Scholars of Central Asia Article Database

The Scholars of Central Asia Article Database contains peer-reviewed journal articles authored or co-authored by authors from Central Asia, including the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The searchable database contains articles from the social sciences and humanities.

If you are from Central Asia and have written a peer-reviewed journal article, or if you would like to submit an entry that is currently missing from the database on behalf of a scholar, please fill out this form.

AuthorTitleJournal NameVolumeIssuePagesYearKeywordsUrlAbstract
Gulzat BotoevaHashish as Cash in a Post-Soviet Kyrgyz VillageInternational Journal of Drug Policy2561227-12342014Kyrgyzstan, paper discusses how hashish produced by the local population of Tyup, Kyrgyzstan became an important source of cash in an agricultural semi-subsistence economy. The paper is based on a research study conducted between 2009 and 2010 that adopted a mixed-method approach to data collection. I gathered 64 semi-structured interviews, 147 structured interviews and made ethnographic observations of the livelihoods of the people of Toolu village in Tyup region. The local population of the region became involved in hashish production due to a cash deficit in both the agricultural economy and wider society from the beginning of the 1990s. Privatization of land as a consequence of the neoliberalization of the economy left many families with small share lands which are insufficient to provide market surplus. Agricultural products, therefore, are mainly consumed by the majority of farmers, turning the economy of the region into a semi-subsistence agricultural economy. In the context of such a cash deficit economy, wild-growing cannabis plants are used not only as a cash crop but are symbolically turned into a form of cash and a source of informal credit. People can pay for goods with hashish as well as obtain advance payments and credits for it. I argue that hashish making assists the agricultural rural economy by allowing people to obtain goods, advance payments and credits to use for the cultivation of land, their everyday needs and maintaining social relationships. I also argue that many local farmers, who do not consider themselves as criminals, were able to become involved in this activity by shifting the meaning of hashish and hashish making from an illegal activity to a culturally valued and justifiable form of economic activity.
Bahtiyar Kurambayev and Eric FreedmanPublish or Perish? The Steep, Steep Path for Central Asia Journalism and Mass Communication FacultyJournalism & Mass Communication Educator2020Central Asia, and mass communication faculty in Central Asian countries face increased institution and government pressure to produce research that appears in Scopus-indexed publications. This study interviews faculty members in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to examine how they attempt to meet these publication requirements. The findings suggest a disturbing research environment where some faculty resort to unethical means, such as buying and selling research co-authorship or paying to publish in predatory and fake journals.
Bahtiyar Kurambayev and Eric FreedmanEthics and Journalism in Central Asia: A Comparative Study of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and UzbekistanJournal of Media Ethics35131-442020Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Media faces a series of ethics crises, particularly in Central Asia because journalism is marked by wide ethical misbehavior including lack of balance and impartiality, using multiple fake names, selling and/or buying news, bribing journalists and others. This study analyzes professional ethical perspectives and practices of Central Asian journalists by examining and comparing the four former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. This study uses in-depth interviews with 24 journalists to examine their ethical ideals in the profession and how their ethical perspectives impact potential democracy. Its significance lies in revealing the gravity of ethical misbehavior where journalists call ethics a “Western luxury” and where public life was filled with falsehoods.Journalism faces a series of ethics crises, particularly in Central Asia because journalism is marked by wide ethical misbehavior including lack of balance and impartiality, using multiple fake names, selling and/or buying news, bribing journalists and others. This study analyzes professional ethical perspectives and practices of Central Asian journalists by examining and comparing the four former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. This study uses in-depth interviews with 24 journalists to examine their ethical ideals in the profession and how their ethical perspectives impact potential democracy. Its significance lies in revealing the gravity of ethical misbehavior where journalists call ethics a “Western luxury” and where public life was filled with falsehoods.2020
Jakhongir Kakhkharov and Nicholas Rohde Remittances and Financial Development in Transition EconomiesEmpirical Economics59731–7632020Economics, of their sheer size and remarkable growth in recent years, remittances to developing and transition economies have attracted the attention of policy-makers and scholars. One region in which remittances have been growing and having a significant impact on local economies is Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The paper uses data on remittance flows to twenty-seven countries of the former Communist bloc during 1996–2013 and three distinct empirical econometric approaches to study the impact of remittances on financial systems. In particular, the research focuses on the link between remittances and various types of credits and deposits, using dynamic system generalised method of moments estimators to address the issue of reverse causality and allow for dynamic effects. This issue is important for the region, as economic and finance theory documents the growth-enhancing and poverty-reducing effects of financial development. The paper provides evidence of a robust, significant, and positive link between remittances and financial development. The link is especially strong in the ex-Soviet Union and in the case of private credit. The contribution of the present research to the literature is threefold: it is the first study to focus on a relatively homogeneous set of transition countries; the region it addresses is of particular interest because financial development in the region had to start before full-fledged formation of a market economy’s financial institutions; and it applies novel, high-quality data on bilateral remittances from Russia to a subsample of transition countries in the former Soviet Union.
Jakhongir Kakhkharov and Alexandr AkimovFinancial Development in Less-Developed Post-Communist EconomiesProblems of Economic Transition 607483-5132018economics, is wide, albeit equivocal, acceptance that financial development and economic growth are related positively. Financial systems contribute to economic growth by fulfilling a number of important functions. In this article, we analyze the performance of financial systems in the less-developed post-Communist economies of the former Soviet Union in fulfilling those vital functions and compare this performance with more advanced transition economies. In general, we find significant progress being made toward building contemporary financial systems in all groups of transition economies, although the gap between financial systems in the less-developed post-communist countries and their more advanced counterparts remains very large.
Jakhongir Kakhkharov, Alexandr Akimov and Nicholas RohdeTransaction Costs and Recorded Remittances in the Post-Soviet Economies: Evidence from a New Dataset on Bilateral FlowsEconomic Modelling6098-1072017migration, economics, migrants' remittances are a rapidly growing phenomenon in the countries of the former Soviet Union. The size and growth of remittances in the countries of the recipients brought the issue under the scrutiny of researchers and policymakers. In this paper we investigate the main factors behind the growing volume of remittances in the post-Soviet space. By applying panel data techniques we found that a reduction in transaction costs and a depreciation of the currency in the host country were the main factors that influenced the growth of recorded remittances. The size of transaction costs remains a significant predictor of the volume of formal remittances, even after correcting for endogeneity using an instrumental variable estimator. The inverse relationship between transaction costs and recorded remittances suggests that migrants switch from informal channels to formal channels to send remittances when costs are low. Thus lower transaction costs may help curb the proportion of informal flows and lead to increased use of remittances in the formal economy.
Jakhongir KakhkharovMigrant Remittances as a Source of Financing for EntrepreneurshipInternational Migration57 537-552019migration, aim of this research is to analyse the likelihood of small business ownership by households receiving remittances in Uzbekistan. As such, this research has important policy implications. Small businesses are crucial for job creation and economic growth. This research shows that households receiving remittances invest in family business only when this inflow is supplemented with sufficient income or savings. Therefore, financial constraints are of paramount importance for a small business and these could be especially hard to overcome in rural areas. The article also finds evidence that remittance senders direct their funds into special business projects.
Erica Marat and Deborah SuttonTechnological Solutions for Complex Problems: Emerging Electronic Surveillance Regimes in Eurasian CitiesEurope-Asia Studies731243-2672021Kyrgyzstan, security, authoritarianism, law, Kazakhstan, Marat, Deborah Sutton innovate. We specifically compare Kyiv, Almaty, and Bishkek. Each city differs in regard to who initiated smart city policies and under what conditions new technology was purchased from foreign vendors. Our essay contributes to the growing socio-legal literature on Eurasia by analysing how these electronic surveillance projects are used to manufacture an orderly, safe society and achieve modernity without the burden of deeper political change.
Jakhongir Kakhkharov, Muzaffarjon Ahunov, Ziyodullo Parpiev and Inna WolfsonSouth-South Migration: Remittances of Labour Migrants and Household Expenditures in UzbekistanInternational Migration2020migration, investigate the impact of international labour migrants’ remittances on household expenditures in Uzbekistan as an understudied case of South‐South migration. In doing so, we use instrumental variable regressions to address endogeneity caused by self‐selection bias. We find that remittance‐receiving households spend a significantly smaller part of their budgets on food and health. This finding contrasts with studies of South‐South remittances in Africa that find that households tend to spend most of their remittance incomes on food. Our estimations also provide evidence that remittance‐receiving households spend a larger part of their total expenditures on non‐food consumption. Remittances’ impact on healthcare expenditures is negative and on education expenditures is insignificant. These results support the view that remittances in this South‐South migration corridor are channelled mainly to consumer goods, limiting their contribution to economic development.
Gavin Slade, Alexei Trochev and Malika TalgatovaThe Limits of Authoritarian Modernisation: Zero Tolerance Policing in KazakhstanEurope-Asia Studies731178-1992021security, authoritarianism, law, Central study police inertia and the depth of public mistrust in, and apathy towards, zero tolerance policing (ZTP) in Kazakhstan. Using survey, social media and official data we show how ZTP failed: politicians did not summon any political will for the policy, the police subverted any attempted reforms, while citizens ignored them. The failure of ZTP delineates the limits of authoritarian modernisation. We argue that modernisers require assistance from citizens in reforming police yet cannot mobilise such assistance due to public distrust which itself is created by authoritarian modernisers’ preference for police loyalty over police good behaviour. The consequence is a decoupling of the rhetoric from the reality of police reform.
Eliza IsabaevaTranscending Illegality in Kyrgyzstan: The Case of a Squatter Settlement in BishkekEurope-Asia Studies73160-802021Kyrgyzstan, law, urban are reluctant to acknowledge illegal settlements. Ak Jar is an illegal settlement on the outskirts of Bishkek. If the settlement were formally legalised, its residents would receive property documents as well as recognition and inclusion. They have thus developed strategies to achieve the legalisation of Ak Jar. Although the settlement is technically illegal, by behaving ‘legally’ (that is, following legal norms and practices), the residents and community leaders generate the appearance and even some of the effects of legality (such as, legitimate power supply, recognition by politicians). This creates a halfway space between ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ that moves the settlement away from ‘full’ illegality and closer to legalisation.
Erica Marat and Lauren McCarthyJustice, Crime and Citizenship in Eurasia: A Socio-legal PerspectiveEurope-Asia Studies7311-72021security, authoritarianism, law, Central Asia, introduction to a special issue continues to bridge the gap between theoretically rich work on law-in-action and the empirical reality of the post-communist bloc. In curating the 11 essays featured in this Special Issue, we hope to show the value of incorporating socio-legal perspectives into studies of protests, state coercion, civil society and electoral politics, among other themes. The essays cover eight countries, with a geographic reach of all of Eurasia—from the Czech Republic to China. We have also made a special effort to include contributions from regional scholars, whose rich insights are often missing from these discussions. In this Introduction, we highlight several important themes: the importance of methodological diversity in investigating socio-legal phenomena in the region; the varied impacts of institutional legacies; the ongoing dualism of the law for political/non-political cases and for elites/ordinary citizens; the creative methods people in authoritarian settings use to legally mobilise; and the limits of using the law to create change, particularly in authoritarian regimes
Qian Huang, Rashid Gabdulhakov and Daniel TrottierOnline Scrutiny of People with Nice Cars: A Comparative Analysis of Chinese, Russian, and Anglo-American OutrageGlobal Media and China1142020Media Connected by platforms and equipped with mobile recording devices, social media users are able to conduct near-constant mutual scrutiny. Such mediated scrutiny sometimes escalates to public denunciations online and even mediated or embodied interventions. A recurring theme of such scrutiny can be observed not only on Chinese social media but also on platforms in Russia and elsewhere, in which hostility is openly expressed towards people with nice cars (i.e. late model, luxury, foreign vehicles). In these cases, nice cars are not merely a fact provided by participants in their denunciations; they also serve as an implication of the privileges the owners might possess. By juxtaposing cases in China against other socio-political contexts, the research intends to achieve a better understanding of how and why nice cars are rendered meaningful by participants via mediated scrutiny on social media in China and beyond. The research collects and analyses relevant social media discourses on platforms including Sina Weibo (China), YouTube (Russia), and Facebook (United Kingdom; Australia; United States). Comparing and contrasting cases in different countries, the research demonstrates various forms of critical and populist sentiments that are shaped by unique socio-cultural and political contexts.
Rashid Gabdulhakov and Daniel TrottierBetween “Filter Bubbles” and Community Leaders: An Exploratory Study of Facebook Groups for Russophones/Russians in the NetherlandsJournal of Global Diaspora & Media1189-1052020migration, an exploration of Facebook groups designed for Russophones and Russians in the Netherlands, this study considers online community belonging negotiations. In doing so, the article aims to address the role of online administrators (admins) in online community construction, seeking to enrich the algorithm-centric literature covering customized feeds. The authors argue that by moderating discussions, approving and banning users, and setting the agenda more generally in the online environments that they create and manage, admins acquire and perform functions that may surpass or compliment algorithmic biases.
Rashid GabdulhakovHeroes or Hooligans? Media Portrayal of StopXam [Stop a Douchebag] Vigilantes in RussiaLaboratorium: Russian Review of Social Research 11316-452020Russia, networks, state-supported digital vigilante groups emerged in Russia at the downturn of the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi (Ours), when its former commissars formed issuespecific movements to counter perceived legal and moral offences through exposure of targets on social media. One of such groups is StopXam (Stop a Douchebag), specializing in road-traffic and parking violations. StopXam participants confront the drivers and retaliate by placing stickers that read “I spit on everyone I drive where I want” on the targets’ windshields. The retaliation is often accompanied by verbal and physical fighting; the process is filmed, edited, and shared on YouTube, receiving millions of views. While digital media made such practices possible, traditional broadcasters maintain significance in rendering meaning to the phenomenon of vigilantism and in framing vigilantes, their targets, police, and other actors. As the existing literature on digital vigilantism is predominantly focused on digital media affordances, this article aims to address this gap through a qualitative analysis of traditional media coverage of StopXam. Media analysis highlights intriguing nuances of traditional media as a powerful actor and discourse setter in the digital age.
Rashid Gabdulhakov(Con)Trolling the Web: Social Media User Arrests, State-Supported Vigilantism and Citizen Counter-Forces in RussiaGlobal Crime 213/4283-3052020authoritarianism, networks, article applies Haggerty and Ericson’s surveillant assemblage concept to the recent wave of social media user arrests in Russia. In doing so, it addresses the legislative frameworks applied to online self-expression, depicts the nuances of legal charges pressed against select social media users, assesses the role of formal law enforcement and vigilant citizens recruited to extend the state’s watchful gaze, and elaborates on citizen counter-forces resisting the tightening state control over the digital domain. The article argues that Russia’s internet users appear to be trolled by the ruling elite through the use of obscure legal frameworks and the stampede of actors and practices where select individuals face legal charges for their activities on social media, while other users face no consequences for the same engagements. Such unpredictability stimulates self-censorship, making the system effective by virtue of its dysfunctionality. Methodologically, the study relies on desk research and field interviews.
Rashid GabdulhakovIn the Bullseye of Vigilantes: Mediated Vulnerabilities of Kyrgyz Labour Migrants in Russia.Media and Communication72230-241 2019Kyrgyzstan, migration Hundreds of thousands of Kyrgyz labour migrants seek opportunities in Russia where they fall target to retaliation of vigilante citizens who find offence in the presence of alien labourers in their homeland. Vigilantism also takes place within this migrant ‘community’ where male Kyrgyz labour migrants engage in retaliation on female migrants over perceived offences such as dating non-Kyrgyz men. On several occasions between 2011 and 2016 videos featuring honour beating of female labour migrants by fellow countrymen shook the internet. The selected case illustrates vulnerabilities experienced by migrants due to xenophobia and hostility of the host state, as well as additional layers of vulnerabilities linked to gendered biases that ‘travel’ across borders along with compatriots in migration. The study argues that offline structures, norms, biases, violence, and stigma not only reincarnate online, where they culminate in vigilante acts, but consequently, they re-enter the offline discourse and go through further normalization and justification.
Azadeh Akbari and Rashid GabdulhakovPlatform Surveillance and Resistance in Iran and Russia: The Case of TelegramSurveillance and Society 171/2223-2312019authoritarianism, networks, Media Telegram messenger, created by an exiled Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, brands itself as a non-mainstream and non-Western guarantor of privacy in messaging. This paper offers an in-depth analysis of the challenges faced by the platform in Iran, with 59.5% of the population using its services, and in Russia, where Telegram is popular among the urban dissent. Both governments demanded access to the platform’s encrypted content and, with Durov’s refusal, took measures to ban it. Relying on the concept of surveillant assemblage (Haggerty and Ericson 2000), this paper portrays how authoritarian states disrupt, block, and police platforms that do not comply with their intrusive surveillance. Additionally, we consider the tools and actors that make up internet control assemblages as well as the resistance assemblages that take shape in response to such control.
Rashid Gabdulhakov Citizen-Led Justice in Post-Communist Russia: From Comrades’ Courts to Dotcomrade VigilantismSurveillance and Society163314-3312018Russia, networks, paper aims to provide a theoretical conceptualization of digital vigilantism in its manifestation in the Russian Federation where cases do not emerge spontaneously, but are institutionalized, highly organized, and systematic. Given the significant historical context of collective justice under Communism, the current manifestation of digital vigilantism in Russia raises questions about whether it is an example of re-packaged history backed with collective memory or a natural outspread of conventional practices to social networks. This paper reviews historical practices of citizen-led justice in the Soviet state and compares these practices with digital vigilantism that takes place in contemporary post-communist Russia. The paper argues that despite new affordances that digital media and social networks brought about in the sphere of citizen-led justice, the role of the state in manifesting this justice in the Russian Federation remains significant. At the same time, with technological advances, certain key features of these practices, such as participants, their motives, capacity, targets, and audience engagement have undergone a significant evolution.
Baktybek IsakovHow Did the State and Kinship Create Soviet Economy? (Case of Kyrgyzstan)Billig7755-812016Kyrgyzstan, history, economics, Soviet Union was established in about 1920, but due to large-scale processes such as collectivization, World War II, and their negative consequences, the transitional period that followed the establishment was extended to the late 1950s. Rapid Soviet modernization through the liquidation of local traditions was in many places just a show. This essay focusing on local practices argues that the Soviet economy in rural Kyrgyz Republic was created through the interaction between the state and local kinship relations. Moreover, where the Soviet class system was weak in rural areas in particular, kinship relations worked instead. Based mainly on freshly obtained empiric materials from a village in Kyrgyzstan, this article displays the mechanism of how the kinship and the state created an economy in the context of the Soviet rural areas.
Yerkebulan SairambayYoung People’s Perspectives on How ‘Zhuz’ and ‘Ru’ Clans Affect Them: Evidence from Three Cities in Post-Soviet QazaqstanStudies of Transition States and Societies11139-542019Kazakhstan, networks, urban the collapse of the Soviet Union, elites seeking political power in the newly independent Qazaqstan fostered the use of clan affiliations, such as ‘Zhuz’ and ‘Ru’, in order to develop a Qazaq identity. However, this change resulted in clan politics at both the elite and individual levels, which have become an integral part of today’s clan divisions in modern Qazaq society. The main purpose of this paper is to explore how contemporary young Qazaqs perceive Zhuz and Ru clan-based kinship divisions to affect them. The research objectives of this work are achieved through an extensive review of the relevant literature, as well as through a careful analysis of the outcomes of semi-structured interviews (n=20) and online surveys (n=200) with young people from Nur-Sultan, Aqtau, and Shymkent. This article finds that young Qazaqs perceive Zhuz and Ru clans mainly to affect them in terms of employment, marriage, and online media.
Janyl MoldalievaPlaying the “Game” of Transparency and Accountability: Non-elite Politics in Kyrgyzstan’s Natural Resource GovernancePost-Soviet Affairs362171-1872020Kyrgyzstan, governance, article demonstrates the role of non-elites in the struggle for transparency and accountability in Kyrgyzstan’s mining sector. Most existing accounts foreground elite strategies and political machines in the governance of post-Soviet societies. Drawing on recent anthropological work on post-Soviet politics and applying it critically to the literature on neopatrimonialism, this article sheds light on the adoption of political game strategies by community members (non-elites) to advance their interests and challenge elite dominance within the case study’s mining communities. This finding responds to recent calls to interrogate the activities of non-elites at the margins of neopatrimonial contexts. The article advances a research agenda on how practices by non-elites shape the multiple meanings and enactments of transparency and accountability by elites in natural resource governance. It also points to the need to explore how and why “communities” exert their “agency” in governing natural resources within post-Soviet contexts.
Kristoffer Rees, Aziz BurkhanovConstituting the Kazakhstani Nation: Rhetorical Transformation of National BelongingNationalism and Ethnic Politics244433-4552018nationalism, Kazakhstan became an independent state in 1991 the state apparatus has pursued various processes of nation-building intended to establish a cohesive civic identity among the multiethnic population of the state. We assess the interplay between the civic nation building policies of the Kazakhstani state since the early 2000s and ordinary Kazakhstanis through media analysis and ethnographic interviews. We find that, while Kazakhstan’s official civic nation-building policies shape how Kazakhstanis perceive their attachment to the state, there remains no widespread evidence of the decoupling of ethnicity from nationality as suggested by official rhetoric. Ethnonational identity remains salient in Kazakhstan.
Elena MaltsevaHealth Care Crisis and Grassroots Social Initiative in Post-Soviet RussiaReview of European and Russian Affairs612011Russia, article analyzes the development of civil society in Russia in response to the fledging post-Soviet health care crisis. In recent years, Russian civil society has become significantly stronger and more actively engaged in public debates on social as well as political issues. This trend suggests that the process of social capital accumulation in Russia is well underway, thus instilling some hope for Russia’s future. To illustrate this recent trend, I will analyze the development of two grassroots movements in St. Petersburg, which help families of children diagnosed with cancer to overcome the everyday psychological, legal and financial difficulties associated with treatment, and to lobby the government to go forward with health care reform. This paper is based on the author's personal experience as a participant in one of the grassroots initiatives, published materials in Russian journals and newspapers, and a series of interviews with volunteers. With this article, I hope to shed new light on developments in the Russian health care sector, and deepen our understanding of contemporary Russian civil society.
Edward Schatz, Elena MaltsevaKazakhstan's Authoritarian "Persuasion"Post-Soviet Affairs28145-65 2012authoritarianism, post-Soviet Kazakhstan as a conceptual point of departure, this article considers the role that proactive framing and persuasion play in ensuring regime survival in soft authoritarian contexts. Drawing on interviews, opinion polls, news media, and the scholarly literature, the authors use three examples—Kazakhstan's OSCE bid, the global financial crisis, and "Rakhatgate"—that highlight the regime's varying proportions of persuasive and coercive efforts. The ways a soft authoritarian leader responds to potentially threatening events are examined. Non-material sources of regime durability are analyzed as essentials for understanding authoritarian regime dynamics and, by implication, for developing a full theory of regime change.
Edward Schatz, Elena MaltsevaAssumed to be Universal: The Leap from Data to Knowledge in the American Political Science ReviewPolity443446–4722012politics, research language scholars use to describe research findings has potentially enormous implications for how a science of politics develops. Consider the history of marked and unmarked terms in the American Political Science Review. Modifiers that mark reported data as spatially or temporally “different” (versus linguistically leaving the data unmarked and thus implying that the information is universal and “normal”) reflect predominant power relations. Marking, furthermore, can contribute to future power relations. Finally, knowledge claims that are made without acute attention to the marking of data are likely to be faulty. Because the implications for a science of politics are neither politically nor analytically innocent, political scientists should reveal (rather than conceal) and foreground (rather than background) the geographic and temporal origins of their data.
Anara Karagulova, Nick MegoranDiscourses of Danger and the ‘War on Terror’: Gothic Kyrgyzstan and the Collapse of the Akaev RegimeReview of International Studies3611-202010Kyrgyzstan, security, international relations theory has given too little attention to regionally specific manifestations of discourses of the ‘war on terror’. Using Richard Devetak’s concept of a ‘gothic scene of international relations’, this article considers the final months of the regime of Kyrgyzstan’s former President, Askar Akaev. Akaev evoked a gothic fantasy of a gloomy Kyrgyzstan terrorised by monsters recognisable from President Bush’s nightmares, peculiarly Kyrgyz monsters, and obscene hybrids. That America was portrayed as a monster by an undemocratic regime fighting a desperate rearguard action highlights ironies both in Devetak’s theory and in the international relations of Central Asia. We therefore suggest that attention needs to be paid to a gothic geography of international relations
Philipp Lottholz,John Heathershaw,Aksana Ismailbekova, Janyl Moldalieva, Eric McGlinchey, Catherine OwenGovernance and Order-making in Central Asia: from Illiberalism to Post-liberalism?Central Asian Survey393420-4372020Central Asia, peacebuilding, forum brings together five different angles on the question as to whether and how political regimes and forms of order-making can and should be researched through the concept of ‘illiberalism’. The discussion engages critically with this and associated concepts, such as ‘illiberal peace’ and ‘authoritarian conflict management’, which have been developed out of the Central Asian / Eurasian context and discussed in their wider global ramifications and, within the framing of ‘illiberal peace’, explored in various contexts in and beyond Central Asia. While further assessing the relevance and implications of this approach, this forum also attempts to think beyond ‘illiberalism’ by introducing and discussing the idea of ‘post-liberalism’. This way, the authors engage in an exchange that serves to probe both concepts and to determine their strengths and limitations when it comes to analysing and understanding politics and societal processes in Central Asia.
Marlene Laruelle, Dylan Royce, Serik BeyssembayevUntangling the Puzzle of “Russia’s Influence” in KazakhstanEurasian Geography and Economics602211-243 2019Russia, Kazakhstan, international theme of “Russian influence” has been invading the think tank world. Yet the concept of influence must be deployed with care. Analysts have frequently assumed that, when states do things thought favourable to Russia, it must be because Moscow has either forced them to act in that manner, or has actively manipulated their domestic politics so that they do so. Left largely unconsidered are the various other reasons that one state might act in a manner desirable to another. In this article we look at the different vectors that might yield Russia-favorable behavior by Kazakhstan: exogenous ones that Russia actively and passively generates and endogenous ones that are passively or even actively generated within Kazakhstan itself. We discuss Russia’s economic and strategic links with Kazakhstan, the issue of the Russian minority, the status of the Russian language, Russian media presence, Russia’s governmental and non-governmental networks, and the “payoff” of the latter three vectors: Kazakhstani popular Russophilia. By distinguishing between active and passive vectors, as well as between exogenous and endogenous ones, we propose a more nuanced and better theoretically articulated picture of Russia’s “influence” in Kazakhstan.
Assel RustamovaPolitical Economy of Central Asia: Initial Reflections on the Need for a New ApproachJournal of Eurasian Studies2130-392011Central Asia, economics, article aims to give an overview of the analytical approaches to political economy of Central Asia. It argues that twenty years after transition paradigm we still find lingering separation between politics and economics that compartmentalizes studies of economic development, nation- and state-building into separate projects.
Dinara Murzaeva, Pinar AkçaliGeneral Perceptions of a Good Political Leader in KyrgyzstanJournal of Eurasian Studies4147-542013Kyrgyzstan, article analyzes general perceptions of a good political leader of post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan by looking at how political leadership is perceived by the ordinary people in the country. This issue seems to be particularly important with country taking a new route – parliamentary republic and facing crisis of political leadership as a result of two revolutions of 2005 and 2010. Furthermore the article sheds some light at people's expectations which are important due to the presidential elections in fall 2011. The article looks at what type of a leader the people of Kyrgyzstan wish to see, and what are the qualities (personal or professional) a political leader must possess. In an attempt to answer these questions, the article identifies ten main qualities of a “good” political leader for Kyrgyzstan as a result of a filed study and tries to evaluate the Kyrgyz case within a broader body of literature about political leadership.
Timur DadabaevCommunity Life, Memory and a Changing Nature of Mahalla Identity in UzbekistanJournal of Eurasian Studies42181-1962013governance, article focuses on the post-Soviet recollections of Soviet-era mahalla community by ordinary citizens in contemporary Uzbekistan. The primary message of this paper is that the community has historically represented one of only a few effective traditional structures that can unite representatives of various ethnic and religious groups through the creation of a common identity based on shared residence. However, throughout history of these communities, political authorities have often attempted to manipulate these institutions to enhance the state's legitimacy. This type of manipulation has challenged the essential nature of residents’ attachment to their communities and called the authority and legitimacy of mahalla structures into question.
Mirzokhid RakhimovCentral Asia and Japan: Bilateral and Multilateral RelationsJournal of Eurasian Studies5177-872014Central Asia, international the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1991s Central Asian nations and Japan established diplomatic relations and partnership began to increase steadily as manifested by the level of official contacts. In 1997 the “Silk Road” Diplomacy concept was formulated for Japan's policy toward Central Asia. In the beginning of 21st century we see activization of new actors including India, Korea and Japan in Central Asia, which were mainly welcomed in the region. Tokyo recognized the growing strategic importance of Central Asia in the context of international security and sought to play a more active role as an Asian nation in Eurasia. During two decades Central Asian nations and Japan partnership began to increase steadily. Japan is one of the largest assistants to Central Asia in structural reforms and Japanese investments to the different aspects of region economy and transport communication add up to several billions. There are several areas of special interest to Japan in its relations with Central Asia, including cooperation in education, economic development of the region, political reforms, as well as energy resources. Japan's effort in creating the “Central Asia plus Japan” dialog is part of its multilateral diplomacy. At the same time there are some challenges and problems in Central Asia–Japan relations. However, there are potentialities for future bilateral and multilateral relations. Japan like Korea, India and other countries has a strong positive image in Central Asia, which could be regarded as an additional factor for fostering partnership of Central and East Asia as well as interregional relation with the vast Asian continent and beyond.
Dina AzhgaliyevaThe Effect of Fiscal Policy on Oil Revenue Fund: The Case of KazakhstanJournal of Eurasian Studies52157-1832014Kazakhstan, energy, an optimal fiscal policy in oil-producing countries is challenging, due to the exhaustibility of oil resources and unpredictability of oil prices. Recently it has become popular among oil-producing countries to establish oil revenue funds, which are believed to stabilize the economy and provide inter-generational redistribution of oil wealth. The effectiveness of oil revenue funds and their design have received considerable attention from researchers and policymakers recently. Using empirical model, it is found that an oil revenue fund in Kazakhstan stabilized the government expenditure, but did not stabilize real effective exchange rates.
Zubaidullo UbaidulloevThe Russian-Soviet Legacies in Reshaping the National Territories in Central Asia: A Catastrophic Case of TajikistanJournal of Eurasian Studies6179-872015history, nation building, every period of history many parts and territories of the world divide and get a new shape. There are lots of such examples. One clear example is the so-called ‘Grate Game’ and division of Central Asia by the British and Russian Empires. In general, Central Asian region has been under Russian influence for more than 150 years. Today in the 21st century Central Asia once again is facing a new ‘Great Game’, but this time with new and non-traditional powers in the region like the U.S. and China, which challenge the influence of region's traditional power – Russia. This paper tries to touch upon the situation and the tragic fate of Tajiks during the Russian-Soviet empires within the different political entities, administrations and territories. It analyzes the impact of Russian and Soviet legacies and territorial policies on Tajiks and Tajikistan. According to the findings of this paper, most of the previous Western and other foreign authors occasionally and briefly opine about this topic, especially about the catastrophic impact of the Russian and Soviet territorial legacies to the Tajik nation, in their work mainly focusing on the history of Central Asia. The paper draws together the main conclusions of relevant literature and tries to fill the gap within the body of existing literature and understandings concerning the topic.
