Rare footage of Bishkek in the Nineteen Eighties

The other day I met with Maria Antonova, the director of the American University of Central Asia’s First Year Seminar. A child of Perestroika, she emigrated to the United States for many years before returning here for her present gig. When she left Bishkek, the city was, in her words, “a crucible of a tiny intelligentsia in the mountains”. As she recalled, this demographic core was largely derived from intellectuals and professionals sent from St. Petersburg during the Soviet period. I, myself, have met many of them and their grandchildren. The ones I’ve met are largely pensioners today, working bit…

Kanat Ibragimov

Censorship and art in Central Asia: postcolonial and post-Soviet perspectives

In Central Asia, censorship of artistic activities or of public representations of their results by and large reflects the complexity of the society. It seems that censorship is too often seen either as a form of ruthless repression by the authorities of the freedom of creative expression or as an ethically justified measure against artists’ unacceptable attempts to trespass on forbidden ground. Thus the public views of censorship become polarised and only social anthropologists seem to have time to examine the mechanism of its functioning. .

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