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BUILDING THE LANDBRIDGE

ISSN 2053-1036 RRP: £10.00

WITH EURASIA

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[ EURASIA ]

BEHIND THE DEVIL’S DANCE INTERVIEW WITH AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR HAMID ISMAILOV

A STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY IN KYRGYZSTAN AND THE EURASIAN UNION CULTURAL CROSSROADS: TWO WOMEN’S JOURNEY ALONG THE PAMIR HIGHWAY. WORLD MUSICAL HERITAGE IN THE HEART OF EURASIA SIBERIAN SPLENDOUR: A BRIEF TRIP TO LAKE BAIKAL


SHIRIN AKINER 16 June 1943 - 6 April 2019 Open Central Asia Magazine was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of our past contributors and close supporters, Shirin Akiner, on 6th April 2019 at the age of 75. Akiner was a well-respected and devoted scholar of Central Asia. She was a Research Associate at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and continued teaching there well past her retirement. During her academic career, she produced many scholarly works, particularly on Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and and was a member of editorial and advisory board of the Journal of Central Asian and Caucasian Studies. She was always forthright and clear in her thoughts and ideas on the region and this magazine, as well as the ECG, enjoyed her support and contributions to bringing Central Asia, it’s people and traditions, closer to Europe. Our sincerest sympathies and condolences go to her family and friends who have lost a remarkable and special lady.


FROM THE EDITOR Dariga Nazarbayeva, who is the country’s speaker in the Senate, a role that essentially occupies second place in the line of succession. Despite her having played a growing role in administrative positions for the state of Kazakhstan of late, most know her only as a famous opera singer. Her political outlook is unknown publicly and her service record looks sparse in terms of actual achievements even if her CV sparkles with grand titles. She is seen as being a safe and loyal family member but with international ties that could endear her to wider US and European audiences as well as Russia, where she trained.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF NICK ROWAN PUBLISHER MARAT AKHMEDJANOV

OCA MAGAZINE 31 SPRING 2019 FRONT COVER:

Hamid Ismailov (see p.6) MAGAZINE PUBLISHED FOR EURASIAN CREATIVE GUILD

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EDITOR ASSISTANT ANGELINA KRASNOGIR DESIGN ALEXANDRA REY, ALISHER BERDIKUL EDITORIAL TEAM OLGA MITAKOVICH, MARIA INDINA, AINURA BERDIKUL, ZAYNAB M DOST, GARETH STAMP, RAZA SYED, ANNA SUSLOVA SYMON LORD CONTRIBUTORS KANYBEK UULU ELIMBEK KIRILL SAVRASSOV ANATOLI DZERHACHOU NUKI TETRADZE NICK ROWAN CATHERINE HAIGH NAUM SHAFER VLADISLAV YERMACHENKO NATALIE BAYS MARIYA ZHUMAGULOVA NINA KALITA

ECG BOARD LAURA HAMILTON - CHAIRMAN MARAT AKHMEDJANOV - VICE CHAIRMAN ANNA LARI - OEBF DIRECTOR ADVISORY BOARD DAVID PARRY OKSANA JUKOVA DAVID PEARCE YELENA BEZRUKOVA YELENA ASLANYAN ALEXANDRA REY AZIM AKMATOV JOHN FARNDON GULSIFAT SHAKHIDI ISAJON SULTON ANASTASIYA KUZMICHEVA LEV ALTMARK LARISSA PRODAN VICTOR RAILEAN

Disclaimer : The information contained in this publication is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by OCA Magazine and while we endeavour to ensure the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability of the information, products, services, or related graphics represented for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. All authors provide their own material and any opinions contained within are solely those of the authors and do not neccessarily represent the views or opinions of OCA Magazine.We publish these views as part of our provision of a forum for discussion and readers should be aware that the views may contrast each other in the pursuit of this aim. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of material contained within this publication.

We’ve seen the leaders of Central Asian countries come and go, either through natural causes or through revolution, but for the first time we have seen one resign. Nursultan Nazarbayev at the age of 78 has declared he is stepping down as President of Kazakhstan after ruling the country since independence. He has seen and managed much change and transition during his time. Arguably he has been one of the more successful leaders bringing Kazakhstan to the international stage in a way that has largely been accepted, or at least tolerated, by the international community. That is no small feat, but after thirty years or so at the helm he has decided to retire and perhaps focus on family and his own golden years. Well, not quite. Under the self-styled moniker of “Leader of the Nation”, Nazarbayev, will retain control of the security services, critical to ensuring that he can still manoeuvre the administration in the way he thinks best whether for himself or the country, or both. It will be an interesting model for other leaders in the region to potentially copy such that they may step down and ensure that their visions for the country, no matter how much they may be criticised at home or abroad, can continue unabated. Investors and analysts of the region have for some time speculated on how the only president Kazakhstan has known since independence would hand over power in a country well known for tribalist strongmen. For some time the speculation has focused on Nazarbayev’s eldest daughter,

Special gratitude for cooperation and support to Embassy of Azerbaijan to the UK. Embassy of Kazakhstan to the UK. Embassy of Tajikistan to the UK. Embassy of Kyrgyzstan to the UK. Embassy of Belarus to the UK. Embassy of Turkmenistan to the UK

But can she make it all the way to the top as a woman in a patriarchal and tribal society? Her current husband, Kayrat Sharibayev, head of state gas transportation company, Kaztransgas, may help the lineage, but a first female president might still prove too provocative in the conservative country. Her father’s support has given her a huge advantage, but she still needs to muster support of the country’s clans and has strong rivals for the presidency - not least from her brother-in-law, Timur Kulibayev, an oil tycoon married to her younger sister. One suspects that no love will be lost between her and her sister’s family in the race to the top. Just as we may have thought we had seen it all, another drama is set to unfold in Kazakhstan, the resolution of which will have a profound impact on the country and region for decades to come. With my sincere thanks to all contributors of this issues, enjoy the articles and opinions inside!

Yours, Nick Rowan Editor-in-Chief

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COVER STORY

BEHIND THE DEVIL’S DANCE Interview with award-winning author Hamid Ismailov

Hamid Ismailov, is not an unknown figure in UK literary and broadcasting circles. Having worked with the BBC for many years to help bring Uzbek and Central Asian news to the fore, he is known for being a reflective and passionate supporter of bringing Central Asian authors to the fore. However, as Uzbekistan opens up as a country under new leadership, this formerly exiled writer is now making new advances as his novel, The Devil’s Dance, has gained EBRD Literature Prize recognition for its English translation. Described as an “Uzbek Game of Thrones” it won a EUR 20,000 prize in March, to be split between Ismailov and the books’ translators, Donald Rayfield and John Farndon. Set in the 19th century,The Devils’ Dance, published by indie Tilted Axis Press, is a novel in two parts.The story of an unwitting courtesan, who navigates the intrigues of the courts and harems of the Uzbek emirates and khanates at a time when Britain and Russia are competing for influence in the region, is told alongside the trials of a well-known Uzbek writer and literary dissident who is imprisoned and executed at the hands of the Soviet state in the late 1930s. Open Central Asia Magazine had the fortune of putting its questions about the novel, the writer and his future projects directly to Hamid Ismailov. OCA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and how you came to be a writer? Hamid Ismailov (HI): I was born in a very religious family and since Islam is based on words (the Koran is considered to be a Word of Allah, Hadithes - are sayings of the Prophet) therefore from the early childhood I was surrounded by stories of different kind - lives of the prophets, fairy-tales, poems, stories about my ancestors. From the very childhood my paternal granny taught me Koran and even wanted to send me to study Islam to Bukhara, like my late granddad did. He studied in Bukhara for 23 years and being mullah was shot dead during the Stalinian repressions. My mother, who was a professional woman, stood against it, but when she died quite early (I was only 12 years old) my maternal grandmother took me to her house near Tashkent. She was quite a frail person and loved listening to ‘1001 night’ tales, which I used to read her along with other Uzbek classics. My grannies, as well as my late granddads were writing some poetry, so literature was around me, and inside of me, in my genes.

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OCA: Who or what would you say influences your writing? HI: As you have seen, I was surrounded by stories from my very childhood. Apart from that I used to live initially in a village, later in a station with lots of different nationalities in them. Rural life is full of stories, as well as the life in a Tashkent suburbia. Every evening was about the stories of these people who came from different corners of the Soviet Union to gather in a small station next to Tashkent. However, if you are asking about the writers and books which influenced me, they are too many to mention. Then I wouldn’t say that they influenced me, they rather invited me into their conversations, involved me in their discussions and thoughts, so they were sharing their own and their literary heroes’ experiences with me. OCA: As an Uzbek writer, how did your country’s approach to freedom of speech in the past affect your writing and your own life? HI: Writing for me is a very private issue. Therefore, I never took into consideration what was happening around me on and state-level. Though I must say that during the Soviet times I used to have strong headaches, reading literary magazines or newspapers, because I wanted, but couldn’t write

in that manner at all. So what I used to do and then publish - were translations. I used to translate our Uzbek or Persian classics into Russian, or European poetry into Uzbek. I translated Yugnaki, Jami, Navoi, Mashrab, Nishoti, as well as Verlaine, Lorca, Edgar Allan Poe and many others. After the independence I was forced to leave Uzbekistan either because of my writing or because of my social activity. I don’t know the reasons, I can just guess. It’s the government who decides why it’s forcing their citizens, but being in exile I was writing whatever I wanted to write, I was free to now pursue my aesthetical, cultural and literary aims, rather than thinking about the censorship, or freedom of speech. As I said in the beginning, writing for me is about my own liberty, my own freedom. OCA: Congratulations on your EBRD Literature prize. This is not your first book, however, how would you describe your style and approach to writing in general? HI: I’ll be short in answering this question: first of all, I don’t want to repeat anyone in my writing, and secondly, I don’t want to repeat myself in my writing too. So every new novel, every new poem is a look inside of yourself and at outside world afresh, anew. OCA: Your winning novel, The Devil’s Dance, approaches many themes from the era of the Great Game between Russia and Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries. Why did you choose the title? HI: This title ‘The Devils’ Dance’ was pre-chosen for me by Abdulla Qodiriy. He wrote a short story under the same title. In that story he tells how his father was seduced by the devils, who invited him to dance at their feast along the most beautiful woman. But then when he woke up from this seduction or obsession, he found himself in a muddy ditch. So that is a metaphor which shows us that every time there are seducing devils around us. They might exist in many forms: in ideological, cultural, financial - you name it - but waking up from that hallucination is a painful experience. My novel is named after this short story, because for me the life of Abdulla Qodiriy was also marred with these devils’ dances of the Stalinian time. Abdulla, like his friend Cholpon, accepted the revolution, which was promising an angelic future, paradise on earth, but turned out to be the devils’ dance of hellish repressions, purges and murders for them. OCA: How did you ensure that nothing was lost in translation as it is notoriously difficult to capture the same essence as the original when works are translated?

HI: My books are written primarily for my audiences: if it’s in Uzbek - then for Uzbek readers, if in Russian, or English, then respectively for the Russian or English readership. I never write books for the sake of translation and therefore I regard any translation to any language as a bonus for me. Ultimately the responsibility fully lies with the translators, it’s their work, rather than mine. It’s them who are bringing this work from my culture into their own, they make it sound as a part of their language and tradition, therefore I am usually playing a tennis wall: if they ask, I’m answering, if not, I’m not interfering more than that.

