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Features of Russian propaganda in Kyrgyzstan (part 1)

CIACR is continuing a project to study the goals, objectives, narratives, tools and effectiveness of Russian propaganda and information influence in Central Asia. After the first material about Uzbekistan, it is suggested to read the article Askata Dukenbaeva (political scientist, doctor of political sciences) on the peculiarities of Russia's information influence in Kyrgyzstan.

The countries of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan) continue to be under Russia's "information cap" almost thirty years after the collapse of the Soviet empire. But while President Boris Yeltsin's Russia was more concerned with its own problems, the intensification of President Putin's expansionist policies, obsessed with the doctrine of "Russian peace" and the restoration of Russia's protectorate over the CIS, is accompanied by increased Kremlin propaganda and disinformation in the region. How experts note, the active dissemination of destabilizing disinformation, to weaken the target country by non-military means, has become an important element of the new - "hybrid" - military doctrine of Russia, adopted in 2013 (with an updated version of 2019).

The article reveals and analyzes the peculiarities of Russian propaganda in Kyrgyzstan, whose authorities are strongly influenced by the decisions and actions of the Kremlin. The country is also strongly influenced by Russia. According to opinion polls, about 40% of the population prefers to watch television programs in Russian and just over 50% - in Kyrgyz; Despite the fact that the average daily TV audience is declining (by 2019, compared to 2016, the reduction was 6%), about 70% of the population receive information from television. At the same time, Russian TV channels continue to enjoy high popularity in the country. In 2017, in third place in popularity after the national (KTRK) and music TV channels, followed Russian First Channel. At the same time, polls in the capital, Bishkek, showed completely different results - Bishkek put the Russian "First Channel" at the top of the rating, and KTRK was in sixth place. Channel One is followed by the Bishkek TV channel NTS, and the Russian TNT-Asia, Russia RTR and 312 Kino.

A similar situation exists with the print media. Russian-language pro-Kremlin newspapers are in the top six of the country's largest circulation periodicals, after the Kyrgyz-language Super-Info (with pro-Russian socio-political content), with an average monthly circulation of almost 100: Vecherny Bishkek (average monthly circulation) is 38 thousand, and daily - an average of 13 thousand), "Case number" ("Case №…", 16 thousand copies), followed by "Autoguide" (a large-circulation weekly newspaper for the purchase and sale of cars and auto parts, with 9 thousand circulation), "Kut-bilim" (departmental publication of the Ministry of Education and Science, more than 8 thousand copies), as well as the Russian weekly newspaper "Arguments and Facts - Kyrgyzstan" (5 thousand copies). At the same time, only three Russian-language newspapers are daily - Vecherniy Bishkek and two Russian ones (Komsomolskaya Pravda and Rossiyskaya Gazeta), which are published four times a week. Research was held in 2013, but the situation by 2020 has not changed significantly.

The popularity of the Internet as a new source of information is growing in the country (almost 60% of the population uses the Internet, 46% use social networks). But even so, the most visited social networks are Odnoklassniki.ru (35%), followed by Instagram (23%) and Facebook (13%). Users of mail sites in 70% of cases use Mail.ru and in 22% - Gmail.

As is known, the media play an important role in shaping public sentiment. Since the main TV channels and circulation newspapers of Kyrgyzstan continue to present events in the world, especially in America and Europe, including Ukraine, through the Russian "discursive prism", it is not surprising that about 80% of Kyrgyzstanis support the Kremlin's policies and consider Russia the main friend of Kyrgyzstan (for comparison, the United States - only about 10%). According to the author, the main reason for allowing the Russian media to maintain its popularity and influence in Kyrgyzstan is not so much the slow overcoming of the mental dependence of the soviets ruling and intellectual elite on Russian political and socio-cultural norms and standards (and this is especially noteworthy given that the Russian population by 2019 made up slightly more than 5%) and not so much due to the more attractive format and content of Russian television, print and online products, but thanks to many years of political support for Russian broadcasting and print, as well as Russian - the main language of communication in the capital, Bishkek) - with by government agencies, to the detriment of the development of quality national media. Another reason is the existing disparate "allied" relations between the two countries and the dependence of ruling politicians on the Kremlin, fearing negative consequences in the event of countermeasures to protect the information field, including through the widespread spread of the Kyrgyz language, which creates favorable conditions for maintaining Russian dominance. , which intensified after the expulsion of President K. Bakiyev in the spring of 2010 after bloody protests, in the provocation of which the active role of Russian information intrusions was especially noticeable.

