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Article Archive for Year 2010

The time for a new “old Soviet Union”?
Written by , Friday, 31 Dec, 2010 – 7:58 | No Comment

The Russians have a saying: “Moscow wasn’t built at once”. Apparently the Kremlin is employing the same concept in its foreign policy in Kyrgyzstan. At least that is the impression one is left with observing how patiently Moscow has been crafting a government it is now happy with. It all started, as local observers argue, with the April 2010 events, which were “inspired” by the Kremlin following the “trick” ex-President Kurmanbek Bakiyev tried to play on Dmitriy Medvedev and Vladimir Putin. The trick mentioned is receiving money from the Russians for the Kambar Ata hydro-electric power station in exchange for terminating the contract with the U.S.-led anti-terror coalition’s base in Kyrgyzstan, which the Bakiyev administration insisted was not so. Read the full story »

How are you celebrating the passing of a decade?
Written by , Friday, 31 Dec, 2010 – 1:00 | 3 Comments
A depiction of Father Time and New Year from 1910 (CC-usage).

A depiction of Father Time and New Year from 1910 (CC-usage).

It’s hard to believe, but the first decade of the twenty-first century is drawing to a close (well, I suppose it depends on how you do the math). It’s certainly been an eventful one for Central Asia, both for good and for bad. When it started out, the world somehow seemed a cheerier place, didn’t it?

Then came September 11, the Andijan massacre, two revolutions in Kyrgyzstan, the death of Niyazov, war in Afghanistan, deadly rioting in Xinjiang and Osh, the meteoric rise of the internet, huge socioeconmic shifts, and the start of parliamentary democracy in Kyrgyzstan — and, of course, the rise of neweurasia! (ahem) Whoa. No one can ever accuse Central Asia of being boring.

But that was then and now is… tomorrow! So, neweurasia wants to know how you intend to celebrate the passing of the decade, as well as your hopes for the next one. Leave a comment below!

Still An Island of Democracy?
Written by , Thursday, 30 Dec, 2010 – 20:57 | One Comment

According to the recent report of the Economist Intelligence Unit, Kyrgyzstan seems to remain an “island of democracy” in Central Asia (term coined by Askar Akayev – first President of the Kyrgyz Republic).  Kyrgyzstan ranked 106 in the Democracy Index and was included in the so called “Hybrid regimes” section, while all of its immediate neighbors in the region: Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan fell in the “Authoritarian regimes” section. Read the full story »

Secrets from the White House – Azimbek Beknazarov Presents New Book
Written by , Thursday, 30 Dec, 2010 – 1:06 | No Comment

Translation of Ekaterina’s post (RUS)

On 11 December, Kyrgyzstan’s deputy Prime Minister Azimbek Beknazarov presented his book “Аксы ыйы – улут кайгысы” (The Tears of Aksy: A Nation’s Tragedy). Contrary to journalists’ expectations, not everyone from Kyrgyzstan’s political establishment was in attendance. A few politicians and human rights activists came to congratulate the vice-premier, but mainly those who are the subject of his book, or were involved in the events described.

It is the second installment in Beknazarov’s trilogy on the history of a young, sovereign state. The cover shows the snow-capped mountains of Kyrgyzstan, and the 617 pages of the book contain numerous official documents, excerpts from magazine and newspaper articles, transcripts of Zhogorku Kenesh (parliament) discussions and photographs. Read the full story »

The Alpamysh, part 4: “You have a daughter, we have a son”
Written by , Thursday, 30 Dec, 2010 – 0:42 | 2 Comments


Editor’s note: To commemorate the Christmas and New Year season, neweurasia is publishing an English translation of the ancient Turkic epic, the Alpamysh, translated by our resident scholar, H.B. Paksoy. In this, the fourth instalment of a huge post series, Baysari Bay is confronted with choosing the fate of his daughter’s heart.

The painting above is from a set design by Gulfairus Ismailov, a painter and designer for the Kazakh National Theater and Ballet, for a 1973 production of the opera, “Alpamys”. Click on it to learn more about Ismailov and his work.

Eighteen Kalmaks mounted their horses. They headed towards Baysari Bay’s camp. The Ruler’s good Vezir, was the head of his nine ambassadors. He was Kokemen Kaska. He arrived at the white tent of Baysari Bay.