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COVER STORY OCA: How does the novel’s story reflect and/or attempt to reconcile tensions that exist between Russia and Britain today? HI: Obviously, fiction books are not political manifestos, or social manuals, hence one shouldn’t expect them to amend the relationship or to improve them between countries or even people. A good novel is like if not a sea or ocean, at least like a lake, full of life. One can be drawn in it, another one might enjoy and have fun, the third one could quench his or her thirst. I think politicians and other people who deal with the international relationship should deal with the relationship you are asking about. What I’m describing in my novel is not geopolitics, but life of people, be it a Bukharian, or a British, an Iranian, or an Afghan, a Russian or a Jew.What interests me is the interplay between ordinary people and their stories, rather than the geopolitics of it. OCA: The book has been described as being like “Game of Thrones”, to what extent do you agree with this comparison and would you see the story as being adaptable for film? HI: I must admit that I haven’t read that book, neither I watched the film, therefore I can’t compare. As I said I’m trying not to repeat anyone, including myself. But if you ask me for the filming prospects, then for me the best literature is always the literature which can’t be filmed. Could you imagine, for example, a film based on ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ by James Joyce or let’s say on ‘Tristram Shandy’ by Lawrence Stern? So the best of the literature is always literature as an art, rather than a raw material for a screen script. Yet, if the filmmakers would be inspired by the story of ‘The Devils’ Dance’ - let it be so, I have no objections. OCA: You have supported many ECG literary festivals.What word of wisdom do you have for aspiring Central Asian authors struggling to get their works published?

HI: Writing and especially writing novels is a very solitary work. Though on the one hand it seems that you are privileged to surround yourself with your literary characters, be in the circle of Qodiriy, Cholpon, Nodira, Uvaysiy, like in my novel, nonetheless it’s a very difficult work, which requires lots of discipline, lots of devotion, lots of give ups. You have to give up with nearly all your social life, with entertainment, with having fun for the sake of concentrating on your writing. If the young, aspiring writers are ready for that - all I wish them is good luck! Purely on writing I often say - wear your size of clothes, don’t try to seem bigger than you are, wearing two size bigger clothes. Equally don’t underestimate your own size trying to put yourself in two size narrower trousers. Both extremes are not only comic, but also dangerous... OCA: What can we expect to come next from your pipeline of literary ideas? HI: If you’re interested in what I am writing now, I am in the middle of a big Russian novel in five parts. If you are asking about my publishing prospects, with the translated books you’re always two steps behind. Now, for example, this September a novel, which I wrote in 2002, will appear in English. It’s called ‘The Language of Bees or Hayy ibn Yakzan’, translated by Shelley Fairweather-Vega. It’s a Sufi parable about the life of Avicenna. My other books that have been translated’ Gaia or Queen of the Ants’ in her translation too, is coming out in United States.

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POLICY

A STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY IN KYRGYZSTAN AND THE EURASIAN UNION by Kanybek uulu Elimbek

Over the past 27 years of independence, two colour revolutions have taken place in Kyrgyzstan, which as such can hardly be called, because a revolution is determined by a change in the political system but not by the overthrow of some political leaders in order to be replaced by others. Accumulated unsolved problems and mistakes have been passing from one authority to another, where they also continued to accumulate. The problem is that a certain group of people have always benefited from these “mistakes”, and the consequences were felt by ordinary people. So it was with Almazbek Atambayev despite all the expectations and confidence of the people. He tirelessly repeated that he had accomplished his main “mission” for a peaceful and democratic transfer of power. But was this supposed to be his main concern? His “main mission” was fulfilled by ex-President Roza Otunbayeva. Thus, the question arises about the prioritization of A. Atambayev, if there were any besides consolidation of his power after resignation.

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However, even here he failed, as his main successor, whom he literally sat on the chair of the presidency started getting rid of all the levers of influence of Atambayev. Almost everyone predicted that S. Zheenbekov would either continue the work of his predecessor his entire term or at least for the first few years until he would really feel power. No one expected such an early manifestation of his own independence. This started by abrupt personnel changes with deliverance from the people of Atambayev. At the moment, the political conflict between the two is obvious, but this is not so much a conflict as there are only one sided attempts to return at least some degree of power whereas even his own party is now de facto controlled by the brother of the current president Now what can we expect from the “unpredictable” Zheenbekov? In fact, he is not as unpredictable as it turned out with Atambayev, it was more a personal conflict with him,

and as rumours circulate, provoked by Atambayev because of his emotionality. Fundamental changes and reforms within the country, as well as in foreign policy should not be expected. However, compared with Atambayev, Zheenbekov has already established better relations with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkey.

pected. The CIS, as an organization, has carried out its main mission of the “civilised divorce” of the post-Soviet space, and is now to a certain degree amorphous, because no largescale projects have been implemented for a long time due to the difficulty of reaching consensus and a high level of bureaucracy.

It is necessary to highlight Russia’s position in relation to the new president, and how relations between countries will develop. Russia, although unofficially, supported Zheenbekov during the elections, since he still acted as a guarantor of the policies proposed by Atambayev, and Russia could have no doubts about Atambayev since he proved his loyalty. But after all the events, at this stage they are only analysing Zheenbekov and his actions. Their vector will still be aimed at strengthening ties with him, and Atambayev himself is no longer of their interest.

The EAEU is another attempt to integrate the region, but here the situation has been a little different. Since 1995, the moment of initiation of plans for a single economic union by N. Nazarbayev, the history of integration has been taking place mainly in the unification of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus, which indicates sufficient time to prepare for such a level of union. For Kyrgyzstan, the EAEU is not yet fully operational. Those positive changes, which manifest themselves with the entry into the EAEU, go in parallel with other negative indicators due to the same reason. What are the pros and cons from the EAEU for Kyrgyzstan?

Zheenbekov, in turn, in addition to pointing to Russia and China during his inauguration as important strategic partners, allowed himself to be frank with his attitude towards Russia and V. Putin. For example, in an interview to “Russia 24”, to the question about EAEU, he said that “Russia is always at the head, it unites and resolves many issues,” and, “When we get together, we sometimes quarrel with each other, everyone roots for its own country, but we always find a common language. Of course, here is the arbitrator Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.”. This is the personification of respect and attitude as to the “elder brother”. In general, relations with Russia, as well as with Kazakhstan, are developing at the multilateral level within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Community (EAEU). But what is the EAEU for Kyrgyzstan? Three years have passed since the accession of Kyrgyzstan to the EAEU, sufficient time for an objective analysis of the positive and negative changes that brought us an accession to the regional economic bloc. The accession was originally due to the political motives prevailing in 2015 for Russia and Kazakhstan, when there was a “parade of devaluations” and the starting point of the Western sanctions against Russia. Strengthening the integration process was dictated by the demand of that time in the vector of development of relations with strategic partners. For Kyrgyzstan, the next step could only be joining the EAEU. After the collapse of the USSR, this was not the first attempt to strengthen integration within the framework of regional organisations. Many of them were not as successful as ex-

The main advantage is the simplification of the location of our citizens in Russia; within the framework of the EAEU, our citizens have the same rights as citizens of the state of employment. This was one of the main reasons for entry, as there was a possibility that Moscow would ban visa-free entry for labour migrants, which would have had catastrophic damage for a country where 30% of GDP is derived from migrant remittances. In addition, was the creation of the Kyrgyz-Russian Fund, which has already implemented and is implementing 1,630 projects. Among the disadvantages, one is its own isolation and distancing from the Euro-Atlantic unions. For Kyrgyzstan, it is important to be able to vary between geopolitical vectors and adapt to all changes. And there is a very twofold approach, on the one hand, we live in an era of a new stage of globalisation, where regional and trans-regional blocs are beginning to play an increasing role, and it is important for developing countries to integrate themselves into such kind of alliances as best they can. On the other hand, choosing only one side, we immerse ourselves in an even greater dependence, from which it may well be very difficult to get out of in the future. Secondly, the main problem that the country will need to solve is the increase in duties in relation to third countries. Kyrgyzstan, in accordance with its obligations to the WTO, had very low customs duties - about 5.1%. Increasing duties may have a bad effect on our economy because of our dependence on re-exporting goods from China to Russia and

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POLICY Kazakhstan. It is true that we need to get rid of this kind of dependency, since for the most part it is speculative in nature and, moreover, quite a lot of corrupt ways are associated with this sector. For example, official statistics that expose China and Kyrgyzstan always differ significantly. The amount of China’s exports to Kyrgyzstan has a difference of almost $3 billion compared to the amount of Kyrgyzstan’s imports from China. This clearly indicates the scale of unregistered trade. However, the problem is that there are too many people involved in this sector (the markets “Dordoi” and “Kara-Suu”) and the profit from unregistered trade, according to various sources, is more than 10% of GDP. Kyrgyzstan has a transition period for adapting to single customs tariffs until 2020, with the possibility to apply its own tariffs. Until that time, while no steps were taken to solve this problem and what will happen after 2020 is still unknown. Mutual trade between Member States is actively increasing, but this is only to a small extent related to Kyrgyzstan. For example, the country’s foreign trade with the countries of the EAEU from 2014 to 2017 decreased by more than 1.5 times, which for the most part applies to Kazakhstan where trade turnover decreased by exactly 2 times from 1.3 billion to $ 700 million, while with Russia there was a slight increase in exports, but the decline in imports. With other countries participating in the EAEU trade turnover is a tiny share, with Belarus 2.1% and with Armenia there are almost no trade relations, which, in addition, states dependence on trade with Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation. The question that worried Kyrgyzstan before joining is whether the EAEU will be able to keep the framework of economic integration without excessively politicizing the union. Evidence of the opposite was the conflict that occurred between the presidents of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, which directly turned out into economic protectionism from Kazakhstan, when the borders for the importation of goods from our country were closed. As an excuse, there were references to non-observance of sanitary and veterinary norms, in the solution of which there were promises to help from their own side and still in force was the 2015 Council Decision on the abolition of sanitary and phytosanitary control at the Kyrgyz-Kazakh section of the state border. There was no other way than to apply to the WTO as the Eurasian Court was unable to solve this dispute. Only this multilateral platform has solved the issue and the President of Kazakhstan N.A. Nazarabayev said recently, that Kyrgyzstan complained to all international instances. Nevertheless, for some reasons, Kyrgyzstan did not continue to

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demand compensation for the damage caused to the Kyrgyz Republic, which was voiced by the IMF. Moreover, we should not forget that under our commitments before WTO we have to pay compensation of almost 250 mln.$ because of the accession to the regional bloc which common custom tariff has exceeded the allowed rate. In general, it can be seen that joining the EAEU would be the right solution in the long term and would take time to prepare the domestic market and solve existing problems. The EAEU in its essence can be an effective driver for our economy, with its correct application and developed market environment of our country. In many ways, we are to blame for all the problems that are a barrier to an attractive investment climate, export of our products and increase of our competitiveness. Let’s say what kind of investment climate can we talk about when there is political instability, what could be a plan or strategy for the development of a country when the composition of the government changes once a year, and the leaders are more busy with political intrigues inside the country. It is true that it would still be difficult for us to avoid joining the EAEU in the future. And to talk about the use of the principle of procrastination, as Tajikistan effectively has been doing, is too late. The past cannot be turned back, and the existing problems, if they are not timely solved, can lead to even greater consequences. In the current conditions - it is necessary to achieve equal conditions within the EAEU, taking into account economic interests, while not forgetting that the Kyrgyz Republic is primarily a sovereign state which is a full member of not only the EAEU, but also of the WTO Consequently, the current president, Sooronbay Zheenbekov, has a huge burden in dealing with the problems that his predecessor left him. First of all, this concerns the position of Kyrgyzstan in the EAEU. With effective government control, the problems that the EAEU brought us can lead our market to adapt, and this can shake up our industries in improving quality and bringing it to conformity to international standards, which can also affect our exports to the EU in the framework of the GSP + from which we are not really getting benefits due to inconsistency of qualities.

