. Another variable that I consider crucial is that Russian media influence should be dissociated topic by topic. Russian media have been most successful in shaping Central Asian public opinion on foreign policy and worldview, promoting notions that the liberal order is an illusion; everything is geopolitical; the United States has a hidden hand behind every major world event; history is made by civilizations; and that Russia offers at least a balance or possible alternative to the U.S./liberal order. This explains why Central Asian public opinion largely supported the Russian perception of the crisis in Ukraine, as well anti-NGO and other “foreign agents” laws, which are framed by media in this “civilizational” language.

However, Russian media have failed, partly or largely, to produce a narrative for domestic, Central Asian issues. When it comes to questions related to Central Asian history and Russia’s place within it, or national identity, Central Asian public opinions—even if they share many aspects of the current Soviet nostalgia—are much more critical than the Russian media would like them to be. The same goes for seeing Russian society and the Russian economy as a model for the future; here, too, success is more limited than the massive investment by Moscow in Russian media soft power was expected to achieve.

Notes:

[19] Oxana Shevel, “The Politics of Citizenship Policy in Post-Soviet Russia,” Post-Soviet Affairs 28, no. 1 (2012): 111–47.

[20] “Dlia zhitelei SNG uprostiat protseduru polucheniia rossiiskogo grazhdanstva” [The Procedure for Receiving Russian Citizenship Is Simplified for Residents of the CIS], Interfax, February 24, 2014, https://goo.gl/Svtifl

[21] Aleksandr Khrolenko, “Inostrannyi legion v Rossii” [Foreign Legion in Russia], RIA Novosti, January 1, 2015,https://goo.gl/aedatB

[22] Kristopher Natoli, “Weaponizing Nationality: An Analysis of Russia’s Passport Policy in Georgia,” Boston University International Law Journal 28 (2010): 389–417, https://goo.gl/QRX9L1​

[23] Nicu Popescu, “Russia’s Soft Power Ambitions,” Centre for European Policy Studies, CEPS Policy Brief, No. 115 (2006).

[24] A Russia–Kazakhstan bilateral project, but whose member states are those of the Eurasian Economic Union plus Tajikistan. See https://goo.gl/NGIBPP

[25] See https://goo.gl/slI40w

[26] See http://fondres.ru.

[27] See http://eawf.ru/.

[28] More in Marlene Laruelle, “The ‘Russian World’: Russia’s Soft Power and Geopolitical Imagination,” Center on Global Interests, May 2015.

[29] More in Sinikukka Saari, “Russia’s Post–Orange Revolution Strategies to Increase Its Influence in the Former Soviet Republics: Public Diplomacy po russki,” Europe-Asia Studies 66, no. 1 (2014): 50-–66.

[30] See https://goo.gl/RSDDfN.

[31] Anna Brezhneva and Daria Ukhova, “Russian as a Humanitarian Aid Donor,” Oxfam Discussion Paper, July 2013,https://goo.gl/DOpVSW​.

[32] Michael Gorham, “Virtual Russophonia: Language Policy as ‘Soft Power’ in the New Media Age,” Digital Icons: Studies in Russian, Eurasian and Central European New Media, no. 5 (2011): 23–48.

[33] The Almaty branch of  Saint-Petersburg University of the Humanities and Social Sciences; Almaty branch of Academy of Labor and Social Relations; Kostanay branch of Chelyabinsk State University; Ust-Kamenogorsk branch of Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics, and Informatics; and Baikonur branch of Moscow Aviation Institute; Pavlodar branch of Tyumen State Oil and Gas University (closed in 2012); along with three private institutions: the Kazakhstani–Russian Medical University (Almaty); the Kazakh–Russian International University (Aktobe); and the Kazakhstani–Russian University (Astana, closed in 2014). I thank Marat Raikhmatov for providing me with this information.

[34] Aidana Usupova, “Bolee 45,000 kazakhstanskikh studentov obuchaiut za rubezhom,” Tengrinews.kz, July 31, 2014,https://goo.gl/z0i5Np; “Rossiiskie VUZy uvelichat priem inostrannykj studentov,”  Vedomosti, February 19, 2015,https://goo.gl/dSWySm.

[35] See the website of Rossotrudnichestvo in Kazakhstan at http://kaz.rs.gov.ru/node/1.

[36] On this topic, see Julian G. Walters, “Mimicking the Mad Printer: Isomorphism in Contemporary Post-Soviet Legislation,” forthcoming paper.

[37] Bakyt Asanov, “Zakon ob ‘inostrannykh agentakh’ ne proshel,” Radio Azzatyk, May 16, 2016,https://goo.gl/MOLNtr.

[38] The text is available in Kyrgyz on the website of the parliament, May 6, 2014, at https://goo.gl/xkObeF.

[39] Joanna Lillis, “Kazakhstan: Polemika o pravakh geev nabiraet oboroty na fone vspleska gomofobnykh nastroenii,” Eurasianet, October 23, 2013, https://goo.gl/CBaB8f.

[40] More in Orysia Lutsevych, “Agents of the Russian World Proxy Groups in the Contested Neighbourhood,” Chatham House Report, April 2016.

[41] Jakov Hedenskog and Robert L. Larsson, Russian Leverage on the CIS and the Baltic States (Stockholm: FOI, Swedish Defence Research Agency, 2007).

[42] See http://eurasian-studies.org/

[43] Seehttps://www.facebook.com/eurasianworkshop/.

[44] See http://www.fundeh.org.

[45] See https://goo.gl/grdukJ

[46] See http://russkiymir.ru/fund/assembly/.

[47] Sebastien Peyrouse, “The Partnership Between Islam and Orthodox Christianity in Central Asia,” Religion, State & Society 36, no. 4 (2008): 393–405.

[48] See http://eurasian-movement.ru.

[49] See http:// www.enw-fond.ru.

[50] Author’s interview with Dauren Babamuratov, Almaty, June 20, 2015. See also “Dauren Babamuratov, rukovoditel’ molodezhnogo dvizheniia Bolashaq”  [Dauren Babamuratov, Leader of the Bolashaq Youth Movement], YouTube, November 5, 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=k07Z5HCVWjU.

[51] Vitalii Kovalev, “V Kazakhstane Den’ Koza Korpesh i Bayan-Suly pochti nikto ne prazdnuet,” KTK, April 15, 2013,www.ktk.kz/ru/news/video/2013/4/15/22144.

[52] “Kalys predlagaet po 100,000 somov za ‘poimku pedofila’,” Kloop.kg, April 28, 2015, https://goo.gl/zyWKFi. On Kyrgyzstan’s illiberal youth groups, see Gulgizhit Ermatov, “Understanding Illiberal Sentiments Among Youth in Kyrgyzstan,” Central Asia Fellowship Papers, No. 16, July 2016.

[53] “V RK rassleduiut delo po faktu razzhiganiia mezhnatsional’noi rozni,” Zakon.kz, May 21, 2014,https://goo.gl/sGSBrI

[54] Peter Rollberg and Marlene Laruelle, “The Media Landscape in Central Asia. Introduction,” Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization 23, no.3 (2015): 227–32.

[55] “EDB Integration Barometer 2015,” EDB Centre for Integration Studies, Report 33 (November 2015). Eurasian Development Bank, Astana. https://goo.gl/4DG3oR.

[56] “Assessing Russia’s Influence in Its Periphery,” BBG Research Series, 2015,https://goo.gl/q9Bh4S​.

Source: Based on the article, published on https://bishkekproject.com/

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