Timur DadabaevJapan's ODA Assistance Scheme and Central Asian Engagement: Determinants, Trends, ExpectationsJournal of Eurasian Studies7124-382016Central Asia, international relations, demonstrated in this paper, Japan over the years has grown to become the leading ODA provider in Central Asia (CA). ODA has served as a foreign policy tool and as the most significant tool for maintaining cooperation ties. Although the focus of Japan's ODA assistance over the years has been on East Asian countries, CA is growing to become another frontier for more proactive Japanese policies. The Japan-supported initiatives of recent years tend to favor more pragmatic cooperation schemes. As is exemplified by water-related assistance in Uzbekistan and support for local capacity building in Kyrgyzstan, Japanese assistance of a more focused character can better contribute to development both in these societies and in the region in general. These types of initiatives can successfully complement government-to-government assistance schemes and Japanese investments into large scale projects. The focus on local communities will also ensure that beneficiaries of the Japanese assistance projects will include not only governmental institutions but also the general public at large.
Edgar Demetrio Tovar-García, Ruslana KozubekovaThe Third Pillar of the Basel Accord: Evidence of Borrower Discipline in the Kyrgyz Banking SystemJournal of Eurasian Studies72195-2042016Kyrgyzstan, empirically study the asset side of market discipline in the banking system of the Kyrgyz Republic, examining whether borrowers are willing to pay higher interest rates to high-quality banks. Based on dynamic panel models and a dataset with bank information from 23 banks over the period 2010–2012, our findings suggest the presence of market discipline induced by borrowers. In other words, banks with higher capital ratios and liquidity charge higher interest rates on loans. This result has several implications for the banking policy in Kyrgyzstan, where we can recommend to policymakers a disclosure policy following the Third Pillar of Basel III, because not only can the bank's creditors use bank information to penalize the excessive bank risk, but borrowers can also use this information to discipline their banks.
Bakyt Ospanova, Houman A. Sadri, Raushan YelmurzayevaAssessing EU Perception in Kazakhstan's Mass MediaJournal of Eurasian Studies8172-822017Kazakhstan, paper explores the mass media perception of the European Union (EU) in Kazakhstan by utilizing the content analysis of the major mass media outlets. The authors examine news reports and periodical articles from four major national Kazakh newspapers using three measurement points. The first measurement point covers the early 1990s when Kazakhstan declared independence and began to establish its foreign relations. The second measurement point covers the periods before and after introduction of the EU Strategy for Central Asia (2006–2008). The third measurement point covers the years (2011–2013) associated with implementation with the EU Strategy and assessing its results. Our main findings suggest that Kazakhstan's mass media positively perceives the role of the EU in the region. Moreover, they tend to portray the EU mainly as an economic powerhouse. Our findings support some suggestions by similar studies of the EU's external perception.
Diana Kurdaibergenova“My Silk Road to You”: Re-imagining Routes, Roads, and Geography in Contemporary Art of “Central Asia”Journal of Eurasian Studies8131-432017Central Asia, art, paper re-focuses the Silk Road discussions from the position of contemporary art in Central Asian region. Since the late 1980s contemporary art in Central Asia boomed and it eventually became an alternative public space for the discussion of cultural transformations, social and global processes and problems that local societies faced. Initially the questions raised by many artists concerned issues of lost identity and lost heritage during the period of Soviet domination in the region. Different artists started re-imagining the concept of the Self in their works and criticising the old rigid approaches to geography, history and mobility. Nomadic heritage became one of the central themes in contemporary art of Central Asia in the 1990s. Artists started experimenting with symbols of mobility, fluid borders and imagined geography of the “magic steppe” (see Kudaibergenova 2017, “Punk Shamanism”). Contemporary art in Central Asia continues to serve as a space for social critique and a space for search and re-conceptualisation of new fluid identities, geographies and region's place on the world map. In this paper I critically evaluate three themes connected to the symbolism of Silk Road heritage that many artists engage with – imagined geography, routes, roads and mobility. All three themes are present in the selected case studies of Gulnara Kasmalieva's and Muratbek Djumaliev's TransSiberian Amazons (2005) and A New Silk Road: Algorithm of Survival and Hope (2007) multi-channel video art, Victor and Elena Vorobievs’ (Non)Silk Road (2006) performance and photography, Almagul Menlibayeva's My Silk Road to You video-art and photography (2010–2011), Yerbossyn Meldibekov's series on imagining Central Asia and the Mountains of Revolution (2012–2015), and Syrlybek Bekbotaev's Kyrgyz Pass installation (2014–2015) as well as Defenders of Issyk Kul (2014). I trace how artists modernise, mutate and criticise main discourses about Silk Road and what impact this has on the re-imagination processes.
Ulugbek AzizovRegional Integration in Central Asia: From Knowing-that to Knowing-howJournal of Eurasian Studies822017Central Asia, international
Diana KurdaibergenovaMisunderstanding Abai and the Legacy of the Canon: “Neponyatnii” and “Neponyatii” Abai in Contemporary KazakhstanJournal of Eurasian Studies9120-292018Kazakhstan, nation building, Soviet canonisation of Abai, the nineteenth-century Kazakh poet and enlightener became a problematic theme for local intellectuals in the 2010s after the Occupy Abai movement in Moscow raised concerns over the heritage of Abai as a Sovietised canon and as an independent non-Soviet thinker. In 2012 oppositional leaders in Russia occupied Abai monument in Moscow and the leader of the opposition Alexey Navalny, called for his supporters to gather around the monument to unknown strange Kazakh guy using the Russian slang word – neponyatnii Kazakh. Local audience in Kazakhstan at first responded with offensive comments and questions to the Russian opposition movement – how come Abai, the Kazakh version of Russian poet and a visionary Alexander Pushkin, the symbol and canon of Soviet Kazakh literature and the symbol of post-Soviet Kazakhness and its culture could be unknown and strange? From the celebrated writer of the Soviet dekadas and Leninist prizes for Mukhtar Auezov's novel The Path of Abai (Abai Zholy) Abai turned into neponyatnii – incomprehensible, strange (in words of Russian Alexey Navalny) and neponyatii – misunderstood poet. These discussions on popular online Russophone as well as Kazakhophone platforms and blogs opened up a debate on the legacy and problematic canonisation of Abai. Is Abai misunderstood in contemporary Kazakhstani society? From short essays when famous writer Gerold Belger speaks to Abai's monument in central Almaty to mobile phone applications featuring Abai's Qara Sozder, to the famous anonymous Abai graffiti in central Almaty and Occupy Abai movement responses in Kazakh internet sphere, I trace the mutations of Abai's canon. These discussions reveal the conflicting trends of young Kazakhs and Kazakhstanis who take their cultural criticisms online but continue using the “national” frameworks in their globalized discussions.
Serik OrazgaliyevState Intervention in Kazakhstan's Energy Sector: Nationalisation or Participation?Journal of Eurasian Studies92143-1512018Kazakhstan, paper explores the dynamics of state intervention policies in Kazakhstan's petroleum sector between 2001 and 2012. Although the government in this period had become more assertive in relations with multinational enterprises (MNEs), a full-scale nationalisation had not occurred as the state strengthened control over the industry without forcing out oil multinationals. The findings suggest that the increased state intervention in Kazakhstan's petroleum sector was motivated by a rationale of indigenous capacity-building rather than by an exclusively economic rationale of maximising rents. It is often overlooked that the government endeavoured to achieve a greater participation of Kazmunaigas national oil company (NOC) in the domestic energy sector. Contrary to nationalisation, participation doctrine does not prioritise asset expropriation and/or displacing foreign investors. In Kazakhstan, participation strategy facilitated a partnership between the NOC and MNEs with the aim of strengthening local expertise.
Rashid AlimovThe Shanghai Cooperation Organisation: Its Role and Place in the Development of EurasiaJournal of Eurasian Studies92114-1242018Central Asia, international article analyses the role and place of the SCO in the development of interstate interaction in the Eurasian space, as well as the condition of and prospects for the main areas of multifaceted cooperation within the Organisation. The author further analyses the characteristics of the SCO partnership system as a model of interstate interaction that can provide an institutional platform for broad regional economic cooperation within the context of the new realities of Eurasian development, the implementation of member states’ national development strategies, the linking of efforts to align integration processes within the EAEU, and the implementation of China's One Belt, One Road initiative with the potential to form an overarching partnership between countries of Eurasia and the Asia-Pacific region.
Ildar DaminovReassessing Classification of Kazakhstan’s Ethnic Management Model: A Comparative ApproachJournal of Eurasian Studies112133-1432020nationalism, Kazakhstan, identity,’s model of ethnic management is often classified as a typical example of national identity-building. Kazakhstani politicians and media, however, prefer to refer to it as their unique third way. The article attempts to disprove both these claims. It argues that Kazakhstan merely uses two different ethnic management approaches—national identity-building and hegemonic exchange. The article tests this hypothesis by conducting a comparative analysis of various theoretical approaches to ethnic management and applying them to Kazakhstan. Furthermore, it explains what this dual approach means in terms of operationality by outlining the key challenges the model faces. The final section of the article summarizes its findings and provides recommendations.
Nafissa InsebayevaOn Becoming a Development Cooperation Partner: Kazakhstan’s Foreign Policy, Identity, and International NormsJournal of Eurasian Studies112158-1732020Kazakhstan, article joins the discussion on foreign aid triggered by the rise of multiplicity of emerging donors in international development. Informed by the constructivist framework of analysis, this article evaluates the philosophy and core features of Kazakhstan’s chosen development aid model and explains the factors that account for the construction of distinct aid patterns of Kazakh donorship. This article asserts that Kazakhstan embraces a hybrid identity as a foreign aid provider through combining features and characteristics pertaining to both—emerging and traditional donors. On one hand, it discursively constructed its identity as a “development cooperation partner,” adopting the relevant discourse of mutual benefit, respect for sovereignty, and non-interference, which places it among those providers that actively associate themselves with the community of “emerging donors.” On the other hand, it selectively complies with policies and practices advocated by traditional donors. This study suggests that a combination of domestic and international factors played an important role in shaping Kazakhstan’s understanding of the aid-giving practices, and subsequently determined its constructed aid modality.
Azamat SakievGuest Warriors: The Phenomenon of Post-Soviet Fighters in the Syrian ConflictJournal of Eurasian Studies112188-2002020security, Central Asia, puzzling aspect of the Syrian war has been the seemingly endless infusion of foreign fighters who have fueled and sustained the conflict. Unique among these are the militants from former Soviet regions such as Northern Caucasus in Russia and republics of Central Asia. In the evolving complexity of a layered and multifaceted conflict, it is easy to overlook the incongruousness of their presence in the conflict. Unlike most other foreign fighters, including those joining from Western Europe and North America, the post-Soviet militants lack the ethno-linguistic ties to the region. Rather, they hail from areas steeped in comparatively secular traditions and largely detached from the central tenants of the Syrian war. This makes their presence among extremist groups, such as the Islamic State, somewhat intriguing and anomalous. A key question, therefore, is why would these individuals join what to them in many ways is an alien war with extremely prohibitive costs? This articles proposes, as complementary to the dominant religious-ideological accounts, an explanation rooted in the enabling effect of marginalization processes in militants’ domestic settings.
Boris Nikolaev, Christopher Boudreaux, Rauf SalahodjaevAre Individualistic Societies Less Equal? Evidence from the Parasite Stress Theory of ValuesJournal of Economic Behavior & is widely believed that individualistic societies, which emphasize personal freedom, award social status for accomplishment, and favor minimal government intervention, are more prone to higher levels of income inequality compared to more collectivist societies, which value conformity, loyalty, and tradition and favor more interventionist policies. The results in this paper, however, challenge this conventional view. Drawing on a rich literature in biology and evolutionary psychology, we test the provocative Parasite Stress Theory of Values, which suggests a possible link between the historical prevalence of infectious diseases, the cultural dimension of individualism–collectivism and differences in income inequality across countries. Specifically, in a two-stage least squares analysis, we use the historical prevalence of infectious diseases as an instrument for individualistic values, which, in the next stage, predict the level of income inequality, measured by the net GINI coefficient from the Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIID). Our findings suggest that societies with more individualistic values have significantly lower net income inequality. The results are robust even after controlling for a number of confounding factors such as economic development, legal origins, religion, human capital, other cultural values, economic institutions, and geographical controls.
Boram ShinInventing a National Writer: The Soviet Celebration of the 1948 Alisher Navoi Jubilee and the Writing of Uzbek HistoryInternational Journal of Asian Studies142117 - 1422017history, nation building, article traces the process through which Alisher Navoi, a fifteenth-century Chagatai-Turkic poet from Herat, Afghanistan, became uzbekified and sovietized by Uzbek writers and scholars from the 1920s to the 1940s. It focuses on how shifting visions of nation-building affected Navoi's representation in Uzbek national historiography during the early Soviet period. The 1948 Soviet celebration of the 500th anniversary of Alisher Navoi's birth established the poet as a symbol of Uzbek “national-exceptionalism” that distinguished the Uzbek nation from other Central Asian nations. As a consequence Alisher Navoi's legacies that had regional significance were reduced to national heritage and the region's history was revised accordingly. The article, however, argues that the Soviet canonization of Alisher Navoi was not a rootless imposition of cultural history unfamiliar to the Uzbek people. Rather it was a realization of a nation-building project initiated by native Central Asian intellectuals called Jadids before the very creation of the Uzbek nation-state. Even though these intellectuals were persecuted during the 1930s Stalinist Terror, their ideas survived and were picked up by a new generation of Uzbek writers. This article also discusses how World War II provided an opportunity and justification for the Uzbek writers to rediscover their nation's pre-Revolutionary history and strengthened the Uzbek national ownership of Navoi legacies.
Sally Cummings, Shairbek Juraev, Alexander Pugachev, Azamat Temirkulov, Medet Tiulegenov, Bermet TursunkulovaState, Regime, and Government in the Kyrgyz Republic (1991–2010): Disaggregating a RelationshipEast European Politics294443-4602013Kyrgyzstan, Elites, article explores how differentiating between the concepts of state, regime, and government adds analytical purchase to our understanding of post-independent politics in the ex-Soviet Kyrgyz Republic. By looking at the ways in which the government, regime, and state interact, it aims to strengthen existing understandings of why early liberalisation was thwarted in this republic, presidential rule proved twice difficult to maintain, and why the republic continues to face an unaltered fragile balance between how power is divided and how it is infrastructurally and coercively exercised.
Nargis KassenovaKazakhstan's National Security: Conceptual and Operational AspectsCentral Asian Survey242151-1642005Kazakhstan, article focuses on the conceptual aspect of Kazakhstan’s national security: how the notion of national security was constructed, under what influences, and what issues are prioritised. Analysis of these choices should bring out some features of the nature of the current regime and possible direction of Kazakhstan’s development. It also touches upon the operational aspect of Kazakhstan’s national security: the structure of the state apparatus responsible for the provision of national security. To illuminate the peculiarities of Kazakhstan’s model of national security, it is juxtaposed with conceptions and practices of other nation-states, namely the USA, Japan, EU states and Russia
Russell Kleinbach, Mehrigiul Ablezova, Medina AitievaKidnapping for Marriage (Ala Kachuu) in a Kyrgyz VillageCentral Asian Survey242191-2022005Central Asia, identity, kachuu is the act of abducting a woman to marry her. It includes a variety of actions ranging from elopement or staged abduction for consensual marriage to violent non-consensual kidnapping. ‘Kidnapping’ refers to the non-consensual variety, which typically involves a young man and his friends taking a young woman by deception or force to the home of his parents or a near relative. She is held in a room until his female relatives convince her to put on the marriage scarf. If necessary she is kept over night and sometimes raped, and is thus threatened by the shame of no longer being a pure woman. This research provides evidence that more than a third of ethnic Kyrgyz women have been married by non-consensual kidnapping, and that the practice has been increasing for at least the last half century. The paper describes all forms of ala kachuu and raises ethical concerns about non-consensual kidnapping.
Alisher IlkhamovArchaeology of Uzbek IdentityCentral Asian Survey233289-3262004identity, paper does not claim to provide a comprehensive illumination of modern Uzbek origins and genesis. The current paper attempts to switch the focus of analysis from ethnicity to nationality. It traces the emergence of Uzbek identity to the present day.
Oumar ArabovA Note on Sufism in Tajikistan: What Does it Look Like?Central Asian Survey233345-3472004history,"There are two main Sufi orders in Tajikistan: the Naqshbandiyya and the Qadiriyya. The Naqshbandiyya is larger than the latter and dates back to the 14th century. Its founder Bahauddin Naqshband (d. 1390) was born in Bukhara, an ancient Tajik political, cultural and religious centre. This order practises silent zikr and has a double character, being both elitist and popular. It is distinguished for its tradition of strong ties with politics. One of its most renowned representatives, Khaja Akhrar (d. 1490), had an immense influence over the rulers of his period. The Qadiriyya, founded by Abdul-Qadir Gilani (d. 1166), was first brought to the region at the end of the 12th century from Baghdad. The followers of the Qadiriyya brotherhood practice the loud zikr. The article maps the contours of Sufism in Tajikistan. "
Timur DadabaevPost‐Soviet Realities of Society in UzbekistanCentral Asian Survey232141-1662004identity, sociology, main thrust of this paper is to show, through the eyes of ordinary people, the complexity of post-Soviet Central Asian challenges and pressures in this time of transition. In the first section, after introducing the age composition of the Uzbekistani population, I consider ethnicity, regionalism and localism as the main forms of societal self-identification among Uzbekistanis. The first section concludes by highlighting a dual mentality that dominates Uzbekistani society: namely, Uzbekistan's traditionalism and modernity. In the second section, I link these complexities to the realities of the post-Soviet living environment by focusing on two issues that serve as indicators of everyday life in Uzbekistan: population welfare (present and expected) and the economy of Uzbekistani families (family income and expenditure). The aim is to draw a clear picture of the circumstances within which political and economic transitions are taking place. In the third section, I attempt to correlate these realities with public aspirations, hopes and confidence. In my concluding remarks, I will summarize Uzbekistani perspectives in terms of development and democratization potentials, and then re-define notions and re-locate targets for future research.
Zharmukhamed ZardykhanKazakhstan and Central Asia: Regional PerspectivesCentral Asian Survey212167-1832002Central Asia, article examines Kazakhstan's relations with other states in Central Asia in the immediate period following independence.
Farhod TolipovNationalism as a Geopolitical Phenomenon: The Central Asian CaseCentral Asian Survey202183-1942001Central Asia, international interest in the topic of nationalism reasserted itself after the collapse of the Soviet Union and following the end of the Cold War. In studies on post-Soviet transition processes the problem of national identification took central place. In Central Asian studies, national identity became a basic and even fashionable topic serving as a key for explaining other processes—political, economic, social, cultural—as well as for predicting the future development of the newly independent countries. It would seem natural and theoretically valid that national identification of peoples determines their future relationships—whether they will integrate or disintegrate , and whether they will live in conflict or at peace with each other. However, three questions arise regarding the studies of nationalism, namely: (1) What determines nationalism as such? (2) Why did nationalism in the newly independent states, and not other factors, become the focal point and key mechanism of political process and political science? (3) What kind of nationalism takes place in the region of Central Asia? Without understanding the very nature of nationalism (or ‘nationalism’) in a particular region any exploration of internal and foreign policy would be limited to a ‘mechanical’, that is superficial, description of events.
Alisher IlkhamovImpoverishment of the Masses in the Transition Period: Signs of an Emerging 'New Poor' Identity in UzbekistanCentral Asian Survey20133-542001history, economics, article centres around the analysis of an interview with Husain Jurayev (the last name is changed by the author), a Ferghana resident whom we interviewed twice in April and May 1997 and upon focus-group transcripts conducted through the fall of 1996 and the winter of 1997. Jurayev was referred to as an unofficial leader by focus-group participants recruited among rural residents of Ferghana province. Jurayev’s personality is interesting because it combines two prominent qualities: on the one hand, he shows a kind of ‘bolshevist ’ approach toward reality, and on the other, a loyalty to the values of Islam. On the basis of these characteristics we regard him as the mouthpiece of ‘new poor’ interests. The ‘new poor’ are constituted mostly of those rural inhabitants who have endured the worse of the socio-economic shock caused by the changes of the last several years. In this regard, Jurayev’s views represent an embryonic identity that expresses its interests in the form of a leftist ideology combined with elements of Islam. This hybrid movement is bound to expand in Uzbekistan as society becomes more and more stratified.
Azamat SarsembayevImagined Communities: Kazak Nationalism and Kazakification in the 1990sCentral Asian Survey183319-3461999Kazakhstan,"After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan, along with other 15 republics, appeared on the world stage as an independent sovereign state. As a post-Communist state, Kazakhstan has started a simultaneous triple transition from a centralized economy to a market economy and from authoritarianism to democracy, as well as from a centralized federal state to a sovereign nation-state. The purpose of this paper is to examine the nature of contemporary Kazak nationalism in this transition process. This issue is interesting and important for students of international relations because of the role of nationalism in international politics. This paper will look particularly at the impact of nationalism on Kazakh-Russian relations. On the other hand, the role of capitalism will be briefly mentioned because it is crucial in determining the substance of the present Kazakh relationship with Russia. "
Rafis AbazovPolicy of Economic Transition in KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey182197-2231999Central Asia, 1989-90, Gorbachev’ s political and economic reforms started to impact on the political and economic environment of not only Moscow, but also on the remote republics of the USSR such as Kyrgyzstan. In 1991, the consequences of the political development and reforms brought the USSR to its end. As a result of this the Kyrgyz Republic obtained its independence and emerged as a sovereign state for the first time in its history. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan, like all other Central Asian republics (CARs), faced a complex problem of a transition from a centralized socialist system towards a more open society based on a market driven economy. The issue of sustainable transition was complicated by the fact that the republic was not prepared for independence, and did not have enough time to adjust to the new political environment. Kyrgyzstan, therefore, faced a number of urgent transitional problems that needed to be solved in a pressing environment. The post-Soviet development strategy chosen by Kyrgyzstan’ s government was based on deep and comprehensive economic transformation, which would eventually create a firm foundation for its independent existence. These changes meant not only reform in economic policy or improvements in the system of economic management and regulation, but also fundamental reorganization in the overall economic system of the country. This articles explores the causes and consequences of these policies.
Gulnar Kendirbai‘We are Children of Alash…’ The Kazakh Intelligentsia at the Beginning of the 20th Century in Search of National Identity and Prospects of the Cultural Survival of the Kazakh PeopleCentral Asian Survey1815-361999Kazakhstan, history, the beginning of the 20th century economic and social problems caused by the Russian colonization of Kazakhstan had reached a critical point. In general the Russian colonization was characterized by the seizure of the best Kazakh grazing lands, connected with the mass immigration of Russian muzhiks (peasants) to Kazakhstan. The Russian bureaucratic system of rule aimed at the destruction of the traditional social structure of Kazakh nomadic society, as well as the Russification of the Kazakhs with subsequent conversion to Christianity. All these factors further intensified the general crisis of the Kazakh nomadic way of life and a critical decline in the Kazakhs’ standard of living. The political crisis in Russia itself after the revolution of 1905 and later World War I resulted in an intensification of political activity both in Russia and its provinces. This article traces the emergence of the national liberation movement Alash.
Alisher IlkhamovShirkats, Dekhqon Farmers and Others: Farm Restructuring in UzbekistanCentral Asian Survey174539-5601998Central Asia, history,"During the Soviet era kolkhozes (collective farms) and sovkhozes (state-owned farms) represented the dominant form of agricultural management and were large enterprises with complex internal structures and management systems Pursuing the path of reforms, the government of Uzbekistan had chosen the strategy of gradual and partial changes. In spite of the noted diversity of producer types, kolkhozes remain dominant (by acreage and economic role) occupying 55 per cent of all the irrigated land used for agricultural purposes in Uzbekistan. This article examines the situation with agriculture in Uzbekistan, arguing that the rural economy being reduced to a subsistence based household economy may lead, and is already leading, to negative effects on agricultural production efficiency and the revival of patriarchal values which present a favourable environment for autocracy."
Saulesh Esenova‘Tribalism’ and Identity in Contemporary Circumstances: The Case of KazakstanCentral Asian Survey173443-4621998Kazakhstan, is generally agreed that today the tribe as an actual social structure has declined in significance all over the world. In most cases tribes contributed to the creation of ethnicities, and were replaced by them. However, there are some societies where tribal attachments are still quite strong, and the tribe as a referent for social identity and loyalty has persisted. This article explores modern tribalism within the context of Kazakhstan.
Yasmin MeletChina's Political and Economic Relations with Kazakhstan and KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey172229-2521998Central Asia, China, emergence of the independent Central Asian republics has enabled China to become an important and active player in this region. The ties she has forged with her neighbouring republics, particularly with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, will probably have a profound and lasting impact on the political and economic shaping of the Central Asian landscape. This article, examines how China has adapted herself to the emergence of these two republics on her north-western border and how she is defining her role in this new partnership. This analysis is carried out from China's perspective, as this constitutes an important element in the assessment of the regional dynamics taking place. The first part examines the foundations and context for these relationships. The second part will look at how the establishment of links between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and China enables the full development of regional trade, and the creation of an axis crossing the Eurasian continent. The third part will focus more specifically on political and ethnic issues in Xinjiang today.
Gulnar KendirbaiThe National Liberation Movement of the Kazakh Intelligentsia at the Beginning of the 20th CenturyCentral Asian Survey164487-5151997Kazakhstan, Elites, article charts the emergence of a national liberation movement in the early 20th century in Kazakhstan. Many leaders of this movement were linked to the Jadid movement. The main activities of the Kazakh intellectuals after 1905 were directed towards the publication of Kazakh newspapers, magazines and books, as well as the organization of democratic circles and units. They were also actively engaged in scientific and literary activities. This article offers a narrative of these activities and the founding of Alash (1917–1920), a constitutional democratic party which pushed for Kazakh independence.
Anatoly KhazanovThe Ethnic Problems of Contemporary KazakhstanCentral Asian Survey142243-2641995identity, sociology, ethnicity, of ethnic conflict assert, in one way or another, that the competition for power, privilege, and scarce resources in multiethnic societies propels participants to oppose each other as members of different ethnic groups with ascriptive loyalties and conflicting interests. Many scholars have demonstrated that social mobilization in plural modernizing societies is related to ethnic competition for the benefits of modernity, especially when modernization is differential and benefits are not equally spread among ethnic groups. At the same time, some scholars point out that ethnic specialization may put ethnic groups in the direction of complementary rather than competitive occupations and reduce ethnic tensions. Using Kazakhstan as an example, this article argues that in times of rapid political and social changes and instability the opposite is often true, and that ethnic division of labour only strains inter-ethnic relations, especially if one ethnic group is identified with an alien outside power base.
Anatoly KhazanovMeskhetian Turks in Search of Self‐IdentityCentral Asian Survey1141-161992Central Asia, minorities, identity, networks, the many ethnic problems of the Soviet Union, and now of the Commonwealth of Independent States, one of the most acute is the problem of deported and dispersed ethnic groups: the Crimean Tatars, Germans, Kurds, Meskhetian Turks, and several others. They were placed at the very bottom of the Soviet ethnic hierarchy and are often subject to a particular discrimination that was sanctioned by the central authorities. Not only the policies of the central and regional elites, but also real cultural and religious differences, as well as ethnic competition in the worsening economic situation often fuel prejudices, ill-will and discrimination by the ethnic majorities toward deported minorities in their midst. At the same time, their demands often affect other ethnic groups. The local authorities and a majority of the population of those territories from which these people were banished are against their return to their homelands. This article this situation using the example of Meskhetian Turks, one of the so-called punished peoples of the USSR.
Galym Zhussipbek, Zhanar NagayevaHuman Rights of Daughters-in-law (Kelins) in Central Asia: Harmful Traditional Practices and Structural OppressionCentral Asian Survey2020Central Asia, religion, familial position and social status of daughters-in-law (kelins) in ‘traditional’ Central Asian families can be characterized as low, subservient and marginalized. By adopting normative human rights discourse, this paper argues that it is an example of the relativist challenge of cultural authenticity towards the universality of human rights, specifically women’s human rights. By using participant observation which can also be qualified as experiential research, serial in-depth and informal interviews, and an analysis of posts published in social media, the forces driving the persistence of a relativist approach to kelins’ human rights such as retraditionalization, the revival of conservative Islam, an unawareness of the human rights and the patterns of authority-subordination are explored. Through a conceptual framework combining Iris Young’s concept of the ‘five faces of oppression’ and the notion of ‘harmful traditional practices’, elaborated by international human rights documents, the study conceptualizes the family position and social status of the kelins as one of structural oppression or systemic injustice, created and legitimized by informal, harmful traditional norms and practices.
Brent Hierman, Navruz NekbakhtshoevExploiting Norms: Gender, Local Elites and Farm Individualization in TajikistanCentral Asian Survey2020Tajikistan, agriculture, gender, article advances a straightforward argument: a complete analysis of land reform processes in Central Asia needs to account for gender dynamics. More explicitly, it argues that alongside the feminization of agriculture, customary gender norms restricting female economic opportunities and property acquisition represent a structural advantage for local elites interested in hindering or delaying the process of farm individualization in Tajikistan. After overviewing the gap between female legal rights to agricultural land and the actualization of these rights in four Central Asian states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) the article narrows its focus to Tajikistan. After regression analyses reveal that gendered information gaps are insufficient to account for gaps in the registration of farmland, the study presents qualitative data examining the relationship between female-headed households and the slow pace of agrarian change in Tajikistan.
Rachel Harris, Ablet KamolovNation, Religion and Social Heat: Heritaging Uyghur Mäshräp in KazakhstanCentral Asian Survey2020religion, Kazakhstan, Uyghur, article brings together archival and ethnographic research to explore the ways that expressive culture and intangible cultural heritage flow across national borders, how transnational communities in Central Asia engage with discourses and practices of preservation and revitalization, and how local heritage initiatives can respond to the pressures of economic marginalization, migration, Islamization and cultural assimilation. Mäshräp gatherings involving music, dancing and joking have played a prominent role in modern imaginings of Uyghur national identity, and in local processes of community-making. Since 2009, Uyghurs in Kazakhstan have engaged in new forms of ‘heritaging’ mäshräp, attempting to revive their role as a medium for strengthening communities and sustaining language and culture. We argue that the unruly, affective and performative aspects of mäshräp are key to the success of these social goals, and we highlight their role as a space for the negotiation of tensions between religion, nation and hot sociality.
Mohira SuyarkulovaFashioning the Nation: Gender and Politics of Dress in Contemporary KyrgyzstanNationalities Papers442247-2652016Kyrgyzstan, gender, article investigates gendered nationalist ideologies and their attendant myths and narratives in present-day Kyrgyzstan through an investigation of clothing items and practices. Clothes “speak volumes,” revealing tensions between gendered narratives of nationhood and various interpretations of what “proper” Kyrgyz femininities and masculinities should be. Clothing thus becomes both a sign and a site of the politics of identity, inscribing power relations and individual strategies of Kyrgyz men and women onto their bodies. Individual clothing choices and strategies take place within the general context of discursive struggles over what authentic and appropriate representations of Kyrgyzness should be. Thus, such clothing items as ak kalpak (conical felt hats) and the practice of Muslim women covering their head (hijab) acquire social and political meanings that stand for wider processes of identity contestations in the country.