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ECONOMICS

BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE – CAN YOU PUT A PRICE ON INSURANCE? With its cost estimated to run into trillions of dollars and main developments spread over 68 countries in three continents, it is quite natural for China’s belt and road initiative to be in the spotlight of all participating countries and business sectors. Asia Insurance Review spoke with ECIS-focused Bermudian Insurance-Linked Securities (ILS) specialist Phoenix CRetro Chief executive Kirill Savrassov about insurance linked securities as a risk transfer option for BRI. China’s belt and road initiative (BRI) is probably one of the largest infrastructural development projects in modern human history. Phoenix CRetro Reinsurance chief executive Kirill Savrassov said, “Due to its size and geographical diversity, BRI-related projects definitely face numerous challenges and risks, both for the project’s initiator and for all other participants.” Current estimates for turning this project into a reality vary from $900bn to several trillion, with most of the financial burden and the work being taken on by state-owned enterprises. OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR ILS “As there are massive infrastructure investments in both China and many more nations including its neighbouring countries, the (re)insurance industry, including the insurance-linked securities (ILS) community will have its own multi-task opportunities and challenges with regards to the BRI projects,” said Mr. Savrassov. “ILS, being a natural peak catastrophe protector for critical infrastructure with an effective track record on that in other parts of the world, it is not isolated from such a challenge or opportunity,” Mr. Savrassov said.

ILS CAN BRING IN SIGNIFICANT STABILITY INTO INVESTMENTS OF BRI Mr. Savrassov said, “In the case of BRI there is an added benefit of a good time scale and effective results can come to reality much faster than it took for the United States to achieve current level of ILS use. Especially with new domiciles like Singapore and Hong Kong consciously developing the required framework for those activities and Asian investors getting more and more interested in potentially good returns and uncorrelation of ILS to economic cycles. “Another stimulus is existing investors’ appetite, when ongoing growth of insurance-linked securities as an asset class has unique intra-class diversification capability, any new peril or location opportunity naturally should gain a warm welcome by those, who already have allocations to ILS,” he said. The belt and road initiative will have huge financing needs and the private sector will have a bigger role to play in this regard anyway. As things stand today, insurers can participate in BRI projects via both equity and debt financing. Markets also predict that securitisation as a means of additional financing would also be made available soon for regional insurers and other institutional investors, so the current club of insurers, which uses the transfer of risks to the capital markets, will be widening. Mr. Savrassov said, “Use of such instruments can allow a deeper understanding and therefore significant inflow of investments from Chinese and wider scope of Asian financiers or institutional investors into the BRI projects.

Having matured for peak protection for large catastrophe exposures (including infrastructure) in the US, Caribbean, Latin America and Africa, the ILS industry has a major opportunity in the Chinese market. The development and use of ILS solutions for BRI’s sub-projects can ‘rocket boost’ the entire alternative risk transfer area for Asia in general.

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ECONOMICS “It is also important to note that the burden of sovereign debt ratings below investable grade for the vast majority of China’s neighbouring countries in many cases makes other than ILS investment simply difficult for asset managers.” MUCH OF BRI ROUTES PASS THROUGH CORRIDORS EXPOSED TO NATURAL PERILS China and also several of the countries involved in the BRI projects do face a very obvious existence of real risk of natural perils. Mr. Savrassov said, “Central Asia, where planned infrastructure projects are not just large investments but also are their tickets to join a global trade and geographic reorientation toward market economies in Western Europe, South and East Asia.” He said, “Of the countries of the region, at least three of those ‘belt’ corridors are passing through one of the most earthquake-exposed areas of Eurasia, if not globally.

ECONOMIC DISPARITY BETWEEN EASTERN AND WESTERN PROVINCES OF CHINA Mr. Savrassov said, “Another challenge is Chinese government’s plan to use BRI for solving the disparity between eastern and western provinces of the country, whereby Xinjiang, Tibet, Qinghai and Gansu are the four lowest-ranked on the China Economic Research Institute’s Free Market Index.” He said, “These provinces are characterised by a high concentration of state-owned enterprises and so require heavy state subsidies from central government. Therefore integration of these into regional economies instead of showering with more central money sounds like a good logical solution. “This could, however, raise some fundamental issues when it comes to natural catastrophes protection. With essential obligation for critical infrastructure the country so far may have limits of insurability for it. That is where the state can face a situation when there is no insurable interest for some key infrastructure elements.”

“So with plans like ‘Khorgoz’ on the China-Kazakhstan border near Almaty as the largest dry port in the world, massive road and railways development in Central and Western Asia with different infrastructure improvements, the element of resilience and proper catastrophe protection is critical and strategic for everybody.”

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy struck the North-Eastern US, which is one of the most economically developed (and hence most insured) areas of the world, only 50% of the overall economic losses there were insured.

agement capabilities and will stimulate the use of the whole range of available products from parametric (re)insurance to catastrophe bonds issuance.”

LOW INSURANCE PENETRATION IN THE REGION

Parametric reinsurance and ILS instruments are exact solutions for such issues at the sovereign or provincial government levels.

He said there is another popular saying in China that ‘Third-tier companies make products, second-tier companies make technology and first-tier companies make standards’.

On the sovereign approach the example of Mexico, one of the oldest sponsors of ILS instruments, which received $50m and $100m in a matter of weeks as pay-outs from parametric CAT bonds following hurricane Patricia and Chiapo earthquake events.

Mr. Savrassov said, “That quote, naturally, can be applied for BRI as the project which due to its size and importance can set standards for ILS use with regards to infrastructural projects across entire Asia and beyond, almost immediately putting it on the map as one of the largest new global ILS destinations.”

A majority of the countries involved in the BRI projects do not have well-developed insurance markets and have low to very low penetration. Also, local issues like reinsurance protectionism in some of the countries and lack of experience in coverage for large-scale projects are also not of much help. “In the case of devastating catastrophic events, help from international financial institutions/donor nations and ILS solutions (as uncorrelated mechanisms) appear to be some of the very few ways for peak exposure protection and therefore disaster financing,” said Mr. Savrassov. He said, “Lack of investable grade ratings make other forms of private finance arrangements either expensive or difficult. “Hence, for the sake of strategic resilience, the assessment of such scenarios and encouragement of ILS as a means of risk transfer represent important points for both China as project originator and participating country in term of overall BRI development.”

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ILS WILL ENHANCE BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF RISKS AND THEIR MODELLING Development of wider use of ILS products across the region will also have a positive side effect. Any ILS instrument will require a transparent, well-defined trigger with understanding of risks as well as their calculation. Mr. Savrassov said, “There is an excellent quote for our industry, ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, so you’re unlikely to finance it’, so whichever ILS instrument could be chosen, it will end up with one or the other form of modelling, which in turn will increase disaster resilience, risk man-

He said, “We really believe that by turning its attention to potential use of ILS either at central, provincial or partner country levels, China may not only obtain strategic disaster finance solutions but become a driver of the entire risk transfer industry.” This article first appeared in the February 2019 issue of Asia Insurance Review.

This book from the famous Kazakh international publicist reflects the international reality in which the Kazakh people lived and live for the last twenty-seven years after gaining their independence. The reader is given the opportunity to understand how difficult the transition was from socialism to capitalism. The new life caught by surprise the majority of people of the country, that is the simple person. For all these years the author was in the midst of the people and has survived with them all the hardships and privations that usually fall on the shoulders of ordinary citizens. For many years he studied the relationship of people in society, the relationship of peoples and States. He wrote analytical and research works such as “Islam-the source of spiritual development”, “The influence of Darwin’s theory on national consciousness”, “The Religious factor-as one of the political aspects of the spiritual and cultural development of society”, “ What is better than capitalism or socialism?”, “How to make our lives better today than yesterday”, “How to remain a man in the world of people”, “Man, take care of yourself and your descendants” and others.

ISBN: 978-1910886878 RRP: £14.95 HB AVAILABLE ON AMAZON WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM

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HISTORY

INDEPENDENCE DAY OF THE REPUBLIC OF BELARUS The spirit of Soviet times? Look no further than the main Belarusian national celebration – Independence Day of the Republic of Belarus. The celebration falls on the 3rd of July due to the liberation of Minsk in 1944 from Fascist invaders.Why this date? In 1996 a referendum was conducted by the Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, which was based on the conflict between the Parliament and Mr Lukashenka. In that referendum were raised questions such as the date change of Independence Day, some editions in the Constitution that were supposed to expand the President’s authority, the question of legalizing execution and so on. The majority voted in favour of those suggested questions, and that is why we now celebrate our Independence Day, on the 3d of July.

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HISTORY All around you can see plenty of spectators and most of them are young. Thousands of children from schools are made to come out on that day to fill the streets. In 2017 the spectacle cost Belarus about 2.35 million dollars. Is it worth it? Breathing with the smoke of death machines and watching, you could have an overwhelming feeling inside.The atmosphere itself actually inspires your fear, especially if it is your first time It might look like North Korea or something of that kind but it must be understood that the last war caused severe damage to the Belarusian people; One in four people died in the war which was a catastrophic disaster for the country and had a large influence on the people’s mindset, culture, literature and art. It gets you thinking of the past and what it brought to our lives. In Belarus this cannot be forgotten so we have been trying to show the world the price of peace and how it is important to stay in peace when it seems that the whole world goes insane. I assure you it costs too much.

Originally, the date fell on the 27th of July and the cause for that was the adoption of the Declaration of Sovereignty of Belarus in 1991. But our people made their choice. Belarus became the only former Soviet country whose Independence Day doesn’t have anything to do with the dissolution of USSR. But one must go back in time, to understand the most important historical events connected with this date. Due to one of the crucial Red Army’s operations called Bagration, the operation to liberate Minsk was carried out on 29th June of 1944 when the troops of the 1st and 3rd Belarusian fronts converged on the city to attack. Next, in cooperation with the 2nd front, the encirclement was completed. On the 3rd of July, the Soviet tankmen broke into the capital and soon the core forces of the 4th German army were captured, about 100 thousand people. There were also those who distinguished themselves during the operation. In the fights near Minsk, senior lieutenant Fedorov’s tank was hit. The tank driver sergeant Bessony’s legs were injured. The situation was such that they couldn’t receive help. Taking their chance, a group of Nazis tried to come up to the tank

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but Fedorov opened fire, and they all ran back. Then the Nazis dragged a large gun into place and with several shots wedged the turret. Fedorov let the German machine gunner come closer and threw grenades at him, the same way he prevented other attempts to capture the tank. With the onset of darkness, he took the wounded driver out of the machine and managed to escape unnoticed. Winston Churchill sent his congratulations to do with this event, and others, to the Soviet army. This great event, the liberation of the Belarusian capital Minsk in 1944, is captured in the painting by Belarusian artist Volkov. But what activities happen during the celebration? Traditionally, the government holds a big parade and an impressive air show is held in the capital. All usually starts in the morning with the President’s speech and with a minute of silence to pay tribute to heroes. Thousands of people, hundreds of machines, parade with the Belarusian army. The Russian army also takes part, which may be a surprise for foreigners.