The pro-Russian orientation of President A. Atambayev, who came to power as part of the Provisional Government in spring 2010 (elected president in a popular vote in autumn 2011), has become a major vector for the country's domestic and foreign policy, expressed in particular without careful adoption. taking into account the risks to Kyrgyzstan's national interests on the path to democratic development, such major Russian initiatives as: the country's accession to the Customs Union (renamed the Eurasian Economic Union) in 2014, expanding military cooperation with Russia, increasing pressure on civil society, persecuting the opposition Russian organizations, copying Russian repressive legislation, etc. All these steps were accompanied by strong informational support from the Russian and pro-Kremlin Kyrgyz media. The current president S. Jeenbekov, elected at the end of 2017, continues the pro-Russian course of his predecessor, which facilitates Russia's information policy in Kyrgyzstan. Lessons learned from the Kyrgyz case may be relevant to other countries in the Central Asian region and beyond.

The goals of Russian propaganda and the main narratives for Kyrgyzstan

The true goals of Russia's policy toward Kyrgyzstan have not been officially revealed, but a number of political events since 2010, including the country's entry into Putin's EEU, as well as Russia's aggression against Ukraine and the occupation of Crimea and parts of Donbass in 2014, have full Kremlin propaganda as one of the important elements of "hybrid" aggression, to solve the problems of Russian policy on the way to the main goal - to achieve unlimited influence in Kyrgyzstan. In this regard, a number of information narratives disseminated by the Russian media to misinform society - both Russian and Kyrgyz - about the processes taking place in the country, including in order to discredit the actions of pro-democratic groups and measures to consolidate and form a nation, and also, promoting a favorable image of Putin's Russia. Much of these narratives is a continuation of elements of Soviet propaganda, only in a "modernized" form, which is clearly seen in the connotational continuity of the updated discursive phraseology (for example, "west" instead of "capitalist countries", "foreign agents" instead of "spies", etc.). .). Also, much of this was first tested and used in Russia, against the opposition and civil society, and now migrated to the Russian-language information field of Kyrgyzstan, including in the form of "deployments", explanations and dissemination of official statements of Putin's Russian leaders, not always friendly. to the political processes and actions of the country's civil society.

Narratives against civil society

During the years of post-Soviet development, despite the strong information and political influence of Moscow, the country has formed an active civil society that wants change. However, activists are regularly severely persecuted by law enforcement agencies, which use improvised journalists and the media to slander activists and create negative public opinion against the persecuted, including through the publication of “exposing” articles about alleged “State Department / Western / foreign” agents. "

Aggressive and regular information attacks against civil society organizations and international donors funding them are in line with instructions from Russian officialssuch as the director of the Russian FSB, A. Bortnikov, who recently declared "intensification of attempts of external destructive influence on the domestic political situation in the CIS countries by the West" and noted "foreign and international non-governmental organizations" as instruments of "interference in the internal affairs of independent states." Shares of non-profit organizations and civil activists are presented no other than "preparing a coup d'etat", a "third revolution" (meaning after the "first" in 2005 and the "second" in 2010), which "neither the country nor the people will survive" and which will inevitably "end in a civil war" .

In another example, citizens who expressed support for Ukraine and disagreed with Kyrgyzstan's growing dependence on Putin's Russia were attacked as "nationalists", "Russophobes" and "extremists", as was the case with the civil movement "Kyrgyzstan v. Customs Union" established in 2013 ( refers to the Eurasian Economic Union, the Eurasian Economic Union), many activists of which were persecuted by "law enforcement" government agencies for participating in protests in 2014 (some were forced to leave the country for political emigration), accompanied by slander in pro-Kremlin newspapers. In 2018, on the Independence Day of Kyrgyzstan on August 31, hackers hacked the Facebook page movement (which had more than 9 members), removed all administrators of the group, changed the cover photo of the page to the flag and coat of arms of the USSR, renamed the group and closed access to it, and the new name of the hacked group sounded like a mockery - "Kyrgyzstanis, happy holiday!" . Later, access to the group was established, but despite numerous appeals to Facebook administrators, the open (public) status of the group has not yet been restored.

As in the old Soviet times, slanderous publications often herald the criminal prosecution of activists mentioned in newspaper articles by law enforcement agencies, primarily the SCNS and the Interior Ministry, and then the courts under the control of the authorities.

