Iran’s Soft Power Tools in Kyrgyzstan

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Abstract


The article examines the use of “soft power” tools used by Iran in relation to Kyrgyzstan. The analysis of the evolving fundamental concepts of Iranian foreign policy in Central Asia allowed us to trace a shift in the Islamic Republic’s international priorities in the region. Objective logic prompted the Iranian leadership to move from “exporting the Islamic revolution” to the pragmatic model of pursuing its national interests. Iran has consecutively incorporated soft power tools into its foreign policy activities in Central Asia. Given the pressure from the sanctions imposed by the United States, Iran attaches particular importance to improving the effectiveness of its soft power in order to expand cooperation horizons with the outside world. By the end of the 20th century, Iran’s leadership had already laid the foundations of its cultural diplomacy in the region, which mainly served to promote influence through the export of cultural values. The Iranian approach to soft power in world politics is based on the principles of reciprocity between different civilizations and peaceful coexistence of all countries and peoples. Through the Persian language, philosophy, literature and poetry, Iran influences the population of the Central Asian region, mainly the peoples sharing certain features with the Turkic-speaking world. Iran’s cultural and educational activities in Kyrgyzstan have demonstrated noticeable dynamics: the spread of soft power of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Kyrgyzstan is carried out through cultural institutions and educational projects. Despite the fact that Kyrgyzstan is culturally more inclined towards the Turkic world, the experience shows that Iran’s cultural values also find support among the population of the republic.


About the authors

Elena G. Garbuzarova

Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University

Author for correspondence.
Email: play_elenag@mail.ru
44 Kievskaya Str., Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, 720000

PhD in History, Associate Professor of Political Science Department

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