How Central Asian Migrants Experience Politics in Turkey and Russia: A Comparison

by Jeanne Féaux de La Croix

JeanneWebPicHow might moving abroad for work influence your political ideas and ideals? How might migrating from Central Asia to Turkey or Russia in particular, change a person’s ideas about political leadership, nationalism or religion? This January, a group of distinguished scholars, activists and migrants met in Istanbul to find answers. Russia and Turkey are popular destinations for citizens of the ex-Soviet Central Asian republics; as elsewhere, migration figures are hotly debated. It is clear however that several million Central Asians temporarily or permanently settle in Russia, while Turkey is sought out by a few hundred thousand. Tajikistan holds the sad record of being among the top three nations most dependent on remittances. Continue reading


by Aminat Chokobaeva

Pic ChokobaevaWe stopped at a narrow gorge with forbidding sides; a steep ascent lay ahead of us. Yet I had asked the bus driver to stop here because it was at this location that an obscure monument to the victims of a forgotten uprising rested. Two hours from Bishkek, the Boom Gorge is home to a small monument commemorating the victims of a local uprising against Tsarist authorities in 1916. The uprising itself is commonly known as Urkun (‘exodus’ in Kyrgyz). After taking a few of photos, I got back on the bus, only to be bombarded with questions. Continue reading

The Difficult Child: About the Youth in Osh, Kyrgyzstan

by Gulrano Ataeva

It is a fact that parents and educators love children and want to raise successful personalities. Our approach to children from the very start determines what type of people will grow and how they will interact as grown personalities constituting a family at the least and a nation at the most. As a teacher I see the need to analyze our parenting and teaching so that we do not cause children to become “difficult” and do not raise people intolerant to the challenges of society. Continue reading

Kelins and Bride Schools in Uzbekistan

by Rano Turaeva

From my observations living and researching in Uzbekistan, social gatherings of the kind Sayora organizes are exceptional. There are other kinds of institutions (Kelinlar Maktabi/Brides school) which are mainly for unmarried young women and usually offer private courses in cooking, baking and sewing. But Sayora manages to organize private gatherings for young women to discuss everyday problems, offer solutions, and raise consciousness about Islam. Continue reading

Bilingualism in Kyrgyzstan

by Madeleine Reeves

In the summer of 1998, before finishing University, I taught English in a village in Kyrgyzstan’s northern Issyk-Kul region. I had been learning Russian since leaving school and relied on that language for communication. My host, Saltanat, taught me a few essential phrases in Kyrgyz to counter my feeling of being permanently overfed: Rahmat, toidum! (“Thanks, I’m full”) and Jok, ichpeim! (“No, I won’t drink”). Mostly, however, when I listened to Saltanat and her friends switching effortlessly between Kyrgyz and Russian I had the sensation of listening to a radio when someone is moving the dial: a fragment I understood amidst a lot that I didn’t. I returned to England with a ‘teach yourself Kyrgyz’ textbook in my luggage. The following year I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on the politics of language reform in Kyrgyzstan, a decade after the 1989 language law promised to accord Kyrgyz greater status within the social and political life of the then-Kyrgyz SSR. Continue reading