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Pinning impressions of Central Asia, one image-sharing pinboard at a time
Written by , Monday, 28 Jan, 2013 – 8:45 | One Comment

Interested in Central Asia and engaged in social media? Not from the region but fascinated by what it has to offer and wanting to find out through images on the web? Then there might be e website out there just for you…

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Architecture as the mirror of an age. Part I: destroyed and forgotten
Written by , Saturday, 19 Jan, 2013 – 18:08 | 6 Comments

Alex Ulko, NewEurasia’s special blogger, begins a series of publications on the architecture of Central Asia. The reasons for the mass destructions in region, cultural analysis and exclusive photos – in the first article

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Central Asian stickers against fascism
Written by , Thursday, 17 Jan, 2013 – 20:56 | One Comment

On January 19, in Moscow anti-fascists will start demonstration in memory of community activists – lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova. The main slogan of the action – “For freedom against fascism” and “Moscow – anti-fascist town!”. Demostration will be organized by the anti-fascist group called the “Committee of 19 January.”

This year the “Committee of 19 January” has prepared stickers using more than 10 languages ​​of the former Soviet Union with the main slogan of the action – “For Freedom! Against fascism.” Stickers are in Armenian, Belarusian, Georgian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Moldovan, Russian, Tajik, Uzbek, Ukrainian languages.

Activists were contacted with citizens of Central Asia, and provided them with an opportunity to express their solidarity. Different designers from CA countries prepared their stickers (with design and slogan in their native language). Stickers were printed out and circulated in Moscow. You can see in our gallery stickers in Kyrgyz, Tajik and Kazakh.

Lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova were murdered by the Russian neo-Nazis on January 19, 2009. Killer sentenced to long terms. It is murder – the most prominent one, but not the only one in a series of neo-Nazi crimes. Dozens, if not hundreds, of people (there are no exact statistics) – social activists, experts, workers – were killed by the Nazis in Russia over the last decade, according to the site 19jan.ru. Now January 19 is  the unofficial day of the memory of all victims of fascists and nazis in Russia.



С Новым Годом! (Goodbye and good riddance to 2012!)
Written by , Monday, 31 Dec, 2012 – 12:15 | No Comment

Speaking frankly, I’m not just glad 2012′s over, I’m relieved. Wow, what a tough year it’s been for NewEurasia, both in front and behind the computer screen. I guess you can say we went through our own private little Mayan apocalypse, although it happened well before 21 December. But I’m happy to report that we appear to have pulled through, and with a new team to boot!

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Orientalism and the Open Central Asia Literary Forum
Written by , Thursday, 27 Dec, 2012 – 10:21 | 4 Comments

Editor’s note: NewEurasia already written about the Open Central Asian literary forum. Our special blogger Alex Ulko gives his opinion on the event and on the development of Central Asian art in general

In 2005 the Russian curator Victor Miziano spoke of Central Asian culture and art as of the only unclearly marked areas on the map of the world’s contemporary art. This begs a legitimate question whether anything has changed over seven years which is a long period of time from a contemporary art’s perspective. Actually, not much. We have been waiting for years for a decisive moment to come when Central Asia would suddenly surface as the new Other, unknown until that time in the West, when it would unexpectedly evoke some special interest, but this breakthrough has not come yet. Some occasional names and random works get a mention or two somewhere but so far Central Asian art has not really emerged on the international scene.

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In limbo
Written by , Wednesday, 19 Dec, 2012 – 15:39 | No Comment

NewEurasia’s special blogg Alex Ulko reports on the hard life of Uzbek labour migrants in Russia. “What I could not remember was whether Dante required those stuck in limbo to abandon hope or not,” he writes.

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1,300 people attend Kyrgyzstan’s first book forum
Written by , Monday, 17 Dec, 2012 – 11:39 | One Comment

More than 1,300 people attended 30 events in Bishkek as part of Kyrgyzstan’s first such forum, opened by ex-President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Roza Otunbayeva, and with appearances by international literary stars including Janusz Leon Wisniewski (Poland), Hamid Ismailov (UK and Uzbekistan), and Elchin Safarli (Azerbaijan).

The winner of the festival’s literary contest, Zarina Karayeva, and forum organiser Marat Akhmedjanov appeared on the breakfast show of Kyrgyzstan’s NTS television station on 26 November, with coverage also featuring in 20 other media including Vechernii Bishkek, the BBC World Service, K-News, News Asia, The Times of Central Asia, Uzbek and Tajik media, and Mir.

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The Alpamysh, part 21: Baychobar makes it to the finish line!
Written by , Saturday, 15 Dec, 2012 – 1:00 | No Comment

A monument in honor of the horse in Kazakhstan. Photograph from Tugel.

