“My people have been hypnotized”

Editor’s note: neweurasia’s Annasoltan, our chief blogger for Turkmenistan, has been interviewed by France24 for an article on Turkmenbashi’s legacy.  She explores the deep-seated metaphysical effects of a regime that is nothing short of Stalinist. It’s a bit strange to be on the receiving end of an interview since I’m usually the one asking all the questions.  It’s also a bit sad that the West can’t seem to get over its fascination with Niyazov.  But then, so much of my own work here on neweurasia has been in the shadow of this man, so I suppose it’s understandable. The quote…

Movie Review: Gift to Stalin (Подарок Сталину) and Interview with Cast

This is not an easy movie to see. Nevertheless, watching this movie is to understand what it means to be human. The movie is about Sashenka  Pozner (played by Dalen Shintemirov) who is about 8 or 9 and on a train to Kazakhstan to live in exile with his grandfather while his parents serve hard labor time in Siberia for crimes against the state. What this almost certainly means is that they were arrested because they were Jews. His grandfather dies on the train, and Sashenka escapes from the train to survive in the vast steppes with the help of…

Kanat Saudabayev speaks at Atlantic Council

On Wednesday February 3, Kazakhstan’s Secretary of State and Foreign Minister, Kanat Saudabayev spoke to a group of journalists and foreign policy community specialists at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. (transcript in English and MP3 in Russian here). This talk comes on the wings of Kazakhstan chairing the OSCE this year.  Saudabayev is in Washington for several weeks talking up Kazakhstan’s achievements in his capacity as OSCE chairman (RUS).

Turkmen on the turntables: “It should be about life”

Turkmenistan may be second only to North Korea in its self-imposed isolation, but this hasn’t stopped the global phenomenon of “urban culture”, especially in the form of Hip Hop, from arriving there, writes neweurasia’s Annasoltan. “[T]he rigidities of Turkmen media culture are precisely why Hip Hop is suddenly popular: Turkmenistan’s youth are finding refuge in their own subculture and seeking new forms of expression.”

Turkmen on the turntables: “Palestine”

Turkmen rap songs are gaining speedy popularity among the Turkmen youth.  New rap websites are popping up left and right. “Palestine”, a song about Palestinian children killed by Israeli security forces by Zumerchas of the rap group Darkroom Posse, has been rapidly making the rounds among listeners.  Darkroom Posse has toured in Turkey and includes rappers from Turkmenistan, Russia, Canada, and the United States.

Rahmon misses the 8 AM ride on the Migrant Express

During one of the roundtables at the UN summit, Tajikistan’s president, Emomali Rahmon, pontificated on the importance of constructing hydropower plants. It would have been better to have simply shut up and show Radio Ozodi’s “Migrant Express” documentary, writes neweurasia’s Botur. Perhaps then Rahmon’s fellow national leaders could see what life is actually like for Tajikistan’s poor.

Riots in Urumqi

Mass ethnic riots have taken place in Chinese Xinjiang Uighur Autonomour Region (XUAR). 156 people have been killed and 1080 wounded in Urumqi during massacre. Hundreds of vehicles and stores were burnt, and dozens of dwelling houses damaged. The government accuses foreign terrorists of inflicting the riots, and nearly 1,500 people have been already arrested. All communications and access to XUAR are blocked.

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