After the great morning spectacle, some secular events are held. People of all kinds walk around the centre: families, youngsters, servicemen and drunks. Families usually go to the parks; some might go for a picnic. In every corner there is entertainment. Everything may appear strange to a foreigner because it has a specific atmosphere made by Belarusian culture. Music and singing, the food smell and laughter is everywhere: Minsk centre is full of people like never on any other day of the year. In late evening there will be a place for another spectacle that is extremely popular as well: an impressive fireworks display. In Minsk they sometimes let them off from different points around the city. Many more Minsk citizens come running to the centre to see the beautiful display. But for most Belarusians, it is no more than just a free day from work and celebration. Some who come out into the streets to celebrate couldn’t answer you what it is all about and what the story behind the celebration is. Everyone is divided on that day and has different thoughts of their own about it. It seems that Belarus desperately holds on to the past and the road further is unclear, but what unites us most is our silent hopes and prayers for our own young country. Text by Anatoli Dzerhachou Photos by Aleksei Gerasimenko

In “Belarusian Whales” - Anastasia Kuzmicheva stuffs her readers into the back pocket of cleverly stylish poetry. In this sense, her lyrical jeans take us step by step on a kinetic journey to discover “Self” and “Other”. For us poets, whether in remission or active, each versification will create delightful visceral reactions - pulling at those invisible fascia existing between the conscious and subconscious psyche. — Solvi Fannar, poet

ISBN: 978-1-910886-45-8 RRP: £14.95 HB AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

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TOURISM

DISCOVER MAGNIFICENT GEORGIA!

THE WELCOME TO GEORGIA - NATIONAL TOURISM AWARDS

Georgia is one of the most beautiful and ancient countries in the world, with its untouched nature, history, mountains and architecture. This small country is a real paradise for all kind of travellers throughout tthe whole year. Let Tbilisi be the starting point of your unforgettable journey. Georgia’s ancient and vibrant capital, which despite its small size, has a lot to offer, from its historical buildings and monasteries to its quaint cafes and elite restaurants. Backpackers can navigate easily on a budget and one of the best hostels is Pushkini 10 while for more discerning travellers looking for comfort as well as culture, city offers many cozy and beautiful high-end options. There are three hotels we recommend: Ramada Encore Tbilisi - THE BEST VALUE–STANDARD ACCOMMODATION; Radisson Blu Iveria Tbilisi - THE BEST VALUE–PREMIUM ACCOMMODATION; Tbilisi Marriott Hotel - THE BEST HOTEL OF INTERNATIONAL CHAIN IN GEORGIA AWARD. Beside hotels, if you are looking for apartments in Georgia, then the first Airbnb management company THE BEST TOURISTIC START UP, Wehost, will guide you. Georgian Cuisine and wine making is an integral part of Georgian cultural heritage. Archaeologists agree that cultivation of wine grapes dates back some 8,000 years, which

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makes Georgia the real cradle of wine! And here are places where you truly can feel the taste of worldwide famous Georgian cuisine and wine: Restaurant of ETHNO TSISKVILI – WINNER OF THE BEST TRADITIONAL GEORGIAN RESTAURANT AWARD; Barbarestan - CONCEPT CAFÉ/RESTAURANT AWARD; Chateau Mukhrani – BEST WINE TOURISM; Baia’s Wine- THE BEST YOUNG WINERY AWARD; Finally, THE BEST WOMAN ENTREPRENEUR IN THE TOURISM INDUSTRY winner, Tinatin Dugashvili, who is the founder of Family type tourist destination in the Kvareli region, Wine Yard N1. One of the key reasons for tourism is the country’s location: from one side surrounded by Caucasus Mountains and from another side, the Black Sea. For mountain and ski lovers we highly recommend a visit to the beautiful ski resort, Gudauri, which is a prominent skiing destination, and where you can stay in the newly opened, unique design hotel Quadrum Ski & Yoga Resort – CONCEPT ACCOMMODATION AWARD. Georgia is also well known for its artesian natural springs and its spa-resort – Borjomi, which is the home to the most extensive ecologically-themed amusement park in the Caucasus. In the best location the hotel Borjomi Likani hotel - BEST MOUNTAIN ACCOMMODATION and THE BEST

WELLNESS & SPA RESORT - and Crowne Plaza Borjomi will be glad to host you. If you are an adventure traveller the Altihut 3.014 – BEST ADVENTURE TOURISM -offers tracking, hiking and mountaineering tourism 3,014 meters above sea level. And for sea lovers in the pearl of black sea the first internationally branded hotel Sheraton Batumi – BEST SEA ACCOMMODATION - is waiting for you. Except sea and magnificent mountains, Georgia has one of the newest tourist destinations, located 143km from Tbilisi - Nazy’s Guest House - BEST COMMUNITY BASED TOURISM. It is a special place to stay in the Pankisi Valley and allows you to engage with the Kist culture. If you are seeking a peaceful place to rest then the Lopota Lake Resort & Spa (#ICREATE - THE MOST SUCCESSFUL GEORGIAN BRAND IN THE TOURISM INDUSTRY) located in the Kakheti region would be ideal for you. Aside from all of the historical treasures, Georgia is a country of two incredible festivals. One is heaven for alternative and rock music lovers called Tbilisi Open Air - BEST FESTIVAL OR EVENT.

To make sure that Georgia is indeed the place to plan your next visit to, you can be guided there with the help of an essential travel guide application Travel Guide App - BEST E-TOURISM AWARD.With the help of the app, users can get information about Georgian and European cities, exceptional, tourist attractions or historical monuments. If you are planning a group event with your colleagues winner of the BEST MICE TOURISM AWARD, Calypso Travel & Events, will provide you premium class service in the tourism and event industry. And finally, if you are looking for leading incoming tour operator specialised in Cultural, adventurous and tailor-made tours for Groups and Independent Travelers to South Caucasus countries: Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan Caucasus Travel (THE BEST INCOMING TOUR OPERATOR).  Georgia is an utterly charming and highly recommended destination where beyond the mountains wonderfully welcoming and hospitable people will meet you. Safe travels! by Nuki Tetradze

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VIEW

A GLIMPSE OF 2050 KYRGYZSTAN By Mohammad Idrees

On March 20th, at 8 o, clock in the morning, the huge aircraft landed at Manas airport after the journey of 30 minutes. Kyrgyzstan’s Manas Airline has started its direct flights from Kabul to Bishkek over the last couple of years but this was my first time travelling in a Kyrgyz airline, and I pretty much liked the comfort as well as the hospitality of the staff.The heads of states of Nowruz celebrating countries had already arrived in the capital city of Bishkek. The purpose of my visit was to cover the Grand Nowruz celebrations 2050 along with the 30th anniversary of CASA-1000 (a power project that transfers electricity from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan). Both of the events were taking place on two consecutive days at two different cities, Bishkek and Osh.

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VIEW The double-deck aircraft had businessmen, diplomats, tourists, international students, journalists, and people from other professionals. The bilateral relations of Afghanistan with Kyrgyzstan had entered a new phase resulting in the exemption of visas between these two countries. I went straight to the counter where the charming lady immigration officer welcomed me with a smile and stamped my passport to get in. The vast terminal crowded with passengers entering and leaving the country was equipped with modern facilities. The temperature inside the terminal was warmer while Ala Too mountains around Bishkek were still white covered with snow. There were different computer machines and digital screens doing various tasks like updating the flight schedules, issuing receipts for choosing the mode of transportation to the center of the city, changing foreign currencies etc. One of the screens revealed that 1 US Doller was exchanged for 1.25 Kyrgyz Som, thanks to tourism and trade (energy, minerals and organic agricultural products) as the main factors behind this economic growth. Moreover, unlike West, despite technological advancement, Kyrgyzstan restrained itself from the robots; that was the reason that robots did not replace humans. I checked my name on the screen that a flying car No.996 was waiting for me in the parking area. The flying car had been newly introduced in the country and its usage was not common with some exceptions, and I was enjoying that luxury. Outside the airport, there was no push and pull of taxi drivers to get the passenger boarded in their taxis. Passengers had already chosen their mode of transportation having the receipts from the terminal. Besides taxis, metro train and electric buses were also taking passengers from the airport to the city center and its adjacent areas. After sitting in the car, the driver welcomed me and flew the car. “Sir, I hope you had a comfortable journey.” “Yes, I had a good journey, thanks.” After exchanging some words, I came to know that he was not only an informative person but he also spoke fluent English. “You speak good English,” I asked surprisingly. “Thank you Sir. Now many people like me in my country know foreign languages because of the tourists from all over the world visiting our country. Over the past couple of years, millions of tourists visited our country. This year it ranked 3rd most favorite destination among the tourists. Our country earns a lot of revenue from tourism.”

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Meanwhile, he drew my attention to a 3-D book with moving photos. “I have read your book In the Land of the Tian Shan Mountains. This is one of the great books written on my country. It not only reflected our true image but also helped people from different parts of the world to know about Kyrgyzstan.” I was in the seventh heaven when he put forward the book for my signature. I made a digital signature for him, thanked him and entered into the hotel. A room on the 50th floor was reserved for me at a seven stars hotel by the name of a famous Kyrgyz writer, Chingiz Aitmatov. This hotel was also equipped with modern technology. At the reception, my thumb prints and voice frequency were taken to work for different functions like opening and closing the room’s door, switching on the light, television, locker etc. After putting my luggage, I went to the mini-swimming pool attached to the room and besides relaxing in the water; I watched the tour of Issyk Kul Lake, world’s second largest alpine lake. The new information I got was that a fun city had opened for tourists inside the lake with restaurants, cafés, and amusement parks for children. After bathing, a briefing session together with lunch was arranged by the organizer about the events’ activities. I attended that session, and then went out to see the city. The skyscrapers, double-storey roads and metro trains had completely changed the look of the city. Walking in the downtown, there were digital screens at different locations showing the achievements of their female President. Later I realized that she was very popular among the people because of her achievements in the spheres of human rights, economic development and rule of law. Located in the north of the country, the greenest city of Central Asia has been everybody’s favorite as it had opened its lap to everybody and that is the reason that it hosts different ethnicities, religions, and cultures giving it an international look. In the big shopping malls, one could buy branded along with the traditional Kyrgyz goods. Moreover, Macdonald, KFC, Starbucks, and King Burger were crowded with customers mostly students and office workers, and it reminded me the Kyrgyz version of KFC (Kyrgyz Fried Chicken) and King Burger (the two words were replaced giving it the look of real Burger King) where local burgers and food were served more than three decades ago. I went to the main Ala Too square where the legendry hero Manas was sitting proud on his horse with a sword in his hand and a big screen was showing an animated movie about the short history of Kyrgyzstan with tourists gathered to enrich their knowledge. I also visited my alma mater, the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Academy which had become one of the top