Narratives against democratic processes and institutions

The purpose of the Kremlin's narratives on this subject is to instill skepticism about democratic change. Citizens of Kyrgyzstan remember speech by former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev with criticism of parliamentary democracy as a "catastrophe" for Kyrgyzstan (and Russia) on the eve of the elections to the Jogorku Kenesh (parliament) in autumn 2010. In this regard, the discrediting of parliament by the pro-Kremlin media is carried out through the promotion of narratives about the "irresponsibility" of both individual MPs and the entire parliamentary corps, as well as their alleged control over the American embassy. It should be noted that the parliament is also criticized by internal democratic groups, but, unlike the Kremlin's disinformation, this is not accompanied by the idealization of the Soviet past and the denial of national statehood.

One of the most important manifestations of democracy is freedom of peaceful assembly and open expression of the will of citizens. In this regard, as noted above, Kremlin propagandists privately portray the actions of civil activists as "oppositional" directed against the authorities (supported by the Kremlin), as a preparation for a "color revolution" and a "coup d'etat", and therefore "undermining stability" and deserving adoption of "the most decisive" countermeasures (ie without careful observance of human rights norms and laws) by state law enforcement agencies. The Kremlin's influence in this direction is particularly evident in the copying of Russia's repressive laws by members of parliament controlled by the presidential administration. According to journalists, 40% of the studied bills in the Kyrgyz parliament (322 out of 805) contained articles similar to those of Russian laws, and 17 bills turned out to be practically complete copies of Russian analogues.

In one of the latest and most resonant bills (currently the law has been passed by parliament and submitted to the president) "On the manipulation of information", 22 articles out of 24 turned out to be rewritten from the Russian analogue, with a difference only in the names of countries and some terms. In another bill, 68% consists of copied words of the relevant Russian law. One of the main initiators of the bill is MP Gulshat Asylbayeva, substantiated the law reads: “Fake accounts can be used to attack people's honor and dignity. Also in connection with the coronavirus through accounts sow panic in society. In the Internet environment, in society, people express opinions, and sometimes they go beyond. "

Political rhetoric emanating from the authorities is being put into practice with real anti-democratic consequences. IN the same case, on the bill "On manipulation of information", experts criticized and debunked Gulshat Asylbayeva's arguments as unfounded and untenable. However, the MP continued to mobilize the regional community through the administrative and resource involvement of teachers in signing the petition in support of her bill, which, a few days earlier, was hastily considered by members of the Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) and adopted in the second and third readings during one working day (79 votes in favor and 10 against)). The process took place in violation of parliamentary rules and with quite possible negative consequences (in the case of support and implementation of the law by the President) in the form of creation unnecessary budget and financial costs Internet service providers and citizens, as well as the burden on law enforcement and judicial authorities.

Narratives against historical memory

Russocentric and Sovietized historiography (basically Stalinist) is one of the ideological pillars of Putin's Russia and its propagandists to keep Kyrgyzstan under Russian influence.

The National Liberation Uprising of 1916, the Resistance Movement of the Peoples of Turkestan against the Bolshevik Government, including the Basmachi during the Civil War of 1918-1922 and the Turkestan Legion during the German-Soviet War of 1941-1945, as well as the crimes of Stalin the regime against the peoples and prominent figures of the national republics of the region during the entire period of Soviet rule, and in particular the Stalinist repressions and famines of the 1930s constitute an incomplete list of "taboo" historiographical topics in the list of Russian state propagandists.

A separate, multi-page publication should be devoted to a detailed analysis of the Kremlin's narratives of Kyrgyz history. For the purposes of this article, as an example, we can cite last year's legislative initiative of a number of deputies of the Jogorku Kenesh to improve access of Kyrgyz historians to classified materials of the state archives of the country within the international partnership "Achik Okmot" / "Open Government" to implement the commitments of governments to ensure transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and use new technologies to strengthen governance. This initiative, in particular, envisages strengthening the requirements of the Laws of the Kyrgyz Republic “On Guarantees and Freedom of Access to Information”, “On State Secrets”, “On the Procedure for Considering Citizens' Appeals”, as well as updating the Laws “On the National Archival Fund” and “On Rights and guarantees of rehabilitated citizens, victims of repression for political and religious beliefs, on social, national and other grounds. " According to one of the initiators, historian and researcher M. Tagaev,

«Such objects as the Ministry of Internal Affairs, GKNB, - mode objects. There to get the necessary documents does not seem possible. In addition, we want to prescribe and enshrine in law the technique of declassification of documents. So far, the country uses the instruction created in the early 2000s, "On the procedure for declassifying the documents of the Communist Party and the Komsomol of Kyrgyzstan."

