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Article Archive for Year 2010

Turkmenistan’s new Muslims, part 3: sewing the threads (pile and weft)
Written by , Monday, 27 Dec, 2010 – 1:00 | 5 Comments
A mosque in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan. Photograph by Flickr user zz77 (CC-usage).

A mosque in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan. Photograph by Flickr user zz77 (CC-usage).

Editor’s note: Islam is on the rise among Turkmenistan’s young, and according to neweurasia’s Annasoltan, the government is taking no chances. The authorities appear to have diagnosed education as one of the root causes, and they are intent upon eliminating it, even if they must dismantle the rising generation’s academic aspirations to do so.

In my last post in this series, I surveyed how a combination of tradition and modernity are actually suppressing the expression of a “pure” Islam, despite its resurgence among the young. Now, having sewn the “warp” of my Turkmen spiritual carpet, it’s now time to sew the “pile” and “weft”, i.e., Turkmenistan’s fearful religious relations with Turkey and Kyrgyzstan, particularly in the arena of education.

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Lack of funds? Foreign debt? Surely not in Kyrgyzstan…
Written by , Sunday, 26 Dec, 2010 – 20:54 | One Comment

Translation of Alexandr Bogolyubov’s post (RUS)

My attention has recently been drawn to Kyrgyz officials’ unhealthy interest in the country’s second capital, Osh. No one used to worry about the dirty streets, the lack of lighting at night or mass migration, but now, suddenly, everyone has joined together in a chorus, calling for major improvements. Perhaps, this has to do with the fact that Osh is currently the likeliest source of money, given the worldwide attention and, consequently, significant funding that international organizations continue to pump into the city. Read the full story »

Where is the extra 90 billion going?
Written by , Saturday, 25 Dec, 2010 – 20:01 | No Comment

hochu-deneg-150x150Translation of thousand-pa’s post (RUS)

Almaty’s budget for 2011:
The city is set to earn 178.1 billion tenge, while budgetary spending is projected to be 130.5 billion.

Astana’s budget for 2011: Of the budget for 2011 (218.591 billion tenge), 76.697 billion comes from the city’s earnings, 123.8 from transfers and 18.043 from subventions. Read the full story »

Flashback: Astana in 1979
Written by , Saturday, 25 Dec, 2010 – 1:35 | No Comment

c2hscdhwjsy0komdzamwrmak2kvfcy1-150x150Translation of sadenova’s post (RUS)

It all started last Friday, when Mr. Lawrence Sherwin from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development came into our office. He was a charismatic, soft-spoken gentleman with phenomenally good Russian. It turned out he studied what used to be called “Sovietology” (or Soviet Studies) and was an exchange student in Leningrad.

It was all very funny until he pulled out a set of incredible photographs. My jaw dropped, for I was holding the history of our city in my hands.

Apparently, after finishing his studies in 1979, Mr. Sherwin was offered an interesting job – organizing the first American agricultural exposition in the Soviet Union. Three cities were chosen, Dushanbe, Kiev and Tselinograd (modern-day Astana) – as I understand, the agricultural centers of the country.

So here are some pictures taken by that group of Americans 30 years ago. Read the full story »

Pioneering the Turkmennet, part 3: a world of possibilities
Written by , Friday, 24 Dec, 2010 – 1:00 | No Comment
Turkmenweb's servers. Photo from the Tmhits blog.

Turkmenweb's servers. Photo from the Tmhits blog.

Editor’s note: neweurasia’s Annasoltan concludes her conversation with Turkmen entrepreneur Muhammed Mamedov, turning to the subject of Turkmenistan’s internet environment and its authoritarian practices. “I don’t agree that the environment isn’t internet friendly, at least not for what I am doing,” he says. “I can build online communities, news websites, anything I want.”

Welcome back to my interview with Muhammed Mamedov, the self-proclaimed “pioneer” of the Turkmennet, and indeed, a man with good credentials for the title. In the first introductory part, Mamedov and I talked generally about the role of his company, Turkmenweb, in establishing the online Turkmen community. In the second part, we discussed in detail his main breadwinner, Tmhits (http://www.tmhits.com), and his plans for the future. And now, in this, the final part, we turn to what I think is the most interesting question of all — his views on Turkmenistan’s internet and business environment.

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MTS operations suspended in Turkmenistan
Written by , Thursday, 23 Dec, 2010 – 15:30 | 4 Comments

516px-mts_logosvg

Earlier this month, neweurasia reported about the problems of MTS users in Turkmenistan. Less than a month into the disruptions of MTS mobile service operations, there is now more clarity to the picture.