research and academic institution in the world producing top regional think tanks. After spending a busy day refreshing my youth days’ memories, l returned to the hotel and started preparing for the conference the next day. The Grand Nowruz event 2050 was arranged at the national park of Ala Archa, located at a distance of about 40 km from Bishkek. Early in the morning, the delegates of the event were carried in metro train. There were diplomats, representatives of international organization, and members of Nowruz celebrating countries.The place for event was arranged in an open area surrounded by mountains, and the splashing sound of the river was energizing the soul. Presidents and Prime Ministers of Nowruz Celebrating Countries delivered their speeches highlighting the importance of regional cooperation, cultural relationships, religious tolerance and multiculturalism. Little Kyrgyz girls smoked the juniper plant around the heads of the states and removed the evil spirits for the coming year. Thereafter, performers of different countries entertained the participants with traditional dances. Every face was happy as they were somewhere inhaling the purest air while most parts of the world are facing extreme level of pollution. The clean air of the country is also one among the reasons that tourists visit to heal themselves from different diseases. For the lunch, various traditional foods from different countries were served on a long table with a moving train on it. After the lunch, the delegates enjoyed trekking in the nearby mountains as it was part of the program under the slogan “Grow Trees and Breathe Clean Air”. There was also a film crew from Hollywood shooting a movie. Because of the natural beauty, Kyrgyzstan has also attracted the attention of international movie makers. At the end of the day, the delegates left for the southern city Osh where the 30th anniversary of CASA-1000 had to begin the next day. The bullet train took one hour to reach Osh. In the past, Osh city was one of the main cities of Ferghana valley and an important trade market along the Silk Road. Currently it is reviving its old geo-strategic position functioning as a significant energy trade hub between Central Asia and South Asia. On the way, I was seeing many huge solar and wind power plants which not only met the domestic needs but also exported electricity to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Kyrgyzstan also made its place among the top 10 environment friendly countries using entirely renewable energy. In agriculture sector, the country not only increased its production but had also maintained the originality of its agricultural products.That was the reason that the demand for its agricultural products was very high.

The event was arranged on top of Sulayman Mountain, one of the sacred mountains of Kyrgyzstan. CASA-1000 was the theme of the gathering.The project not only completed its 30 years of journey but there was also agreement on proposing the extension of the project to 30 more years with the inclusion of India. Furthermore, the energy experts also gave green signals of more electricity generation through solar and wind energy along with the hydro power to be exported to other South Asian countries. Kyrgyzstan has progressed a lot over the past three decades. Sustained democracy, gender equality, religious tolerance, minimal crime rate, cultural diversity, tourism, and energy trade are some of the areas giving Kyrgyzstan the title of the most peaceful country.

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TRAVEL

SIBERIAN SPLENDOUR: A BRIEF TRIP TO LAKE BAIKAL By Nick Rowan

1 On the wild steppes of Transbaikalia, Where people dig for gold in the mountains, A vagrant, bemoaning his fate, Is wandering with a bag on his back. 2 He walks through the thick taiga, Where only a few birds sing, He carries a tin can on his side, His feet are strapped in dry skins. 3 He wears a worn-out shirt And a lot of different patches. The cap on his head is a convict’s cap And he wears a grey convict’s uniform. 4 He escaped from prison during a dark night Where he was imprisoned for defending the truth. But he could not go any further In front of him was Lake Baikal. “По диким степям Забайкалья” translated as “By the Wild Steppes of Transbaikalia” Extract of the Russian folk song composed by convicts in Siberia in the 18th Century

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For many the thought of Siberia sends shivers down the spine. Meaning “sleeping land” in the Tartar language, this vast area of land, which could itself swallow all fifty states of America with millions of square miles to spare, it is hard to imagine that it housed some of the most notoriously brutal labour camps that Russia had ever sought to construct. Coupled with this land mass’ renowned arctic temperatures, it is not a place most people would wish to find themselves in the middle of the Russian winter.

Home not only to many thousands of unique species of plants and animals, it is also home to the Buryat tribes who follow shamanistic practices that enable them to interact with the spiritual world under altered states of consciousness. This religion also spread across the Silk Roads into Central Asia and China mingling with and becoming adapted into parts of other religions over time. A trip to Baikal is not complete without contemplating the origin and impact it has had on the region.

Before the dawn of mass tourism, you might have found yourself reading in a journal about the harsh, wild and insidious nature that engulfed the small cities in Siberia. It would not have been surprising since the region was mostly famed as a place good only for exiling criminals. So harsh and inhospitable was the terrain that many exiles were imprisoned only by nature – free to roam, but knowing that by leaving the relative safety of towns such as Irkutsk meant only one thing – death. This spiritual barrenland has challenged explorers and exiles alike, with its endless stretches defeating even the hardiest of humankind – except the very few who survived and even those still bore their scars long after.

So, as I landed in Irkutsk, after six hours of the delights of Aeroflot from Moscow, one cool March evening, I was intrigued to see this famed lake. The wonders of modern travel enabled me to make the trip to Lake Baikal just for the weekend. Putting aside the 5-hour time difference to Moscow, I sought to rest and relax before tackling a torturously long 16-hour daytrip the following day that would enable me to reach famed Olkhon island.

But Siberia is a land of superlatives – forget that three of the world’s longest rivers flow through it – Lake Baikal tops them all. It is the greatest, deepest and purest of body of water on the planet. At 395 miles long, 49 miles long and just over a mile deep, formed from a natural geological rift, this unique lake has, in more recent times, captured many with its beauty and mysticism.

This dramatic looking island is the result of millions of years of tectonic movement and today boasts a population of just 1,500 Buryats within its 730 square kilometres of terrain. From the mainland it looked an ideally barren and unforgiving place to situate a Gulag. I waited for a cramped hivus hovercraft to take me over the 800 metres or so distance between the island shore and the mainland. It was here that I got my first glimpse of one of the main reasons I had come to visit at this time of year – the Baikal ice.

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COVER TRAVELSTORY

Only from the middle of winter in January until April does the whole lake freeze, but it is a phenomenon that bewitches all who visit and walk on her magical ice. Its transparency is striking – even at this “late” stage of the season, parts of the ice, are crystal clear.You walk as though on a mirror, but the clarity means that even though the ice is over a metre thick you tread gingerly. If I were concerned that I might just hit a weak patch and fall through, I needn’t have been. A two ton UAZ-452 Soviet van drove straight onto the ice to pick me up and take the ice road around the northern part of the island. The wind, which whipped me ferociously as it swept around the cliffs, was calmer as I got out from the truck having driven at almost 90km/hr across the ice. We had arrived at a little rocky outcrop not far from the main village, Khuzir. A couple of other tours, also in their UAZ vans, had turned up to admire the ice and in particular the ice caves where large icicles compete for space and attention above you as you tread deeper inside. It is like an ice kingdom, but a silent, eerie one. Civilisation is almost non-existent and nature is as pure as it can get. You can drink the water that drips form the icicles as the warmer spring temperature causes them to melt. I partook in a small local tradition, that involved pepper vodka, of course, with my guide and then took an additional shot with a broken icicle to provide the “rocks” to my makeshift cocktail. We continued driving on the ice road. Our driver thought the ice was not clear enough where we were as it has started to melt and go cloudy – apparently two days ago the official tourist season for ice driving came to an end. He seemed as confident as ever that there was at least another week or so that he could drive on the ice, but my guide related stories that had been heard about areas where the ice had thinned and vehicles had sunk.

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Lunch was taken near the Three Brothers Rock (Sagaan-Kushun Cape), a natural monument that symbolises the main characters of an old Buryatian legend. Centering around three brothers who once lived on Olkhon Island, according to the legend, their father had supernatural powers and turned them into eagles providing they did not eat meat.The newfound freedom allowed the brothers to fly around the island and enjoy it as they had never before. However, they soon tired and became hungry, whereupon they came across a dead animal and, despite their promises to their father, ate the animal. When their father learned about this he was so angry that he turned them into the three rocks that can be seen today. The irony of this being an idyllic picnic places therefore was not lost on me. Lunch turned out to be rice with boiled omul fish – a delicacy and local fish to lake Baikal, the fishing of which had recently been severely curtailed amid worries of extinction. “Contraband!” my driver delighted as he served up a prepared meal in a plastic box. It was still warm from the morning’s preparation. Its crumbly flakes were like butter as I made my way through this simple gastronomic delight. The day ended at the tip of the island having travelled its entire length mostly by ice road. The Khoboy Cape sits at the most northern point of Olkhon island, deriving its name from an old Buryat word meaning “fang” because of its distinctive shape – an out-of-place vertically oriented marble rock, appearing fang-like from the cliffs. Here already, one of the long multi-kilometre cracks had appeared close to the rocks. Occasionally a cracking sound ricocheted across the rocks, reminding me that we really were at the end of the winter. Large slabs of crystal-clear ice, like waves frozen in time, had piled up making their own ice sculptures that I had to tread across and around. Without crampons each one was a slippery danger, but also a mesmerising beauty.

Occasionally on the ice underfoot, small frozen bubbles of methane added dabs of white cloudiness amongst the thick ice – it was this that was most reassuring - the ice underfoot really was still solid and thick. Irkutsk was still nearly 5 hours away, but out there in the wilderness it was hard to remember that a bustling life existed somewhere over the distant horizon. It must have been even harder still for those exiled inhabitants of the Gulags and other camps to remember or believe that such a distant life still existed.

P.S. The author travelled to Irkutsk from Moscow with Aeroflot (four flights a day), staying in the four star Japanese-styled Hotel Sayen in Irkutsk and travelling to Olkhon with Russia EGuide tours (https://www.russiaeguide.com/one-day-tourto-olkhon-island.html) – 1pax 28,000 RUB; 4 pax 9,300 RUB pp. Hovercraft 350RUB per person each way. It is recommended to spend at least 3 days for such a tour but if willing to spend a significant time in the car coupled with an early start then a one-day tour will get you to see most of the sights even if you won’t get to experience as much time of life on the island as would be ideal!

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ADVENTURE In July & August 2018, two British women Catherine & Hannah, undertook the 2500km drive, unaided, along the Pamir Highway, famously the 2nd highest road on Earth, reaching altitudes of 4500m and coursing through the heart of Central Asia. Their mission: to reach, live with and film the women living along it. During their time on the road, they managed to interview more than 45 women from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan - hearing stories that have reached few Westerner’s ears. Their documentary, which will be released in Summer 2019, celebrates crossing cultural boundaries, encourages us to challenge stereotypes and emphasises that common bonds can be formed between people from diverse backgrounds if only we step up and create new dialogues. Their trailer can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/302153525

CROSSING CULTURES

CULTURAL CROSSROADS:

TWO WOMEN’S JOURNEY ALONG THE PAMIR HIGHWAY.