As expected, the bill "On the rights and guarantees of rehabilitated citizens affected by repression of political and religious beliefs, on social, national and other grounds," introduced by a group of deputies, was met. information attack by pro-Kremlin (and mostly Russian-speaking) news agencies and individuals who presented the document as an attempt to "rehabilitate Basmachi and collaborators" and "criminals", labeling repressed citizens as spies, saboteurs, pests, saboteurs, smugglers , looters of state property, organizers of terrorist acts and traitors to the homeland ", from the lexicon of political propaganda of Stalin's time and Soviet criminal proceedings. At the same time, "de-Sovietizers" (an epithet chosen for the authors of the initiative) are hereinafter referred to as future "rapists" and "executioners" over the "legitimacy of Kyrgyzstan" (The Russian version of the Russian language continues to refer to Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyz Republic) in Soviet toponymy as "Kyrgyzstan" (or "Kyrgyz Republic" and "Kyrgyzstan")).

The purpose of such narratives is to discredit proponents of revising Soviet historiographical interpretations in order to make it difficult, if not impossible, for historians in modern Kyrgyzstan to prepare a more objective, new picture of events, which could call into question the legitimacy of existing propaganda and political influence. Kyrgyzstan. The significance of this issue for the Russian leadership can be traced to the measures taken by the Kremlin to block or tightly control attempts at historical "revisionism." Russian President Vladimir Putin does regularly statements about the inadmissibility of "historical revisionism", mainly on the theme of World War II and its outcome (in connection with the special significance of the war for the (post-) Soviet national self-consciousness of the Russians, as well as for the transformation of the USSR into the second "superpower" of the world). In the first parts new edition The Constitution of Russia, adopted in a referendum at the end of June this year, declared Russia to be the "successor of the Soviet Union" and noted that the country "honors the memory of the defenders of the Fatherland, ensures the protection of historical truth." It is not allowed to diminish the significance of the people's feat in defending the Fatherland. "

Positive narratives about the Soviet past and Putin's Russia.

Political control over the revision of Soviet historiography is directly related to the creation of a positive image of Soviet and Putin's Russia for the target audience of Kremlin propaganda in the world, and especially for the people of ex-Soviet countries. The common goal of the narratives on this topic is to discredit the post-Soviet reality in Kyrgyzstan, including the construction of an independent, nation-state. Criticism of the existing problems and exploitation of nostalgia for the Soviet past, as a result, readers are led to the idea of ​​"the need to restore the USSR", ie, entry into the new protectorate of Russia. For example, in publications on the resumption of the process of de-Sovietization, the study and condemnation of the crimes of the Soviet government is presented not as overcoming political and hereditary-institutional obstacles to the country's entry into the modern world, but as a "return" to the pre-Soviet past, as an attempt to resurrect industrial of the first century, if not earlier ", the creation of a" new Kokand Khanate "in which the" de-Sovietizers "allegedly think that" they will own cattle and slaves, and everyone else will pay tribute to them. "

At the same time, in the same text, the subjectivity of the national political elite as builders of independent Kyrgyzstan, who allegedly did not fight "with arms" (apparently the authors are unaware that this is not an unconditional criterion of state independence in the modern world) "Got a gift - from the former Soviet Union" (meaning - Russia), as the contribution of the people of Soviet Kyrgyzstan no one canceled and they did not get anything "free" - they built or received in exchange for resources and funds produced in the republic. At the same time, the rejection of the Soviet past for some reason equal "Self-liquidation" of Kyrgyzstan as "every republic of the former Soviet Union is somehow connected with the Soviet period" ("in it Kyrgyzstan is strengthened the most") and which can be canceled "only by the disappearance of the state." Apparently, this is a hint at the legitimization of the post-Soviet Kyrgyz Republic through the Soviet ethno-national project of the "Kyrgyz Autonomous Region", formed after the partition of Turkestan Autonomy in 1924 and in 1936 received the status of a union republic, along with other republics in the region. And a clear allusion to Russia as a "delegitimizer" and "liquidator" of independent Kyrgyzstan in the event of attempts to get the country out of the Kremlin's influence, including through condemnation of the Soviet past - the ideological basis for the spread of Russian influence in the post-Soviet space.

The praise of the Soviet past (which comes to the rehabilitation of Stalin and his crimes) is directly related to the narratives of the "dominant" role of Russia, which considers itself the successor to the USSR, in the life of each of the post-Soviet countries.

