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Democracy in Central AsiaCompeting Perspectives and Alternative Strategies$
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Mariya Y. Omelicheva

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813160689

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813160689.001.0001

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Western Perspectives on Democracy in Central Asia

Western Perspectives on Democracy in Central Asia

(p.35) 3 Western Perspectives on Democracy in Central Asia
Democracy in Central Asia

Mariya Y. Omelicheva

University Press of Kentucky

Discussed in this chapter are US and EU views on democracy and international democratization, as well as normative and instrumental beliefs about the benefits and intrinsic merits of democracy as a political system that underlie the US and EU frames. Despite the growing strategic importance of Central Asia for both the US and EU, the official discourses of American and European administrations have framed democracy assistance as a necessary, if not inevitable, element of foreign policy. Western-sponsored foundations and NGOs pursued a range of liberalization and democracy-enhancement projects in Central Asia that were similar to those introduced in other former Soviet territories. The IMF and World Bank also became heavily involved in advising all the Central Asian governments on the macro-level reforms required for rapid economic liberalization. This chapter names democracy, good governance, and the rule of law as the focus of US and EU engagement with the region. There are, however, important differences in terms of views on democracy and expectations in Central Asia that must be supported to facilitate these countries' democratic transformation, conveyed through the language of discourse.

Keywords:   Central Asia, democracy promotion, frame, United States, European Union (EU), Freedom for Russia and Emerging Eurasian Democracies and Open Markets (FREEDOM) Support Act (FSA), USAID, NGOs, Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs), Technical Aid to the Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS), Resolution on Human Rights, Democracy and Development

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