Our endeavour to document and share the experiences of women living in Central Asia – an entirely unfamiliar continent – was, at its core, a cultural exchange. We wanted to draw attention to the myriad of cultures that have received minimal attention in Western media to date, specifically focusing in on the female communities. In England, where Hannah and I were born and raised, knowledge of the social culture in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan is largely based on generalisations that merge all countries ending in ‘stan’ under the same brush, forgetting or perhaps unwilling to accept that each may have a unique identity; not to mention the fear of terrorism and violence that mean relatively few Westerners are willing to cross these borders – assumptions we are determined to challenge in our documentary. The three countries we drove through have been formed, and often divided, by complex histories producing richly diverse communities across the region. From the epic network of the Silk Road in the 1st century AD, through which ideas and goods were exchanged, to the divisive results of seven years Communist rule which proclaimed the nations of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the 1920s, this part of Central Asia concentrates a staggering variety of religious, cultural and political groups. The Pamir Highway runs through the heart of these often remote societies, transcending geographical, political and ethnic boundaries. The women we met along our route were representative of the region’s remarkable diversity. It was crucial to our documentary that we talked to individuals and organisations from all walks of life to capture the variety of cultures & micro-cultures at play: from urban and rural; the highly educated to those living in poverty; women from devoutly Islamic communities and those who are staunchly Atheist; from different tribes and with local languages; young and old; feminist and traditional; political and apolitical. High levels of female poverty, mass migration of men to Russia, and widespread domestic violence mean that women’s rights are still somewhat behind in these

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countries, particularly in rural Tajikistan. There are high rates of teenage pregnancy and maternity-related causes are the biggest killer of girls aged 15 to 19. Women face legal barriers to buying property, and are still poorly represented in parliament and government institutions. But the history of women’s rights in the region is far from linear – when Bolshevik governments were set up in the 1920s Central Asian women were declared equal to their male counterparts, quotas were built into the social infrastructure, and gendered dress codes were significantly relaxed. Following the withdrawal of Soviet control in 1991, however, traditions and gender stereotypes have re-risen, many in conjunction with the re-growth of Islam – this dynamic was interesting to explore. Contrary to what we expected, in some of the cities, women reported increasingly oppressive Islamic mentalities and restricted freedom; while in some rural areas women often expressed enthusiasm at the new opportunities afforded to them. As a result of both Soviet & Islamic influences, there is huge variation in attitudes to women within and across the three countries and we were curious to see how more feminist organisations interacted with the traditional female values in parts of the countries. Few at home, and indeed in US or European audiences, will be aware of the subtle and stark differences in women’s experiences within and across these cultures. Without global awareness of these issues, the organisations campaigning for change in Central Asia lack the visibility and financial support they need to carry on their work. Although we were always happy to share our experiences of British culture with ever-curious locals (and this often served as a conversation starting point), throughout the trip we intentionally abstained from imposing our own values or identities on any of those we encountered, our aim was simply to provide a platform for the wide cross-section of women whose voices are rarely represented on “western”

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ADVENTURE screens. This is a region is all too frequently homogenised or misrepresented by audiences and media outlets, blurring the region under ‘The Stans’. By offering an intimate insight into the experiences of the women we meet, we aim to foster a more nuanced and personal understanding of the region and its plethora of peoples & cultures. CHALLENGING STEREOTYPES We feel our documentary is more relevant now than ever before. At a time when the media industry seems rife with misogyny (the growing evidence of gender pay-gaps and the horrifying prevalence of sexual misconduct within film and television is evidence enough of this), there’s a critical need for female-led filmmaking. It is still a frustrating rarity to have women both behind the wheel and behind the camera: only one woman has ever won a Best Director Oscar, and it was only last year when we had the first female nominee for a cinematography Oscar. Similarly, travel documentaries and car TV shows are almost unanimously presented by men, with the latter generally appealing to a male audience despite the fact that 50% of Britain’s drivers are women. These are all trends we set out to challenge. Stories from the press frequently remind us that in Britain, America and much of the Western world, xenophobia is on the rise. In the wake of Brexit, for instance, racialised hate crime spiked by 5% in Britain, and has remained at that higher level since. In stark contrast, Pamiri women, living in an extremely harsh environment, were overwhelmingly open, hospitable and generous to us, despite having little to offer. In addition, we’ve come across few film or TV depictions of life in Central Asia, and those that do exist tend to take an orientalist attitude to the region, focusing on its Silk Road history. We wanted to take a more contemporary and nuanced approach, looking at the here-and-now of women’s lives across these countries. It is a particularly opportune time to be spotlighting women’s rights in Central Asia, which are at something of a transition point: In 2017 Kyrgyzstan’s youngest female MP, Aida Kasymalieva, headed a campaign to address domestic violence leading to the formation of new laws later that year; in 2016 the #НемолчиKZ (“Don’t Be Silent”) campaign was launched in Kazakhstan to highlight the issue of sexual violence in the country; in Tajikistan the 2014 UN Women’s project ‘Empowering Abandoned Women from Migrants’ Families’ has significantly improved women’s access to job and business skills. Yet today, communities surviving in the Pamiri ‘Bam-i-Dunya’ (‘roof of the world’) are some of the most isolated on our planet with 75% living below the poverty line, and women being disproportionately

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affected. It’s clear that we aren’t the only women challenging gender stereotypes: with 1.5 million Tajik citizens working abroad, many women are left as single mothers with little financial support, forced to occupy traditionally masculine roles in the community. Yet those who do have husbands in the country might not always be better off - domestic violence is prevalent in the region, with 20% of married women victim to abuse. Of course these women do need support and global attention, but they are by no means weak - they’re unflinching in the face of often immense oppression and unimaginably harsh living conditions. Our own efforts to defy gender stereotypes by undertaking this drive paled into insignificance in the face of the strength and resilience these women displayed – and we hope this comes across in the full film.

CREATING NEW DIALOGUES Although the central narrative of our documentary is linear - following our route along the M41 from start to finish - it is populated with numerous, changing dialogues as we take detours (figuratively & literally) to converse with women and pursue their stories. It’s fair to say that our experiences along this spectacular road were sculpted almost entirely by our interactions with local women and what we learnt from them. The nature of our dialogues with local women changed thematically as we travelled along the road – themes which we hope to draw a passage through in our film and will outline in the following section. Tashkent, for instance, was one of our first stops - a sparklingly clean city of high-rise buildings and cosmopolitan society. It was here that we met the phenomenally impressive Aziza, a highly successful business woman who articulately discussed the pressures of young marriage that resulted in her having to bring up a baby whilst at university abroad, aged just 22. She also gave us an insight into the recent political history of the country, which was essentially a dictatorship until the death of prime minister Islam Karimov in 2016. Aziza herself was affected by the overbearing state when the government issued her with a crippling fine for hosting an unregistered women’s support group which prompted her to leave the country for some years. Aziza’s account provides a helpful overview of the country’s politics, and she represents one end of the spectrum of female empowerment we came across on our trip.The next stop (the historical city Samarkand) reveals the other end of that spectrum: the city’s ancient yet mesmerizingly beautiful mosaic-tiled mosques are reflective of the religious and social conservatism that still exists in the city. Here we stayed for several days with Sitora, a charismatic

but traditional teenager who was the primary carer for her 7 year-old brother suffering from cerebral palsy. Her dreams of being a medic were put under significant strain as she missed classes to look after him, as she struggles under the enormous weight of her familial responsibility. Other girls emphasised their desires to be ‘modern’ and independent, yet told us about the pressure to marry young and the stigma associated with females learning to drive. From Samarkand the road and landscape became increasingly dry as we travelled south to the dusty town of Termez, where the Pamir Highway (M41) officially begins. The themes of dialogue continue to change as the journey draws on with the middle section of our route, in the Pamir Mountain range, became emotionally and physically.A stretch in the early stages of the Pamir route – the Tavildara Pass - is notorious for its steep, rocky road that climbs crumbling cliff edges flanked by perilous drops. It took us a good 10 hours driving in one day to complete this section, including a wrong turn and a severely punctured tyre.Yet it was amongst these days that we met some of the most resilient women living at the foot of some of Central Asia’s highest peaks, and who have carved lives for themselves in this unforgiving environment. The Wakhan Valley, running alongside the Afghan border, offers yet more challenges – it’s incredibly remote, hard to find food, clean water and shelter, and the sandy tracks proved tricky terrain for the car wheels which continually skidded. From the Wakhan, the road climbed higher still, reaching its 4600m peak along the Ak-Baital pass, leaving our car choked of oxygen and struggling to make it up even small hills. At the road’s highest points, we’d drive a whole day without seeing a single person and the landscape felt almost extra-terrestrial, with open plains of red-sand stretched before a background of looming snowy peaks. The road and landscape are key context to our dialogue with women in this region. This is an area where food is scarce and supplies expensive – the Pamir Highway is the only road. Jobs are few and far between, huge populations of men have migrated elsewhere in search of work and women are left with the near-impossible task of sustaining families and communities with the absence of males between teenage years and old age. As a result, women often operate machinery in the farms themselves. The interviews we carried out in the Pamir mountains were by no means the most emotional (perhaps a testament to the stoic nature of Pamiri women), but they were some of the most inspiring.Women seemed to be igniting their own micro-revolutions within the confines of their small rural communities. In Gharm, for instance, we

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ADVENTURE met with Dilbar, who took us to a collection of bee houses which she had allocated to local women who use them as a source of income. Many of these women had husbands who had left for Russia but never returned, and the hives were their lifeline, enabling them to support the families their husbands had abandoned. Women in Central Asia get little media attention at home and internationally, but it is the women living in the isolated villages of the Pamir mountain range that are by far the most poorly represented. Since they are physically so difficult to reach, their experiences have never before been documented and shared to the extent that we plan to do so. The access we had to women and their stories was frankly unprecedented, and we see this part of the narrative as the crux of the film. Encouragingly, the women were willing & supportive when we told them how their footage would be used. Further along the road, in Eastern Tajikistan, Murghab was home to one of our favourite interviews – the ever-charming Ahmedsharipova, a 76 year-old gynaecologist, her career had spanned from Soviet-occupied Tajikistan, through to the civil war and the chaos that ensued. With electricity only available for 5 hours a day in Murghab, she’d delivered countless numbers of babies with the most basic of facilities and nothing but a kerosene lamp to provide light. The dialogues step-changed in the final leg of our journey, following a loose trajectory of growing female emancipation, culminating in our most “radical” interviews in our final destination - Bishkek. This reflects the trend we noticed from Osh as pockets of women started telling stories about social and sexual liberation. Osh provided a kind of turning point in this sense: in the space of just a few hours we went from chatting with women at an Islamic school for girls about their duties to their husbands, to a discussion of female sexual pleasure with a feminist group based just down the road. Bishkek was the first place the vocabulary of homosexuality was even recognised, and the stories in relation to LGBTQ+ rights were by no means wholly positive. We spoke with a lesbian woman (whose face we didn’t film in order to protect her identity), who had been the victim of sexual abuse as a child and had suffered domestic abuse in her former marriage. She told us we were among just three other people to whom she had disclosed her sexuality. Although she is now engaged to a Kyrgyz woman in the US, there is little legal chance she’ll have the right to migrate there, let alone gain the custody rights for her son to accompany her. To support women like her is Labrys, still the only recognised LGBTQ+ group in Central Asia. Aizhan and the rest of her team at the office do critical work in spearhead-

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ing the movement for queer rights, despite the threats that work poses in their own lives – Aizhan was kicked out of her university when they found out she was a member of Labrys. Our conversations in Bishkek ranged from tattoos, to female travel, to women in government. It’s on this celebratory dialogue that we plan to conclude our documentary. The creation of new dialogues with the women we met opened our eyes to new cultures and ways of thinking. More importantly, it enabled common bonds to form between individuals from remarkably different backgrounds: our interviewees ceased to be strangers, but became friends, many of whom we keep in contact with today and are eager to watch the documentary once it’s finished. Growing trust and building a rapport were paramount to ensuring they felt comfortable to open up to us and relaxed in front of the camera. Through chance encounters with local women, picking up local hitchhikers, fitness sessions with locals, cooking, drinking together and homestays, we explored how our experiences diverge but, crucially, we celebrated the shared values among female communities from vastly different cultures. In our documentary we want to combat attitudes of insularity growing within European countries. We want to stress how common bonds can overcome differences in both culture and language, rather than highlighting disparities, ultimately demonstrating that cultural exchange is as powerful as it is enjoyable. We are currently raising funds for our post-production (primarily editing) costs. If you’re interested in financially sponsoring or sharing our project, please get in touch at catandhan@yahoo.com.We hope to raise the necessary amount to begin the final edit in June 2019. Text & Photos by Catherine Haigh

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HERITAGE As it turned out, Shafers and other deportees were very lucky with this deportation, because when Bessarabia passed to the Germans, many local residents, mostly Jewish, were killed. Including the relatives of the Shafers who stayed in the place where they lived before the war.

