The European Union’s Democracy Promotion in Central Asia

A Study of Political Interests, Influence, and Development in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in 2007–2013

Aijan Sharshenova. Foreword by Gordon Crawford.

ibidem Press

The European Union’s Democracy Promotion in Central Asia

Pub Date: April 2018

ISBN: 9783838211510

300 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $45.00

Pub Date: April 2018

ISBN: 9783838271514

300 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $26.99

The European Union’s Democracy Promotion in Central Asia

A Study of Political Interests, Influence, and Development in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in 2007–2013

Aijan Sharshenova. Foreword by Gordon Crawford.

ibidem Press

The EU made the areas of democracy, human rights, rule of law, and good governance a top cooperation priority of the EU Strategy framework towards Central Asia for 2007–2013. The inclusion of strong normative elements into this strategy was both due to the EU’s commitment to democratic principles and the lack of a sufficient democratization progress in Central Asia. This book examines two interrelated questions: To what extent has EU democracy promotion in Central Asia been successful? And, to the extent that it was successful, why was this so?

By answering these questions, this timely investigation adds to the existing research on democracy promotion mechanisms. It presents a comprehensive analytical framework for the evaluation of democracy promotion, including factors which may facilitate or impede democracy promotion in Central Asia. It also demonstrates the validity of a holistic approach when analyzing factors impeding democracy promotion. It acknowledges that external democracy promotion is affected by a variety of diverse factors whose impact can vary as international, regional, and domestic conditions change. Aijan Sharshenova undertakes two original case studies into the stable and rich authoritarian Kazakhstan as well as much poorer Kyrgyzstan—a state prone to political instability but also to democratic openings. By contrasting the success of democracy promotion in two countries with different strategic importance for the EU, she provides valuable insights into how non-normative interests interfere with normatively driven policies.
This book provides a very timely and well-informed analysis of the effectiveness of EU democracy promotion efforts in Central Asia. It goes beyond existing accounts by offering a holistic picture of the state of affairs on the ground, accounting not only for the EU but also for local and wider regional contexts. In doing so, it acknowledges that a variety of factors affect external democracy promotion and that their impact can vary as international, regional, and domestic conditions change. Through a comparative case study of EU democracy promotion in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, the book convincingly demonstrates that EU democracy promotion has not been successful in these two target countries and masterfully identifies EU-related, local, and regional factors that help to explain this. Fabienne Bossuyt, Ghent University

About the Author

Aijan Sharshenova studied political science at the Centre International de Formation Européenne at Nice, at the Institut für Europäische Politik at Berlin, and at the University of Leeds in the UK. She has worked as a policy analyst at the International Peace Institute, Middle East and North Africa at Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain, as well as in democracy and development assistance projects in Kyrgyzstan.