The Kremlin's propaganda does not limit the Russian-centered model of the world to the former Soviet space. For example, how notes expert from Kazakhstan Ruslan Nazarov, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Russian bloggers and propagandists actively promote the narrative "Russia is a fraternal country and helps in a difficult moment, and the West does not", on the example of limited technical assistance to Italy, while promoting Russia's image as A "strong state" that helps countries affected by the coronavirus pandemic, "as opposed to the [allegedly useless] European Union." At the same time, pro-Kremlin bloggers do not shy away spread in social networks of fake videos, as an example, the Italian allegedly throws out the EU flag and raises the Russian one.

At the same time, Russian propaganda tries not to notice such news as Russia's refusal to provide the necessary $ 260 million to Kyrgyzstan from the joint Russian-Kyrgyz Development Fund (RKFR), as well as facts of ill-treatment and systemic discrimination by Russian police against migrant workers from Central Asia.

Vulnerabilities of the Kyrgyz Republic and how they are worked out by Russian propaganda

Russian state propaganda skillfully exploits vulnerabilities for the formation and reproduction of the country's negative image, polarization and disintegration of society. Within the framework of this article, we can mention the following problems of Kyrgyzstan, which are regularly misinterpreted on the pages and air of Russian media: (1) socio-economic difficulties of the country, caused mainly by incompetence and corruption of the ruling elite; (2) insurmountable political and socio-economic dependence on Russia, including the historical heredity of the Soviet totalitarian and colonial past; (3) problems in the formation of an integrated nation as a result of post-Soviet ethnocratic policy, expressed, inter alia, in the exclusion of the legitimate interests of compatriots of Uzbek ethno-nationality (more than 1 million inhabitants, with compact habitats mainly in southern regions), as well as about 5%), with its indifferent orientation to Russia; (4) weak state law enforcement agencies dependent on the Russian state structures of the "power bloc"; (5) the geographical isolation of the Kyrgyz Republic from the world's major trade routes. Through all these problems, regularly covered by the Russian and pro-Moscow Kyrgyz media, the "red thread" is a metanarrative about Russia as a "benefactor", the only country that is supposedly able to solve these problems.

Kyrgyzstan is among the 50 poorest countries in the world, with a per capita GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) of $ 3979 (in 2019), between countries such as Nepal ($ 3115) and Djibouti ($ 3999). At the same time, the GDP per capita in Kyrgyzstan is significantly lower than the GDP on PPP and in 2018 was at about $ 1300, showing a growth of 3,5% compared to 2017, but according to this indicator, Kyrgyzstan continues to be in the "tail »World economy. As a result, more than 20% of the population remain among the poor over the last 10 years (in remote areas the poverty rate reaches 40% of the population), and more than one million citizens are abroad (mostly in Russia). Therefore, it is not surprising that the Kremlin's media use this situation for their own purposes, including to promote Russia's image as a "protector," "helper," and "patroness" of Kyrgyzstan in difficult times for the country.

The incompetence and corruption of the Moscow-oriented government is one of the key factors in these problems. The authorities of the country, as in other authoritarian states of the post-Soviet region, regularly resort to repressive measures to address the challenges posed by the current COVID-19 pandemic, including the suppression of opposition to the authorities. Kyrgyzstan continues to be among countries with a high level of corruption. Against this background, the country's establishment has many corrupt ties and interests with Russia, which provides another important opportunity for Russian influence in Kyrgyzstan (and other post-Soviet countries). For example, former President Almazbek Atambayev has been around for a long time maintains trusting and friendly relations with the former head of the Federal Customs Service of Russia Andrei Belyaninov, who in 2016 became a participant in a multimillion-dollar corruption scandal (but the criminal case against a high - ranking official is so and was not started, and on December 1, 2017, he was appointed to the post of Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Development Bank).

The polyethnic composition of Kyrgyzstan and the incomplete formation of a unified political nation is also one of the main risk factors in the context of "hybrid aggression" by Russia. According to census In 2009, 71% of Kyrgyz, 14.3% of Uzbeks, 7.8% of Russians and about 7% of others lived in Kyrgyzstan. In addition, quite numerous ethnic groups of the republic are also Dungans - 1.1%, Uighurs - 0.9%, Tajiks - 0.9%, Turks - 0.7%, Kazakhs - 0.6%, Tatars - 0.6%, Ukrainians - 0.4%, Koreans - 0.3%, Azerbaijanis - 0.3%, Kurds - 0.3% and Germans - 0.2%.

Going beyond post-Soviet ethnocratic politics and building an integrated, political nation based on citizenship, the rule of law and inclusiveness are the best guarantees for the country's internal strengthening.