Hafiz BoboyorovSymbolic Legitimacy of Social Ordering and Conflict Settlement Practices: The Role of Collective Identities in Local Politics of TajikistanJournal of Intervention and Statebuilding144518-5332020authoritarianism, identity, identities like Islamic, kinship and geographical affiliations commit people to norms and practices of social ordering and influence their everyday practices. This article discusses how collective identities commit people in southern Tajikistan to patriarchal and authoritarian ordering and conflict settlement in view of unequal and contested distribution of power. A commitment to such illiberal norms and practices legitimises an exploitation of marginalised people. It discredits and prevents their discontent, court deals or open resistance. Furthermore, patriarchal and authoritarian conflict management ostracises rivals and/or suppresses those who criticise a hierarchical distribution of resources, co-optation deals, and patron-client exchanges.
Aksana IsmailbekovaPeace in the Family is the Basis of Peace in the Country: How Women Contribute to Local Peace in Southern KyrgyzstanJournal of Intervention and Statebuilding144483-500 2020Kyrgyzstan, identity, has been a significant amount of research on peacebuilding in Central Asia in general and in Kyrgyzstan in particular. This has helped us both understand socio-political processes in the republic itself, and the shortcomings of the liberal peacebuilding framework in general. However, this work has, with rare exceptions, focused largely on male peacebuilding at either the state or international scale. Correcting that trend, this article illuminates the role of women peacebuilders in the post-conflict city of Osh. Based on ethnographic research conducted in 2016, it argues that women have a hitherto overlooked but nonetheless important ‘invisible’ role in peacebuilding.
Aksana IsmailbekovaConstructing the Authority of Women Through Custom: Bulak Village, KyrgyzstanNationalities Papers442266-2802016Kyrgyzstan, gender, traditional authority of Kyrgyz women operates within moral frameworks and through their roles as keepers of hearth and home, and has been recognized by the state for its important role in family life and in society. Women are responsible for the health of future generations, for the quality of children's education, and for safeguarding and passing on moral principles, which contribute to the formation of the traditional Kyrgyz family, and thus to the Kyrgyz nation. Kyrgyz ideas that women are keepers of hearth and home are exactly the ideas that allow women to build authority within the home and family. Not only do Kyrgyz women actually gain a great deal of power in their families over the course of their lives, but also this female power is foundational to the Kyrgyz sense of nation and sovereignty. Thus, what seems to be “domestic” power is, in fact, power with very public connections and effects.
David Lewis, Saniya SagnayevaCorruption, Patronage and Illiberal Peace: Forging Political Settlement in Post-Conflict KyrgyzstanThird World Quarterly41175-952020Kyrgyzstan, ethnicity, Corruption, article engages critically with recent literature on political settlements through a case study of inter-ethnic conflict in southern Kyrgyzstan. The case study traces how a new political settlement emerged in the aftermath of conflict, despite a rejection of international proposals on conflict resolution. Instead, local elites constructed an exclusionary form of social order, forged through dispossession and violence, maintained by informal institutions of patronage and clientage. The article explains why this new political settlement appeared remarkably resilient, despite its failure to address traditional liberal concerns regarding transitional justice and minority grievances. The case study highlights two major problems with the political settlements literature. First, it contests a widespread conceptualisation of political settlements as indicating a cessation of conflict, instead pointing to how a political settlement can be initiated and maintained through different forms of violence. Second, it questions notions of inclusivity in political settlements, noting that many political settlements combine logics of both inclusion and exclusion. In many cases, they are marked by exclusionary, authoritarian practices that together constitute a form of ‘illiberal peace’. These findings caution against a simplistic use of political settlements theory to inform policies aimed at resolving internal conflicts.
Vera AxyonovaPromoting Justice Reforms in Central Asia: The European Union’s Rule of Law Initiative as Part of a Comprehensive Democratization Strategy?Central Asian Affairs3129–482016law, Central article examines the European Union’s (eu’s) rule of law promotion in post-Soviet Central Asia. More specifically, it focuses on the eu’s Rule of Law Initiative, which aims to support legal sector modernization and judicial reforms in the region. Drawing on the “democratic rule of law” (droL) model developed by Magen and Morlino, the article analyzes whether the Rule of Law Initiative can contribute to democratization processes in Central Asia. Based on content analysis of eu documents and semi-structured expert interviews with European and Central Asian stakeholders, the study reveals the eu’s very limited ability to trigger genuine reform. The main reasons are its lack of leverage in the region, limited financial resources, and reliance on the joint ownership approach in the context of authoritarian states.
Emil Nasritdinov, Philipp Schröder From Frunze to Bishkek: Soviet Territorial Youth Formations and Their Decline in the 1990s and 2000sCentral Asian Affairs311–282016Kyrgyzstan, urban article presents an “alternative urban history” of Bishkek (Frunze). We describe the history of Soviet streets and of the everyday life of young people, whose narratives fit neither the Soviet nor the post-Soviet history textbooks. Yet, these stories are extremely important, rich, and unique. They reveal the complex dynamics of the social organization of urban territories in cities of Soviet origin. The research has shown that the territorial youth culture of Frunze had much in common with similar developments in cities all across the Soviet Union. At the same time, it developed its own particular features, complexities, and diversities due to specific local conditions. The study also provides insights into the power of territory. It reveals how identities, everyday practices, and the socialization of young people were embedded in the specific geographies of the Kyrgyz capital.
Shahnoza NozimovaHijab in a Changing Tajik SocietyCentral Asian Affairs3295–1162016religion, Tajikistan, article investigates Islamic veiling (hijab), an issue that has occupied center stage in the public debate in Tajikistan. State officials and institutions view it as alien (begona), while proponents argue it is a religious obligation (farz) to be fulfilled by every pious woman, especially outside of her domestic settings. I detail the limitations and functionalities that hijab offers for women in contemporary Tajikistan. In particular, as women experience increased pressure to seek employment outside of the home, there appears to be a need to construct new, socially acceptable, mechanisms to manifest conformity to patriarchy and to protect female purity (iffat) and honor (nomus): hijab and (pious) Islamic identity can potentially offer both. This study is based upon analysis of the existing literature on veiling in diverse contexts and the author’s field research in Tajikistan.
Malika BahovadinovaTajikistan’s Bureaucratic Management of Exclusion: Responses to the Russian Reentry Ban DatabaseCentral Asian Affairs33226–2482016migration, Central Asia, Russia, article analyzes the consequences of the Russian Federation’s introduction of an electronic database that dynamically generates lists of individuals with reentry bans, with a focus on its effect on the Tajik migration management bureaucracy and Tajik migrant workers. Countering standard narratives about the passive citizenry of authoritarian states, it demonstrates how Tajik citizens change the emphasis in the bureaucracy through their everyday encounters with civil servants and bureaucrats. However, this is not a clear case of subversion or subaltern agency, but rather an engagement that remains structured by capitalist needs for expendable, disciplined, and most importantly deportable alien labor.
Farrukh Irnazarov, Marina KayumovaToward Smart City Development in Central Asia: A Comparative AssessmentCentral Asian Affairs4151–822017Central Asia, urbanization triggered by population growth creates additional challenges in city planning, prompting governments and municipalities to search for innovative approaches. Smart city initiatives have proven efficient solutions for emerging urban challenges in many developed countries. Smart cities aim to improve living conditions, make more efficient use of physical infrastructure, and promote environmental sustainability. Cities in Central Asia face many urban challenges, including deteriorating and aging infrastructure, traffic congestion, inadequate waste management systems, and pollution. Sustainable urban management strategies are needed to address these challenges as well as to improve citizens’ quality of life and welfare in the longer term. This article assesses the potential for introduction of smart city projects in six major cities of Central Asia (Almaty, Astana, Ashgabat, Bishkek, Dushanbe, and Tashkent), and suggests an integrative framework for subsequent analysis of smart city development in this region.
Asel Doolotkeldieva, Alexander Wolters Uncertainty Perpetuated? The Pitfalls of a Weakly Institutionalized Party System in KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Affairs4126–502017law, Central Asia, Elites, parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan in October 2015 garnered widespread approval from commentators for the level of fairness and freedom maintained throughout the campaign. However, the results of the vote do not provide a clear indication of the current state of affairs of parliamentarism in the republic. Focusing on the commercialization of party lists, we argue that neither identity politics nor the logic of neopatrimonialism adequately explain the dynamics of political competition in Kyrgyzstan. Instead, we see perpetual uncertainty emerging from contradicting yet increasing attempts to harness the capital of privatized party lists and to impose discipline. Eventually, and beyond short-term threats of an emerging super-presidentialism, Kyrgyzstan risks suffering from hollow parliamentarism, with political parties persistently failing to supply legislative initiatives with substantial agendas and adequate professionals. The weakly institutionalized political parties and their short-sighted electoral strategies undermine both the parliamentary system and its political pluralism.
Barbara Junisbai, Azamat Junisbai, Baurzhan ZhussupovTwo Countries, Five Years: Islam in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan Through the Lens of Public Opinion SurveysCentral Asian Affairs411–252017Kyrgyzstan, religion, on two waves of public opinion surveys conducted in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, we investigate the rise in religiosity and orthodoxy among Central Asian Muslims. We confirm that a religious revival is underway, with nearly 100 percent of Kazakhstani and Kyrgyzstani Muslims self-identifying as such in 2012—up from 80 percent in Kazakhstan in 2007. If we dig a bit deeper, however, we observe cross-national variations. Religious practice, as measured by daily prayer and weekly mosque attendance, is up in Kyrgyzstan, but has fallen in Kazakhstan. While the share of those who express preferences associated with religious orthodoxy has grown in both, this group has more than doubled in Kazakhstan. We attribute these differences to political context, both in terms of cross-national political variation and, within each country, variation based on regional differences.
Akram UmarovAssessing China’s New Policy in AfghanistanCentral Asian Affairs44384–4062017Central Asia, China,"Prior to 2001, Beijing faithfully observed the principles of neutrality and non-interference regarding Afghanistan, yet it has become one of the key actors in appeasing the conflict, especially since 2014. Numerous scholars suggest that China’s U-turn is related to the potential threat posed by the Uygur separatists in Afghanistan. This study suggests an alternate motive; namely, that Afghanistan’s strategic location—the heart of Central and South Asia, the Middle East, and East Asia—drives China’s increased interest. "
Diana KurdaibergenovaContemporary Public Art and Nation: Contesting “Tradition” in Post-Socialist Cultures and SocietiesCentral Asian Affairs44305–3302017Central Asia, culture, nationalism, contemporary art movement attempts to remain independent from official sources of power in order to generate ideas and discourses focusing on temporality and contemporaneity. In addition to art works and performances, some artists transmit their ideas through their public discussions and activism. But without a new value systems, a post-socialist society may fall into the trap of “inventing and re-inventing traditions,” and thus many social actors tend to block artists’ access to the discourses of temporality, “tradition,” nation, and gender. This article analyzes three instances where these “traditions” guided artistic discussions in the fields of sexuality, gender roles, and the sacredness of nation, which are all connected to the newly formed conservative values of the national and traditional that allow many nationalist conservatives to justify control over and criticism of independent cultural production.
Rano TuraevaInformal Economies in the Post-Soviet Space: Post-Soviet Islam and Its Role in Ordering Entrepreneurship in Central AsiaCentral Asian Affairs5157–752018Central Asia, Russia, religion, paper sheds light on informal economies, focusing on transnational entrepreneurs between Central Asia and Russia. Both male and female entrepreneurs from Central Asia live mobile economic lives, traveling between Central Asia and Russia and forming a kind of class. With Islam playing a prominent role in the regulation of informal economies, Islamic belonging has become a stronger marker of identity than ethnicity among Central Asian migrants in Russia, and mosque communities have grown in influence. Mosques have become places to meet and socialize, where contacts are established and maintained.
Gulnora IskandarovaThe Socio–Economic Life around Beans in Kyrgyzstan: Practices, Discourses and Local HouseholdsCentral Asian Affairs5132– production is a feature of post-independence agriculture in Kyrgyzstan, and bean production has come to play an influential role in the daily lives of ordinary people. This study aims to investigate the role of beans and bean cultivation in the agrarian villages of Talas (such as Amanbaev and Bala–Saruu) by discussing how practices, discourses and local households are shaped around bean production. Moreover, this study investigates the impact of bean cultivation on the socio-economic life of farmers by applying the concept of biocultural diversity as well as an ethnographic approach.
Ulan Bigozhin Nation-Building and a School Play in a Kazakh Saint’s JubileeCentral Asian Affairs5116–312018religion, Kazakhstan, article focuses on a theatrical play performed during the Jubilee, the anniversary feast of Isabek Ishan, a local Kazakh saint. The state-supported celebration at Isabek’s restored shrine is an example of the nation-building processes of post-Soviet Kazakhstan. The Jubilee brought together pre-Soviet, Soviet, and post-Soviet themes, including narratives of sainthood and the significance of local sacred lineages. The play depicts Stalinist repression of religion, pointing to the importance of religious nationalism in contemporary state ideology. Despite occupying a relatively small space in the celebration, the play demonstrated how Stalinist trauma continues to inform local Muslim beliefs and practices, emphasizing the association of Kazakh nationalism with religious practices.
Nurbek BekmurzaevMediatization of Religion in Kyrgyzstan: Diffusion of Religious Authority and Changing Perceptions of ReligionCentral Asian Affairs53253–2732018Kyrgyzstan, religion, article explores the media’s role in facilitating religious change in Kyrgyzstan. Taking Stig Hjarvard’s theory of mediatization as its point of departure, it goes on to examine how his thesis works when applied to the case of Islam in Kyrgyzstan. It argues that the media facilitates religious transformation in Kyrgyzstan by redefining the power constellation between various religious actors and bridging the gap between ethnic and religious identities, mainly through language. By reinforcing people’s religious identities, the media creates more intricate ways for Kyrgyzstan’s Muslims to relate to each other.
Ulan Bigozhin Local Politics and Patronage of a Sacred Lineage Shrine in KazakhstanCentral Asian Affairs53233–2522018religion, Kazakhstan, to saints’ shrines is an important Islamic practice in Kazakhstan. Kazakhs go on pilgrimages seeking cures for disease, blessings for the future, and a connection to the past. Pilgrimage sites and those who control them are not, however, apolitical. The control of shrines and the business of pilgrimage are both connected to governmental nation-building policies. This paper shows that traditional shrine keepers from sacred lineages (qozha) in northern Kazakhstan seek patronage from political and economic elites in order to build, maintain, and expand shrine complexes. These patrons are often state officials who expect returns in cultural capital for investments of economic capital. The different goals of patrons and shrine-keepers occasionally lead to conflict. This paper examines one such conflict and explores what it reveals about the interplay between religion and local politics in Kazakhstan.
Donohon Abdugafurova Islam, Morality and Public Education: Religious Elements of Ethics and Etiquette in the Uzbek School CurriculumCentral Asian Affairs53213–2322018identity, Uzbekistan, by Arabic and Persian traditions, the plural word Ādāb in the Uzbek language (sing. adab) as a social term connotes a discipline of character development in ethics and morals. As a literary term, adab means a concept of aesthetics that teaches morality. The prevalence of the concept in Uzbek society is evidenced by the fact that there is a school subject called Odobnoma: adab studies. These elementary-school classes aim to cultivate moral uprightness, social responsibility and virtue. On the surface, the subject seems to be secular, yet a closer analysis of the themes and topics of Odobnoma reveals indirect Islamic influence. This is partly because Central Asian cultures contain Islamic teachings, which have become a part of the national understanding of morality, ethics and etiquette. This article explores the influence of these teachings from the Uzbek perspective of “national character.”
Aisulu KulbayevaPolycentricity of Linguistic Landscape and Nation-Building in Post-Soviet KazakhstanCentral Asian Affairs54289–3122018Kazakhstan, Nationalism, study illustrates a key existing challenge to realizing trilingualism as a major nation-building language ideology: the ideological polycentricity of multilingual signs—that is, the simultaneous orientation of multilingual signs to several authority centers. Combining diverse linguistic landscape (LL) methodologies such as code preferences (language choices and placement on a sign), indexical orders (patterns that index meta-messages), and polycentricity (a simultaneous orientation toward multiple centers), I examine how three state-approved languages (Kazakh, Russian, and English) are positioned on 346 state and private signs in a small town in northern Kazakhstan. The analysis reveals a range of indexical orders at the level of sign type: monolingual, bilingual, and trilingual sign types of horizontal, vertical, and centralized code combinations. At the level of signage group, bilingual Kazakh-Russian and trilingual Kazakh-Russian-English signs dominate in the top-down group, while monolingual Russian and bilingual Kazakh-Russian signs with centralized Russian dominate in the bottom-up group. The identified indexical orders indicate ideological polycentricity in town public signage, which presents a challenge for the nation-building process.
Cholpon Turdalieva, Medet TiulegenovaWomen, the Parliament and Political Participation in Post-Soviet KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Affairs52134–1592018Kyrgyzstan, civil society, paper explores women’s participation in parliamentary elections in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan. Using various methods, it offers an interdisciplinary perspective on factors that affect the likelihood of women participating successfully in parliamentary elections. This study supports the general literature on the effects of gender quotas and proportional representation, but its results on other factors are mixed. The factor of financial resources is significant, though its impact has been reduced with the introduction of gender quotas, while other factors—such as social status—may not be particularly important. The public perception of a woman in politics is not the greatest obstacle to women’s representation, and a female candidate’s professional status may often be attractive to party leaders.
Bahtiyar Kurambayev, Mary Sheffer, Ecaterina StepaniucAn Investigation of Journalists’ Job Satisfaction in Bishkek, Capital of the Kyrgyz RepublicCentral Asian Affairs6147–672019Kyrgyzstan, results of a survey of journalists in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan (N=211) demonstrate that they primarily see their societal role as being to mobilize people with common interests and provide objective analysis. The media’s traditional role as a watchdog, meanwhile, was rated least important by journalists in the country, which is widely considered the “most democratic” in Central Asia. The study also found that the majority described themselves as being “neither satisfied nor dissatisfied” professionally, a feeling directly impacted by their income, sense of autonomy, and supervisor’s perceived ability. Low salary, disagreement with editorial policy, and excessive pressure were found to be the leading reasons that Kyrgyz journalists left the profession. This research extends previous knowledge of journalists’ job satisfaction by examining the often-overlooked region of Central Asia. The surveys were conducted between April 29 and May 19, 2016, primarily in the Russian and Kyrgyz languages.
Diana KurdaibergenovaReligion, Power, and Contemporary Art in Central Asia: Visualizing and Performing IslamCentral Asian Affairs62224–2522019Central Asia, culture, religion, art, article examines diverse perceptions and discourses of Islam, fundamentalism, spirituality, and culture in the contemporary Central Asian context, revealed through the study of contemporary art and its discussions about these phenomena. While many online sources and social media accounts provide a framework for different types of religiosity—cultural, pious, or fundamental—contemporary art in the region serves as a platform for critiquing religion as a whole. I use the examples of the most famous works by prominent Central Asian contemporary artists, who discuss Tengriism, Islam, and other religious practices in their works, performances, and videos. The diversity of online platforms that transfer discussions of Islam and religion to the digital forums through which third-wave artists promote their works also create space for more pluralistic views of—and discourses on—Islam.
Shahnoza Nozimova, Tim Epkenhans The Transformation of Tajikistan’s Religious Field: From Religious Pluralism to Authoritarian InertiaCentral Asian Affairs62133–1652019religion, recent transformation of Tajikistan’s political system has significantly altered the social and political context in which the country’s lay Muslims and religious elites negotiate Islam and Islamic normativity. The quasi-governmental Islamic Center (Markazi Islomi) has taken on a more dominant role, becoming the sole official (state-approved) Islamic institution in Tajikistan defining Islamic normativity. In this work, we explore the rationale behind the Tajik state’s pursuit of this political trajectory, conduct a detailed examination of the religious edicts ( fatwas) issued by the Islamic Center, and identify its conservative trends. Our research suggests that the Islamic Center offers the Tajik government a way to achieve its much-desired monopoly over the religious field. Furthermore, we argue that the Islamic Center’s conservative interpretation of Islam, with its emphasis on political conformity, social patriarchy, and limited mystical experience, is far more “legible” and administratively manageable for the authoritarian regime than the previous religious pluralism.
Aigoul Abdoubaetova Secondary Schools and Inequality: Navigating the Fragmented Landscape of Educational Choices in Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Affairs7180–1102020Kyrgyzstan, research aims to describe how parents navigate secondary education choices in Bishkek in the context of diverse school choice options. The paper uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, which include interviews and a complementary survey with parents. The paper provides an overview of the state of school options in Bishkek, explores parental motivations in choosing schools, and engages in a wider debate about educational inequality. By examining parental school choices and motivations, the research reveals that inequality in secondary education in Bishkek is multi-layered and depends on how families can utilize their resources: parents with larger resources in the form of financial, social, and cultural capital are most advantaged, while the majority of under-resourced families are left with little choice and schools of poor quality. This state of affairs has strong implications for the growing socio-economic inequality and creates additional cleavages between social groups.
Aigerim Kopeyeva Understanding Factors Behind Regional Inequality in Education in KazakhstanCentral Asian Affairs7138–792020Kazakhstan, Education, international"There are significant regional disparities in students’ outcomes in Kazakhstan. Whilst there has been progress in the overall quality of secondary education, large-scale assessments demonstrate a gap in knowledge of several years between certain Southern and Western regions when compared to the top-performing city of Almaty. The author analyzed country data from timss 2015 using the Learning-adjusted years of schooling (lays) measure developed by the World Bank along with an expert survey to understand the factors behind this disparity across the country. The author’s analysis suggests that this situation can be caused by the lack of specific regional education development policies, the language of instruction in school, and the poor socioeconomic development of the region in the first place. There are also indications that students in the disadvantaged regions might be less motivated, which can affect their academic achievement. The author proposes a two-stage policy intervention to improve the chances for good childhood education across regions."
Dina SharipovaState Reforms and Informal Payments in Secondary Education of KazakhstanCentral Asian Affairs72175–1952020Kazakhstan, paper explores the issue of informal payments in the education sector. State underinvestment in education has significantly increased the scope of informal payments in the post-independence period. The authorities of Kazakhstan have legalized informal payments by introducing Councils of Trustees, creating open school budget accounts, and making changes in the distribution of public expenditures. Although these measures have reduced informal payments in schools, the money received from parents is still an important part of school budgets.
Dilnoza Ubaydullaeva “Franchise” Branch Campuses in Uzbekistan: The Internationalisation of Higher Education as a Solution?Central Asian Affairs72152–1742020Uzbekistan, Education, international transformed the way Higher Education (HE) is provided. Used correctly, internationalization can bring a useful exchange of services and resources into a country’s HE sector. Although there is a growing body of research on HE internationalization broadly, current scholarship overlooks the correlation of excessive reliance on opening of foreign university branches as a way to internationalize the HE sector and the development of the local HE system. This research thus provides the first insights into how the internationalization of HE may not necessarily solve a developing country’s problems in the local HE sector. Using the case of Uzbekistan, it argues that, in the absence of systematic reforms in the local HE system, HE reform that over-relies on the imported internationalization in the form of foreign university branches is not sustainable. Such “franchise” or “imported” internationalization does not contribute to the development of local HE system.
Alisher LatypovChoikhonai Surkh: The Replacement of “Opium Dens” with Red Teahouses and the Limits of the Soviet Enlightenment Project in TajikistanCentral Asian Affairs73236–2662020religion, this paper I trace sanitation, education, and cultural enlightenment practices in early Soviet Tajikistan, and reassess the role of red teahouses in addressing drug use and other health issues in the country. I examine the assertions of Soviet historians and physicians by drawing on extensive archival records from Russia and Tajikistan and local newspapers published in Tajikistan in the 1930s, and in doing so accentuate an alternative account that illustrates the limits of Soviet undertakings and the appalling gaps between the aspirations of Soviet leaders and reality. Red teahouses failed both to focus on health challenges and to tackle the use of narcotic intoxicants in early Soviet Tajikistan. The majority of these new Soviet facilities functioned as commercial socio-gastronomic entities until the late 1930s and beyond, rather than spreading health propaganda and engaging in the cultural construction and enlightenment of the Tajik people.
Emil Nasritdinov, Nurgul Esenamanova The War of Billboards: Hijab, Secularism, and Public Space in BishkekCentral Asian Affairs42217–2422017Kyrgyzstan, religion, this article, we explore how religion claims its space in the city of Bishkek. The growing community of practicing Muslims asserts the right to be in the city, live according to its religious ideals, and create Islamic urban spaces. Such claims do not remain uncontested and, because religious identity has strong visual manifestation, religious claims become the subject of strong public debate. This contestation overlaps with socially constructed gender hierarchies—religious/secular claims over the urban space turn into men’s claims over women with both sides (religious and secular) claiming to know what women should wear. Yet research shows that Kyrgyz women in Bishkek do not really need fashion advice. The Islamic revivalist movement among women in the Kyrgyz capital has since the 1990s created a strong momentum that has a life of its own and is fairly independent. Muslim women wearing a hijab have become very visible and influential urban actors with their own strong claims for the city.
Emil Nasritdinov‘Only by Learning How to Live Together Differently Can We Live Together At All’: Readability and Legibility of Central Asian Migrants’ Presence in Urban RussiaCentral Asian Survey352257-2752016migration, Central Asia, Russia, paper questions the effectiveness and usefulness of the Russian government's policies of migrant integration. Using a unique combination of ethnographic research methods (observations, interviews and survey) with methods from psychology (cognitive mapping) and urban studies (GIS mapping), I depict the presence of Central Asian migrants and their interaction with local long-term residents in two cities of the Russian Federation: Kazan and Saint Petersburg. On the basis of my findings, I argue that the readability (defined as the ease with which the city can be ‘read’ and understood) and legibility (defined as the degree to which individual components of an urban environment are recognizable by their appearance) of urban space in Kazan have positive effects on the relationship between these two communities, while the ambiguity and uncertainty of urban identity in Saint Petersburg make the life of migrants very vulnerable and unpredictable, and result in the growth of xenophobic views among the local residents. This allows me to argue that the policy of migrant integration will be more successful if it is built on learning to live with differences, instead of trying to ‘Russify’ migrants or create various forms of supra-ethnic identity.
Balihar Sanghera, Elmira SatybaldievaEthics of Property, Illegal Settlements and the Right to SubsistenceInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy32196-1142012Kyrgyzstan, purpose of this paper is to examine how illegal settlers and poor families struggle for basic necessities through land invasions, covert practices and illegal sabotage, examining how fundamental rights to subsistence and dignity are superior to private property claims.
Paul Fryer, Emil Nasritdinov, Elmira SatybaldievaMoving Toward the Brink? Migration in the Kyrgyz RepublicCentral Asian Affairs12171–1982014Kyrgyzstan, labor migration from Central Asia to the Russian Federation has been well documented and researched internationally, the equally important issue of internal migration has been largely ignored. Localized migratory processes should be recognized as vital factors in the region’s long-term social, economic, and security development. This article looks at migration from a domestic Kyrgyz perspective. It discusses the general effects of rural out-migration, the remittance “myth,” the effects on broken migrant families, hyper-urbanization in so-called novostroikas, and the less-discussed issue of creeping migration.
Elmira Satybaldieva A Mob for Hire? Unpacking Older Women’s Political Activism in KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey372247-2642018Kyrgyzstan, gender, article explores the politics of older women in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan, who have emerged as informal leaders in urban neighbourhoods to ‘speak for the poor’ to the state. Their mediating role is crucial for understanding community micro-politics, women’s political agency and more broadly state–society relations in the post-Soviet context. Drawing on in-depth interviews with older female informal leaders, the paper examines their political legitimacy and modes of mediation with the state and elites. Using Bourdieu’s concepts of political capital and ‘double dealings’, the paper argues that older women are important informal mediators, whose representational practices involve communal leadership, protest activism, bargaining and vote mobilization. Their multitasking roles are necessitated by their legitimation struggles and elites’ strategies of state capture. The article challenges the dominant media representation of older women activists as ‘a mob for hire’ and offers a more nuanced account of older women’s politics, addressing a blind spot in the literature on politics in Central Asia.
Gaziza Shakhanova, Jeremy GarlickThe Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union: Exploring the “Greater Eurasian Partnership”Journal of Current Chinese Affairs49133-572020Central Asia, Russia, China, Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is a key partner in China’s Belt, and Road Initiative (BRI), since it comprises the majority of territories which the BRI’s overland route, the Silk Road Economic Belt, needs to traverse as it crosses Central Asia on the way to Europe. The goal of this article is to explore the BRI in the context of BRI–EAEU coordination. The first part of the analysis focusses on the ways the Eurasian Economic Commission delineates the “Greater Eurasian Partnership” and counterposes it against China and the BRI. Then, the article compares two sets of interpretations of the BRI and “Greater Eurasian Partnership” obtained from interviews with elites in Kazakhstan and Russia. The interviews indicate that the BRI has had a much more forceful impact on local elites than Russia’s idea of “Greater Eurasian Partnership.”
Alisher IlkhamovThe Thorny Path of Civil Society in UzbekistanCentral Asian Survey243297-3172005civil society,"Civil society in Uzbekistan has a short history. It is debatable as to whether it even existed during the Soviet period because the Communist party and the state dominated in all aspects of society. After the dissolution of the USSR most of the new independent states pursued a policy of transition to the market economy and democracy, thus creating an opportunity for the emergence of civil society. The unleashing of private initiative in the various spheres of the economy and society combined with freedom of movement and, in a very limited scale, freedom of expression has led to a mushrooming of NGOs, independent media outlets, religious organisations and political parties. This process, however, has been uneven across the post-Soviet states. Within Central Asia itself one can witness significant differences in terms of social, economic and political progress. In Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan the situation proved to be much more liberal than in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan where the soviet style, state-centric political and civic culture was rooted much deeper than elsewhere in the post-communist world. "
Inomjon BobokulovCentral Asia: Is There an Alternative to Regional Integration?Central Asian Survey251-275-912006Central Asia, international"The region of Central Asia is truly in search of its niche in the system of international relations. The precipitous implosion and collapse of the Soviet Union created a unique opportunity for the former Soviet republics of Srednoy Azii i Kazakhstan, to fashion out composite relationships with the outside world, predicated on their legitimate and long-term strategic interests. Consequently, these nations have become full-fledged members of international community and active participants of a number of international and regional organizations. However, the search for an effective mechanism to realize their common interests is a work-in-progress, and warrants mention in their national and regional agendas. Stronger regional cooperation yielding to the multifaceted integration of the Central Asian states is the only viable avenue to achieving political stability, stimulating economic growth, and reinforcing the notions of democratic sovereignty "
Alisher IlkhamovNeopatrimonialism, Interest Groups and Patronage Networks: the Impasses of the Governance System in UzbekistanCentral Asian Survey27165-842007Central Asia, makes non-democratic regimes enduring and long-lasting? Is it only a reliance on coercion and fear? The use of coercion and intimidation as an exclusive means of control can serve authoritarian regimes in the short term, but it can hardly secure a regime’s sustainability in the longer term. The amazing longevity of some personalistic, authoritarian regimes in Central Asia, notably in Uzbekistan, prompts us to revisit this issue again. In search for such a clue, I came to the conclusion that the concept of neopatrimonialism provides insights that could put in place elements for an explanatory framework. The purpose of this paper is to test the concept of neopatrimonialism in the context of post-Soviet realities, taking Uzbekistan as a case study since it is becoming clear that the countries in this region are being affected by similar problems of mismanagement, problematic governance and corruption as witnessed in some nations of the South.
Kobil Ruziev, Dipak Ghosh, Sheila DowThe Uzbek Puzzle Revisited: An Analysis of Economic Performance in Uzbekistan since 1991Central Asian Survey2717-302007economics, the early years of transition output fell dramatically in almost all transition economies. However, the Uzbek experience was an exception to this rule. Output fell only slightly, soon to be followed by small but positive and persistent economic growth. This extraordinary performance, known as the Uzbek Puzzle, was explained in the literature by favourable economic conditions such as the dominance of agricultural production, the low level of initial industrialisation and the rich natural resource base. An alternative explanation of the Puzzle is that the relative resilience of the Uzbek economy during the early period of transition and its reasonably stable performance since the mid 1990s was due to the style of economic management which the Uzbek policy-makers adopted at the time. This paper analyses the economic performance of Uzbekistan since independence. We look at initial conditions, reform choice strategy and structure of the economy and its performance.