WORLD MUSICAL HERITAGE IN THE HEART OF EURASIA ‘Don’t divide music into the serious and frivolous. Music can only be good or bad. You can compose a magnificent simple song and trashy opera.’ — Naum Shafer There is a city located in the centre of Eurasia, on the territory of Kazakhstan.The city is named Pavlodar. It was founded in 1721 in the epoch of the Russian Empire as an outpost for the protection of salt-mining industries. The city became the centre of the region with highly developed industry and cultural life in the Soviet period. These days the world’s largest collection of gramophone records (not to be confused with vinyl ones) is situated in this city. The collection consists of more than 14,000 discs. Some of them exist as the only saved copy in the whole world. This collection was put together by a professor, musicologist, literary critic, writer, composer Naum Grigorievich Shafer. This story began even before the birth of Naum Grigorievich, in 1930, when a gramophone and 30 records were presented to his parents as a gift for their wedding. That time the family have been living in Bessarabia occupied by Romania (today Chisinau, Moldova). Already since his earliest years, little Naum showed much more interest for the gramophone and the records than for the toys. In 1940, Soviet troops entered Bessarabia. In 1941, 8 days before the war against fascist Germany, the Shafers were deported to

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Kazakhstan together with many people of various nationalities. Representatives of the new government allowed each family to take no more than 100 kilograms of luggage. The gramophone and the discs were included in the load of the Shafers.The NKVD employees (NKVD means Committee of internal affairs – the name of KGB in the early years of the Soviet Union) who came to evict the family tried to forbid them to take this property away with them. Apparently, they very much liked ‘miracle of technology’ (rare for that time). Little Naum who was in love with music, realised already in his childhood he could eventually find the same gramophone, but perhaps he would never find the same records. And he used the most powerful children’s weapon — crying and tearful requests to allow him to save his favourite things. Seeing this, one of the police officers urged his colleagues to follow the instructions and to allow the Shafers to take 100 kilograms of any luggage. Naum Grigorievich is still grateful to this man today. So, in June 1941, the Shafers family arrived in Kazakhstan with their gramophone and 30 records. They were settled in a village near Akmola (now Astana).Those 30 records became the basis of the collection of Naum Shafer.

Naum Shafer graduated from school in his new motherland and enrolled in the Faculty of Phylology of the Kazakh State University in Almaty. He continued to collect gramophone records. He also discovered the talent of the composer inside himself. He performed his work ‘Evening Waltz’ at an amateur art contest during his student years. The awards jury was attended by the famous Soviet Russian composer, Yevgeniy Brusilovskiy, who worked in Kazakhstan at that time and was very fond of Kazakh music. Brusilovskiy became the founder of Kazakh professional music, the Kazakh national opera, and he was the composer of its best examples. He appreciated the abilities of Naum Shafer and began to teach him music individually for free. Brusilovskiy even advised Shafer to quit philology and to enter the music conservatory. Mr. Shafer (at that time — comrade) didn’t want to enter the music conservatory, but he continued to create as a composer, taking the pseudonym Nami Gitin. When Brusilovsky found out that Naum Shafer collected gramophone records, he was delighted, saying ‘You have no idea what you are doing!’. Brusilovskiy repeatedly appealed to the USSR Ministry of Culture with the request to create music libraries all over the state in addition to many book libraries already created.The answer always followed — ‘Well, we print musical notes’. Yevgeniy Brusilovskiy tried to explain to the officials only the sounds of the recording could convey the style of performance. These arguments had no effect. Therefore, having learned about the enthusiasm of his student, Brusilovskiy instructed him to continue to update his collection of the records, assuring him that this this was a very important thing for the entire human civilisation. So, Naum Shafer continued. He collected more than 14,000 gramophone records during 50 years. He bought them in stores, corresponded with collectors from many foreign countries and exchanged discs with them. Naum Shafer’s wife Natalia Mikhailovna Kapustina always provided tremendous support to her spouse. Naum Grigorievich calls her a heroic woman. The couple had agreed between them to spend Naum Grigoryevich’s salary for records and books while spending Natalya Mikhailovna’s salary for everything else. Nowadays the collection contains records issued on all the continents of the Earth (except Antarctica, of course) during the period from the end of the 19th century to the

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HERITAGE middle of the 20th century. The music of almost all nations of the world is recorded on them — from folk music to classical symphonies.

with his son Dmitry, made a gift to Naum Grigorievich. According to their order, 700 styluses were made at a plant in Azerbaijan using preserved old patterns.

The collection includes the archive of 1930’s Kazakh music recorded on gramophone discs, which is the largest in Kazakhstan. There are more than 10,000 vinyl records, more than 1,500 tape reels and compact cassettes in the collection. The owner of all this cultural treasure personally made more than half a million cards — each one for each song. It was made so as to be able to find a record easily. In 2002, with the help of local authorities, the Shafer house museum was opened in Pavlodar. The house-museum also has a library that consists of more than 17,000 books and more than 64,000 newspapers and magazines (since the 1930’s). Over 100 issues of Russian writers and poets, printed in the 19th century, are the most valuable among books. Naum Grigoryevich and Natalia Mikhailovna live literally behind the wall.

The museum also has a concert hall.Weekly, on Fridays, literary and musical evenings, presentations of museum projects, meetings with poets, composers, musicians, and artists take place in this concert hall. There is also a unique object that makes an appearance — a rare gramophone, which is more than 120 years old. The museum’s attendees listen to gramophone records on it. This is great opportunity to hear the echoes of the history.

Naum Shafer has always been an admirer of Isaac Dunaevsky’s work (the famous Soviet composer). In 1988 he officially published a unique compilation named ‘Isaac Dunaevsky visiting Mikhail Bulgakov’.The compilation was issued on vinyl at the Soviet label ‘Melody’. It includes works that Dunaevskiy has been performing at his friend Mikhail Bulgakov’s home (another famous Russian Soviet writer, author of “The Master and Margarita’), and which were not published during the composer’s life. Naum Shafer has been collecting these records for 15 years. Dunaevsky’s son, Yevgeniy, was so shaken up by this act that he gave to Naum Grigorievich a few dozen gramophone records from his father’s personal collection. There are the rarest copies among them which were secretly brought to Isaac Dunaevskiy from abroad by his friends among diplomats (many kinds of foreign music were forbidden in the Soviet Union that time). In 1995, Naum Shafer published a compilation named ‘Little bricks’ on vinyl too. This is an anthology of urban Russian songs over 100 years (between the 1850s - 1950s).The songs were performed by talented Pavlodar musicians working in Russia and the USA. It was the last vinyl record published under the label ‘Melody’. In 2008, Paul Brummel, the British Ambassador to Kazakhstan, visited the Shafer House Museum. Mr. Brummel was pleasantly surprised by the presence of English records in the collection of Naum Grigorievich, which he had never seen in his life even in the United Kingdom. He listened with pleasure the songs on the gramophone that his grandmother sang him in his childhood. At the initiative of Paul Brummell,

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the British Council in Kazakhstan published a booklet about the Shafer House Museum in English. In 2010 the museum was visited by the Greek ambassador Evangelos Denaksas. The wife of Mr. Denaksas is a musicologist. Mr. Denaksas was so impressed by the fact that any Greek song he called immediately materialized as a record on a gramophone disk. After that, the museum staff began to joke: they have everything - like in Greece (a popular Soviet joke at the times of commodity deficits). In 2016, another citizen of the British Crown, a former DJ, and now an engineer, Nicholas Brigham, who has been working in Kazakhstan, was granted a visit to the Shafer House Museum. Nicholas, like his compatriot Mr. Brummell, also enjoyed listening to English gramophone records of the songs that were well-known to him from childhood. He presented a 1963 vinyl record of The Beatles to Naum Grigorievich. Naum Grigorievich presented his vinyl compilation ‘Little Bricks’ and a compilation of the songs by jazz singer Bing Crosby to Nicholas. The Shafer House museum is very popular among guests from abroad. Naum Grigoryevich is always glad to receive every guest who is in love with music. He is ready to personally conduct a tour of his museum and play the records that his visitors have interest in. This is despite the fact that he is already 88 years old and has almost lost his eyesight. The gramophone stylus is designed to play only three records.After this the stylus must be changed. When the gramophone styluses in the Shafer’s house-museum were almost all used, Kazakhstan’s famous journalist and writer, Yury Pominov,

Collectors from around the world have repeatedly appealed to Naum Shafer asking him to sell his collection, offering a lot of money for it. Each of them is ready to allocate a large building to moving the museum of records, and to make it the pearl of the cultural life of their city. But Naum Grigoryevich loves Pavlodar, and still wants to save his entire collection in this city for the next generations. Sadly relations with the authorities are not always so good, however. Recently, Naum Shafer had to appeal to the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Bakhytzhan Sagintayev, with a request to save the museum from another so-called “optimization” (a word popular among Kazakhstani officials to explain the liquidation of an enterprise). Bakhytzhan Sagintayev, when he was governor of Pavlodar region, always appreciated the work of Naum Grigorievich, and now he has helped the museum to preserve its status. But, as mentioned above, professor Shafer almost completely lost his eyesight which he believes are due to the nervous experiences related to the protection of the house-museum from the attacks of local officials. These days the heads of Pavlodar region have set themselves the task of developing tourism in the region and attracting foreign tourists in particular. Hopefully the officials will understand the significance of Naum Shafers’s unique collection and will do everything possible to help the museum, because this is the only collection of its kind in the world. Indeed, perhaps it can help make Pavlodar the centre of attraction for true connoisseurs of music from around the world.

Text by Vladislav Yermachenko Photos: Vladislav Yermachenko, Nicholas Brigham and from the archive of the Shafer’s house-museum

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ART

BRITS NAMED INTERNATIONAL RESIDENCY ARTISTS IN AZERBAIJAN by Natalie Bays

Joubinaux and Ridley will be spending their residency week, and will be supported by, five other members of The NO Collective, a youth arts organisation from London. This cultural residency programme was initiated as a unique evaluation project for a web-information portal. InAzerbaijan. co.uk is a website dedicated to educating young people about Azerbaijan and its history and culture. It is supported by CSSN Azerbaijan, which funds innovative projects by international NGOS. Natalie, the co-founder of THE NO COLLECTIVE and project manager says: “As we came to the end of our project we were due to create an evaluation. It was overwhelmingly evident to us that throughout our working in Azerbaijan the thing that has been most poignant in research is the depth of culture and richness of society here. We had written enough quantitative facts on the website so for our website, we wanted to provide something unique to display that gave information about the intangible experiences that we have encountered in Azerbaijan.We felt that giving the opportunity to artists to make unique artworks that explore this experience would create such intangible information and in turn portrait the union and spirit between our two cultures’. When the artworks are complete, they will be showcased on the InAzerbaijan website for years to come, and for young people to use as educational case studies. InAzerbaijan is the only website in the UK dedicated to sharing information to residents in the UK and has been written by young people for young people through first hand research in visits to the country.

