№ 3, 2020
The article is devoted to the analysis of public diplomacy of the European Union in Central Asia. The theoretical framework of the study is the concept of "soft power", formulated by the famous American political scientist Joseph Nye. Based on this concept, the authors suggest that the peculiarities of the EU's public diplomacy in Central Asia are largely determined by its lack of "hard power" resources, which saves it from the temptation to combine normative humanitarian goals with power calculations. The main component of European public diplomacy in the region is cultural, educational, and humanitarian projects, whose "soft-power" nature is its main competitive advantage.
According to the authors, the EU's sources of "soft power", as well as its projects in the region, have the potential to turn it into one of the most important partners of Central Asian States. However, the effectiveness of EU public diplomacy in the region is not very high today, which, in the authors ' view, is largely due to the weak representation of the EU in the information field of Central Asia and the lack of PR mechanisms that can regularly inform the local audience about its activities. It is also limited by the presence in the region of other players with whom the Central Asian countries have historically developed close relations, as well as a number of specific EU miscalculations, including the dominance of national cultural projects over pan-European ones and the emphasis on political and legal subjects to the detriment of those that concern the Central Asian countries themselves. Some of these problems were taken into account in the new EU regional strategy adopted in 2019, but it is too early to judge whether it will be able to change the situation.
Bahriev B. H.
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