Damira Umetbaeva Paradoxes of Hegemonic Discourse in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan: History Textbooks’ and History Teachers’ Attitudes toward the Soviet PastCentral Asian Affairs23287–3062015Kyrgyzstan, history, nation building, article analyzes the creation of hegemonic discourse in a post-transformation society by examining representations of Soviet socialism in post-Soviet history textbooks and in the discursive practices of history teachers in Kyrgyzstan. While the textbooks attempt to fix a new hegemonic discourse about Soviet socialism, they also contain contradictory discourses. History teachers, in turn, have appropriated the discourse of the Kyrgyz nation-state and its modernization, adapting it to their own experiences. Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan has become a new type of state, where hegemonic discourse on both the official level and in the discursive practices of its citizens is ambivalent and outright contradictory.
Dina SharipovaWho Gets What, When and How? Housing and Informal Institutions in the Soviet Union and Post-Soviet KazakhstanCentral Asian Affairs22140–1672015Kyrgyzstan, urban reciprocal exchanges continue to shape people’s interactions in post-Soviet Kazakhstan. State retrenchment from the social sphere and growing inequality has markedly limited citizens’, access to scarce resources including housing. This has stimulated people’s involvement in informal exchanges. The article analyzes housing policy during the Soviet and post-Soviet periods taking a closer look at the process of housing allocation. It claims that despite formalization of housing distribution, citizens continue using informal networks to gain access to that scarce commodity in the post-Soviet period. The article draws on data collected from interviews, textual analysis, and original surveys conducted in Kazakhstan in 2011 and 2013.
Alisher KhamidovWhat It Takes to Avert a Regional Crisis: Understanding the Uzbek Government’s Responses to the June 2010 Violence in South KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Affairs22168–1882015Kyrgyzstan, conflict, Uzbekistan, peacebuilding, international played an important role during the June 2010 interethnic violence in South Kyrgyzstan by tightly controlling borders, allowing thousands of Kyrgyzstani refugees to cross into Uzbek territory, assisting in the shipment of international humanitarian assistance to Kyrgyzstan, and collaborating with the osce in the investigation of the causes of the violence. What explains Uzbekistan’s approach to the unrest in South Kyrgyzstan? Some scholars suggest that Uzbekistan’s response was shaped largely by external actors such as Russia. Others posit that domestic pressures account for the response. This article advances an alternative explanation: Tashkent’s response was largely a result of a consensus achieved at two levels: international and domestic. In explaining the impact of domestic level, the article emphasizes the role of bureaucratic politics—competition among various government agencies.
Paul Fryer, Emil Nasritdinov, Elmira Satybaldieva Moving Toward the Brink? Migration in the Kyrgyz RepublicCentral Asian Affairs12171–1982014Kyrgyzstan, labor migration from Central Asia to the Russian Federation has been well documented and researched internationally, the equally important issue of internal migration has been largely ignored. Localized migratory processes should be recognized as vital factors in the region’s long-term social, economic, and security development. This article looks at migration from a domestic Kyrgyz perspective. It discusses the general effects of rural out-migration, the remittance “myth,” the effects on broken migrant families, hyper-urbanization in so-called novostroikas, and the less-discussed issue of creeping migration.
Togzhan Kassenova Kazakhstan and the Global Nuclear OrderCentral Asian Affairs12273–2862014security, Kazakhstan, energy, international’s advanced nuclear industry and active foreign nuclear policy make it a significant player on the global nuclear scene. This article sets the stage by addressing Kazakhstan’s nuclear inheritance from the Soviet period. It then provides an overview of the country’s nuclear sector with an emphasis on the nuclear fuel cycle and on prospects for introducing nuclear energy into Kazakhstan’s energy mix. The article’s final section analyzes Astana’s nuclear diplomacy on the international global nuclear scene.
Erica MaratPolicing Public Protest in Central AsiaCentral Asian Affairs115-232014security, Central Asia, politics, Central Asia’s Soviet-era physical infrastructure crumbles, and the quality and availability of public healthcare and education decline, the police remain the one institution that controls the state’s most remote territories. This article argues that, over the past two decades, the functions of Central Asian police forces have become increasingly punitive. Their negative influence was particularly visible in the aftermath of public protests in the 2000–2010s that resulted in fatal clashes between police units and civilian population. These watershed events were followed by government decisions to overhaul their police forces to preempt a recurrence of public protest. Depending on how willing the incumbent regimes are to control political dissent and how capable the state is in performing these control functions, changes in the Interior Ministries follow. When political will is matched by the economic and administrative resource of the state, policing functions are distributed among additional state institutions. But when the regime lacks the resources to upgrade policing techniques to the desired level, it almost always requests international support to facilitate police reform.
Christopher Primiano, Alma KudebayevaWhat is Democracy and who Supports it? Findings from a University Survey in KazakhstanCentral Asian Survey394463-4792020Kazakhstan, recent years, many have said that democracy globally is being rolled back and that it is the source of much dissatisfaction. This article presents the findings from a survey of Kazakhstani university students on how they view democracy. The vast majority of participants view democracy as consisting of civil and political rights (i.e., the Western concept of democracy). However, also based on our survey results, our main argument is that, if forced to choose, they consider social services and economic development more important than political and civil rights. Another finding is that Muslims demonstrate stronger support for democracy than non-Muslims.
Zarrina Juraqulova, Henry EllisonWomen’s Bargaining Power and Contraception use in post-Soviet TajikistanCentral Asian Survey394520-5392020Tajikistan,"This article aims to examine the relationship between women’s household bargaining power and their adoption of modern contraception in post-Soviet Tajikistan using the 2012 Demographic and Health Survey. The study uses direct measures of bargaining weights: a woman’s ability to make decisions about her own health care; visits to her family or relatives; and contraceptive use. An additional measure defining a woman’s financial capability to receive medical treatment for herself is added in the analysis to understand its correlation to women’s contraceptive-use behaviour. The probability of using contraception is 187 percentage points higher for a woman who has both control over her own health care and financial means to get medical help than a woman who does not have these choices. Having a say in the decision to control births increases the probability of using contraception by 98 percentage points. Our findings reveal that certain aspects of a woman’s household decision-making and financial freedom are relevant to explain her contraceptive-use behaviour. "
Aysima Mirsultan Divorce Settlement among the Uyghurs during the Republican era in XinjiangCentral Asian Survey394578-5952020marriage, Uyghur, law is an important constituent of law that deals with social relations within the family and the household. It regulates conflicts concerning marriage, divorce, child custody, adoption, inheritance and so on. During the Chinese Republican era (1912–1949), as a continuation of the practice in Imperial China, the settlement of conflicts emerging in the Uyghur domestic sphere was governed by Islamic law. In this article, based on several text corpora consisting of legal documents originating in southern Xinjiang (Khotan and Kashgar) from the Republican era, I will analyse the reasons behind such disputes and the final decisions made by Muslim judges. It will also touch upon women’s position in pre-socialist Uyghur society, the role of village elders and fathers-in-law, patterns of dispute settlement, the influence of the different forms of divorce, and the parameters for further research on the texts.
Grigorii Golosov The Five Shades of Grey: Party Systems and Authoritarian Institutions in Post-Soviet Central Asian StatesCentral Asian Survey393285-3022020Central Asia, article overviews and seeks to explain the processes of party system formation in the post-Soviet Central Asian states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) by focusing on a crucial party-system property, fragmentation. The analysis reveals that to a much greater extent than in democracies, where party systems are largely shaped by societal factors, the level of party system fragmentation in autocracies is determined by the scope of presidential powers, as entrenched in the formal institutional order and reflected in the national constitution. The level of authoritarianism is largely inconsequential for party system fragmentation, while the role of electoral rules is secondary. Institutionally weak and institutionally strong autocratic presidents have a preference for fragmented party systems, while presidents with an intermediate range of powers seek and obtain low levels of party system fragmentation.
Gulmira Sultangalieva ‘They Do not Help, only Demoralize’: Peasant Nachalniks and the Last Imperial Russian Reform on the Kazakh Steppe, 1902–1917Central Asian Survey3922020Russia, Kazakhstan, article studies an early-twentieth-century reform in local administration on the Kazakh Steppe. It was catalyzed by the massive in-migration of peasant settlers from European Russia, which required fundamentally new administrative forms and institutional decisions from the state. In 1902 the Russian Empire extended the Temporary Regulation on Peasant Nachalniks, which was previously law only in Siberia, to the steppe oblasts of Akmola, Turgai, Semipalatinsk and Uralsk. In examining discussions surrounding the implementation of the new law, this article uncovers the complexity and ambiguities of the decisions that were made, the problems the new law faced, and the wide array of participants in enacting it. The article also compiles a socio-cultural portrait of the peasant nachalniks and the activities they undertook. Finally, it addresses how the Kazakh population perceived these new officials, and how they interacted with representatives of the Kazakh administration, which was crucial to their effectiveness.
Ekaterina Demintseva Educational Infrastructure Created in Conditions of Social Exclusion: ‘Kyrgyz Clubs’ for Migrant Children in MoscowCentral Asian Survey392220-2352020Kyrgyzstan, migration, article demonstrates how social exclusion affects the strategies that migrants and their children experience vis-à-vis the preschool education system of the host society. We use the example of two private institutions established in Moscow by Kyrgyz migrants to explore their role in helping integrate migrant children into the host society. I examine the role the Kyrgyz community plays in the life of labour migrants in Moscow, and why private migrant infrastructure is created today by people from this particular country, though eventually migrants from other countries use it as well. I find that in recent years migrants have been creating private infrastructure in Russia as an alternative to the public one. It replaces state institutions for migrants that are not accessible to them. Migrants also view it as one of the channels for entering the Russian society and state institutions. These centres do not so much help migrants’ children escape social isolation as compensate for the lack of adjustment programmes in Russian schools.
Tuychi RashidovSoviet Boarding Schools as a Forge of National Professionals and Intellectuals in Soviet Tajikistan in the 1950s and 1960sCentral Asian Survey384494-5092019Tajikistan, study focuses on the institution of boarding schools (Russian: internat) in Soviet Tajikistan in the 1950s and 1960s and its role in the education and training of the new national generations of skilled professionals in the fields of industry, science, culture, art and healthcare, which in turn contributed to the development of their country. Along with the de-Stalinization of education and subsequent polytechnization, as well as flexibility in the use of Soviet institutions, the internats were transformed from a purely Soviet project into a more inclusive Soviet-Tajik project at the national level for the training of new young national-Sovietized professionals. These professionals combined the qualities of Sovietized and local (national), with their distinctive norms, traditions and values, into a totally new form. The boarding school system turned into a factory for bringing up national-Sovietized specialists and cadres.
Judith Beyer, Aijarkyn KojobekovaWomen of Protest, Men of Applause: Political Activism, Gender and Tradition in KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey383329-3452019Kyrgyzstan, gender, has come to play an important role throughout Central Asia in a number of new ways since independence, but has been predominantly investigated regarding nation building. In this article, we show how tradition is being used operationally in the context of activism and political conflict. We expose the various motivations and tactics pursued by aksakals (lit., whitebeards) and by a movement of mature women called OBON (lit., Women Units for Special Purposes) as they participate in politics, and the role tradition plays in these activities. We argue that aksakals actively draw on tradition even in the political realm to avoid being derogatorily labelled ‘elders on duty’, whereas OBON women position themselves as economic and political actors but are subjected to discourses and practices of tradition by others. While both aksakals and OBON women have been central to political action in Kyrgyzstan in the last two decades, this article is the first to compare and contrast these two categories of unusual activists. The comparison reveals a perpetuation of culturally recognized gender roles even when these actors go beyond their ‘traditional’ realms of competence.
Diana KurdaibergenovaThe Body Global and the Body Traditional: A Digital Ethnography of Instagram and Nationalism in Kazakhstan and RussiaCentral Asian Survey383363-3802019Russia, culture, nationalism, Kazakhstan, is the power of social media in defining and policing sexual identities and bodily expressions, and what are their connections to understanding nation, power and self in authoritarian contexts? Through the study of popular Instagram accounts in Kazakhstan and Russia, I argue that these sites serve as spaces of visualization and re-creation of new forms of ‘acceptable’ behaviour and lifestyles, that on the one hand may lead to new globalized visions of sexual identity and the body while on the other promoting localized conflict and resentment online, triggered by online users’ fear of losing their ‘national culture’ in these global trends. While many resort to policing gender norms and heteronormative body images online, influencers and Instagrammers from Russia and Kazakhstan take an active part in resisting these frameworks and categories.
Vanessa Ruget, Burul UsmanalievaCan Smartphones Empower Labour Migrants? The Case of Kyrgyzstani Migrants in RussiaCentral Asian Survey382165-1802019Kyrgyzstan, the last two decades, mobile phones and new technologies have transformed migration. Some scholars argue that they help empower migrants, who are otherwise often marginalized in their host country. We discuss the extent to which this is true for Kyrgyz labour migrants in Russia, a relatively large diaspora that suffers from multiple levels of disempowerment, ranging from precarious living and working conditions to a lack of legal support and representation from their home government. Relying on fieldwork conducted in Kyrgyzstan in 2017 and 2018, we explore the extent to which smartphones are enabling Kyrgyz labour migrants in Russia to be informed about migration rules, help each other abroad, connect as a diaspora, and discuss important diaspora topics. Our findings are relevant beyond academia, as many international and governmental agencies are trying to assist migrants through technology; they also point to several missed opportunities for these organizations.In the last two decades, mobile phones and new technologies have transformed migration. Some scholars argue that they help empower migrants, who are otherwise often marginalized in their host country. We discuss the extent to which this is true for Kyrgyz labour migrants in Russia, a relatively large diaspora that suffers from multiple levels of disempowerment, ranging from precarious living and working conditions to a lack of legal support and representation from their home government. Relying on fieldwork conducted in Kyrgyzstan in 2017 and 2018, we explore the extent to which smartphones are enabling Kyrgyz labour migrants in Russia to be informed about migration rules, help each other abroad, connect as a diaspora, and discuss important diaspora topics. Our findings are relevant beyond academia, as many international and governmental agencies are trying to assist migrants through technology; they also point to several missed opportunities for these organizations.
Rahat Sabyrbekov, Nurgul UkuevaTransitions from Dirty to Clean Energy in Low-income Countries: Insights from KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey382255-2742019Kyrgyzstan, pollution from the burning of fossil fuels in developing counties is a global challenge due its climate change and health effects. Dirty fuel and air pollution have become a serious issue in many Central Asian countries. This article studies the factors that affect household decisions to transition from dirty energy to clean modern fuels using panel data from Kyrgyzstan. The article argues that the choice of fuel depends on a number of endogenous and exogenous factors. Contrary to the conventional wisdom of the ‘energy ladder’ hypothesis, high income does not lead to a full switch to modern fuel, but rather facilitates the transition to consumption of energy from multiple fuel sources. Factors that increase the chances of full fuel transition are education and access to gas. By contrast, the number of elderly family members and size of the house negatively affect the transition to clean energy use.
Rachel Harris, Aziz Isa Islam by Smartphone: Reading the Uyghur Islamic Revival on WeChatCentral Asian Survey38161-802019China, religion, Uyghur, Xinjiang, official Chinese view of the Uyghur Islamic revival is overwhelmingly dominant. Because of the extraordinary measures taken to shield from international view the actual developments in the region and to silence Uyghur voices, we lack a clear sense of what it is to be a Muslim in contemporary Xinjiang. This article explores debates within Uyghur society about faith, politics and identity as they are revealed through the social media platform WeChat. It aims to disrupt the dominant narratives and enable new understandings of the changing patterns of religiosity and violence in the region. It focuses on the use of social media to access affective experiences of religion, projects of self-fashioning, and the new geographies of knowledge and experience formed as Uyghurs turned to the readily available scripts circulating in the wider Islamic world and adapted them to a very local sense of crisis.
Anyand DibeshColonization with Chinese Characteristics: Politics of (in)security in Xinjiang and TibetCentral Asian Survey381129-1472019identity, Uyghur, Xinjiang, as a victim rather than a proponent of modern colonialism is an essential myth that animates Chinese nationalism. The Chinese statist project of occupying, minoritizing and securitizing different ethno-national peoples of Central Asia, such as Uyghurs and Tibetans, with their own claims to homelands, is a colonial project. Focusing on China’s securitized and militarized rule in Xinjiang and Tibet, the article will argue that the most appropriate lens through which this can be understood is neither nation-building nor internal colonialism but modern colonialism. It argues that the representation of Uyghurs and Tibetans as sources of insecurity not only legitimizes state violence as a securitizing practice but also serves contemporary Chinese colonial goals.
Saipira FurstenbergState Responses to Reputational Concerns: The Case of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in KazakhstanCentral Asian Survey372286-3042018law, Central Asia, governance, article examines how reputational concerns drove the adoption of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Kazakhstan. The article argues that Kazakhstan's decision to join EITI was largely driven by the government’s intention to use EITI as a rational governance tool to manipulate its political agenda to protect the regime’s legitimacy. However, norm adherence does not reflect effective compliance. The findings of EITI in Kazakhstan show that the adoption of EITI standardized requirements followed a specific internal logic that disconnects from the initiative’s initial purpose. The case of Kazakhstan further illustrates the limitations of external remedies to the ‘resource curse’ and emphasises the significance of vertical accountability in political regimes. The article urges scholars and policy advisers to further investigate how global governance arrangements are implemented at domestic levels, particularly in autocratic regimes.
Colin Knox, Saltanat JanenovaPublic Councils in Kazakhstan: A Case of Emergent Participative Democracy?Central Asian Survey372305-3212018Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan aims to become one of the top 30 developed countries by 2050, it is increasingly turning to ways which will improve its governance, one of which is greater participation by its citizens in the decision-making processes of state agencies. A new initiative aimed at doing just that, the establishment of public councils, received legal backing in January 2016. The aim of public councils is to ‘strengthen democracy and the quality and responsiveness of public polices’ through the ‘public expression of matters of concern to Kazakh citizens’. This article offers a formative evaluation of the role performed by public councils and questions the extent to which they have achieved this aim. It draws on primary data from public officials, non-governmental organizations, ministries, and non-participant observation of public councils in Kazakhstan. It finds limited evidence of their effectiveness to date.
Mei DingSecurity Matters in Marriage: Uyghurs’ Perceptions of Security in Xinjiang, ChinaCentral Asian Survey37185-992018marriage, security, identity, Uyghur, on anthropological fieldwork conducted in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China in 2016 and 2017, this article addresses the meanings of security from subjective perspectives by investigating Uyghur perceptions of marriage, which offer crucial insight into the meanings of security. The Uyghurs, as the major indigenous population in Xinjiang, have encountered securitization, particularly since the 2009 Ürümchi riots, deemed the worst ethnic conflict in the region since 1949. While official security practices based on stability have won the support of most Han Chinese citizens in and outside Xinjiang, these same security practices have penetrated to and influenced intimate Uyghur life, such as marriage. Uyghur participants in this research indicate that marriage is a social field in which the official counter-extremism campaign, individuals’ happiness (bext), and the security (bixeterlik) of the Uyghur collective identity encounter and negotiate with each other.
Russ Kleinbach, Lilly SalimjanovaKyz ala Kachuu and Adat: Non-consensual Bride Kidnapping and Tradition in KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey262217-2332007Kyrgyzstan, position of Kyrgyz adat (traditional customary law) on the practice of non-consensual bride kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan has not been documented nor is there a consensus among the ethnic Kyrgyz on whether or not non-consensual bride kidnapping is a Kyrgyz ‘tradition’. This paper provides a review of the historical and ethnographic evidence regarding the frequency and appropriateness (according to Kyrgyz adat) of non-consensual bride kidnapping in traditional Kyrgyz society before the political, economic and social changes of the Soviet period. The evidence presented by this research discredits the widely held belief in Kyrgyzstan, that non-consensual kidnapping is a Kyrgyz adat tradition that was widely practiced with general social approval in ancient times. The information provided in this paper can be used by educators, legislators and the media to demonstrate that non-consensual kidnapping is not legitimated by pre-Soviet Kyrgyz adat tradition.
Timur DadabaevHow does Transition Work in Central Asia? Coping with Ideological, Economic and Value System Changes in UzbekistanCentral Asian article attempts to measure and quantify the dramatic ideological, economic and value system changes in post-Soviet Uzbekistan, using data from the Asia Barometer survey. It offers a snapshot of the situation in Uzbekistan by describing the basic changes in people's everyday lives, the way they think and act, what they aspire to and how they relate with each other. Two traceable trends in respondents' answers are a certain distrust of each other and a desire to protect themselves through close kinship or residential ties. This results in a situation where people build ‘barriers’ along family or community lines while preserving close relations within these units. Maintaining a balance between traditionalism, conservatism and modernization, and establishing societal trust not only within limited social networks but also between them are of crucial importance for Uzbekistan as it strives to rebuild its economy and society.
Jyldyz Shigaeva, Michael Kollmair, Peter Niederer, Daniel MaselliLivelihoods in Transition: Changing Land Use Strategies and Ecological Implications in a Post-Soviet Setting (Kyrgyzstan)Central Asian Survey263389-4062007Kyrgyzstan, economics, sudden independence of Kyrgyzstan from the Soviet Union in 1991 led to a total rupture of industrial and agricultural production. Based on empirical data, this study seeks to identify key land use transformation processes since the late 1980s, their impact on people's livelihoods and the implication for natural resources in the communes of Tosh Bulak and Saz, located in the Sokuluk River Basin on the northern slope of the Kyrgyz Range. Using the concept of the sustainable livelihood approach as an analytical framework, three different livelihood strategies were identified: (1) An accumulation strategy applied by wealthy households where renting and/or buying of land is a key element; they are the only household category capable of venturing into rain fed agriculture. (2) A preserving strategy involving mainly intermediate households who are not able to buy or rent additional agricultural land; very often they are forced to return their land to the commune or sell it to wealthier households. (3) A coping strategy including mainly poor households consisting of elderly pensioners or headed by single mothers; due to their limited labour and economic power, agricultural production is very low and hardly covers subsistence needs; pensions and social allowances form the backbone of these livelihoods. Ecological assessments have shown that the forage productivity of remote high mountain pastures has increased from 5 to 22 per cent since 1978. At the same time forage productivity on pre-mountain and mountain pastures close to villages has generally decreased from 1 to 34 per cent. It seems that the main avenues for livelihoods to increase their wealth are to be found in the agricultural sector by controlling more and mainly irrigated land as well as by increasing livestock. The losers in this process are thus those households unable to keep or exploit their arable land or to benefit from new agricultural land. Ensuring access to land for the poor is therefore imperative in order to combat rural poverty and socio-economic disparities in rural Kyrgyzstan.
Abdulmamad IlolievPopular Culture and Religious Metaphor: Saints and Shrines in Wakhan Region of TajikistanCentral Asian Survey27159-732008religion, culture and religious metaphor: saints and shrines in Wakhan region of Tajikistan
Rano TuraevaThe Cultural Baggage of Khorezmian Identity: Traditional Forms of Singing and Dancing in Khorezm and in TashkentCentral Asian Survey272143-1532008migration, identity, Uzbekistan gained its independence from Soviet rule, important political and economic changes took place. The mobility of the population has since then increased drastically and created new spaces for the negotiation of social identities as well as new strategies for identity politics among the culturally and regionally diverse population of Uzbekistan. This article aims to contribute to the discussions on social identity and its ‘contents’ in the light of migration processes. The main argument centres on the importance of what Barth called the ‘cultural stuff’ of social identities when maintaining boundaries during identification processes. The analysis focuses specifically on certain singing and dancing practices of Khorezmians. It shows how these practices survive, but are also transformed in the context of Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan, where people from different regions reside together and are engaged in performing and presenting their own group identity in reference to ‘others’.
Matthias Schmidt, Lira SagynbekovaMigration Past and Present: Changing Patterns in KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey272111-1272008Kyrgyzstan, and international labour migration is a main livelihood strategy for many people in rural areas of Kyrgyzstan. It is estimated that approximately one-third of the employable population of Kyrgyzstan is working abroad. However, current labour migration phenomena are not exceptional since Central Asia's history has always been characterized by the movement of people, including external and internal, forced and voluntary, legal and illegal, permanent and temporary, ethnically or economically motivated migration. This article gives an overview of the historical and present migration processes with a special focus on three village communities in rural Kyrgyzstan. It deals with the opportunities and difficulties with which labour migrants and their non-migrating family members are confronted today. The results are based on extensive field work in Kyrgyzstan.
Bermet TursunkulovaThe Power of Precedent?Central Asian Survey273-4349-3622008Kyrgyzstan, Elites, politics, contribution aims to assess the role of external and domestic previously successful examples in influencing the revolution in Kyrgyzstan. While the Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003 and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004 are the external examples, Kyrgyzstan's Aksy protests in 2002 constitute a domestic example. The argument seeks neither to undermine other reasons why the ‘Tulip Revolution’ happened, nor claims to be able to trace precise linkage. Instead, it aims to illustrate that previous domestic example opened up possibilities for the 2005 March events as much or even more than external modular examples.
Emir KulovMarch 2005: Parliamentary Elections as a Catalyst of ProtestsCentral Asian Survey273-4337-3472008Kyrgyzstan, politics, political opportunity structure in both the long and short terms, this article focuses specifically on the trigger effect of elections that provided the political space for oppositional leaders to frame their grievances. The emerging framework of understanding mobilization in the coloured revolutions combines stolen elections as a motivating trigger; an incumbent weakened by succession crisis and disunity of his power base; the semi-authoritarian character of pre-revolutionary politics; an opposition able to unite despite their inevitable differences and potentially important international factors. The specific mechanisms that translated stolen elections into mass demonstrations, succession crisis into a defeat of the incumbent and foreign example into a spillover effect, are not yet perfectly understood, and nor are their outcomes. The implications of how stolen and manipulated elections differ from each other are explored.
Timur DadabaevWater Resource Management in Central Asia: A Japanese Attempt to Promote Water Resource EfficiencyJournal of Comparative Asian Development15164-902016security, Central Asia, paper examines one instance of a capacity-building attempt by Japan to reduce water demand and increase the efficiency of scarce water resource use in Central Asia. Focusing on Japanese involvement in Uzbekistan, this paper demonstrates how Japan attempted to define priority areas, assistance principles and approaches to address this issue. Through its involvement, Japan attempted to place a great degree of trust and confidence in this region. The outcomes of these efforts to create water demand reduction and management schemes have been only partially successful. The Japanese “Integrated Water Resources Management” (IWRM) proposal met with limited success because of its various logistical and conceptual weaknesses. However, the demand for a water reduction agenda and the efficient consumption of water were well received by all participants and stakeholders.
Azamat TemirkulovInformal Actors and Institutions in Mobilization: The Periphery in the ‘Tulip Revolution’Central Asian Survey273-4317-3352008Kyrgyzstan, Elites, politics, in the south of Kyrgyzstan immediately prior to and during the March events was, it is argued here, a very complex process. Using a framework of incentives, the author illustrates that people were encouraged to protest through a mix of purposive, material and solidarity incentives, and that within this mix, grievances often occupied a secondary place. The following elements are highlighted in the run-up to mobilization in the south: conjuncture; patronage networks based on traditional solidarity (tooganchilik); and pre-existing organizations and institutions, such as the institutions of the aksakal (elder), kurultai (assembly) and palvan (wrestler).
Timur DadabaevThe Chinese Economic Pivot in Central Asia and Its Implications for the Post-Karimov Re-emergence of UzbekistanAsian Survey584747–7692018Central Asia, China, Uzbekistan, international focusing on the impact of Chinese engagement in Uzbekistan, this article promotes an understanding of the motivations of Central Asian states such as Uzbekistan in strategically engaging China. Although China’s Belt and Road Initiative has received wide coverage, few details of other Chinese projects and their impacts have been analyzed. The article aims to fill in this gap by outlining the latest project details of Chinese engagement and their impact in this region.
Maxim RyabkovThe North–south Cleavage and Political Support in KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey273-4301-3162008Kyrgyzstan, contribution applies Easton's concept of political support to an analysis of north and south Kyrgyzstan. Testing alternative theories of geographical distribution of political support, the study seeks to understand the relationship between, on the one hand, political support for the regime and its institutions, and on the other, ethnicity, urbanization and region of residence. It rejects the hypothesis that the north tends to support the opposition and the south supports the president, arguing instead that the north is more pessimistic in general about the state and non-state institutions.
Aijan Sharshenova, Gordon CrawfordUndermining Western Democracy Promotion in Central Asia: China’s Countervailing Influences, Powers and ImpactCentral Asian Survey364453-4722017Central Asia, China, article examines whether and to what extent China’s involvement in Central Asian countries undermines the democracy promotion efforts of the European Union and the United States. Findings confirm that China does indeed challenge Western efforts, but in an indirect way. First, Chinese provision of substantial and unconditional financial assistance makes Western politically conditioned aid appear both ungenerous and an infringement of sovereignty. Second, the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation, inclusive of China’s leadership role, creates an institutional means through which the (semi-)authoritarianism of member states is legitimized and challenges Western emphasis on democracy and human rights. Finally, by the power of its own example, China demonstrates that democracy is not a prerequisite for prosperity, the rule of law and social well-being.
Payam Faroughi, Uguloy MukhtorovaHelsinki’s Counterintuitive Effect? OSCE/ODIHR’s Election Observation Missions and Solidification of Virtual Democracy in Post-communist Central Asia: The Case of Tajikistan, 2000–2013Central Asian Survey363373-390 2017Tajikistan, politics, international the late 1990s, the post-communist states of Central Asia, as ‘participating States’ of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, have been regularly persuaded by the organization to invite its Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights to monitor their national parliamentary and presidential elections. The OSCE/ODIHR’s objectives have been to assist the Central Asian participating states in holding free and fair elections and aid in a presumed ongoing post-communist democratization process. We argue that contrary to OSCE’s assumptions, repeated OSCE/ODIHR election observations of Central Asian states with histories of fraudulent elections (as demonstrated by the case study of Tajikistan during 2000–2013) have not contributed to the flourishing of democracy and political pluralism, but rather inadvertently aided in the solidification of authoritarianism and ‘virtual democracy’ – a phenomenon we refer to as ‘Helsinki’s counterintuitive effect’. Using stakeholder interviews, we test four hypotheses in support of this general proposition.
Mashura Akilova Pathways to Child Work in Tajikistan: Narratives of Child Workers and their ParentsCentral Asian Survey362231-2462017economics, recent child-work study by the International Labour Organization reports that 27% of children in Tajikistan ages 5–17 worked in 2013. Although children worked in agriculture or performed household chores in Soviet Tajikistan, child work for pay is a relatively new phenomenon in modern Tajikistan. This study examines the pathways to child work and the families’ perceptions of child work experiences. Some of the main findings of this study are the themes connected to normalization and acceptance of child work in Tajikistan. These are explained by expectations placed on children at the social, family and personal levels that are in turn affected by macroeconomic forces that are by-products of the transitional economy. The study also explores differences in expectations by gender, age and area of residence.
Botakoz Kassymbekova Understanding Stalinism in, from and of Central Asia: Beyond Failure, Peripherality and OthernessCentral Asian Survey3611-182016Central Asia, history, never personally visited Central Asia, yet the region underwent major transformations during the period of his rule. This special issue is not devoted to Stalin’s personal ideas about the development of Soviet Central Asia. Rather, it is an attempt to understand those who experienced and co-shaped that period in various Central Asian contexts and how those experiences figured in the Stalinist regime overall. Shifting the focus away from the study of Moscow’s ideological ambitions and top-down national construction, the authors explore the everyday experiences ‘on the ground’ in order to (re)discover the place of Central Asia in the larger map of Stalinist governance.