To this must be added unregulated sections of borders in the Fergana Valley with Tajikistan (about 400 week-long kilometers) and Uzbekistan (about 1000 kilometers, on which negotiations continue, including 70 to 100 disputed areas and 4 Uzbek enclaves in the border areas of Kyrgyzstan).
In these disputed areas, there are periodic inter-ethnic incidents between local residents, sometimes involving dozens and hundreds of people, including armed border guards, often ending in bloodshed and casualties among those involved. According to observers, such conflicts have occurred over the past 10 years significantly increased. At present, incidents are localized and promptly resolved, but there are no guarantees their outgrowth on a larger scale in the future. In this regard, it should be noted that the authorities of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in May this year. rejected the initiative of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to act as a mediator in resolving border disputes between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan after another armed incident on the disputed section of the border. One of the main reasons The growing distrust of the countries of the region in the "strategic ally" by the parties of Russia's intermediary services is called an unprecedented refusal.

Weak and dependent on Russia, the power structures of the National Security Committee (SCNS), the Ministries of Internal Affairs (MIA) and Defense (MO) are another important vulnerability that limits Kyrgyzstan's independence in domestic policy, including due to "coordination" of actions within agreements of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). At the end of 2017, the former chairman of the SCNS went to the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the "Chekists" (Cheka-NKVD-KGB-FSB). In the city of Osh (the "southern capital" of the country) is the Operational Border Service of the FSB of Russia, which recently noted the its 25th anniversary. The main part of the command staff of all law enforcement agencies (SCNS, MIA, and MO) are trained in Russian military and civilian universities. In the country are located Russian military base, formally under the auspices of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) and consisting of 4 facilities located in different parts of Kyrgyzstan, Kant Air Base in the city of the same name near Bishkek, a test base for submarine torpedoes in the city of Karakol on Lake Issyk- Kul, a communications hub in the village of Chaldovar, on the border with Kazakhstan; an autonomous seismic point in the city of Mailuu-Suu in the Jalal-Abad region). From time to time, the Russian media throw in the issue of opening a second Russian military base in southern Kyrgyzstan in the country's socio-political agenda.

In conclusion Russian informational influence is part of the spread of political influence in the former Soviet space. A wide range of tools were used, which were noted in the article: creation and dissemination of narratives, defamation of civil society activists, dissemination of misinformation, control over public discourse, support of local experts and politicians. Democratic development and balanced foreign policy are in line with the fundamental and long-term national interests of the Kyrgyz Republic.

In the autumn of 2020, Kyrgyzstan is to hold regular elections to the 120-seat national parliament (Jogorku Kenesh), which is of great interest to the Kremlin, which is interested in the passage of pro-Russian politicians and parties to parliament. If the preparations for the elections follow the plan set by the Central Election Commission, the election campaign will unfold against the backdrop of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may have an uncertain effect on the election results. Therefore, in the coming time, Kyrgyzstan will face increasing information aggression and political pressure from Putin's Russia. Will politicians and citizens be able to find an alternative way to successfully bring the country out of the upcoming political and socio-economic difficulties?

Extension should...

About the author:

Askat Dukenbaev, political scientist, doctor of political sciences (Ph.D.). He defended his dissertation in 2017 at Kent State University, USA, on the topic: "Understanding elections in" hybrid "modes: why do voters vote in elections they do not trust? (on the example of Kyrgyzstan and the post-Soviet countries of Central Asia "). Askat studied for a master's degree at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom and the Institute of Public Administration (TODAIE) in Ankara, Turkey. In 1993 he graduated with honors from the Faculty of History of the Kyrgyz National University. Ego research interests focus on the topics of state-building and nation-building, as well as socio-political activity of citizens, democratization and public administration reform in the Kyrgyz Republic and other ex-Soviet states. In the last few years, he has been studying the effects of Putin's Russia's expansionist policies on Central Asia. He has published several articles and regularly comments on political developments in the region in the Kyrgyz and international media. He taught at American University in Bishkek (1998-2004), worked as the Director of the Public Administration Program at the Soros Foundation in Kyrgyzstan (2010-2011) and as the director of the Freedom House (Freedom House) project to strengthen the protection of human rights (human rights activities) in Kyrgyzstan ( 2013-2014). He currently lives and works in the United States. Advocates the weakening of Putin's Russian influence in the countries of the post-Soviet region, the implementation of a balanced foreign policy, the strengthening of national sovereignty, and radical and renewal reforms in the Kyrgyz Republic.