“The silhouette of the horses fell on the mountain,” he announced. “Do not stay away from us. Is there anybody in this house? Communicate with us. We rode our horses over stony ground, shed bloody tears from eyes. If there is a person in the white tent, come out and communicate with us.”

Baysari came out. He recognized the men sent by the Ruler. His color faded. He welcomed them. At that time, Kokemen Kaska spoke up:

Read the full story »

Turkmenistan’s new Muslims, part 4: sewing the threads (the edge finish)
Written by , Wednesday, 29 Dec, 2010 – 1:00 | 3 Comments
Niyazov's mosque with inscriptions of the Ruhnama instead of the Qur'an. Photograph by Flickr user nathan.groth (CC-usage).


Editor’s note: Islam is on the rise among Turkmenistan’s young and the government has been responding with more Soviet-style oppression. But how long can this situation last? neweurasia’s Annasoltan interviews Forum 18′s John Kinahan for his perspective.

I’ve been exploring the rise of Islam among Turkmenistan’s young, in particular how the idiosyncrasies of my nation are simultaneously contributing and limiting the religion’s resurgence. I’ve talked with the young Muslims themselves, and I’ve also looked into the government’s response. Through it all, I’ve tried to understand the situation through the metaphor of a traditional Turkmen carpet, and so now I come to the edge finish of my weave.

Read the full story »

Developing Leaders in Kyrgyzstan
Written by , Tuesday, 28 Dec, 2010 – 15:11 | No Comment

img_2427-150x150Translation of Mirbek’s post (RUS)

On 18 December, the American University in Central Asia (AUCA) hosted an event called Development Leadership Day, a one-day seminar for university students in Bishkek, during which companies from various sectors of the economy conducted training sessions focused on the theme “how to become a leader in today’s world.”

The event gave young people an opportunity to learn about the inner workings of companies, to develop their leadership and entrepreneurial skills, and find out about career opportunities in Kyrgyastan’s job market. Read the full story »

Kazakh Bloggers Discuss Religion
Written by , Tuesday, 28 Dec, 2010 – 1:05 | 6 Comments

2269903043_dd14efc49a_m-150x150Translation of Askhat’s post (KAZ, RUS)

Because Kazakhstan does not have a clear religious policy, it has become the norm that everyone is entitled to his or her own perspective on faith. As it was twenty years ago, no one is really bothered by this multitude of views, which is evidenced by the debate on religion and traditions, which recently spilled over into the blogosphere.

The discussion was sparked by the Kara Zhorga dance, which has become popular in the country in the last few years. Read the full story »

The Alpamysh, part 3: the Ruler and the Warrior
Written by , Tuesday, 28 Dec, 2010 – 0:21 | No Comment


Editor’s note: To commemorate the Christmas and New Year season, neweurasia is publishing an English translation of the ancient Turkic epic, the Alpamysh, translated by our resident scholar, H.B. Paksoy. In this, the third instalment of a huge post series, two powerful men vying for Barchin’s hand in marriage agree on a bet of sorts…

Among the vezirs of the Ruler, Hizir is mentioned. This is a famous Islamic saint, legend, and archetype, who has had a special place of prominence in Turkic Muslim spiritual traditions. His presence here is meant to indicate the wisdom or divine favor of the Ruler. Click on the image above to learn more.

In short, seven years passed. When they arrived, Barchin was seven years old. Seven years passed, she reached fourteen. Who will you hear the news from? Hear it from the Kalmak Taysha!

The news of Barchin’s beauty reached the ear of the ruler of the land. Sixty-two alemdar, thirty-two mhrdar, all of whom heard about it. They all gave a description of Barchin to Taysha Khan: “May we be sacrificed, the pauper Baysari, who came earlier [to your land], has a daughter. She is worthy of you.”

Read the full story »

The power of myth on envelope corners
Written by , Monday, 27 Dec, 2010 – 1:15 | One Comment

Last year at this time, to commemorate the passing of 2009 and the coming of 2010, I published a collection of Soviet stamps that depicted some of the more sublime qualities of communist ideology. Well, to commemorate 2010′s passing, here’s another collection, this time depicting the mythological heritages of the various Turkic and Islamic SSR’s. I found them on a site full of beautiful Russian and Soviet stamps.

Read the full story »