Timur Dadabaev“Silk Road” as Foreign Policy Discourse: The Construction of Chinese, Japanese and Korean Engagement Strategies in Central AsiaJournal of Eurasian Studies9130-412018China, energy, international analysis of the evolution of the Japanese, Chinese and South Korean narratives of the Silk Road, this paper argues that the content and the nature of these Silk Road strategies changed with time and the international environment. Thus, this paper claims that, the notion of the Silk Road has changed from a static concept of a historical trade route into a product of social construction of a number of powerful states – strategies that are constantly shaped, imagined and re-interpreted. In this sense, the Silk Road is not a foreign policy doctrine but rather a discursive strategy of engagement that largely exists in the realm of narration. This narration is also a matter of social construction that is subject to change depending on the international environment of the country (China, Japan, Korea, etc.) that produces such narratives, context of a receiving region, the alternative narratives that compete for wider international acceptance and the country's vision of “self” and the “other” in the international context.
Erica MaratPost-Violence Regime Survival and Expansion in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan”Central Asian Survey354531-5482016security, authoritarianism, Kazakhstan,’s and Tajikistan’s governments were able to successfully strengthen their reach and their capacity to control the population in the wake of deadly violence against regime opponents. Yet the process of deepening authoritarianism was not a straightforward affair. Both countries expanded their coercive capabilities – they upgraded policing in rural areas to improve intelligence gathering on the local population and predict the rise of any anti-government activities. While doing so, however, leaders of both countries sought to frame their actions as an inclusive process that was sensitive to the grievances of the affected populations and the general public. This article adds to the growing body of literature on authoritarian state responses to insurgency by showing how authoritarian regimes create narratives, engage civil society and look for political advantage to expand the coercive apparatus.
Timur DadabaevDiscourses of Rivalry or Rivalry of Discourses: Discursive Strategies and Framing of Chinese and Japanese Foreign Policies in Central AsiaThe Pacific Review33161-952018Central Asia, energy, article analyzes discursive strategies of China and Japan to integrate newly emerging Central Asian (CA) states into their internal and external policies, norms and concepts, according to which they justify both their actions in CA and CA responses to these policies. This article elaborates the concept that to a certain extent, the interests of China and Japan in CA are similarly focused on mineral resources and political stability. However, these countries employ different discursive strategies to frame their approaches and goals. This article also emphasizes that the discourse of competition for regional domination prevalent in the English language, Russian and some CA media is largely an imposition of a zero-sum vision of international relations that is not proven by any empirical evidence. On the contrary, many of the projects conducted both by China and Japan are compatible – if not supplementary – and do not necessarily imply exclusivity of interest. At the same time, both China and Japan have different ways of reasoning their CA engagements, resulting in a rivalry of discourses for the ‘hearts and minds’ of the CA population.
Manja Stephan-Emmrich, Abdullah Mirzoev The Manufacturing of Islamic lifestyles in Tajikistan through the Prism of Dushanbe's BazaarsCentral Asian Survey352157-1772016religion, article traces the multiple ways of ‘manufacturing’ Islamic lifestyles in the urban environment of Tajikistan's capital city, Dushanbe. The city's bazaars serve as a lens through which to observe the conjunction of its booming trade business with Dubai alongside its growing Islamic commodity culture and a religious reformism that is inspired by the materiality and non-materiality of a progressive and hybrid Dubai Islam. Bringing together long-distance trade, urban consumption practices and new forms of public piety in the mobile livelihood of three bazaar traders and sellers, the article provides insights into how the commodification of Islam informs notions of urbanity and modernity in Tajikistan. These notions correspond to the launching of urban renewal and the meta-narrative of Dushanbe's future as a modern city on the rise. Furthermore, the article illustrates the ways in which Dushanbe's Muslims turn bazaars into an urban laboratory for religious agency and cultural identities.
Kishimjan Osmonova Experiencing Liminality: Housing, Renting and Informal tenants in AstanaCentral Asian Survey352237-2562016Kazakhstan, economics, urban article is intended to contribute broadly to research in post-socialist urban studies. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with ‘newcomers’ to the capital, Astana, from different parts of Kazakhstan, I examine the renting practices of newcomers. I analyse the experiences of newcomers in their new urban milieu of Astana, and try to answer the question of what it means to live in the city for various groups of individuals on a daily basis. I examine the Soviet and post-Soviet housing and the continuities of the Soviet legacy when it comes to the institution of propiska (city registration). I show that living in shared flats is a coping strategy to deal with expensive rents and meant to be a transitory step towards homeownership. For this reason many accept high rents and crowded housing as ‘normal’. Furthermore, I argue that informal renting practices are acceptable mostly for young and single people, who are free to experiment with city life, and are on their way to establishing careers and personal lives. However, elderly newcomers and young families with children who do not wish to live in shared flats, but have to rent, feel ‘homeless’ and trapped in ‘liminal housing’. For them, renting is undesirable, and they feel a sense of incarceration if they fail to secure housing.
Timur DadabaevManipulating Post-Soviet Nostalgia: Contrasting Political Narratives and Public Recollections in Central AsiaInternational Journal of Asian Studies1-212020Central Asia, identity, memory, vision of the Soviet years in post-Soviet republics varies depending on the government's official master narrative, foreign policy priorities, and general public perceptions of the past. By contrasting the published interviews of presidents Putin, Nazarbayev, and Karimov and the outcomes of in-depth interviews with the elderly public in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan), this paper reveals the differences between the official master narratives of political leadership (positive or negative) with respect to the Soviet past and public attitudes. This paper aims to demonstrate that the narratives of political lea-ders/governments and public recollections coexist in the same social space in parallel to each other. While governments attempt to use their narratives to promote certain policy goals, people use their nostalgic recollections to make sense of the social changes in their respective countries and use such recollections to interpret their lives.
Emil Nasritdinov ‘Only by Learning How to Live Together Differently Can We Live Together at all’: Readability and Legibility of Central Asian Migrants’ Presence in Urban RussiaCentral Asian Survey352257-2752016migration, Central Asia, paper questions the effectiveness and usefulness of the Russian government's policies of migrant integration. Using a unique combination of ethnographic research methods (observations, interviews and survey) with methods from psychology (cognitive mapping) and urban studies (GIS mapping), I depict the presence of Central Asian migrants and their interaction with local long-term residents in two cities of the Russian Federation: Kazan and Saint Petersburg. On the basis of my findings, I argue that the readability (defined as the ease with which the city can be ‘read’ and understood) and legibility (defined as the degree to which individual components of an urban environment are recognizable by their appearance) of urban space in Kazan have positive effects on the relationship between these two communities, while the ambiguity and uncertainty of urban identity in Saint Petersburg make the life of migrants very vulnerable and unpredictable, and result in the growth of xenophobic views among the local residents. This allows me to argue that the policy of migrant integration will be more successful if it is built on learning to live with differences, instead of trying to ‘Russify’ migrants or create various forms of supra-ethnic identity.
Timur DadabaevDe-Securitizing the “Silk Road”: Uzbekistan’s Cooperation Agenda with Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea in the Post-Karimov EraJournal of Eurasian Studies112174–1872020Central Asia, China, article argues that Uzbekistan’s cooperation agenda with Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea demonstrates clear signs of breaking with the Karimov-era security-driven agenda for cooperation in favor of de-securitization. This article uses a comparative analysis of the engagement of Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea with Uzbekistan through an analysis of the shifting political discourses in Uzbekistan and these states, statistics regarding their interaction, and an analysis of the economic road maps of their engagement from 2015 onward. This timeframe is attributed particular importance in this article, as it symbolizes the new opening of Uzbekistan toward these four states after the death of its dictatorial President Islam Karimov. In terms of the narrative, this article will first explore the problem of the securitization of the Central Asian region and the cooperation agenda. The article then discusses the motivations of Uzbekistan and its cooperation counterparts in pursuing closer ties. This discussion will then be followed by an analysis of how the new leadership in Uzbekistan re-evaluated its past behavior to address its post- and neocolonial challenges and the cooperation agendas with Russia, China, South Korea, and Japan.
Kai Wegerich, Ilkhom Soliev, Indira AkramovaDynamics of Water Reallocation and Cost Implications in the Transboundary Setting of Ferghana ProvinceCentral Asian Survey35138-602016Central Asia, in the international literature water sharing in the Syr Darya Basin per past agreements is widely portrayed as most benefiting Uzbekistan, here the dynamics of water allocation within small transboundary tributaries in Ferghana Province show Uzbekistan as benefiting least. The case study highlights that water allocation for Uzbekistan within the tributaries has decreased over the years. Uzbekistan's approach to compensate for the reduced allocations by means of other water sources has had large long-term cost implications for irrigated agriculture as well as the irrigation bureaucracy. This article contributes to the international debate on benefit sharing in transboundary rivers. The article highlights that costs should be incorporated into the benefit-sharing approach, and therefore the focus on benefit sharing alone is misguiding riparian states. Furthermore, the article raises the need to reevaluate benefits, since perceptions of potential benefits change over time.
Diana KurdaibergenovaThe Ideology of Development and Legitimation: Beyond ‘Kazakhstan 2030’Central Asian Survey344440-4552015Kazakhstan, economics, Elites, paper analyses the multifaceted discourse of development and nation-building in post-Soviet Kazakhstan. It addresses the regional clan–central elite relations and Nursultan Nazarbayev regime's legitimating agenda through the Kazakhstan 2030 Strategy for development. The economic developmental component in Nazarbayev's ideological discourses is primarily an exercise of control over regional economic and political elites and that helped building further legitimacy for the regime in various socio-ethnic constituencies on both the regional and central levels. Kazakhstan 2030 was deployed by the regime to substitute the Soviet version of ideology, legitimize the regime among various ethno-lingual audiences, and discipline the behaviour of regional elites. The paper shows how the study of elites’ interests can best explain the nature of national ideology and development projects.
Kemel ToktomushevRegime Security, Base Politics and Rent-Seeking: The Local and Global Political Economies of the American Air Base in Kyrgyzstan, 2001-2010Central Asian Survey34157-772015Kyrgyzstan, memory, Corruption, the eponymous hero of the Kyrgyz epic, Manas, who united the Kyrgyz people, the American air base situated at Kyrgyzstan's Manas International Airport became a source of fracture in Kyrgyz politics after its establishment in late 2001 to support the US-led war in Afghanistan. Whilst international attention focuses on the geopolitics of a so-called New Great Game over basing rights in Central Asia, a more significant political and economic struggle concerning the Manas Air Base is related to its fuel supplies. The air base became a source of rent for the ruling elites and an object of controversy between the government and opposition in two successful uprisings, which removed presidents Askar Akayev and Kurmanbek Bakiyev from power (in 2005 and 2010, respectively). The air base's secret fuel contractors, with their unknown beneficiaries, offshore registration and low visibility, built close links to the regimes of the two ousted presidents. The lucrative and illicit contracts and subcontracts were purportedly used by both presidents and their entourages for personal enrichment and to strengthen their regimes but were ultimately a factor in their downfall. Drawing on the results of recent congressional and non-governmental investigations and interviews with representatives of the fuel-supply companies and members of the former regime, this work assesses the role of the US Manas Air Base in regime security and rent-seeking schemes during the Akayev and Bakiyev tenures. Thus, this article will contribute to the growing literature on rent-seeking in Eurasia's hybrid regimes and the external dimensions of regime security.
Dina Sharipova State Retrenchment and Informal Institutions in Kazakhstan: People's Perceptions of Informal Reciprocity in the Healthcare SectorCentral Asian Survey343310-3292015Kazakhstan, health, government efforts, post-independence Kazakhstan has largely failed to provide high-quality medical services to its population. State retrenchment in the public healthcare system has led to the deterioration of medical service delivery. It has provided incentives for people to widely use informal reciprocal exchanges – personal connections and informal monetary and non-monetary payments – to gain access to better medical care. In contrast to the existing explanations focusing mostly on the cultural origin of the continuity of informal exchanges, I argue that state retrenchment from the social sphere and under-provision of state goods and services have perpetuated informal exchanges in post-Soviet Kazakhstan. Despite similarities in informal practices between Soviet and post-independence Kazakhstan, some important differences in terms of scope and the nature of informal exchanges are observed. This article draws on data collected from interviews, textual analysis, and original surveys of people's attitudes towards the healthcare system and informal help conducted in Kazakhstan in 2011 and 2013.
Asel Doolotkeldieva, John HeathershawState as Resource, Mediator and Performer: Understanding the Local and Global Politics of Gold Mining in KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey34193-1092015Kyrgyzstan, energy, inability of the state to maintain security and the rule of law for the purposes of foreign direct investment and industrial production is often taken as a sign of its weakness. However, such judgments say little about the actual functions of the state for global extraction industries and local political forces which demand their share of the pie. Whilst coercive state power may have decreased since Kyrgyzstan became independent, more important is the fact that the state itself has been transformed under the ruptures of, on the one hand, economic and political liberalization and, on the other, the effects of so-called ‘revolutions' of 2005 and 2010 which led to the wholesale restructuring of national structures of clientelism. Based on ethnographic research conducted in Talas province, documentary sources and interviews with gold mining companies and state officials, the paper investigates the state's shifting roles with respect to Kyrgyzstan's gold mining sector. Firstly, it explores the state as a source of rents for officials who grant and rescind licences in exchange for formal and informal payments from foreign investors, often via offshore vehicles. Secondly, it considers the role of the state as mediator between foreign investors and their access to sites. Finally, it identifies the state as performer of its status as sovereign power despite its inability to prevent uprisings and actually guarantee the promised access to its territory.
Kirill Nourzhanov Bandits, Warlords, National Heroes: Interpretations of the Basmachi Movement in TajikistanCentral Asian Survey342177-1892014Tajikistan, Elites, history of the Basmachi movement has occupied a prominent place in the construction of a collective past in Soviet and post-Soviet Tajikistan. This article traces the evolution of its representations in the dominant narrative from the 1950s to the present day. It argues that official discourse in contemporary Tajikistan situates the Basmachis in the mould of a national struggle against Turkic oppression, rather than portraying them, in the manner of earlier prevalent models, as part of a class-based or anti-colonialist resistance. Among many public counter-narratives, the one focusing on the local appeal of the Basmachi leaders has the greatest potential to challenge the government-sponsored reading of Tajikistan's past and thus the image of a unified nation it seeks to support.
Erica Marat Global Money Laundering and its Domestic Political Consequences in KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey34146-562015Kyrgyzstan, paper examines how Kyrgyzstan's two post-communist political regimes used offshore accounts to launder money and broker lucrative deals with international business partners. It argues that easy access to global financial institutions and availability of offshore markets strengthens a corrupt regime's grip on both political and economic matters and gives regime members a feeling of invincibility both domestically and globally. Offshore connections contributed to the emergence of a vast shadow economy inside Kyrgyzstan that includes clandestine hydropower exports, manipulations in the financial sector, and organized crime. The paper particularly focuses on the non-state actors who served as brokers to mediate connections between regime incumbents and international markets.
Asel Doolotkeldieva Madrasa-Based Religious Learning: Between Secular State and Competing Fellowships in KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Affairs73211–2352020Kyrgyzstan, religion, civil has experienced a rapid and diverse expansion of religious educational offerings in the past two decades and presents a fascinating regional case study of the development of Islamic education. Based on a rich ethnographic study, this article explores recently developed processes by which madrasa-based knowledge is established and transmitted. In revealing these processes, the article draws attention to political struggles for control over the transmission of religious knowledge between state and non-state actors on the one hand, and religious actors on the other. It further delves into the material and spiritual world of madrasas as perceived by students motivated to gain education and their families. In the final section, it uncovers how different madrasas use religious education, under the varied concept of ‘service to community’, to establish and maintain networks of graduates, which are necessary to the further rooting of Islamic fellowships into society, politics and the economy.
Aleksandr Pikalov Uzbekistan between the Great Powers: A Balancing Act or a Multi-vectorial Approach?Central Asian Survey333297-3112014Uzbekistan, international expulsion of US forces from the Karshi-Khanabad airbase in November 2005 and the subsequent rapprochement between Uzbekistan and Russia represents one of the most dramatic diplomatic turnabouts in Uzbek foreign policy. This article analyses the theoretical discourses surrounding the alignment behaviour of Uzbekistan. It posits that traditional alignment theories, such as balance of power and balance of threat, are inadequate in their explanations of Uzbek foreign policy due to the lack of attention paid to the nature of the regime and the internal politics of the country. It also dismisses previous attempts at characterizing Uzbekistan's alignment behaviour as ‘omnibalancing’ as inadequate and incomplete. This article argues that Uzbekistan's foreign policy is based on a multi-vectorial approach, which is designed to maximize the benefits that a particular alliance may offer Uzbekistan. A variety of sources have been consulted in the formulation of this work, from official Uzbek foreign policy statements to secondary sources, in both English and Russian.
Gulzat BotoevaThe Monetization of Social Celebrations in Rural Kyrgyzstan: On the Uses of Hashish MoneyCentral Asian Survey344531-5482015Kyrgyzstan, article focuses on the embeddedness of hashish production in the local economy of Toolu, a village in Kyrgyzstan. It explores how transformations in social relationships and the monetization of gift giving put constant pressure on families to find cash in a semi-subsistence agricultural economy. Although not produced on an industrial scale in the community, hashish is used as a cash crop in times of deficit. Based on a mixed-methods study combining ethnographic fieldwork with survey data, I show how the hashish economy is intertwined with different forms of reciprocal relationships based on gift-giving practices and the monetization of social relationships. In doing so, I illustrate how the hashish economy is embedded in local livelihoods and shapes emerging forms of economic morality in Kyrgyz society.
Kanykey Bayalieva-Jailobaeva A New Look: Professionalization of NGOs in KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey333360-3742014Kyrgyzstan, civil organizations (NGOs) in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan have become visible players in the social and political scene. However, despite being portrayed as professional organizations in the literature, the professionalization of NGOs in Kyrgyzstan has been understudied. This article aims to rectify this gap. It presents and discusses the findings of a study analysing NGOs from an organizational perspective using semi-structured interviews with 45 NGOs, self-administered questionnaires with their leaders and employees, and observation of their working environment. The key conclusion is that the NGO sector can be described as semi-professional. NGOs use different tactics to achieve efficiency and effectiveness. However, they face such challenges as limited funding, high staff turnover and poor coordination. The article provides an account of the NGO sector by mapping it into professional and non-professional groups that can serve as a new benchmark for better understanding NGOs in Kyrgyzstan.
Gulzat BotoevaMultiple Narratives of Illegality and Immorality: The Case of Small-Scale Hashish Harvesting in KyrgyzstanTheoretical Criminology2019Kyrgyzstan, law, aim of this study is to contribute to the current literature concerning the social acceptance of illegal practices. Using legal pluralism as a general framework of analysis, this study discusses the relationship between state law and alternative perspectives concerning its legitimacy. It presents the experience of people involved in hashish harvesting in one of the regions of Kyrgyzstan, how the state defines it as an ‘illegal practice’ and how the local population subsequently invokes normative systems based on local spiritual knowledge and the local moral economy of hashish production. It argues that acceptance of hashish harvesting as a legitimate means of support is not a straightforward process. Despite the predominant legitimating narrative of hashish harvesting, it enters into a conversation with state defined notions of ‘illegality’ and is also shaped by the customary understanding of the spiritual power of cannabis plants that requires caution when making hashish.
Inomjon Mamadaliev The Defence of Khujand in 1866 through the Eyes of Russian OfficersCentral Asian Survey332170-1792014Central Asia, Russia, history, article is a microhistory of the siege and capture of the fortified city of Khujand by Russian forces under Major-General D.I. Romanovskii in May 1866. It explores what this episode can tell us about the nature of siege warfare and frontal assaults in the course of the Central Asian campaigns of the Russian army, but more particularly the nature of Khujandi resistance and the motivations for it. It argues that these are to be found, above all, in a strong sense of local patriotism connected with the city itself, rather than in any form of proto-nationalism, loyalty to the Khan of Khoqand or the Emir of Bukhara, or Islam.
Nozilakhon Mukhamedova, Kai WegerichThe Feminization of Agriculture in Post-Soviet TajikistanJournal of Rural Studies571128-1392018Tajikistan, this paper we aim to analyse economic and social transition factors affecting the agricultural labor force and to understand the feminization phenomenon in rural Tajikistan. Agrarian reforms, seasonal male labor outmigration, and the subsequent increase in women's labor participation have facilitated changes in gender occupational segregation. We assume that in post-Soviet transition countries such as Tajikistan, the process of feminization grew from the need to take on jobs and to to slip in the role of the breadwinner due to the absence of men. The process enabled women to gain knowledge and experience in new employment positions.
A.M. Malikov The Russian Conquest of the Bukharan Emirate: Military and Diplomatic AspectsCentral Asian Survey332180-1982014Central Asia, Russia, history, article examines the history of Russian conquest of Bukhara, with special reference to military and diplomatic aspects. From the beginning of the Russian advance into the region, relations between Russia and Bukhara had several peculiarities, but were characterized above all by mutual incomprehension. In my view, the main obstacle to the development of relations lay in the different understandings the two sides had of the nature of a peace agreement or treaty. In this paper I try to shed light on some questions arising from the military conflict between the Emirate of Bukhara and Russia in the interpretations of Russian military historians and Bukharan chronicles of the period. The focus is on a comparative analysis of the military capabilities of the Bukharan Emirate and Russia, the differences in weapons technology between these two powers, the links between the Russian advance in the region and the domestic and foreign policy of the Bukharan emir, Muzaffar, the situation in the emirate, and the use of Islamic ideology as a mobilizing force for the population in opposition to Russian expansion.
Hafiz Boboyorov, Nina Bagdasarova, Marc Von BoemckenLiving Dangerously: Securityscapes of Lyuli and LGBT People in Urban Spaces of KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey37168-842018migration, Central Asia, of existential threat do not only express themselves in exceptional actions – as prominently suggested by securitization theory – but also in routine, day-to-day practices. They can become a part of ‘normal’ life. We demonstrate this by following the everyday activities of individuals from the Lyuli as well as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Kyrgyzstan. Individuals from both groups actively and consciously secure themselves by employing a mix of practices that range from deterrence and open confrontation to avoidance, adaptation and hiding tactics. For the purpose of tracing and discussing these activities, our article develops and applies the innovative concept of securityscapes.
Shairbek JuraevKyrgyz Democracy? The Tulip Revolution and BeyondCentral Asian Survey273-4253-2642008Kyrgyzstan, politics, article suggests that commentators have over-emphasized a ‘democratic meaning’ behind the ‘Tulip Revolution’, partly because of a certain misrepresentation of ‘transition’ in post-1990 Kyrgyzstan. The notion of political competition has been particularly important, a consistent feature of Kyrgyz politics that has suggested a liberalizing tendency in Kyrgyzstan. The nature of contestation, however, is at least partially linked to the traditional societal organization of the Kyrgyz ethnic group, and particularly to its multi-layered division into sub-ethnic groups that are in a state of stable competitive relationship to each other.
Erica MaratMarch and After: What has Changed? What has Stayed the Same?Central Asian Survey273-4229-2402008civil society, energy, article recalls the major events that have taken place since 24 March 2005. It examines Bakiev's new government formed in December 2007, analyses the changes in criminal world dynamics, explains problems in the hydro-energy sector, and concludes with a section on civil society groups. The article demonstrates how corruption, crime and politics are interlinked in the country and how, on the other hand, local civil society groups have proved to be considerably more stable compared to political parties.
Amanzhol Bekmagambetov, Jason Gainous, Zhaxylyk Sabitov, Adil Rodionov, Bagysh Gabdulina, Kevin WagnerCritical Social Media Information Flows: Political Trust and Protest Behaviour among Kazakhstani College StudentsCentral Asian Survey372526-5452018Kazakhstan, political regimes where traditional mass media are under state control, social networking sites may be the only place where citizens are exposed to and exchange dissident information. Despite all the attempts, complete control of social media seems to be implausible. We argue that the critical information that people see, read and share online undermines their trust in political institutions. This diminishing trust may threaten the legitimacy of the ruling regime and stimulate protest behaviour. We rely on original survey data of Kazakhstani college students to confirm these expectations. The data are unique in that they directly measure exposure to critical/dissident information, as opposed to simply assuming it. The analysis leverages Coarsened Exact Matching to simulate experimental conditions. This allows us to better identify the consequential mechanism and the attitudinal precursor by which social media influence protest in an authoritarian context.
Elena Kim, Asel Myrzabekova, Elena Molchanova, Olha YarovaMaking the ‘Empowered Woman’: Exploring Contradictions in Gender and Development Programming in KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey3722018Central Asia, civil society, article examines the complexities of women’s increasing participation in international development programming for gender equality. Taking a specific setting in rural Kyrgyzstan where one such project has been operating, the researchers discover adverse effects on the local women’s livelihoods, status and health. Women’s contradictions are attributed to the women’s own failures and lacks, creating confusion and frustration among them. Adopting Smith’s institutional-ethnography approach, we explicate and map out the hidden processes which must be held accountable for these reactionary outcomes, taking women’s experiences as entry points to inquiry. We find that the reactionary effects are not accidental but organized, powerfully, systematically but invisibly, by taken-for-granted institutional practices serving the purposes of global development institutions, where women are seen as instruments of global economic growth. The analysis provokes critical discussion of ‘how’ and ‘what’ it takes to transform Central Asian women into ‘empowered’ people.
Nurbek Bekmurzaev, Philipp Lottholz, Joshua MeyerNavigating the Safety Implications of Doing Research and being Researched in Kyrgyzstan: Cooperation, Networks and FramingCentral Asian Survey371100-1182018ethics, networks, research security-related research conducted in Central Asia appears to disregard the nexus between the data gathered and participants’ and researchers’ experiences of safety during the research. This article explores the interconnectedness of these factors and their effects on the knowledge produced on security. It investigates the legal and institutional context researchers encounter when conducting research in Kyrgyzstan; namely, a state monopoly over knowledge on certain subject matters linked to political stability and security. Furthermore, drawing on the combined fieldwork experience of the authors, the article explores the roles of cooperation, networks and framing in navigating the security implications of doing research. To conclude, we suggest a long-term and collaborative production of knowledge on security in Central Asia to counter the prevailing modes of knowledge production which lean towards epistemically violent and politically provocative topics.
Martin Petrick, Dauren Oshakbayev, Regina Taitukova, Nodir DjanibekovThe Return of the Regulator: Kazakhstan’s Cotton Sector Reforms Since IndependenceCentral Asian Survey364430-4522017Kazakhstan, would a ‘good’ industrial policy in the realm of cotton production look like? This article seeks to address this question through a focus on reforms to the cotton sector in Kazakhstan. In contrast with neighbouring Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, administrators in Kazakhstan had widely freed the cotton sector from government control as early as 1998. Agricultural collectives had been replaced by small private farms, and commercial cotton processors and traders entered the sector. However, in 2007, regulation tightened again and forced ginneries to use a complex warehouse receipt system without making sure that it was accepted by stakeholders and without appropriate institutions for implementing it in place. Moreover, it imposed financing restrictions on ginneries, which were major loan and input providers to farmers. In the following years, private producers and investors turned away from cotton, and cotton area and output fell substantially. We position our analysis in the broader debate about the right approach to industrial policy and argue that the cotton sector performance after 2007 shows how ill-designed regulation and government interference can turn a promising economic sector towards decline.
Sholpan GaisinaCredit Policies for Kazakhstani AgricultureCentral Asian Survey302257-2742011Kazakhstan, economics, paper reviews the characteristics of the agricultural credit policy in Kazakhstan with a particular focus on emerging rural financial institutions. It is not easy to evaluate the real effect of credit policies due to the limited funds directed at agricultural production. Kazakhstani experience shows that commercial banks are used almost exclusively to provide agricultural producers with credit, while the new specialized credit institutions emerging in the agricultural sector only cater to a very small fraction of the total demand for credit. Presently, there are discussions in Kazakhstan concerning the creation of a specialized agricultural bank; however, this idea has some shortcomings that should be taken into consideration. Lack of credit is one of the main reasons for insufficient investment in agriculture. The underdeveloped land market in Kazakhstan makes formal credit institutions very cautious about accepting agricultural land as collateral.
Eliza IsabaevaLeaving to Enable Others to Remain: Remittances and New Moral Economies of Migration in Southern KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey303-4541-5542011Kyrgyzstan, migration, article seeks to extend the scope of existing literature on migration in Kyrgyzstan by revealing the material and moral assessment of labour migration and remittances amongst the people of Sopu Korgon, a village in Southern Kyrgyzstan. Remittances perform important social roles in sustaining social relations, making absent migrants ‘present’, gaining and/or retaining social status, passing through rites of passage and fostering the emergence of a new wealthy elite. Drawing on ethnographic research, the author examines the ambivalent opinions that surround the issue of migration and explores the idioms through which family absence is justified. The author argues that in addition to the important social functions of remittances, migrants' transfers in Sopu Korgon also help immediate family members to remain in the village and sustain their lives there. This in turn suggests that migrants' money ‘slows up time’ for other family members, delaying their own need to migrate.
Aziz Atamanov, Marrit van den BergInternational Labour Migration and Local Rural Activities in the Kyrgyz Republic: Determinants and Trade-offsCentral Asian Survey312119-1362012Kyrgyzstan, migration, paper uses a representative household-budget survey from the Asian Development Bank to analyse the determinants of international labour migration, distinguishing between seasonal and permanent (long-term) moves and comparing them with determinants of rural local income-generating activities in the Kyrgyz Republic. It has been found that both permanent migration and local nonfarm-wages employment substitute agricultural activities and attract the most educated rural individuals. The difference is that the permanent migration option is unattainable for individuals from poor households with small land holdings. They tend to engage in local nonfarm activities, while those who are educated and have resources to finance the cost of migration choose to leave the country for long periods of time. In contrast to permanent migration, seasonal migration does not require the possession of either higher or vocational education, which can make it potentially less harmful for local development in terms of brain drain.
Ablet KamalovEthno-national and Local Dimensions in the Historiography of Kazakhstan's UyghursCentral Asian Survey313343-3542012nationalism, Kazakhstan, identity, article examines the changing relationship between ethno-national and local narratives in the historiography of Kazakhstan's Uyghurs through the parallel analysis of general and local histories compiled in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. Uyghur history writing in the post-Soviet period is discussed in relation to the divided loyalty of the Uyghur community: while interest in writing ethno-nationalist histories is based on the growing feeling of being a part of the broad, transnational category of the Uyghur, deep attachment to the Semirech'e region is expressed in the emerging histories of Uyghur villages and neighbourhoods. In analysing the local histories of Kazakhstani Uyghurs in the post-Soviet period, the author focuses on the gradual transition from Soviet-style local histories praising the uniqueness of the ‘Soviet’ Uyghurs to new local histories emerging ‘from below’ as exemplified by the history of the Sultanqorghan neighbourhood of Almaty.
