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…

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