Russia’s soft influence in the Central Asian Media Landscape


Although many western countries criticize the Russian mass media for their bias in news delivery and other types of contents, they are quite well received in Central Asian countries. Many people in Central Asia mostly prefer Russian TV channels to their local ones. Moreover, lots of people in that region use Russian internet sources and online news platforms for international news. Since the majority of former Soviet countries are economically and politically connected to Moscow, Russia can use media as an instrument for their soft influence and ideological expansion in Central Asia. It is believed that for this purpose, the Russian government mostly ignores the issues of illegal workers coming from Central Asian countries. Considering these, this paper studies the Russian mass media’s capacity to have an impact on the local social-political environment in the region of Central Asia.

Moreover, in comparison to Central Asian media, Russian journalistic products are far more professional. What is more, the freedom of speech is very limited in almost all Central Asian countries, especially in official media. These factors may also affect the people from Central Asia in their choices of news sources and entertainment. Based on the conversations and discussions found on various social media, the Central Asian audience mostly supports Russia’s position in current international crises, for example regarding the Crimea. This paper wishes to give the reasons why people in the Central Asian republics, such as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, prefer Russian mass media, although Russian media are not similarly appreciated in many other countries.