Alisher LatypovThe Opium War at the ‘Roof of the World’: The ‘Elimination’ of Addiction in Soviet BadakhshanCentral Asian Survey32119-362013history, Tajikistan, article provides an overview of drug consumption in the Pamirs in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and examines the evolution of the early Soviet responses to opium smoking in Soviet Badakhshan on the basis of published literature, archival materials, oral histories and medical records. The author demonstrates that biomedicine remained significantly underdeveloped in that region during the first decades of Soviet rule, with central and local authorities relying on punitive and restrictive administrative measures in their fight against drug addiction. As these measures failed to wipe out opiate addiction in Gorno-Badakhshan, the opium war at the ‘roof of the world’ culminated in the Great Terror, providing the Stalinist regime with the ‘radical’ solution by liquidating drug dealers without any ‘show trials’ and incarcerating opiate consumers. The consequences of such administrative regulation of addiction in Soviet Badakhshan were dire: in the years between 1941 and 1968, only few patients with the diagnosis of narkomania were hospitalized in the Tajik Republican Psychiatric Hospital, while the exact numbers of repressed drug users who perished in prisons and Gulag camps are destined to remain unknown.
Rustamjon Urinboyev, Abel PoleseInformality Currencies: A Tale of Misha, His Brigade and Informal Practices Among Uzbek Labour Migrants in RussiaJournal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe243191-2062016Kyrgyzstan, migration, law, article explores the role of informality among Uzbek construction workers in Russia. We start from a relationship that is based on economic reward and common interests and go on to explore the non-economic components of this relationship. Economically, the workers entrust their supervisor and agree to work for him for a given amount of money. However, this decision is also embedded in a non-economic dimension. All workers, and their master, come from the same village so that an additional layer of social obligations are involved. First, workers are able to receive a treatment that goes beyond economic relations, with favours or more mild attitudes when needed. Second, they are also able to put pressure on the line manager through their families in case things do not work out the way they expected. We use the case study to propose the existence of a non-monetary currency (or even currencies) that complement formal currencies. Money, its symbolism and the power attached to it still play a major role in the relationships and dependencies analyzed here. These points help us in suggesting that relations encompass a wide range of transactions and rituals that go beyond mere economic interest and that cannot be neglected when understanding informality
Rustamjon Urinboyev, Per Wickenberg, Ulf LeoChild Rights, Classroom and School Management: A Systematic Literature ReviewThe International Journal of Children's paper provides a systematic review of scholarly literature concerning the enforcement of children’s rights in the classroom context and school management. The literature review is based on a systematic review methodology the authors developed drawing on the methods and guidelines used in the medical sciences over the last 15 years. Forty-two articles published between 1990 and 2014 were selected and analysed. The paper presents both a descriptive analysis and a thematic analysis in order to provide the state-of-art of international literature on child rights, classroom and school management. The descriptive analysis highlights the main characteristics of the articles included, such as type of study and methods used, classification of literature based on the geographical and thematic focus, article citation frequency, and chronological development of the subject in question. The thematic analysis synthesises the main findings extracted from the literature and highlights the main trends and gaps in research.
Rustamjon UrinboyevLiving Law, Legal Pluralism, and Corruption in Post-Soviet UzbekistanThe Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law453372-3902013law, Uzbekistan, paper aims to explore the multifaceted meaning, logic, and morality of informal transactions in order to better understand the social context that informs the meaning of corruption and bribery in post-Soviet Uzbekistan. It will be argued that the informal transactions in Uzbek society reflect different cultural and functional meanings from those in most of the Western world, and hence transactions that from a Western-centric perspective would be labelled as bribes can be morally accepted transactions in the Uzbek cultural context. If this is true, there may be reasons to re-evaluate the relevance of the Western-centric interpretations of corruption in the context of Uzbekistan, and possibly other Central Asian countries. These issues will be investigated with reference to observations and informal interviews from post-Soviet Uzbekistan. This study is based on three periods of ethnographic field research between 2009 and 2012 in the Ferghana Province of Uzbekistan. It draws on concepts of ‘living law’ and legal pluralism to provide a theoretical framework.
Yuriy MalikovThe Kenesary Kasymov Rebellion (1837 – 1847): A National-Liberation Movement or a ‘Protest of Restoration’?Nationalities Papers334569-5972005Kyrgyzstan, civil society, governance, rebellion of the Kazakh sultan Kenesary Kasymov (1837–1847) is considered to be one of the most crucial events in the history of Kazakhstan. Both Kazakhstani and Western historians define Kenesary’s ten-year struggle against Russian colonization as the greatest challenge to Russian authority and the most important event in Kazakh history in the nineteenth century. Historians and publicists typically portray Kenesary as the first Kazakh nationalist who raised the people of the steppe in their fight for independence. In addition, determining the nature of the rebellion sheds light on two of the important questions of Kazakhstani pre-revolutionary history: whether the Kazakhs greeted enthusiastically the inclusion of Kazakhstan into the Russian Empire and whether this inclusion produced positive or negative effects on the Kazakh people. This paper argues that the uprising led by Kenesary was neither a “national-liberation” revolt nor “a protest of restoration.” Not return to the “good old days” but the creation of a new type of state without precedents in Kazakhstani history was its aim. In order to demonstrate this, I explore the composition of the rebels and Kenesary’s policy on the territories he controlled. My interpretation of the revolt depicts Kenesary as a “modernizer” rather than a “traditionalist.” This interpretation explains why this rebellion lacked mass support and even met resistance among many Kazakhs.
Saltanat LiebertThe Role of Informal Institutions in U.S. Immigration Policy: The Case of Illegal Labor Migration from KyrgyzstanPublic Administration Review703390-4002010Kyrgyzstan, migration, is a sensitive topic on the American political, social, and economic agenda. Globalization as well as the end of the Cold War have meant that people are on the move worldwide as never before. Millions of people from poor countries migrate to richer ones to provide better lives for themselves and their families through legal and illegal channels. Heated debates surround this subject. A dramatic divide persists between proponents, who equate immigration policy with civil rights, and opponents, who cite the burden of illegal immigration on public education and public welfare systems. The author argues that informal institutions involved in migration processes, such as migrant smuggling networks, explain why the current crisis persists. The role of informal institutions is examined by focusing on those who migrate from Kyrgyzstan to the United States seeking low-wage Ubor. The author generalizes how formal and informal institutions interact in the processes of migration and how informal institutions decisively influence immigration-related policies in the United States.
Saltanat LiebertChallenges of Reforming the Civil Service in the Post-Soviet Era: The Case of KyrgyzstanReview of Public Personnel Administration344403-4202014Kyrgyzstan, civil the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Kyrgyzstan went through radical economic reforms to transition from a command to a market-based economy. The governance system had to be rebuilt to reflect the country’s shift from socialist ideology to free-market, democratic regime. Despite numerous reforms undertaken by the Kyrgyz Government to restructure its civil service, these efforts have fallen short in creating such a civil service system. To understand the reasons for the limited results achieved by reforms, this article examines formal rules regulating Kyrgyzstan’s civil service and assesses how they are implemented in practice. Key aspects of Kyrgyzstan’s civil service such as recruitment, selection, promotion, compensation, job security, and performance appraisal are examined. The article juxtaposes formal rules governing key elements of the civil service to the actual practices of the government. In conclusion, I offer an assessment of why civil service reforms produced inadequate results.
Saltanat LiebertDeconstructing Immigrant Integration: The Case of Kyrgyz Labor Migrants in the United StatesInternational Journal of Public Administration432151-1652020Kyrgyzstan, the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, millions of its former citizens moved to other countries. Kyrgyzstan, having experienced painful transition from command to market economy, sends a large share of its workforce abroad, and consequently, receives remittances that amount to one third of its GDP. Thousands of Kyrgyz migrants come to the United States in search of economic opportunities, both legally and through irregular methods. Based on in-depth semi-structured interviews with 42 Kyrgyz labor migrants, this paper examines their economic integration in the United States. The author proposes a conceptual framework that maps out factors influencing how successfully immigrants integrate in the destination countries.
Alan DeYoung, Rakhat Zholdoshalieva, Umut ZholdoshalievaCreating and Contesting Meanings of Place and Community in the Ylay Talaa Valley of KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey322161-1742013Kyrgyzstan, identity, schooling was virtually non-existent before the Soviet power in nomadic Kyrgyzstan, as communal life and learning was organized informally at the household and clan level. During the Soviet period, however, educational success became an avenue to a new form of upward social and geographical mobility, and the school provided new and prestigious positions for local teachers and administrators. This paper explores how the externally imposed Soviet collectivization policies reshaped the understandings and meanings of place and community during the twentieth century, a reshaping that centrally involved redefining education and the importance of ‘the school’. In the post-Soviet period, the utility of secondary and higher education in local and national labour markets has diminished, as has the power and prestige of educators. Yet the appeal of education lingers on. The authors seek to document these claims using oral histories, ethnographic interviews and participant observations in the Ylay Talaa Valley of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Dinissa DuvanovaDelegation of Political Authority to Bureaucratic Agencies in an Authoritarian Regime: An Analysis of Regional Economic Regulation in KazakhstanStudies in Comparative International Development volume5287-1142017Kazakhstan, Elites, paper investigates the delegation of economic policy implementation in non-democratic settings. It draws on a dataset of statutory and administrative regulation created between 1991 and 2011 in Kazakhstan in order to investigate economic effects of bureaucratic discretion. The examination of regional and temporal variation in the number and detail of economic regulations shows that while regulatory intervention does not have a discernible effect on economic performance, statutory constraints on bureaucratic discretion have a positive effect. This finding supports the notion that in the absence of societal accountability, statutory constraint on the administrative apparatus leads to a more stable business climate and better economic performance. The paper explicates the ways in which theories of delegation apply to autocracies and broadens our understanding of political control over economic policy implementation.
Alisher KhamidovThe Lessons of the ‘Nookat Events’: Central Government, Local Officials and Religious Protests in KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey322148-1602013Kyrgyzstan, conflict, security, Muslim communities reassert themselves in public life across the world, including Central Asia, their actions are causing tension in relations with ‘secular’ governments. Various global theories have been offered to explain these dynamics. According to one theory, tension between religious communities and secular states is caused by the exclusion or marginalization of Muslims, a process exacerbated by the perceived anti-Muslim bias in the foreign- and domestic-security policies of Central Asian states. A second view is that tension results from the work of global extremist groups espousing the restoration of an Islamic Caliphate. The third approach presents the rising tension as part of a broader trend: a putative clash of Western and Muslim civilizations. This article challenges these theories by using a case study of a Muslim grassroots protest in Kyrgyzstan to highlight the importance of local politics, namely informal arrangements among local officials, power brokers and community members. In so doing, it seeks to make a contribution to theorizing Muslim–state relations in Central Asia.
Timur DadabaevThe Chinese Economic Pivot in Central Asia and its Implications for the Post-Karimov Re-Emergence of UzbekistanAsian Survey584747-7692018Central Asia, energy, focusing on the impact of Chinese engagement in Uzbekistan, this article promotes an understanding of the motivations of Central Asian states such as Uzbekistan in strategically engaging China. Although China’s Belt and Road Initiative has received wide coverage, few details of other Chinese projects and their impacts have been analyzed. The article aims to fill in this gap by outlining the latest project details of Chinese engagement and their impact in this region.
Aisalkyn Botoeva, Regine SpectorSewing to Satisfaction: Craft-based Entrepreneurs in Contemporary KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey324487-5002013Kyrgyzstan, article focuses on the reassembling of apparel production in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan. We contribute to this special issue on well-being in Central Asia by examining how individual craft-based apparel producers (a subset of producers in the apparel industry) describe the process through which they built upon their Soviet past and reoriented their professional trajectories in a new competitive market environment. These producers locate professional satisfaction in their ability to draw upon and creatively re-employ local knowledge and experience learned in Soviet institutions, ultimately – as they articulate and perceive – deriving pride and well-being from the process of selling highly regarded ethnically inspired apparel products both at home and abroad.
Timur DadabaevDiscourses of Rivalry or Rivalry of Discourses: Discursive Strategies of China and Japan in Central AsiaThe Pacific Review33161-952020Central Asia, China, energy, article analyzes discursive strategies of China and Japan to integrate newly emerging Central Asian (CA) states into their internal and external policies, norms and concepts, according to which they justify both their actions in CA and CA responses to these policies. This article elaborates the concept that to a certain extent, the interests of China and Japan in CA are similarly focused on mineral resources and political stability. However, these countries employ different discursive strategies to frame their approaches and goals. This article also emphasizes that the discourse of competition for regional domination prevalent in the English language, Russian and some CA media is largely an imposition of a zero-sum vision of international relations that is not proven by any empirical evidence. On the contrary, many of the projects conducted both by China and Japan are compatible – if not supplementary – and do not necessarily imply exclusivity of interest. At the same time, both China and Japan have different ways of reasoning their CA engagements, resulting in a rivalry of discourses for the ‘hearts and minds’ of the CA population.
Timur DadabaevManipulating Post-Soviet Nostalgia: Contrasting Political Narratives and Public Recollections in Central AsiaInternational Journal of Asian Studies1-212020Central Asia, ethnicity, memory, vision of the Soviet years in post-Soviet republics varies depending on the government's official master narrative, foreign policy priorities, and general public perceptions of the past. By contrasting the published interviews of presidents Putin, Nazarbayev, and Karimov and the outcomes of in-depth interviews with the elderly public in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan), this paper reveals the differences between the official master narratives of political leadership (positive or negative) with respect to the Soviet past and public attitudes. This paper aims to demonstrate that the narratives of political leaders/governments and public recollections coexist in the same social space in parallel to each other. While governments attempt to use their narratives to promote certain policy goals, people use their nostalgic recollections to make sense of the social changes in their respective countries and use such recollections to interpret their lives.
Gulmira SultangalievaThe Role of the Pristavstvo Institution in the Context of Russian Imperial Policies in the Kazakh Steppe in the Nineteenth CenturyCentral Asian Survey44162-792014Central Asia, Russia, history, institution of pristavstvo was introduced in the Kazakh Steppe in the first decade of the nineteenth century. This institution had different meanings and functions, from an individually held position (e.g., a pristav to the khān of the Junior Horde in 1820; the pristavs who accompanied the Kazakh delegation to Saint Petersburg in the first half of the nineteenth century) to an administrative-territorial structure (e.g., the pristavstvo of the Senior Horde; the Mangyshlak and Zaisan pristavstvos). Though the political structure of the Russian empire had included institutions analogous to the pristavstvo, it was not a conventional component of the Russian administrative system. Studying the features of the pristavstvo institution in the territory of Kazakhstan and analysing the transformation of the pristav's function provide new insights on how the multi-ethnic Russian empire was managed. They will also help scholars to better understand the forms and methods the Russian authorities employed to manage their nomadic populations.
Timur Dadabaev, Nigora DjalilovaConnectivity, Energy, and Transportation in Uzbekistan’s Strategy Vis-à-vis Russia, China, South Korea, and JapanAsia Europe Journal (Springer)2020Russia, China, Uzbekistan, paper focuses on the articulated intentions andregistered projects of emerging developmental government in Uzbekistanvis-a-vis Russia, China, South Korea and Japan in the areas of Energy andTransport Infrastructure Development. By thematically analyzing the cooperationroadmaps for 2017–2019, this paper offers insights into how Uzbekistaninternalizes energy and infrastructure-related projects with these countries inits re-opening to the international community in post-Karimov era. This paperclaims that Uzbekistan looks beyond the connectivity rhetoric in its foreignpartners’ interest in energy and transportation and seeks to capitalize on therelated projects to position itself as an industrial and transportation hub forother CA countries and Afghanistan. In addition, for Uzbekistan, theinfrastructure and energy-related initiatives are part of its de-colonizationagenda aiming to shift its economy from being resource-based to being based onthe export of value-added products.
Rano TuraevaPost-Soviet Uncertainties: Micro-Orders of Central Asian Migrants in RussiaInner Asia (Brill)152273-2922013law, Central Asia, international this paper Turaeva shows how people ‘muddle through’ the present post- Soviet uncertainties and chaos in Central Asia, creating orders amidst disorder. This muddling- through, locally known as tirikchilik, creates what I call micro- orders structured through trust networks. Present disorder is contrasted to what was known as poryadok i zakon [order and law] in Soviet times. I show these processes in the example of mobile entrepreneurs who make their earnings through their mobile lives between Russia and Central Asia. Power, various dependencies, obligations and duties, shared belief and morals, status and authority play important parts in living and muddling- through within the domain of tirikchilik and also in regulating micro-orders by mobile entrepreneurs.
Bakhtiyar Babajanov‘How Will We Appear in the Eyes of Inovertsy and Inorodtsy?’ Nikolai Ostroumov on the Image and Function of Russian PowerCentral Asian Survey332270-2882014Central Asia, Russia, article offers a close reading of several unpublished manuscripts by the Russian Orientalist, administrator and missionary ideologue Nikolai Petrovich Ostroumov, who spent most of his career in the Turkestan governor-generalship. Ostroumov's violent Islamophobia and close relationship with the colonial administration support to some extent the thesis of Edward Said and other postcolonial theorists that European views of the ‘Orient’ were an epistemological construction of negative attributes that reflected European self-perceptions, and that academic Orientalism was often the handmaiden of colonial power and expansion. However, much of Ostroumov's writing was so abstract and divorced from the social and political realities of Turkestani society that it was of little practical use, something compounded by his view of Orthodox Christianity and Islam as polar opposites. Ostroumov's private writings reveal a deep anxiety regarding the durability of Russian conquest and rule in Central Asia, and paranoia about the decline and destruction of the Christian faith and European civilization.
Rano TuraevaMobile Entrepreneurs in Post-Soviet Central AsiaCommunist and Post-Communist Studies471105-1142014Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, this paper the author presentz an analysis of a mobile entrepreneur and his transnational economic activities in post-Soviet space. Turaeva argues that the space of informal economic activities of mobile entrepreneurs are structured by trust-networks in the sense Tilly (2005) uses it. In this context the concept of tirikchilik (an Uzbek term for ‘muddling through’ or survival) which defines the space of informal economic activities is important to decipher. Tirikchilik unifies various economic activities which vary from trade, service delivery, middleman services, administration and any kind of activity that generates some cash.
Kobil Ruziev, Toshtemir MajidovDiffering Effects of the Global Financial Crisis on the Central Asian Countries: Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and UzbekistanEurope-Asia Studies654682-7162013Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, economics,, the Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan are neighbouring countries in post-Soviet Central Asia which share similar culture and language. Their economic structures were similar under central planning: they provided the agricultural basis to the Soviet economy. But, since independence, these economies have grown structurally more heterogeneous due to variations in the implementation of market-oriented reforms, the degree of integration into the global economy and natural resource endowment. This article attempts to demonstrate how this heterogeneity can explain the differing effects of the recent Global Financial Crisis on these countries' economies in general and in the banking sector in particular.
Rano Turaeva, Anna-Katharina HornidgeFrom Knowledge Ecology to Innovation Systems: Agricultural Innovations and Their Diffusion in UzbekistanInnovation: Management, Policy & Practice132183-1932013Uzbekistan, paper offers an insight into Uzbekistan’s innovation system by adopting an inductive approach and studying the system along the example of altogether five different agricultural innovations (five case studies) entered into the national system of innovation screening for potential outscaling. The data suggest that there are missing linkages and a weak institutional infrastructure in the field of innovation diffusion in Uzbekistan and thus we argue that there is ‘knowledge ecology’ (to use Foray’s term) rather than ‘innovation systems’ in place. Nevertheless, this bears the potential to support the development of a future national innovation system.
Rano TuraevaImagined Mosque Communities in Russia: Central Asian Migrants in MoscowAsian Ethnicity202131-1472018migration, Central Asia, article aims to shed light on mosque communities in Russia through the example of mosques frequented by Moscovites and by Central Asian migrants. I will make use of Anderson’s theoretical framework of ‘imagined community’ in analysing the material presented in the article. The main argument is that there are no real mosque communities and rather that the sense of community formed around mosques is imagined. There are nevertheless a variety of networks, groups and institutions within and around mosques. The article is based on fieldwork conducted in 2016 and 2017.
Balihar Sanghera, Aibek IlyasovThe Social Embeddedness of Professions in Kyrgyzstan: An Investigation into Professionalism, Institutions and EmotionsEurope-Asia Studies604643-6612008Kyrgyzstan, article examines how professions are socially constructed in Kyrgyzstan, paying particular attention to the moral sentiments and organisational capabilities of people working in the professions. It is suggested that the moral sentiments approach captures the tensions and conflicts of post-Soviet Kyrgyzstani professions, and identifies how professional practices can become 'corrupt'. The article shows how professionals operate in difficult political and economic conditions, and how far they possess positive sentiments for effective action.
Laura Adams, Assel RustemovaMass Spectacle and Styles of Governmentality in Kazakhstan and UzbekistanEurope-Asia Studies6171249-12762009Kazakhstan, governance, Uzbekistan, spite of rather dramatic differences in the economic policies they have pursued, President Nursultan Nazarbaev of Kazakhstan and President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan are indeed similar: both leaders have remained in power for more than 17 years by manipulating formal political institutions and by becoming increasingly repressive of societal institutions. Rather than fostering the development of civil society and implementing democratic political reforms, both leaders have perpetuated inefficient and corrupt bureaucracies and encouraged a view among their population that they alone have the ability to take care of their people. But in this last point the leaders again diverge: each president takes a rather different role in relation to his citizens, and thereby cultivates differences in the ways that their respective states relate to their populations and vice versa. In this article we explore this relationship between state and population that Michel Foucault termed governmentality, in order to highlight what we find to be important differences between the two countries that larger political analyses might overlook.
Asel Murzakulova, John SchoeberleinThe Invention of Legitimacy: Struggles in Kyrgyzstan to Craft an Effective Nation-State IdeologyEurope-Asia Studies6171229-12482009Kyrgyzstan, nation Asian regimes are usually conceptualised in authoritarian terms, in a system where agency is concentrated in the regime. Thus, ideology is analysed as something that emanates from the political elite and acts on a passive population. But the fact that the discourse about ideology is permeated with notions of its mobilising power points to the need for considering the agency of the population in this framework. This study suggests that the system from which discourse about ideology emerges is not solely driven by elite concerns but also by those of other social actors.
Nigora Djalilova, Miguel EstebanFeasibility Study of Hybrid Wind-Solar Stand-Alone Energy Systems for Remote Regions in Developing Countries: The Case of Post-Soviet UzbekistanInternational Journal for Sustainable Future for Human Security613-142018Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, paper uses the case study of Uzbekistan, as an example of a developing post-Socialist country undergoing an economic transition from planned to market economy to analyse if hybrid wind or solar energy systems are economically viable, compared to diesel run systems. In order to do so authors fed real meteorological data for six selected regions in Uzbekistan into the HOMER software. Further, the authors investigate changes in monetary policy recently taking place in the country and question the consistency of such changes with the course taken towards increasing the share of renewables in power generation. The paper concludes that although renewables appear to be economically viable (even in a fossil-fuel rich country), the government needs to synchronise different policy tools in order to build an efficient, environmentally friendly and sustainable energy system. Uzbekistan is an emerging economy.
Timur Dadabaev, Nigora DjalilovaConnectivity, Energy, and Transportation in Uzbekistan’s Strategy Vis-à-vis Russia, China, South Korea, and JapanAsia Europe Journal (Springer)2020Russia, China, energy, paper focuses on the articulated intentions andregistered projects of emerging developmental government in Uzbekistanvis-a-vis Russia, China, South Korea and Japan in the areas of Energy andTransport Infrastructure Development. By thematically analyzing the cooperationroadmaps for 2017–2019, this paper offers insights into how Uzbekistaninternalizes energy and infrastructure-related projects with these countries inits re-opening to the international community in post-Karimov era. This paperclaims that Uzbekistan looks beyond the connectivity rhetoric in its foreignpartners’ interest in energy and transportation and seeks to capitalize on therelated projects to position itself as an industrial and transportation hub forother CA countries and Afghanistan. In addition, for Uzbekistan, theinfrastructure and energy-related initiatives are part of its de-colonizationagenda aiming to shift its economy from being resource-based to being based onthe export of value-added products.
Aksana Ismailbekova, Emil NasritdinovTransnational Religious Networks in Central Asia: Structure, Travel, and Culture of Kyrgyz Tablighi Jama'atTransnational Social Review22177-1952012Kyrgyzstan, religion, paper explores the transnational character of religious networks in Central Asia based on the example of tablighi jama'at, a movement for the revival of Islam that emerged in the early 20th century in India and after the break-up of the Soviet Union became very popular in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The paper looks at the transnational elements of Kyrgyz tablighijama'at's social organization, cross-border travel, and culture. Using ethnographic materials, the authors portray Kyrgyz tablighi travelers not as passive recipients of outside influence, but as committed transnational actors actively engaged in cross-border exchange of religious ideas and networking practices.
Aksana IsmailbekovaSecuring Future Lives of Children Through Ritualized Parenthood in the Village of Bulak, KyrgyzstanAnthropology of East Europe Review3221-162014Kyrgyzstan, purpose of this article is to examine how patron-client relations ( okul ata-ene ) make sense of their future in acceptable ways in response to dramatic economic, social and political changes in Kyrgyzstan's post-Soviet environment. After the collapse of the USSR, people in rural Kyrgyzstan came to rely on kinship, ritual kin relations, and alternative support networks. These networks provide better security and enable feelings of belonging in a period when people are insecure about their future prospects. These networks bring new opportunities new opportunities for identification within a potential system, which provides access to resources and satisfies basic needs in present time. If the sense of belonging previously was tied to the Soviet state as a provider of security and social welfare, and this may be partially true – health care, education, income – but there were some limitations as well. In other words, today’s nostalgia for the past includes some glorification of the past. Today the concern with relying more on patron-client relations okul ata-ene is linked to safety network that they provide. In this context, the old patterns of patron-client relations are not only perpetuated but also recreated, though in a radically different form than before. Keywords : future, identity, patron-client relations, Kyrgyzstan
Aksana IsmailbekovaMigration and Patrilineal Descent: The Role of Women in KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey333375-3892014Kyrgyzstan, identity, processes in Kyrgyzstan have given rise to fundamental social and demographic changes, meaning that many villages and town quarters are inhabited nowadays solely by women, children and the elderly, whereas younger and middle-aged men live as migrants elsewhere. This article explores the role of women in the maintenance of a strong patrilineal descent system, in the absence of their husbands or sons. This is achieved by grandmothers who play a significant role in transmitting oral genealogies and passing stories on to their children. Another role of women lies in changing the names of male relatives of their husbands; while appointing whom one should marry is also of great importance. The role of mothers-in-law in the formation of their sons’ marriage ties in the latter’s absence points to the powerful positions of these women. The final point is that young brides continue to live with their parents-in-law – even if their husband does not – and they must be respectful brides.
Aksana IsmailbekovaSingle Mothers in Osh: Well-Being and Coping Strategies of Women in the Aftermath of the 2010 Conflict in KyrgyzstanFocaal712114-1272015Kyrgyzstan, gender, the 2010 intercommunal violence in Kyrgyzstan, women in the city of Osh were exposed to many difficulties. Conflict eroded people's contentment, and satisfactory living conditions were supplanted by increased challenges—such as deteriorating health and education systems, declining communication and economic opportunities, and the loss of property. Men's deaths during the conflict and the increased labor migration of men after the conflict also resulted in increased numbers of single mothers. This article presents trends among women, examines their coping mechanisms, and explores the well-being of single mothers by considering what makes women's lives meaningful in a postconflict situation.
Aksana IsmailbekovaConstructing the Authority of Women Through Custom: Bulak Village, KyrgyzstanNationalities Papers442266-2802016Kyrgyzstan, identity, gender, traditional authority of Kyrgyz women operates within moral frameworks and through their roles as keepers of hearth and home, and has been recognized by the state for its important role in family life and in society. Women are responsible for the health of future generations, for the quality of children’s education, and for safeguarding and passing on moral principles, which contribute to the formation of the traditional Kyrgyz family, and thus to the Kyrgyz nation. Kyrgyz ideas that women are keepers of hearth and home are exactly the ideas that allow women to build authority within the home and family. Not only do Kyrgyz women actually gain a great deal of power in their families over the course of their lives, but also this female power is foundational to the Kyrgyz sense of nation and sovereignty. Thus, what seems to be “domestic” power is, in fact, power with very public connections and effects.
Kemel ToktomushevUnderstanding Cross-Border Conflict in Post-Soviet Central Asia: The Case of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.Connections 17121-412018security, Tajikistan, the prevalence of works on the ‘discourses of danger’in the Ferghana Valley, which re-invented post-Soviet Central Asia as a site of intervention, the literature on the conflict potential in the cross-border areas of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is fairly limited. Yet, the number of small-scale clashes and tensions on the borders of the Batken and Isfara regions has been growing steadily. Accordingly, this work seeks to contribute to the understanding of the conflict escalations in the area and identify factors that aggravate tensions between the communities. In particular, this article focuses on four variables, which exacerbate tensions and hinder the restoration of a peaceful social fabric in the Batken-Isfara region: the unresolved legacies of the Soviet past, inefficient use of natural resources, militarization of borders, and lack of evidence-based policymaking.
Botakoz KassymbekovaHelpless Imperialists: European State Workers in Soviet Central Asia in the 1920s and 1930sCentral Asian Survey30121-372016Colonialism, article examines everyday realities of the state-building process in early Soviet Tajikistan. The work concentrates exclusively on the experiences of ‘European’ state workers, that is, their uncertain position as ‘imperialists’, and points to nuances of the early Soviet state building. By observing the mundane micro-level experiences of the state actors from the European parts of the Soviet Union in Central Asia, the author proposes to treat sentiments of state actors as important indicators of the Soviet statehood practices and poses the following question: why did the European state workers feel isolated, unsupported and even helpless and how can we understand their experiences as an integral part of the Soviet empire state-building process? The author argues that individuals' power and powerlessness was at the core of the early Soviet political structure since individual state representatives were to palliate institutional and legal deficiencies – a task that required enormous physical and emotional sacrifices and also included personal responsibility for anything that might have been deemed by the top as a failure.
Kemel ToktomushevRegime Security, Base Politics and Rent-Seeking: The Local and Global Political Economies of the American Air Base in Kyrgyzstan, 2001–2010Central Asian Survey34157-772015Kyrgyzstan, international relations, the eponymous hero of the Kyrgyz epic, Manas, who united the Kyrgyz people, the American air base situated at Kyrgyzstan's Manas International Airport became a source of fracture in Kyrgyz politics after its establishment in late 2001 to support the US-led war in Afghanistan. Whilst international attention focuses on the geopolitics of a so-called New Great Game over basing rights in Central Asia, a more significant political and economic struggle concerning the Manas Air Base is related to its fuel supplies. The air base became a source of rent for the ruling elites and an object of controversy between the government and opposition in two successful uprisings, which removed presidents Askar Akayev and Kurmanbek Bakiyev from power (in 2005 and 2010, respectively).
Marc von Boemcken, Hafiz Boboyorov, Nina BagdasarovaLiving dangerously: Security-Scapes of Lyuli and LGBT People in Urban Spaces of KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey37168-842018Kyrgyzstan, security, of existential threat do not only express themselves in exceptional actions – as prominently suggested by securitization theory – but also in routine, day-to-day practices. They can become a part of ‘normal’ life. We demonstrate this by following the everyday activities of individuals from the Lyuli as well as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Kyrgyzstan. Individuals from both groups actively and consciously secure themselves by employing a mix of practices that range from deterrence and open confrontation to avoidance, adaptation and hiding tactics. For the purpose of tracing and discussing these activities, our article develops and applies the innovative concept of securityscapes.
Sabina InsebayevaJapan’s Central Asia Policy Revisited: National Identity, Interests, and Foreign Policy DiscoursesNationalities Papers475853 - 8672019identity, international relations, article focuses on the nature of Japan’s foreign policy formulation and legitimization through a study of its interaction with Central Asian countries. The article examines foreign policy discourse that constructs Japan’s “self” vis-à-vis Central Asian “other.” It reveals the textual mechanism through which reality, objects, and subjects are constructed, and it interprets the official statements contained in several foreign policy initiatives, in particular, the “Eurasian (Silk Road) Diplomacy,” the “Central Asia plus Japan,” and the “Arc of Freedom and Prosperity,” as an attempt to understand the intersubjective knowledge and analytical lens through which Japanese foreign policy makers conceive and interpret the constructed “reality,” produce foreign policy choices, and choose among identified alternatives.