After having killed his only son, Karajan approaches the finish line…

Seven days passed. Now, from whom do you hear the news? Hear it from the Kalmak, Taysha:

“Observers were looking. They could see anyone coming. There was one observer from Taysha Khan, and another from Karajan. They spotted the horse coming. Taysha Khan’s observer said:

‘My Khan’s happiness shall be increased shortly, there will be an end to his worries. [Indeed], Barchin Jan now belongs to the Khan, [for his horse] Tarlan is in sight!’

However, Karajan’s observer [recognized] the gold amulet upon the animal’s neck and declared:

‘Once the battle begins, all worries are forgotten; you cannot say contradictory words. The one coming is Baychobar!’

Upon hearing these words, Alpamysh climbed the white hill and saw Baychobar coming. He reflected,

‘I hung the golden amulet on his neck, saying,

“Whoever rides you shall forget his worries.
Glory shall be won by one’s self.

May I be sacrificed to your eyes Baychobar!
I do not have tulips blooming on the nearby mountain,
[but] you are priceless, even beyond one hundred thousand tumans!

When you walk, you earn honor.
God is my witness, I do not have elders.
I have no roses blooming in the spring if you do not run, earning honor.

God is my witness, I have no brothers,
I am but a poor beggar, away from my land.
But forty saints have touched my head,
and when you run, my worries disappear.

May I be sacrificed to your eyes!
When you win, the future of the Kungrats shall be secure!”‘

The race was to end where Alpamysh stood, at Kakbali Karatash. Taysha conferred with his vezirs:

‘Whoever’s horse comes across this rock shall have Barchin.’

Alpamysh was standing there…”

The Alpamysh, part 20: Karajan and Dost Mohammed’s tragic battle
Written by , Saturday, 8 Dec, 2012 – 1:00 | No Comment

Karajan, having caught up to his treacherous progeny, begs him to relent. But driven mad with lust, Dost Mohammed refuses, leading father and son into a tragic confrontation.

Note that Dost Mohammed is riding a black horse, whereas Karajan is riding a white one. The imagery is profoundly archetypal: this is a perennial battle, between generations, moralities, and destinies. There is also a strong resonance of the Biblical and Quranic story of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of his son, except in this case, the sacrifice must be made. That seems like a pretty heavy demand to be made upon Karajan for the sake of friendship. But remember that much more is at stake in this story than just Alpamysh marring Barchin: an entire social order has collapsed, and Karajan is fighting to bring back justice and order. In this sense, the slaughter of Dost Mohammed, Karajan’s only son, is Christ-like — the high price that must be paid for our redemption.

The dastan paints a complex figure in the form of Karajan. It lionizes the slaughter of Dost Mohammed, yet it indicates here and explores more fully later that Karajan’s decision breaks his heart. In general throughout the Alpamysh, we can sense a deep inner conflict in the main character: not quite Muslim in the fullest sense yet no longer a pagan — in fact, his whole relationship to Islam becomes somewhat pessimistic, as after the death of his son, he has lost all hope in this world — and vacillating between remarkable feats of strength and fragile weakness and laziness. He is the true main character of the dastan, the human being we can relate to, as opposed to the distant and mighty Alpamysh.

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The Alpamysh, part 19: Karajan catches up to Dost Mohammed
Written by , Saturday, 1 Dec, 2012 – 1:00 | No Comment

Turkmen racing on tarlans (a breed of Akhal-Teke). Photograph from the blog, 'Teke Talk'.

Atop his incredible steed, Karajan manages to overtake the Kalmaks in a dramatic race. He soon begins to catch up to his treacherous son…

An interesting tidbit: this portion of the dastan makes reference to the “Karadag”. Kara or Qara+ Dag/Dağ/Dagh, occasionally Daq or Tagh is Turkic for “Black Mountain”, and it connotes several locations within the former Ottoman sphere, from Montenegro in the Balkans to municipalities in Azerbaijan and Iran.

Three days’ time passed chasing after the Kalmaks. When the dawn broke to the Kalmaks, who speak a language no one knows, God granted him [Karajan] his wish: he caught up, having run without stopping! Bats [at dawn] gathered and folded [their wings]. Chobar, who was [artificially] restrained, [at] morning prayer time passed the Kalmaks.

After four days, at dawn, upon looking back, Taysha’s tarlan spotted the spreading wings of Baychobar. [The horse's] wish was granted at noon prayer time: like the northern winds of Spring, at the heels of the tarlan [he] came close. [Then] Baychobar passed, [and] on the way bit [the tarlan]. The tarlan fell behind.

[Baychobar] ran all day, ran all night. After five days on the slopes of the Karadag, the only one left [ahead] was Dost Muhammed…