An announcement on the MTS website says the company was told by the Ministry of Communications that a decision had been taken to suspend the its license starting December 21, 2010 without any stated explanation. Read the full story »

The Alpamysh, part 2: the conversation at Ak Bulak
Written by , Thursday, 23 Dec, 2010 – 1:00 | No Comment

Click on the image to see an Russo-Uzbek version of this classic tale.

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. This is the second part of a huge post series that shall extend into 2011.

All of the major Turkic nations have their own versions of this classic tale. Click on the image at right to read an Uzbek version translated into Russian.

After loading his ninety camels, Baysari he stopped at Ak Bulak. Spent the night. At dawn, he loaded his camels one more time. On a black camel, with Barchin in a gold kibacha, his wife Altun Sach said [to Baysari]: “May it rain and turn the bright days into floods; may your prosperity be increased from year to year. You loaded ninety camels at dawn. You, Gulbarchin’s father, may your journey be auspicious. We have tightened the girth on the horse’s saddle. We are listening to hear the tongue of the Mongol. We loaded the ninety camels at dawn. Which lord’s land are we going to?”

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Pioneering the Turkmennet, part 2: the revolution has already come
Written by , Wednesday, 22 Dec, 2010 – 1:00 | One Comment
A screen shot of Tmhits' video service, taken from the Tmhits blog.

A screen shot of Tmhits' video service, taken from the Tmhits blog.

Editor’s note: neweurasia’s Annasoltan continues her conversation with Turkmen entrepreneur Muhammed Mamedov, turning to the subject of the website Tmhits.com and the unique challenges of the Turkmen music industry. “It’s hard to deal with musicians,” he says. “Plagiarism is a disease in Turkmenistan’s music industry.”

Welcome back to my interview with Muhammed Mamedov, the self-proclaimed “pioneer” of the Turkmennet, and indeed, a man with good credentials for the title. In the first introductory part, Mamedov and I talked generally about the role of his company, Turkmenweb, in establishing the online Turkmen community. Now we turn to some of the nitty gritty of his main breadwinner, Turkmenhits (http://www.turkmenhits.com), and his plans for the future. In the next and final installment, we’ll turn to the question of Turkmenistan’s internet and business environment.

Read the full story »

The Alpamysh, part 1: a fateful contest between friends
Written by , Tuesday, 21 Dec, 2010 – 23:38 | No Comment
A modern sculpture depicts the fateful Oghlak Tartish/Kokboru game that sparks the ancient epic of Alpamysh. Photograph courtesy of neweurasia's H.B. Paksoy.

A modern sculpture depicts the fateful Oghlak Tartish/Kokboru game that sparks the ancient epic of Alpamysh. Photograph courtesy of neweurasia's H.B. Paksoy.

Editor’s note: Today is the winter solstice, an important moment in many ancient traditions. neweurasia’s H.B. Paksoy, a distinguished scholar of Turkic studies, is commemorating the solstice, and the turn of the new year, with an original translation of the Alpamysh epic. This is the first part of a huge new post series that will last into 2011.

It’s now 23:38 UCT — the winter solstice.  This was once a very important day for shamanistic societies around the world, including Central Asia, about which I’ve written at length academically and for neweurasia. Last year I commemorated the event with some original translations of poetry that reflected the interaction between our region’s native shamanism and the later Islamic import. This year, I present to you my translation of the Alpamysh Dastan, in multiple parts through to the new year of the present international Gregorian calendar, and beyond.

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Tajik Unibrow Fashion Goes Transatlantic?
Written by , Tuesday, 21 Dec, 2010 – 19:16 | Comments Off

This summer, my neweurasia boss Schwartz asked, “What are five things West can learn from the Central Asian people?” sparking a discussion among our readers that eventually became quite philosophical. Now, however, we have something real that Americans have picked up from Tajikistan – the unibrow.

Feministing.com declared the last month of this year to be “Decembrow” and has asked American women to grow unibrows for charity. Of course, it is a kind of reply to “Movember”, a moustache growing charity event, started in 1999 by a group of men from Adelaide, Australia. It is held each November and raises funds and awareness for prostate cancer and other male health issues, such as depression. Among other things, Decembrow will remind people of Frida Calho’s exceptional unibrow, but organizers say they were inspired by an article on the popularity of the unibrow in Tajikistan. Read the full story »