Erica MaratImagined Past, Uncertain Future: The Creation of National Ideologies in Kyrgyzstan and TajikistanProblems of Post-Communism55112-242008identity, Tajikistan, Nationalism, ideologies were a crucial element of the state-building processes in the independent Central Asian states. They reflected two major goals of the ruling elites. First, the elites were able to strengthen themselves against competing political forces by mobilizing the entire public domain in support of the national ideologies they produced. Second, the elites were able to expand their political and economic power. In practice, national ideologies helped the ruling elites to dominate society by subduing intra-elite confrontations and obtaining desirable election outcomes. This article supports the foregoing arguments by describing general trends in the production of national ideologies in the Central Asian states, focusing on Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan as case studies. The national ideological programs in these two states each had a unique dynamic. Kyrgyzstan’s first president, Askar Akayev, tried to find a balance between civic and ethnic nationalism to meet the demands of his russified and nationalist people, whereas Tajik president Emomali Rakhmon’s main goal was to prevent the Islamic opposition from fomenting a competitive national ideology.
Erica MaratMarch and After: What has Changed? What has Stayed the Same?Central Asian Survey273229-2402008civil society, energy, article recalls the major events that have taken place since 24 March 2005. It examines Bakiev's new government formed in December 2007, analyses the changes in criminal world dynamics, explains problems in the hydro-energy sector, and concludes with a section on civil society groups. The article demonstrates how corruption, crime and politics are interlinked in the country and how, on the other hand, local civil society groups have proved to be considerably more stable compared to political parties.
Erica MaratNation Branding in Central Asia: A New Campaign to Present Ideas about the State and the NationEurope-Asia Studies6171123–11362009identity, essay examines the national images that Central Asian states are trying to present to international audiences. Since 1991 all Central Asian states have created national ideologies, but only three—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have programmes in place to capture the attention of foreign businessmen, politicians and tourists. Following the pattern of crafting national ideologies for domestic audiences in all three states, the ruling elites have led the effort to create a unique national ‘brand’ identity for their country. Using three case studies, this article discusses the international experience of the nascent process of nation branding, outlines emerging academic debates in the field, and analyses a few existing nation brands. The three Central Asian countries differ in the way they propagate their messages. While Kazakhstan disseminates similar narratives for both domestic and international audiences, the Uzbekistani regime filters messages presented abroad and at home. In both countries, images are developed and circulated by ruling elites and diplomats under the government’s strict supervision, but both employ different persuasive techniques abroad. In Kyrgyzstan, by contrast, the process of communicating images about nation and state is less centralised, with the Ministry of Culture taking charge of most activities, while public diplomacy abroad is loosely coordinated by the regime. Importantly, however, the activities of the three countries increasingly resemble standard international practices for promoting nation brands.
Erica MaratGlobal Money Laundering and Its Domestic Political Consequences in KyrgyzstanCentral Asian Survey34146-562015Kyrgyzstan, Corruption, paper examines how Kyrgyzstan's two post-communist political regimes used offshore accounts to launder money and broker lucrative deals with international business partners. It argues that easy access to global financial institutions and availability of offshore markets strengthens a corrupt regime's grip on both political and economic matters and gives regime members a feeling of invincibility both domestically and globally. Offshore connections contributed to the emergence of a vast shadow economy inside Kyrgyzstan that includes clandestine hydropower exports, manipulations in the financial sector, and organized crime. The paper particularly focuses on the non-state actors who served as brokers to mediate connections between regime incumbents and international markets.
Erica MaratWe Disputed Every Word’: How Kyrgyzstan’s Moderates Tame Ethnic NationalismNations and Nationalism222205-2342016Kyrgyzstan, post‐violence Kyrgyzstan, a small group of civic‐minded nationalists are fighting to tame extremist voices by formulating their own reconciliation policies. These moderates have adopted several strategies, including persuasion and bargaining with nationalistic elites. This process is not without its limitations. Important issues, such as forging a civic identity for the majority ethnic group, remain unaddressed. Still, moderates' policy achievements and concrete actions are likely to continue to undercut nationalist rhetoric. The case of Kyrgyzstan offers one possible alternative to the Soviet paradigm of framing nationhood alongside citizenship
Erica MaratPolice Reform in Post-communist States: International Efforts, Domestic HeroesComparative Politics483333-3522016Kyrgyzstan, authoritarianism, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Police, article explores the conditions in which democratic police reforms are likely to succeed and when they will fail. It addresses criticism that international efforts to democratize police forces in countries with recent authoritarian past rests in the donors' tendency to work with the very same political officials and government agencies that rely on the coercive power of the police. However, the alternative bottom-up reform approach that would involve non-state actors is harder to define. Based on the analysis of five post-communist countries that have officially embarked on police reform efforts with the help of international community, the article finds that bottom-up police reform is likely to take place in urban areas where non-state actors are ready for long-term engagement and are flexible in their demands.
Erica MaratPost-Violence Regime Survival and Expansion in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan”, Central Asian SurveyCentral Asian Survey354531-5482016authoritarianism, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan,’s and Tajikistan’s governments were able to successfully strengthen their reach and their capacity to control the population in the wake of deadly violence against regime opponents. Yet the process of deepening authoritarianism was not a straightforward affair. Both countries expanded their coercive capabilities – they upgraded policing in rural areas to improve intelligence gathering on the local population and predict the rise of any anti-government activities. While doing so, however, leaders of both countries sought to frame their actions as an inclusive process that was sensitive to the grievances of the affected populations and the general public. This article adds to the growing body of literature on authoritarian state responses to insurgency by showing how authoritarian regimes create narratives, engage civil society and look for political advantage to expand the coercive apparatus.
Erica MaratMimicking ‘Broken Windows’ Policing in Post-Soviet Cities: Expanding Social Control in Uncertain TimesPolicing and Society2991005-10212019Kazakhstan, and Ukraine are the two latest adopters of the broken windows theory of policing first applied in New York City in the 1990s. Both countries embraced the practice despite its declining popularity and widespread criticism in the West. This article explores why and how broken windows policing is mimicked in both countries’ largest cities – Almaty and Kyiv. It shows that there are striking similarities in how various order-maintenance policing initiatives rose to prominence in Western urban areas and later in the post-Soviet context. The expansion of the middle class and the rapidly changing demography of urban areas due to socio-economic transformations popularised this norm-setting style of policing. By expanding policing of disorderly behaviours, both countries also tried to mould the type of citizens appropriate for a state with grand geopolitical ambitions. Kazakhstan and Ukraine sought to improve their regional and global rankings by creating a more orderly domestic environment.
Diana KurdaibergenovaThe Use and Abuse of Postcolonial Discourses in Post-Independent KazakhstanEurope-Asia Studies685917-9352016nationalism, Kazakhstan, identity, article explores the concept of political postcolonialism and how political groups appropriate and contest this discourse. Elites and contesting political groups utilise postcolonial rhetoric to legitimate their political goals by projecting that their country, in this case Kazakhstan, was colonised by the Tsarist Russia and then by the Soviet Union. For President Nursultan A. Nazarbayev’s nationalising regime the status of Kazakhstan as a colony represented a vital item in post-1991 nation-building projects. Political opposition and Kazakh national-patriots contested this official discourse, blaming the regime for scarce efforts towards ‘full decolonisation’. The absence of major intellectual discussion allowed these elites and political players to reappropriate these discourses in the political rather than critical intellectual domain.
Diana KurdaibergenovaThe Archaeology of Nationalizing Regimes in the Post-Soviet Space. Narratives, Elites, and MinoritiesNationalities Papers646342-3552017Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, nationalism, Tajikistan, article focuses on the nature of nationalizing regimes and nationalist narratives in post-Soviet Kazakhstan and Latvia, both of which have significant Russian-speaking minority populations. In addressing the evolution of these regimes, the article examines the differences between the more nationalistic trend in Latvia and the more ambiguous identity projects in Kazakhstan and the reasons why these two tendencies have persisted. Movements, parties, and elites have changed over time, altering the political competition, but not the agenda of the nationalistic groups seeking power within the regime. The article proposes to study the winning and losing political groups through the prism of the nationalizing regimes—the ideational and decision-making framework of nation-building that guides and controls the dominant discourses about the nation.
Aziz Atamanov, Marrit Van Den BergRural Nonfarm Activities in Central Asia: A Regional Analysis of Magnitude, Structure, Evolution and Drivers in the Kyrgyz RepublicEurope-Asia Studies642349-3682012Kyrgyzstan, agriculture, article provides an in-depth regional analysis of the rural nonfarm economy in Kyrgyzstan based on three household budget surveys for 2003, 2005 and 2006. Regression analysis reveals that the share of time spent in the commercial rural nonfarm economy was larger in districts with low agricultural potential, indicating that the rural poor are pushed into accessible but not necessarily very profitable nonfarm activities. This ‘push’ scenario is probably strengthened by the low commercialisation and unfinished institutional reforms in the agricultural sector. Only in a few land-rich districts and in a district with a famous resort was labour ‘pulled’ into a profitable rural nonfarm economy stimulated by agricultural development and other local ‘motors’ of growth.
Nodir Djanibekov, Kristof van Assche, Ihtiyor Bobojonov, John LamersFarm Restructuring and Land Consolidation in Uzbekistan: New Farms with Old BarriersEurope-Asia Studies6461101-11262012agriculture, Uzbekistan, this article we investigate the potential for and limitations of land consolidation as a tool for rural development in transitional environments, focusing on the Khorezm region in Uzbekistan, Central Asia. We frame our analysis in a broader evaluation of land consolidation as a tool for economic development based on European experiences. It is argued that both the European tradition and the Uzbek case indicate that land consolidation as an isolated measure may trigger many unfavourable side-effects, and that in a transitional environment it requires even more careful tailoring of measures and embedding in various institutional settings.
Leila ZakhirovaThe International Politics of Water Security in Central AsiaEurope-Asia Studies65101994-20132013security, Central Asia, article examines the international politics of water security in Central Asia with a particular focus on the level of regionalism. Are the five Central Asian states evolving into a region capable of solving water management problems on a regional basis? To examine the extent to which water has shaped the structure of Central Asian relations, I use water-related events. The empirical findings suggest that international relations of the Central Asian states are characterised by at least two sets of triads rather than a singular region. The presence of regional fragmentation is likely to exacerbate existing disputes over water and possibly destabilise the region.
Rachel Vanderhill, Sandra Joireman, Roza TulepbayevaDo Economic Linkages through FDI Lead to Institutional Change? Assessing Outcomes in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and KyrgyzstanEurope-Asia Studies714648-6702019Kazakhstan, direct investment (FDI) can deliver benefits beyond the provision of capital, such as efficiency gains. We argue that the theorised positive effects of economic linkage are reduced when linkages are based on natural resources. Domestic elite coalitions supporting reform are also weaker in countries with extensive natural resources. Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have high-value natural resources and significant FDI, making them most likely cases for reform. Kyrgyzstan is a contrasting case as it has few natural resources. We find that the institutional reforms we would anticipate because of linkages have not occurred and those that exist are often cosmetic.
Aliya Tskhay, Filippo Costa BuranelliAccommodating Revisionism through Balancing Regionalism: The Case of Central AsiaEurope-Asia Studies7261033-10522020Central Asia, Russia, international Central Asian states face the challenge of containing Russia’s revisionism in the post-Soviet space while maintaining cooperative relations with it and integrating diplomatically and economically into the international system. This essay argues that the Central Asian states are managing this revisionism through a strategy we refer to as ‘balancing regionalism’: cooperating among themselves and with multiple actors to insulate themselves from great power revisionist power politics and from the establishment of an exclusive sphere of influence in their region. This balancing regionalism operates through the following three mechanisms: bridging, dovetailing, and branding.
Markus Kaiser, Serik BeimenbetovThe Role of Repatriate Organisations in the Integration of Kazakhstan’s OralmandarEurope-Asia Studies7281403-14252020migration, Kazakhstan, nation article explores origins, structure and functions of repatriate organisations created by Kazakh return migrants in Kazakhstan. The article examines the factors that stimulate Kazakh repatriates to self-organise, analyses the functions of repatriate organisations, and investigates their role in the integration of Kazakh repatriates in their historical homeland. It argues that, although repatriate organisations have been indispensable to the integration of Kazakh repatriates, they cannot be considered as a viable social movement. The political opportunity structure approach is used here to explain the limited ability of repatriate organisations to become a successful collective actor.
Temur Alexandrov‘Shaking Hands with Money’: The Phenomenon of Gap in Modern Uzbekistan and KazakhstanEurope-Asia Studies696897-9202017Kazakhstan, civil society, Uzbekistan, study examines gap—traditional reciprocal associations common in Central Asia. Gap is an unofficial, regular get-together of people of similar age bound by socially acknowledged ties. The study argues that gap represents a communal type of civil society featuring many differences from analogous groups in Western liberal societies. Gap may effect social consciousness and facilitate mobilisation. The study also analyses modern forms of gap such as joint savings funds, female-only get-togethers, and internet-based gap.
Alima BissenovaThe Fortress and the Frontier: Mobility, Culture, and Class in Almaty and AstanaEurope-Asia Studies694642-6672017Kazakhstan, politics, urban the seat of the Kazakh government and a booming city since 1998, Astana has attracted hundreds of thousands of migrants. As a cultural and financial capital, Almaty has also continued to boom, drawing comparable numbers of migrants from different regions of Kazakhstan. However, varying historical trajectories and historically constructed notions of the urban and rural, as articulated by the cultural elites and policy-makers, as well as different preparedness of the government for migration flows in the 1990s and the 2000s in Almaty and Astana respectively, have resulted in quite diverse attitudes toward mobility and different perceptions about how urban order should be achieved.
Elmira SatybaldievaPolitical Capital, Everyday Politics and Moral Obligations: Understanding the Political Strategies of Various Elites and the Poor in KyrgyzstanEurope-Asia Studies673370-3872015Kyrgyzstan, Elites, the Bourdieusian framework to analyse the nature of social stratification in rural Kyrgyzstan, this article examines how local politics is strategised by different groups in the social field. The article suggests two modifications to the Bourdieusian framework to reflect better the nature of local politics. First, despite lacking significant capital holdings, poor groups undertake everyday resistance and mediated politics. Second, intellectual and traditional elites engage in the politics of ‘doing the right thing’, motivated by a sense of moral obligation. The article provides a critical challenge to the concept of clan and elite-led politics which is often used to explain events in Central Asia.
Azamat JunisbaiThe Determinants of Economic System Legitimacy in KazakhstanEurope-Asia Studies6681234-12522014Kazakhstan, robust, and much touted, growth, Kazakhstan's economic system enjoys only tepid support among large swathes of the population and is viewed by many as neither fair nor legitimate. Extreme juxtapositions of new wealth and new poverty against a historic background of economic and social egalitarianism combine to make this a potent and combustible issue. Women, ethnic Slavs, the poor, people in urban areas most afflicted by post-Soviet de-industrialisation, those who feel they have lost out in the transition to a market economy, and those who are pessimistic about their financial prospects are more likely to question the legitimacy of the current economic system. Because scepticism about the distributive system contributes to political and social strife, these findings provide grounds for concern about Kazakhstan's long-term stability.
Natalia Danilovich, Elmira YessaliyevaEffects of Out-of-Pocket Payments on Access to Maternal Health Services in Almaty, Kazakhstan: A Qualitative StudyEurope-Asia Studies664578-5892014Kazakhstan, economics, current study addresses health care reform in transitional countries and explores the impact of out-of-pocket payments on access to maternal health services drawing on Kazakhstan's case. Data on out-of-pocket payments and access to maternity care were generated through qualitative in-depth interviews conducted in Almaty during the period 2009–2010. The results indicate that while health sector reform was designed to improve the quality of care and equity, the introduction of official user charges accompanied by a rapid growth of informal payments created financial barriers that prevented women from accessing maternal services leading to reduction in utilisation of maternity care.
Guldana SalimjanDebating Gender and Kazakhness: Memory and Voice in Poetic Duel Aytis between China and KazakhstanCentral Asian Survey362263-2802017culture, China, Kazakhstan, is a central component of Kazakh oral literature. It is a duelling performance of improvised oral poetry between two aqins (poets, or bards) accompanying themselves on the dombra, a two-stringed plucked instrument. This article analyses contending issues in a transnational aytis between Chinese and Kazakhstani aqins, and explores how gender plays into the complex interplay of transnational identity politics, nationalism, performer positionality, and the preservation of intangible cultural heritage. This article argues that, though minority actors are subject to state-patronized national projects and the gender paradigms those projects entail, they can also obtain empowerment from performing tradition as a way to legitimize their status as culture producers and flexible citizens. Situated as the guardians of a constructed gender balance in society, women performers of oral tradition occasionally find themselves with opportunities to transgress the boundaries of their national and gender norms.
Guldana SalimjanMapping Loss, Remembering Ancestors: Genealogical Narratives of Kazakhs in ChinaAsian Ethnicity 2020culture, China, identity, Xinjiang, narratives are important aspects of Kazakh social life in China and the formation of self-identifications. They reflect tensions in competing forms of history-writing through which the Chinese state maintains control over its frontier. Through ethnography and critical analysis of locally produced and circulated genealogy books, this article traces the connections between genealogy as a way of knowing and its creative agency under the Chinese settler order in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The article argues that Kazakh genealogy books as knowledge production are a response to Mao era assimilationist policies and reform era economic dispossession. Genealogy in this context mediates and mobilizes local histories, land epistemology, and gender ideals to construct Kazakh collective memory and belonging to ancestral places in northern Xinjiang.
Rachel Vanderhill, Sandra Joireman, Roza TulepbayevaBetween the Bear and the Dragon: Multivectorism in Kazakhstan as a Model Strategy for Secondary PowersInternational Affairs964975–9932020Russia, China, Kazakhstan, international has followed a foreign policy of multivector diplomacy since its independence from the former Soviet Union. While multivectorism was a strategy of necessity in its early years, it has evolved to empower Kazakhstan to effectively protect its independence and negotiate its relationship with the great powers on its borders and further afield. After the 2014 Russian seizure of Crimea it is noteworthy that Kazakhstan has maintained positive relations with Russia while asserting its sovereignty and independent foreign policy. In this article we investigate how Kazakhstan has negotiated the rise of China, taking advantage of the economic opportunities it presents. We trace the foreign policy of Kazakhstan from independence forward, examining its relationships with its Great Power neighbours and its role in international organizations and negotiations. We posit that multivectorism is similar to the strategy of omni-enmeshment and complex balancing seen in south-east Asia. Both are effective methods for secondary powers to protect their sovereignty and to coexist with Great Powers without becoming their client states. Kazakhstan's approach to foreign policy is an exemplar for secondary states. This article contributes to the literature on the strategic decision-making of secondary powers and to the theoretical analysis of the foreign policy of Kazakhstan during a critical moment of transition from the long-time rule of Nursultan Nazarbayev to the presidency of Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
Sherzod EralievGrowing Religiosity Among Central Asian Migrants in Russia: Why Does Migration ‘Theologise’?Journal of International and Advanced Japanese Studies10137-1502018migration, Russia,"This article analyses why a significant number of Central Asian migrants become more religious in Russia than they were at home. Although debate is emerging on the influence of migration on the religiosity of Central Asians in Russia, it is not yet clear in what circumstances migration ‘theologizes’. Here, we use the word ‘theologize’ to indicate how migration leads a migrant to become more religious. Insecurity and contexts of reception theories are used in answering this question. I argue that the insecurity theory that was tested in mostly Western countries to explain growing religiosity of immigrants should be looked upon more broadly when applied to other contexts. The very living conditions of a labour migrant, the environment in which he lives, and circumstances he faces every day in Russia incline and push him to seek solace and comfort in religion. It is suggested that the feelings of insecurity—not only economic (mostly in terms of finding a job), but also psychological and existential—are critical factors in such circumstances. Previous research on immigrant religiosity in the West has mostly focused on economic and, to a lesser degree, existential aspects of insecurity while explaining the religious behaviour of immigrants. However, while not ignoring the importance of feelings of economic security, I argue that in the Russian case, psychological and existential (physical) insecurities play a more apparent role in affecting the religious behaviour of many Central Asian labour migrants. Sources of insecurity include but are not limited to bad living conditions far away from close family members, the local population’s xenophobia, psychological and financial pressure from officials (police and immigration authorities), contrasts in the cultures of migrants’ own and host countries, and secluded lifestyle within their own groups. In this regard, by examining more deeply the migrants’ feelings of insecurity, specific aspects peculiar to the growing religiosity among Central Asian migrants in Russia are explored."
Rustamjon Urinboyev, Abel PoleseInformality Currencies: A Tale of Misha, His Brigada and Informal Practices among Uzbek Labour Migrants in RussiaJournal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe243191-2062016migration, Russia, economics, article explores the role of informality among Uzbek construction workers in Russia. We start from a relationship that is based on economic reward and common interests and go on to explore the non-economic components of this relationship. Economically, the workers entrust their supervisor and agree to work for him for a given amount of money. However, this decision is also embedded in a non-economic dimension. All workers, and their master, come from the same village so that an additional layer of social obligations are involved. First, workers are able to receive a treatment that goes beyond economic relations, with favours or more mild attitudes when needed. Second, they are also able to put pressure on the line manager through their families in case things do not work out the way they expected. We use the case study to propose the existence of a non-monetary currency (or even currencies) that complement formal currencies. Money, its symbolism and the power attached to it still play a major role in the relationships and dependencies analyzed here. These points help us in suggesting that relations encompass a wide range of transactions and rituals that go beyond mere economic interest and that cannot be neglected when understanding informality.
Rustamjon Urinboyev, Måns SvenssonLiving Law, Legal Pluralism, and Corruption in Post-Soviet UzbekistanThe Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law 433372-3902014law, paper aims to explore the multifaceted meaning, logic, and morality of informal transactions in order to better understand the social context that informs the meaning of corruption and bribery in post-Soviet Uzbekistan. It will be argued that the informal transactions in Uzbek society reflect different cultural and functional meanings from those in most of the Western world, and hence transactions that from a Western-centric perspective would be labelled as bribes can be morally accepted transactions in the Uzbek cultural context. If this is true, there may be reasons to re-evaluate the relevance of the Western-centric interpretations of corruption in the context of Uzbekistan, and possibly other Central Asian countries. These issues will be investigated with reference to observations and informal interviews from post-Soviet Uzbekistan. This study is based on three periods of ethnographic field research between 2009 and 2012 in the Ferghana Province of Uzbekistan. It draws on concepts of ‘living law’ and legal pluralism to provide a theoretical framework.
Azamat TemirkulovKyrgyz “Revolutions” in 2005 and 2010: Comparative Analysis of Mass MobilizationNationalities Papers385589 - 6002010Kyrgyzstan, article compares causes and mechanisms of the mass mobilizations which took place in Kyrgyzstan in 2005 and 2010. The upheavals of 2005, the so called “Tulip Revolution,” led to the ousting of President Akaev who was replaced by Kurmanbek Bakiev. In 2010, Bakiev himself had to flee the country after violent social upheavals. As this analysis shows, the causes for both series of events were similar: neopatrimonial rule and the elite's control of resources together with oppressive tactics stirred up discontent among wide parts of the population and instigated violent protest. The mechanisms of mass mobilization, however, differed considerably. While the revolution of 2005 was carried out as the concerted action of varied political forces and NGOs, which, supported by patronage networks and traditional institutions, offered material and solidary incentives for the crowds, the great mass of people who took part in the 2010 protests were spontaneously mobilized through purposive incentives when news of the killings spread through the media.
Gulnar KendirbaevaMigrations in Kazakhstan: Past and PresentNationalities Papers254741 - 7511997migration, Kazakhstan, article traces the history of migration flows from Russia to Kazakhstan before 1917 to the present. The present problems in the republic stem from the complicated character of migration.
Saulesh EsenovaThe Outflow of Minorities from the Post-Soviet State: The Case of KazakhstanNationalities Papers244691 - 7071996migration, minorities, nationalism, paper examines the flow of the non-Kazakh population from the territory of Kazakhstan since the country became independent in December 1991. It analyzes the ongoing migration process from a Kazakh point-of-view--meaning, not from the position of a Kazakh nationalist, but from a pragmatic stance, taking into consideration the specific elements of the situation in the country. In particular, it is suggested that the nationalist interpretation (which is not actively promoted in the country's internal politics) is less than ideal as a scientific explanation of this migration. Instead, various other contributing factors will be presented.
Kirill NourzhanovSaviours of the Nation or Robber Barons? Warlord Politics in TajikistanCentral Asian Survey242109-1312005conflict, Tajikistan, all former Soviet Central Asian republics Tajikistan alone has suffered complete state failure in the course of post-communist transition. The contraction of central government during the final years of perestroika, and especially in the course of a short but brutal 1992 civil war, has produced a situation where large segments of the population have had to depend on various strongmen as far as their livelihood, security and often very existence are concerned. The 1997 Peace Agreement put an end to the civil conflict and led to a degree of stabilisation at the macro-political level, but it did not eliminate a plethora of military cliques who periodically challenged the authority of President Emomali Rahmonov’s regime and jeopardised the process of national reconciliation. Seven years later Tajikistan still has plenty of warlords fighting ‘bitter battles for the control over regional and local economic resources and opportunities’. Arguably, they are not as powerful and ubiquitous as in neighbouring Afghanistan, yet their sheer endurance and continuing influence warrant a closer look into the phenomenon of warlordism in Tajikistan. This article explores their role in Tajik politics.
Botakoz KassymbekovaHumans as Territory: Forced Resettlement and the Making of Soviet Tajikistan, 1920–38Central Asian Survey303349-3702011Tajikistan, ethnicity, article re-evaluates the history of internal resettlement in Soviet Tajikistan in the 1920s and early 1930s. Rather than a purely ‘economic’ measure, as the policy has thus far been identified by historians, the programme of internal resettlement had political and military rationales to secure the republic's southern plains bordering Afghanistan. These territories were considered by Soviet leaders to be insecure and under threat. By pointing to the role of ethnic categories in organizing the resettlement and the violent manner in which the policy was conducted, the author analyses state leaders' attempts to ethnicize territories and populations in order to identify, naturalize and secure allies, within and beyond Tajikistan. Tajikistan's resettlement had internal as well as foreign-policy objectives to secure the Soviet Union's border regions as well as to spread Soviet influence abroad.
Dina SharipovaThe Decolonization of the Environment in Kazakhstan: The Novel Final Respects by Abdi-Jamil NurpeisovNationalities Papers472296 - 3092019culture, Kazakhstan, article examines the novel Final Respects by Abdi-Jamil Nurpeisov from a postcolonial ecocritical perspective. Nurpeisov was one of the first Kazakh writers to discuss the decolonization of the environment and the “process of self-apprehension” by writing about the tragedy of the Aral Sea, power relations between the center and periphery, and the interconnectivity of humans and the environment in the Soviet Union. Through the prism of a small fishing village, he shows the tragedy of a nation that has an impact on the entire world. The novel is thus a critique of anthropocentric policies imposed by Moscow on Kazakhstan and other Soviet republics. Throughout the text, Nurpeisov reiterates the connection between the local and the global on one hand, and human culture and the environment on the other.
Abdufatoh Shafiev, Marintha MilesFriends, Foes, and Facebook: Blocking the Internet in TajikistanDemokratizatsiya233297-3192015civil society, Tajikistan, article provides an overview of the development of the Internet in Tajikistan, particularly focusing on state efforts to repress on-line freedom beginning in 2012. The article argues that many forces shape Tajikistan's virtual community, including civil society activists, the state and its "volunteers," the Tajik diaspora, and various media and Internet-focused companies. None of these groups fully control what happens on-line, leading to an intense struggle over the medium's future.
Diana Kurdaibergenova“Imagining Community” in Soviet Kazakhstan. An Historical Analysis of Narrative on Nationalism in Kazakh-Soviet LiteratureNationalities Papers415839 - 8542013culture, nationalism, much attention has been paid to national construction in Soviet and post-Soviet Central Asia, the field of literary and cultural analysis of the origins of current national symbols and texts in this region is yet not fully acknowledged and discovered. This article tries to shed light onto the literary construction of an ethnic identity and its historical background in Soviet Kazakhstan and its influence on the post-Soviet ideology in this multicultural country. In doing so it investigates the ways and the time when most of the important historical epics were “re-written,” brought back by the Kazakh writers and intellectuals in the mid-twentieth century.
Zhanat Kundakbayeva, Didar KassymovaRemembering and Forgetting: The State policy of Memorializing Stalin's Repression in Post-Soviet KazakhstanNationalities Papers444611 - 6272016authoritarianism, Kazakhstan, history, general perception of Western analysts and observers is that the nation-states created as a result of the breakup of the Soviet Union all treat the memory of the dark, repressive aspects of the Stalinist regime in public spaces as a symbolic element in the creation of a new post-Soviet identity. We argue that the government of Kazakhstan employs non-nationalistic discourse in its treatment of Stalinist victims’ commemoration in a variety of forms, through the creation of modern memorial complexes at the sites of horrific Soviet activity (mass burial places, labor camps, and detention centers), purpose-built museum exhibitions, and the commemorative speeches of its president and other officials. Kazakhstan's strategy in commemorating its Soviet past is designed to highlight the inclusiveness of repression on all peoples living in its territory at that time, not just Kazakhs, thereby assisting in bringing together its multinational and multiethnic society.
Zumrad Kataeva, Alan DeYoungFaculty Challenges and Barriers for Research and Publication in Tajik Higher EducationEuropean Education503249–2652018Tajikistan, article investigates the current state of faculty research activity within Tajik higher education institutions (HEIs), where the level of research productivity has substantially decreased in the past three decades. As part of a larger ethnographic study on professional lives of Tajik faculty members, we investigated and found enormous challenges to conducting research and becoming active researchers reported by our respondents. We analyze and discuss how such issues may challenge the development of higher education in the country.
Zumrad Kataeva, Alan DeYoungGender and the Academic Profession in Contemporary Tajikistan: Challenges and Opportunities Expressed by Women Who RemainCentral Asian Survey362247–2622017Tajikistan, Education, article attempts to describe the deleterious impact of higher educational changes affecting female faculty members working in Tajik universities in the post-Soviet era. Over the past two decades, the social and economic position women gained during Soviet times has significantly eroded, bringing enormous challenges to education and higher education access, completion and staffing. The demographic and cultural marginalization of women here has negatively impacted university teaching opportunities and the status of women faculty members. Ethnographic interviews – along with relevant secondary data – reveal that despite various official gender-equity policies announced by the state, female participation issues remain prominent in the university. Our interviewees also report continued difficulty entering higher faculty ranks and leadership positions in university. However, significant numbers of women are still to be found there, and they report a workable compromise between being professional educators and trying to navigate a local culture that is becoming more ‘traditional’.
Brent Hierman, Navruz NekbakhtshoevWhose Land is it? Land Reform, Minorities, and the Titular “Nation” in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and TajikistanNationalities Papers422336 - 3542014Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, economics, Tajikistan, of the post-Soviet Central Asian states inherited both inefficient collectivized agricultural systems and an understanding of the nation rooted in categories defined by Soviet nationality policy. Despite the importance placed on territorial homelands in many contemporary understandings of nationalism, the divergent formal responses to these dual Soviet legacies have generally been studied in isolation from one another. However, there are conceptual reasons to expect more overlap in these responses than generally assumed; in this paper, we engage in a focused comparison of three post-Soviet Central Asian states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan) in order to investigate how nationalizing policies and discourse, land distribution, and ethnic tensions interact with each other over time. We reveal that the nationalizing discourses of the three states – despite promoting the titular groups vis-à-vis other groups – have had limited influence on the actual processes of land distribution. Furthermore, the Kyrgyzstani case challenges the assumption that the effect flows unidirectionally from nationalizing policies and discourse to land reform implementation; in this case, there is evidence that the disruption caused by farm reorganization generated grievances which were then articulated by some nationalistic political elites.
