Tchaikovsky in Turkmenistan, 21st Century-style

Although we all know that Central Asian societies were for generations succoured on Soviet media that was pedagogical and ideological, we often forget what this fully means. Soviet media was often in outright denial, e.g., nary breathing a word about the Chernobyl disaster. It’s my understanding that if you heard a bit too much classical music on the radio meant, there was a crisis: apparently Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” signalled the death of a leader, and was even played on 19 August, 1991, rather prophetically. Content may change, as well as values, but form persists. In Turkmenistan today, gone is the…

Although we all know that Central Asian societies were for generations succoured on Soviet media that was pedagogical and ideological, we often forget what this fully means. Soviet media was often in outright denial, e.g., nary breathing a word about the Chernobyl disaster. It’s my understanding that if you heard a bit too much classical music on the radio meant, there was a crisis: apparently Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” signalled the death of a leader, and was even played on 19 August, 1991, rather prophetically.

Content may change, as well as values, but form persists. In Turkmenistan today, gone is the dream of the “Soviet New Man” (новый советский человек), replaced now with the “Golden Age” (altyn asyr). Here’s a particularly disturbing info-anthropological tidbit: according to Annasoltan and other Turkmen I’ve talked with, TurkmenTV was showing singers performing songs while panic and chaos rained down in Abadan. It seems media forms and informational habits morph, mutate, adapt, in ways those of us who believe in the freedom of the press and information wish they wouldn’t…

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  • I haven¡¦t checked in here for a while since I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are great quality so I guess I¡¦ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend :)

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