Anticolonial discourses and reflections increased in Central Asia amid Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. At the same time, Russia threatens with force when de-Sovietisation is proposed in individual states, such as the renaming of streets or switching from Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet. The region of Central Asia is of strategic importance to Russia - it offers a sphere of geopolitical influence, a way to counter Western sanctions, a source of cheap labour and even soldiers. Meanwhile, Western partners, such as the European Union, are seeking ways to establish closer ties with the region to off-balance Russia. In response, the Russian propaganda machine launched an active campaign to deem Western powers as "neo-colonial" elites who seek to impose alien values on the region.
This lecture demonstrates how Russian propaganda hijacked and instrumentalised anticolonial narratives in Central Asia to demonise the West. Dr Rashid Gabdulhakov is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Media and Journalism Studies at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. His current research focuses on Russian propaganda and its influence on audiences in Europe and Central Asia. The lecture was organized by Centralasiengrupperna and UF Malmö with financial support from Folke Bernadotte Academy.