Zulfiya ImyarovaThe Peculiarities of Traditional Marriage Rituals of the Dungan Diaspora: A Comparative-Historical AnalysisNationalities Papers473492 - 5052019Central Asia, culture, article, through comparative historical analysis, examines the traditional marriage rituals of the Dungan diaspora in Kazakhstan. Dungans are Chinese-speaking Muslims who were forced to migrate to present-day Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan after the defeat of their revolt against the Qing dynasty from 1877 to 1888. The article focuses on the diversity of wedding ceremonies in three zones where Dungan settled in Kazakhstan: Zhalpak Tobe and Sortobe, two rural areas in the Zhambyl region; and Zaria Vostok, near the city of Almaty. I find that the local variations in traditional wedding ceremonies stem from their close intercultural and social cooperation with non-Dungan peoples—primarily Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Uyghurs, and Russians. The example of wedding rituals shows that, while Dungan existence in another cultural environment has stimulated the consolidation of their ethnic group, preserving many of the traditional archaic cultural features, it has also led to the transformation of the marriage ceremonies. I address a much-neglected pathway—the nature of borrowed elements in Dungan wedding rituals—and ask why the extent of borrowing varies from community to community even though the Dungan arrived from China with similar traditions.
Dilrabo JonbekovaEducational Research in Central Asia: Methodological and Ethical Dilemmas in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and TajikistanCompare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education.503352-3702018Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, paper examines the experiences of educational researchers undertaking fieldwork within three Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Drawing on interviews with educational researchers from within and outside the region, the findings show that researchers encounter numerous ethical and methodological challenges in the process of gaining access to sites and participants, in data collection and in dissemination of findings. Many of them stem from a persistence of Soviet style controls, an underdeveloped research culture and use of standard research ethics guidelines. However, I argue that not all challenges can be blamed on the context of these countries, but in some cases neglect in proper planning and implementation of research is another reason for some challenges faced by researchers. The paper shows that some of the dilemmas and challenges faced by researchers are not unique to Central Asia, but ones that are also encountered in other countries.
Diana KurdaibergenovaBetween the State and the Artist: Representations of Femininity and Masculinity in the Formation of Ideas of the Nation in Central AsiaNationalities Papers442225 - 2462016Central Asia, culture, nationalism, art, the Soviet collapse, the newly independent states of Central Asia found themselves in the process of forming their own national “imagined communities.” This was done to legitimize their existing territorial integrity, their rights to their titular ethnicities, and the position of political elites. This process expressed itself through the creation of particular symbols, myths, and rituals which distinguished the nation but were also used to legitimize the nation's right to exist. The symbolic and ideological construction was influenced by the former Soviet era. For example, symbolically the country was still called Rodina (motherland), but most of the symbols of power were represented by male images, for example, Amir Timur in Uzbekistan or Ablay Khan in Kazakhstan. The tradition of representing power through a male connotation had a long history in Soviet Central Asia. Interestingly, however, some contemporary artists took an alternative view and used feminine images as strong, central symbols of their interpretation of national identity, contesting the official view of nation-building. This paper seeks to trace the development of the feminine and masculine dichotomy of representation by comparing official iconography with works of famous female artists such as Umida Akhmedova from Uzbekistan and Saule Suleimenova and Almagul Menlibayeva from Kazakhstan.
Dilrabo JonbekovaUniversity Graduates’ Skills Mismatches in Central Asia: Employers’ Perspectives From Post-Soviet TajikistanEuropean Education472169–1842015Tajikistan, Education, paper examines employers' perspectives about university graduates' skills and preparation for employment in post-Soviet Tajikistan. It explores the mismatch between the skills university graduates acquire and the skills required in the job market, and addresses some of the underlying reasons for the perceived skills mismatch. Thematic analysis of interviews with employers' and secondary data suggest that the quality of higher education has declined considerably over the past two decades, widening the gap between the skills acquired by university graduates and those required by employers. The findings show that despite a rapid expansion of the higher education sector in Tajikistan, an increasing number of individuals are obtaining degrees, but fail to demonstrate a basic understanding of their field of study. I argue that while the skills mismatch derives from the challenges faced by the education system, a latent labor market and a weak economy are also contributing to the skills mismatch. The goals set by politicians and policy-makers, envisioning the internationalization of education and the preparation of the graduates to be responsive to the local and global labor market needs, seem far from being achieved in the near future. Employers' perspectives suggest that the reform of the education sector without the creation of more decent job opportunities will likely exacerbate the current skills mismatch in Tajikistan.
Helge Blakkisrud, Shahnoza NozimovaHistory Writing and Nation Building in Post-independence TajikistanNationalities Papers3822010nationalism, history, the end of the Tajik civil war in 1997, the Tajik authorities have being seeking to instill a new national consciousness. Here the educational system plays a crucial role, not least the way history is taught. Through a state-approved history curriculum, the authorities offer a common understanding of the past that is intended to strengthen the (imagined) community of the present. In this article, we examine the set of history textbooks currently used in Tajik schools and compare them with Soviet textbooks, exploring continuities and changes in the understanding of the Tajik nation. We distinguish between changes in the perception of the national “self” and the new “other,” the Uzbeks, and introduce two intermediary categories: the Soviet/Russian heritage as an “external self” and Islam as an “internal other.” The main battle for the further delimitation of the Tajik “self” is likely to take place within the discursive gray zone between the two latter categories, where the authorities will have to find a balance between a continued secular state ideology and the heavy presence of Islam, as well as between a Soviet past and a Tajik present.
Galina Valyayeva, Alan DeYoungUniversity Autonomy and Academic Freedom: Are They Included in Transforming Universities in TajikistanThe International Journal of Higher Education and Democracy424-252014Tajikistan, Central Asian Republic of Tajikistan is eager to align its system of higher education with the European model. Recently, there have been significant policy pronouncements related to joining the Bologna Process and visible efforts to incorporate the European academic degree structure and credit hour systems. Meanwhile, university autonomy and academic freedom that Western universities historically enjoy and that the Bologna Process strongly supports and encourages do not seem to be embraced in the transformation of Tajik universities. The terms “university autonomy” and “academic freedom” do exist in policy documents. Their definitions and meanings, however, are seriously confused. This article investigates concepts of university autonomy and academic freedom in Tajikistan at both the national and university levels, comparing them with Bologna concepts. We analyze Tajik education laws and university statutes related to university autonomy and explore how universities currently conceptualize and act upon developing university autonomy and ensuring academic freedom that the republic professes to embrace. Also, based upon observation and ethnographic interviews in several universities in 2011–2012 , we briefly discuss faculty and administrative perceptions of university autonomy and academic freedom and the extent to which these are experienced “on the ground.”
Kirill NourzhanovFrom Hero Worship to Organized Oblivion: Representations of the People's Front in Tajikistan's National MemoryNationalities Papers451140 - 1572017nationalism, Tajikistan, People's Front of Tajikistan (PFT), one of the parties to the country's civil war, was instrumental in bringing the government of President Emomali Rahmon to power. The article examines the official strategies of memorialization of the PFT from the early 1990s to the present. It discusses the emergence of a canon of the PFT heroes and martyrs and locates it within the nascent national mythology after independence. It argues that the maintenance of this canon was rendered impossible by the imperatives of consolidating presidential authority and securing national reconciliation following the 1997 peace deal. It concludes with an examination of the growing tension between the official line of historical amnesia on the one hand and resurgent social memory on the other. People in Tajikistan are increasingly interested in revisiting the events and protagonists of the war to develop a sense of the past, and remembering the PFT forms an essential part of their search for shared history and a sense of identity.
Timur DadabaevRecollections of Emerging Hybrid Ethnic Identities in Soviet Central Asia: The Case of UzbekistanNationalities Papers4161026 - 10482013nationalism, Uzbekistan, paper is a contribution to the debate about how people in Central Asia recall Soviet ethnic policies and their vision of how these policies have shaped the identities of their peers and contemporaries. In order to do so, this paper utilizes the outcomes of in-depth interviews about everyday Soviet life in Uzbekistan conducted with 75 senior citizens between 2006 and 2009. These narratives demonstrate that people do not explain Soviet ethnic policies simply through the “modernization” or “victimization” dichotomy but place their experiences in between these discourses. Their recollections also highlight the pragmatic flexibility of the public's adaptive strategies to Soviet ethnic policies. This paper also argues that Soviet ethnic policy produced complicated hybrid units of identities and multiple social strata. Among those who succeeded in adapting to the Soviet realities, a new group emerged, known as Russi assimilados (Russian-speaking Sovietophiles). However, in everyday life, relations between the assimilados and their “indigenous” or “nativist” countrymen are reported to have been complicated, with clear divisions between these two groups and separate social spaces of their own for each of these strata.
Alisher Khamidov, Nick Megoran, John HeathershawBottom-up Peacekeeping in Southern Kyrgyzstan: How Local Actors Managed to Prevent the Spread of Violence from Osh/Jalal-Abad to Aravan, June 2010Nationalities Papers4561118 - 11342017Kyrgyzstan, security, the aftermath of the June 2010 violence in southern Kyrgyzstan, much scholarly attention has focused on its causes. However, observers have taken little notice of the fact that while such urban areas as Osh, Jalal-Abad, and Bazar-Korgon were caught up in violence, some towns in southern Kyrgyzstan that were close to the conflict sites and had considerable conflict potential had managed to avoid the violence. Thus, while the question, “What were the causes of the June 2010 violence?” is important, we have few answers to the question, “Why did the conflict break out in some places but not others with similar conflict potential?” Located in the theoretical literature on “the local turn” within peacekeeping studies, this article is based on extensive empirical fieldwork to explore the local and micro-level dimensions of peacekeeping. It seeks to understand why and how local leaders and residents in some places in southern Kyrgyzstan managed to prevent the deadly clashes associated with Osh, Jalal-Abad, and Bazar-Korgon. The main focus of the project is on Aravan, a town with a mixed ethnic population where residents managed to avert interethnic clashes during the June 2010 unrest. The answers to the question of why violence did not occur can yield important lessons for conflict management not only for southern Kyrgyzstan, but also for the entire Central Asian region.
Ainura Elebayeva, Nurbek Omuraliev, Rafis AbazovThe Shifting Identities and Loyalties in Kyrgyzstan: The Evidence from the FieldNationalities Papers282343 - 3492000Kyrgyzstan, identity, main objective of the ethnic policy of the government of Kyrgyzstan in the post-Soviet era was a consolidation of all people and ethnic groups on the territory of the Republic into the Kyrgyzstani nation. Such a goal is important for any nation that has just gained independence, but for the Kyrgyz Republic it was an especially important task for several reasons. This article presents the results of a survey on identity. The results indicate that nostalgia over the Soviet past has gone almost entirely and the people accept the post-Soviet realities, acknowledging that the disintegration of the Soviet Union is an irreversible fact. Nevertheless, people, especially of non-Kyrgyz origin, do not accept the ethnocentric concept of the nation and would like to have equality in all areas, including politics, for all ethnic groups in the Republic.
Rano TuraevaMuslim Orders in Russia: Trade Networks and Hijama HealingNationalities Papers484661 - 6742020migration, Russia, culture, article sheds light on the informal institutional settings that guide the social and economic lives of Muslim migrants in Moscow. Mosques and medresses (Muslim theological schools) serve as central locations from which these institutions emanate, evolve, and transform. Case studies of trade networks and Hijama (wet cupping) healing practices demonstrate the inner workings of such institutions. The article draws on the theoretical traditions of informal institutions and new institutionalists focusing on anthropological works on agency and institutions. These analytical frameworks and concepts help explain the mechanisms and processes involved in the institutionalization of Muslim lives in Moscow. I argue that individual agency and charismatic leadership of individual members of the community play formative roles in institutionalizing daily practices and constituting normative orders of Muslims in Moscow. The article is based on fieldwork conducted in Moscow and Perm during 2016, 2017, and 2019.
Boram ShinRed Army Propaganda for Uzbek Soldiers and Localised Soviet Internationalism during World War IIThe Soviet and Post-Soviet Review39–632015identity, history, World War II, the Red Army, which had been a predominantly Slavic institution, felt the need to ‘learn the languages’ of its non-Slavic Central Asian soldiers when a large number of recruits from Central Asia arrived at the front. The Red Army authorities mobilised Central Asian political and cultural apparatuses to produce propaganda materials targeting these non-Slavic soldiers. The mobilised Uzbek propagandists and frontline entertainers reinterpreted the Soviet motherland (rodina) using the local metaphor of the Uzbek fatherland (el/yurtt/o‘tov). In this process of reimagining the Soviet/national space, Soviet heroism and internationalism, promoted as a part of Soviet patriotism, reshaped the Uzbek national identity as an Asiatic liberator. This paper explores the propaganda materials and frontline entertainment tailored to the Uzbek Red Army soldiers and traces the nationalised war hero narrative in Komil Yashin’s 1949 play General Rahimov.
Murodbek LaldjebaevThe Water–Energy Puzzle in Central Asia: The Tajikistan PerspectiveInternational Journal of Water Resources Development 26123-362010security, Tajikistan, water, intricacy, interrelatedness, and complexity of the issues surrounding the management and use of Central Asia's natural resources call for a careful analysis of each issue. In this paper, the scope of the discussion will be restricted mainly to water–energy issues, and the focus will be primarily on Tajikistan. The significance of the discussion is intended for the ordinary people who suffer the consequences of the unresolved issues in the water and energy sectors. This paper aims to contribute towards demystifying the water–energy puzzle by searching for the sources of the problems as well as the avenues for their resolution.
Murodbek Laldjebaev, Stephen Morreale, Karim-Aly Kassam, Benjamin SovacoolRethinking Energy Security and Services in Practice: National Vulnerability and Three Energy Pathways in TajikistanEnergy Policy11439-502018security, Tajikistan, water, help answer questions about availability, accessibility, sustainability and other dimensions of energy security, the vulnerability approach concentrates the attention of policymakers on the assessment of risks associated with natural, technical, political and economic factors. This understanding, combined with a focus on energy services (e.g. lighting, heating, telecommunications, mobility, etc.) helps to prioritize actions to achieve the goal of energy security. This paper conceptualizes energy security as low vulnerability of vital energy systems and sustained provision of modern energy services. Taking Tajikistan as a case, this paper highlights key vulnerabilities including neglect of environmental conditions, insufficient energy production capacity, unreliable and expensive energy imports, dwindling power infrastructure causing technical and economic losses, inadequate transparency in the power sector, lack of regional cooperation in energy and water resources sharing, and inadequate financial resources to address these challenges. Three major proposals presented by the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, and the Government of Tajikistan to achieve energy security in Tajikistan are evaluated. Specifically, they lack a focus on energy services and therefore overlook people's socio-cultural context and appropriate energy needs. This paper highlights energy services as critical to people’s wellbeing and socio-economic development.
Stefanos Xenarios, Murodbek Laldjebaev, Ronan ShenhavAgricultural Water and Energy Management in Tajikistan: A New OpportunityInternational Journal of Water Resources Development 371118-1362021security, Tajikistan, water, energy, water use in Tajikistan is largely based on mechanized irrigation pumps. The farming community cannot afford the cost of the energy used for pumping, resulting in large debts to the service provider. We propose limiting pumping facilities for five years in exchange for energy export to neighbouring countries. The energy export could cover the annual pumping expenditures, pay off agricultural debt and partly rehabilitate the irrigation network. We suggest three scenarios with different pumping energy reductions, and the relevant technical parameters of the set-aside scheme are assessed.
Rahimjon AbdugafurovSoteriology in ‘Abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī‘s Islamic HumanismJournal of Islamic and Muslim Studies42114-1212019religion, essay offers a brief examination of 'Abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī's Sufi soteriology in light of his Islamic Humanism—a religious anthropocentric doctrine dedicated to the promotion of human equality, freedom, and human potential. The human being is at the center of Jīlī's soteriological view. For Jīlī, the human being is a macanthropos—a model for all creatures, including Heaven and Hell. Although Jīlī's thought is widely accepted as a continuation of an earlier influential Sufi Muḥyīddīn Ibn 'Arabī (d.1240 CE), there are crucial differences between the two Sufi thinkers, especially with regards to Jīlī's embrace of non-Muslims, and promotion of humanistic ideas; Jīlī should be considered a Muslim humanist, and his intellectual heritage can help us better understand Muslim relations with non-Muslims today.
Rahimjon Abdugafurov, Beverly MoranIslamic Law and Elder Care in the Central Asian Egden System Journal of Law and Religion312197 - 2112016law, Central Asia, is no uniform Islamic law of elder care. Instead, the Qur’ān and Hadith, the fundamental building blocks of Islamic law, create general obligations to support aged parents that each Islamic society must specifically produce in practice. Before Islam swept Central Asia, nomads developed an elder-care tradition that thrives to this day in the former Soviet States of Kazakhstan (population 17 million), Kyrgyzstan (5.7 million), Tajikistan (8 million), Turkmenistan (5.2 million), and Uzbekistan (30 million). In many instances, Islamic law inclines toward adopting local customs and traditions so long as these practices do not conflict with fundamental Islamic law principles. Islamic law's openness to local influence is stymied in the Central Asian example because the edgen system that undergirds Central Asian elder care directly conflicts with the Islamic law of inheritance allotments. This article explains the edgen system and how it conflicts with Islamic law. A prominent contemporary Central Asian Islamic scholar's legal opinions illustrate a device in Islamic law called ḥiylah, or a legal ruse. Through this ruse, Central Asian families are able to maintain traditional elder care practices while also complying with Islamic law. Nevertheless, as the article concludes, the Central Asian elder-care system is based on unpaid female labor and female disinheritance. Female inheritance is a central feature of Islamic law. Yet, the edgen tradition puts women at a disadvantage in terms of labor and inheritance that Islamic law seeks to avoid.
Donohon Abdugafurova“I Was Born in the Wrong Time”: The Concept of Selfhood in the Writings of Anbar OtinJournal of Islamic and Muslim Studies4166-862019culture, religion, Otin (1870–1915) was a Central Asian Muslim female poet who lived in the city of Khoqand, in contemporary Uzbekistan. She became paralyzed after acquiring a physical injury and was bedridden in her early adult life. Most of her literary works are the result of her hopes and reflect her physical and emotional distress. This paper draws on Anbar's views of the concept of selfhood by employing her poetry and her only prose work Risalai Falsafai Siyahan [Treatise on the Philosophy of Blackness]. Anbar opposed the society of which she was a member and criticized views that degraded women and considered them unintelligent. Because Anbar's physical disabilities accentuated her sense of powerlessness, she encouraged other women to be self-assertive in order to have better lives than hers. She contended that the determination of selfhood should not be dictated by others, especially men; instead, women should do so on their own.
Aksana IsmailbekovaSecure and Insecure Spaces for Uzbek Businesspeople in Southern KyrgyzstanInternational Quarterly for Asian Studies4912019Kyrgyzstan, security, on fieldwork in southern Kyrgyzstan in October and November 2017, this article explores at a micro-level the security practices undertaken by Uzbek people in Osh. It closely examines the experiences of Uzbek taxi-drivers, traders and businesspeople and thereby seeks to understand how and why local actors have managed to find creative ways to secure their economic activities. The business sector is the sector in which the Uzbek community is dominant, whereas the Kyrgyz community dominates the state structures. Historically, the two ethnic groups have lived side by side and have been in constant contact with each other through this state/business symbiosis. However, the conflict of 2010 drastically changed and destroyed this symbiosis, and with it threatened the Uzbek business sector. The examination of the security-making practices of the Uzbek businesspeople was guided through the prism of the theoretical framework of “securityscapes”.
Hafiz Boboyorov“If It Happens Again”: Everyday Responses of the Ruszabon to Existential Dangers in DushanbeInternational Quarterly for Asian Studies49112019security, culture, article discusses how Russian and Russian-speaking (Ruszabon) inhabitants of Dushanbe, the capital city of Tajikistan, shape and maintain their securityscapes through languages, identities, memories, networks and physical structures of the urban space. Securityscapes are physically built and mentally imagined spaces securing individual or collective life from what people perceive as existential dangers. These dangers reflect both objective and imagined conditions threatening individual and collective extinction. Depending on different existential contexts, securityscapes serve either as distinct or as merged and intertwined spatial categories of individuals and collectives. When the Ruszabon face violence in public due to their ethnic and religious origins, they hide their identities or adapt their lifestyle to the hegemonic demands of the Muslim society. Social networks and the physical structures of urban neighbourhoods shape inner securityscapes, as reflected in the physical isolation of individuals and segregation of families, family friends and religious communities from the public. In particular, the memories of the interethnic clashes in the 1990s in Dushanbe, which are substantially influenced by political interpretations, condition and diminish the everyday practices and future expectations of the Ruszabon.
Nina BagdasarovaSecuring an LGBT Identity in Kyrgyzstan. Case Studies from Bishkek and OshInternational Quarterly for Asian Studies4912019Kyrgyzstan, high level of homophobia in society and a contradictory state policy towards sexual minorities define the specific mode of existence of the LGBT community in Kyrgyzstan. The need to socialise and spend some time together is a big part of building and maintaining an LGBT identity, which requires collective security practices. The concept of “securityscapes”, based on Arjun Appadurai’s idea of “scapes”, was used as a main instrument for the analysis of ethnographic data. LGBT people in Kyrgyzstan navigate quite complicated landscapes of security and insecurity, defined by encounters with various agents, and engage in different strategies of adaptation. During the field research two types of threats within LGBT securityscapes were identified: “outer” threats (such as the homophobic environment) and “inner” threats (such as some behavioural patterns that might expose community members to this hostile environment). LGBT people navigate within their securityscapes individually, yet community life requires specific measures. The collective securityscapes of the LGBT communities in Bishkek and Osh were examined, and it will be shown that despite the differences according to local conditions, similar strategies were developed in both places when responding to “inner” and “outer” threats.
Aisalkyn BotoevaIslam and the Spirits of Capitalism: Competing Articulations of the Islamic EconomyPolitics & Society462235-2642018religion, has the Islamic economy, as a model of socioeconomic development, gained traction as a viable option? The existing literature suggests that the Islamic economy has been popularized by a combination of factors, including anticolonial movements, a global renewal of religiosity, and the activities of new social strata who merge piety with capitalist orientations. These approaches, however, tend to homogenize social actors, subsuming them under the overarching label of Islamism. In contrast, this article employs the lens of “intra-hegemonic struggles” to identify three competing orientations of Islamism and their manifestation in the economy. Drawing on eighteen months of fieldwork in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, it argues that this contestation motivates diverse segments of the society to create and engage in the Islamic economy, rather than any single state-driven or identity-based movement. The article synthesizes three otherwise isolated bodies of work: the political sociology of articulation, new theories of Islamism, and the concept of imaginaries from economic sociology.
Balihar Sanghera, Mehrigiul Ablezova, Aisalkyn BotoevaEveryday Morality in Families and a Critique of Social Capital: An Investigation into Moral Judgements, Responsibilities, and Sentiments in Kyrgyzstani HouseholdsTheory & Society41167–1902011Kyrgyzstan, ethics, article examines individuals’ lay understandings of moral responsibilities between adult kin members. Moral sentiments and practical judgments are important in shaping kinship responsibilities. The article discusses how judgments on requests of support can be reflexive and critical, taking into account many factors, including merit, social proximity, a history of personal encounters, overlapping commitments, and moral identity in the family. In so doing, we argue that moral responsibilities are contextual and relational. We also analyze how class, gender, and capabilities affect how individuals imagine, expect and discuss care responsibilities. We also offer a critique of social capital theory of families, suggesting that their versions of morality are instrumental, alienated, and restrictive. Although Bourdieu’s concept of habitus overlaps with our proposed moral sentiments approach, the former does not adequately address moral concerns, commitments, and evaluations. The article aims to contribute to a better understanding of everyday morality by drawing upon different literatures in sociology, moral philosophy, postcommunism, and development studies.
Alikhan Baimenov, Saltanat LiebertGovernance in the Post‐Soviet Era: Challenges and OpportunitiesPublic Administration Review792281-2852019Central Asia, nation building, the aftermath of the Soviet Union's demise, the countries formerly comprising it embarked on massive reforms to transition from socialist to market‐driven economies. This transition also required substantial transformation of their governance systems. In this Viewpoint essay, the authors reflect on critical reforms in human resource management, ethics management, and anti‐corruption, and highlight successful initiatives in these fields. They also discuss the role of the Astana Civil Service Hub in helping the countries in the region to jointly look for solutions to common governance challenges and to learn from policies and strategies that proved effective for their peers. The authors conclude by identifying the common elements of effective public administration reforms in the post‐Soviet setting.
Nabijan TursunThe Formation of Modern Uyghur Historiography and Competing Perspectives toward Uyghur History China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly6387-100 2008nationalism, Uyghur, Xinjiang, historiography has been subject to widely disparate interpretations in the past century. Turko-Islamic, Russian-European, and Chinese influences have all competed for primacy in understanding the ethnogenesis of Uyghurs. This article focuses on the key issues in this debate, its politicization, and the roles played by Uyghur and Chinese historians in shaping it. The author argues that the political ideologies underpinning it should not diminish its value for Uyghur historiography and the context in which these histories has been written.
Sawut Pawan, Abiguli NiyaziFrom Mahalla to Xiaoqu: Transformations of the Urban Living Space in KashgarInner Asia181121–1342016Uyghur, Xinjiang, to high rates of economic growth and increased urbanization efforts, China raised the country’s urbanisation rate to 50 per cent in 2012. ‘Old town renewal’—an important component of urbanisation—has significantly affected the lives of urban residents throughout China. This article focuses on urban transformations in the old city of Kashgar in southern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. While more and more Chinese scholars are concerned with how effectively to implement the project in the old town itself, only a few are concerned with the resettlement actions caused by the renewal. This paper focuses precisely on this and analyses the challenges related to relocation, changes in the old town community and adaptation strategies in new residential compounds.
Sawut Pawan, Rahile Dawut, Saadet KurbanUyghur Meshrep Culture and its Social FunctionFourth World Journal15281-902017culture, China, identity,;dn=655170979606425;res=IELINDThe Uyghur Meshrep, as a specific cultural symbol, possesses great ethnocultural significance and it serves an important social function complementary to Uyghur people's customs of production, livelihoods, beliefs, rituals, and festival celebrations. The Uyghur Meshrep is referred to as the "Moral School" or "Art School" by Uyghur people. Knowledge of the Uyghur Meshrep culture is helpful for further understanding the unique culture of the Uyghur people.
Margaret Hermann, Azamat SakievLeadership, Terrorism, and the Use of ViolenceDynamics of Asymmetric Conflict 42126-1342011security, we use what leaders of terrorist organizations say to help us understand what they are like, their leadership styles, and when they are likely to use violence to gain what they want? In this study, we examine the words of the leaders of al Qa'ida Central (AQ-C) and al Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) using Leadership Trait Analysis, an assessment-at-a-distance technique developed to provide answers to this type of question. Comparing the scores of the AQ-C and AQAP leaders to those of 23 leaders of other terrorist groups, we determine what the al Qa'ida leaders are like. We also ascertain how the rhetoric of these leaders changes as they decide to engage in violence as well as in the frames they choose to use toward different audiences.
Dina Sharipova, Aziz Burkhanov, Alma AlpeissovaThe Determinants of Civic and Ethnic Nationalisms in Kazakhstan: Evidence from the Grass-Roots LevelNationalism and Ethnic Politics232203-2262017nationalism, Kazakhstan, civil article investigates the determinants of ethnic and civic nationalism in post-Soviet Kazakhstan. Using data from an original nation-wide survey (N = 1600), the regression analysis is applied to evaluate the influence of trust and perceptions of discrimination as well as sociodemographic factors on people's support of civic and ethnic nationalism(s) in Kazakhstan. The results show that trust in political institutions, perceived discrimination, and the knowledge of the Kazakh language have an impact on both types of nationalism. In addition, intragroup (ethnic) trust and income determine civic–nationalist attachments, while rural residence, Kazakh ethnicity, income, and other ethnic minorities influence ethnonationalism in Kazakhstan.
Mei DingCultural Intimacy in Ethnicity: Understanding Qingzhen Food from Chinese Muslims’ ViewsJournal of Contemporary China 2912117-302020culture, China, minorities, in Mandarin and musulmanche in Uyghur are two local expressions of halal in China. This article investigates the local meanings of halal from the perspectives of Uyghurs and Hui, who are the major Muslim ethnic minorities in China. It argues that the expressions of qingzhen and musulmanche demonstrate social concerns, anxiety of ethnic identity and ongoing intra-group competitions, which are not exclusively related to religion. The secularisation process since the qingzhen food debate has created tensions between the state and individuals of Uyghur and Hui and has embarrassed people within the same group. This tension between ethnicity and religion is largely the result of clarifying the ambiguity that bears in cultural intimacy, which originally keeps a balance between the state and its ethnic minorities.
Aksana IsmailbekovaCoping Strategies: Public Avoidance, Migration, and Marriage in the Aftermath of the Osh Conflict, Fergana ValleyNationalities Papers411109-1272013Kyrgyzstan, conflict, marriage, migration, article examines the changing survival strategies of Uzbeks in the aftermath of mass violent conflict in Osh in June 2010. After the conflict, Osh Uzbeks were exposed to many difficulties. The Kyrgyz government used economic and political pressure to isolate minority groups from the titular nationality, and this opened the door to mistreatment of minorities in the form of the seizure of property, job losses, and even verbal and physical abuse. Despite this mistreatment, however, Uzbeks have proved reluctant to leave the Osh area. Uzbeks have a long history of living in the region of Osh; strong emotional and historical sentiments bind them to the region and its graveyards and sacred sites. Uzbeks have thus had to develop alternative ways to cope with the uncertainty and insecurity of their situation. They have adopted strategies which reinforce their vulnerability on the one hand, but provide security for their children during post-conflict reconstruction on the other. These strategies include avoidance of public spaces and public attention, marrying daughters early, and sending male family members to Russia as labor migrants. These strategies are geared to the underlying aims of protecting the honor of the community, maintaining social networks, and preserving Uzbek identity without attracting attention. Uzbeks describe this strategy of patience as sabyrdu.
Oleg Antonov, Edward LemonAuthoritarian Legal Harmonization in the Post-Soviet SpaceDemocratization2771221-12392020authoritarianism, law, Central Asia, diffusion, with common threats to their regimes from independent civil society, organized opposition groups and protest movements, authoritarian governments in the former Soviet Union have learned from one another and adopted similar policies to consolidate their power. This article examines the process of authoritarian policy transfer in three fields: peaceful assembly, civil society and political participation, focusing on Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The article examines the role played by the Commonwealth of Independent States- Inter-parliamentary Assembly, the body charged with legal harmonization in the former Soviet Union and ignored thus far by scholars of authoritarian diffusion. Through causal process tracing and the use of document comparison software, we compare 34 laws and decrees. Our findings indicate that diffusion is no illusion in the former Soviet Union. Autocrats have adopted similar legislation in all three fields, with the greatest degree of convergence in laws related to extremism, terrorism and operational searches, all of which are used to pursue political opponents. Russia is usually, but not always, the policy innovator. The region’s poorest states – Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan – both dependent on Russia in economic, political and security spheres display the highest levels of legal harmonization with the former Soviet centre.