Two British contemporary artists, Nicholas Joubinaux and Tim Ridley have been chosen to travel to Azerbaijan from the UK in April 2019 to create new artworks. Taking inspiration from the similarities and differences between the UK and Azerbaijan’s cultural heritage, the artists creative investigations have already started to take shape. Ridley’s ‘Parrots in the trees’ is symbolic of the types of animals found in Azerbaijani and Persian traditional painted ‘miniatures’ whilst as the same time reflective of his own societal interests as a vegan artist. Ridley’s art practice predominantly explores our human interaction with animals, and the ways we often personify nature as humans. Tim is very much looking forward to exploring Azerbaijan’s rich and diverse fauna and flora and it’s local residents within.

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Nick Joubinaux will be exploring a very different Azerbaijan. One of rich prosperity and modernity. He will be expanding on his project Camera / Regarder, a series of images that Joubinaux, a photographer, has been creating since 2016. Working predominantly in central London, Nick creates works that capture the fleeting moments of a city through ‘camera obscure’, a processing technique that was used at the turn of the 20th Century. The quality and context of using this technique in a futuristic city such as Baku is that you can capture the juxtaposition of the traditional and modern. Nick is excited to think that this technique may have been used as standard photography process during the Oil Boom in Baku and as western Europe had its own connections with Baku during this time can feel a real connection between London and Baku society here.

The artist residency will begin in early April and will include a live exhibition of works that will be displayed in the historic area of Baku’s Icherisheher on Thursday 11th April. Named ‘Light Remnant to reflect both artists works - the show will welcome guests and members of the public in Baku to join the event.The exhibition will then travel to London and then Penzance in Cornwall to a variety of new UK audiences. During the exhibition, Tim Ridley hopes to show a number of miniature works created from found materials and oil paint -depicting animals in a traditional style. He has been working with an array of materials, including oils paint, pencil and gold leaf. Joubinaux plans to turn a hotel room in Icherisheher into a living camera; inviting audiences into a space where they can physically watch how a photograph is made inside of a giant camera facing out into the cityscape of Baku.

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ART He will then display the photographs created in Baku to the London and Cornwall audience. For more information about the artists and their works, please visit www.inazerbaijan.co.uk/light-remnant Further information: THE ARTISTS Nick Joubinaux is an award winning photographer working in London for over 20 years. He plans to create a Camera Obscura installation in Baku - utilising old processing technology in a fabulously modern city. Displaying hand printed works of both London and Baku he hopes that audiences will be able to see the depth of materiality in the personally processed works and a timeless essence of the fleeting moments that he captures. Based in Penzance in rural Cornwall, Tim Ridley is a mixed media artist who creates works on found materials, about a human response to animals and our links to nature. Fascinated by Azerbaijani and Persian miniatures, Ridley plans to make works exploring nature in similar styles to the historic pieces. He hopes to display drawings and paintings in miniature form during the exhibitions IN AZERBAIJAN A web project a collaboration between The NO Collective and CSSN Azerbaijan (Council on State Support to NGOs under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan). This information portal website project aims to improve contemporary communication between Azerbaijan and the UK and through doing so has used young people from both countries in the heart of its creation. THE NO COLLECTIVE A youth arts organisation which is the creation of Londoners Joe Easeman and Natalie Bays, who’s main priorities are to educate and expand horizons of young people through creative means and cultural connectivity. The Collective is made up of young professional members specialising in producing artwork, and teaching through creative means. Based in London, they work on a local, national, and international scale.

The CSSN Azerbaijan The Council on State Support to NGO’s under the Auspices of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan The CSSN assists in the development of the independent Azerbaijani statehood and continued fostering of democracy. As Azerbaijan extends its path of democracy, transformation of society is a socio-political necessity. The public sector has been enriched and developed, and international experiences have been carefully studied. The CSSN was approved by a Decree signed by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev on 27 July 2007 and after key discussions were held in response to this, the Republic of Azerbaijan was established upon the Decree of the President (dated 13 December 2007) and the Regulations of the Council were approved. www.cssn.gov.az/en/

www.nocollective.co.uk

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KEEPING UP WITH THE TIMES! by Mariya Zhumagulova, Fine Art Expert The name, Rauza Yeraliyeva, has finally become a true discovery for the fine arts circles of Kazakhstan! It is surprising, perhaps, that the formation of her creative biography began only after an eighty-year threshold. All this time after receiving art education in her distant youth, she did not sit back, wholly devoting herself to her beloved work - painting. By her own admission, Yeraliyeva painted for herself, believing this to be an inner task for her close associates and family. Meanwhile, the stacks of her works were accumulating, developing into ever greater artistic quality. Thanks to the efforts of the artist’s daughter, after consulting with experts, it was decided to organise the first solo exhibition of Rauza Yeraliyeva at the country’s leading art venue, the A. Kasteyev State Museum of Arts in Almaty. The exhibition, without exaggeration, created a real sensation: On the opening day, people did not leave for a very long time, returning again and again to the review of the works, and spending a long time discussing the most liked ones.

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The exhibition occupied a fairly large area, which is rare even for already well-known artists. There were many offers to buy the works, which has also not been typical of late in such exhibitions as the art market has remained stagnant for some time. So, what is the secret of such excitement being generated around the paintings of this hitherto little-known artist? Perhaps the first and most important of them should be attributed to the ability to choose and utilize the space freely. Yeraliyeva has never been bothered by the throes of art known to many artists. She painted easily, completely without straining to search for topics, technology and style. Everything came from the inside and freely. The reason for painting could be anything that was “at hand”: a beloved family, a landscape outside the window, a luxurious service or everyday dishes of fruit and vegetables appealing in their appetizing forms. Sometimes her fantasy carried her away to eastern legends, Kazakh traditions or secular stories.

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ART One of the paradoxes of her work is democracy in a completely non-political sense. As a rule, for the works of each artist there is a certain category of connoisseurs. The works of Yeraliyeva are admired by people outside of social status, level of education, professionals or amateurs and most importantly beyond any age limit. Young fans are attracted by their freshness and modernity and the creativity of the artist’s vision. The older generation, by subtle lyricism and romance of perception. Professionals by a variety and originality of artistic techniques and innovation of style.Yeraliyeva may have spent most of her life in the rigid ideological framework of the Soviet era. But it did not affect her. Unlike most of her fellow tradesmen, she never painted for the social order, obeying only the needs of her soul. In her work there are no politicized motives, which is often what many of her contemporaries used.Yeraliyeva’s oeuvre is truly cosmopolitan. She manages to avoid another extreme, which has become especially active lately: manifestations of nationalism in a radical form, when the values of one culture are exalted over others. She is completely abstracted from concepts of this kind. In her works there is a genuinely harmonious combination of modern art trends with the certainty of the origins of the Kazakh and Eastern heritage. At the same time, her work cannot be entered into the historical or ethnographic framework, which could become an obstacle for the author’s full self-expression. Yeraliyeva’s paintings are a wonderful symbiosis of the achievements of Western and Eastern civilizations. Her favorite portraits are the images of her three daughters and they do not bore the audience with their repetition, as in each new work the artist’s fresh, innovative interpretations are quite obvious. They are distinguished by the stylization of the image, more decorative than visual approach; facial features are barely marked and fairly conditional, and at the same time a portrait resemblance is always achieved. Made on a tree in an unusual vertical stretched vertical format – there is a rather decorative approach than using the usual easel painting. Numerous images of fairy trees are executed in the same style: a whimsical unique outline of a field and garden flowers; a magnificent still life of the author’s favorite, apples and peppers. The artist sculpts the form in a very peculiar way, which creates a luxurious mosaic effect, using stained glass, a precious inlay in her paintings.They unwittingly reveal a female hand, able to admire and reveal the natural beauty of everyday objects. “Amber Crystal”, “Bohemian Glass”, “Teapots” are aesthetically expressive on their own, and the iridescent polyphony of colour and the temperamental play of colorful strokes give a certain fleur of

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fabulousness and aristocratic nature to the objects painted. A different impression is left by Yeraliyeva’s works depicting folk festivals, where through the list of dishes, serving, intriguing ethnic identity is seen. Almaty is the city of apples and it is quite logical that it is not possible to pass by this topic without comment. The simplicity of the plot does not make the paintings by the artist in any way ordinary. A riot of colors in the transfer of ripe fruit, striking in size (this is a uniqueness of local varieties), the sun’s glare on their liquid sides literally brings a salivating appetite to the audience.The artist is inventive in choosing a format - this is a kind of diptych of two components in an already elongated horizontal configuration. Although she did not purposefully do so, almost all her paintings fit perfectly into the modern interior. Her artistic genre of “Nude” takes a special place in her work. The very approach to this topic of an oriental woman is evidence of the artist’s courage and even charisma. At the same time, she is not shy to be even somewhat sentimental, accompanying her paintings with lyrical opuses. It is surprising how many unexpected angles the artist finds in the interpretation of nude female nature. They are all completely different. In some there is a certain lack of clarity through the fragmentation of the solution, a barely outlined silhouette of the body, and the fragmentary strokes of the painting. This is the eternal secret of women. In others, we admire the storming energy that breaks through the picturesque layers of colors, and subtle sexuality, without which it is so difficult to take place in this world. Tenderness and touching, subtlety of perception, inherent only to a woman is manifested through a restrained, almost monochrome color gamut. Overall, the artist boldly appeals with a bright, almost defiant, pictorial flavor that she tames in order not to leave the rails of the laws of artistic harmony. Living a long creative life, Yeraliyeva was not satisfied with what she had already been achieved. Her art is therefore attractive because at every stage of her journey she changes. An amazing paradox: she is always recognisable and at the same time something new is constantly being discovered that is radically different from the previous works. Her perception of the world is alien to all sorts of stagnation and conservatism. She is an addicting person and because of this, her recent experiments in the field of abstractionism and symbolism are quite in the spirit of modernity, with which she always keeps pace. And most importantly: her art is always relevant, because it is always and in all positive!

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ARTS IN DEFENCE OF BRANDS by Nina Kalita For more than a quarter of a century, Belarus and the United Kingdom (UK) have successfully cooperated in the trade, economic, cultural, scientific, and humanitarian spheres. The promotion of Belarusian brands abroad is a strategic task for state bodies, enterprises, and non-profit organizations. Besides, the point is not in the products by Belarusian companies only.The “BelBrand” Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property is engaged in defending interests of national producers-owners of intellectual property on modern integration platforms, and in promoting Belarusian brands; it is involved in supporting and advancing youth initiatives, upbringing the responsible attitude towards intellectual property in young people, and rejection of unfair competition, counterfeiting and piracy; and the Association promotes young people’s ideas and projects in the spheres of sciences, technologies, culture and education.

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Within its latest project, “Arts in Defence of Brands”, BelBrand is supporting talented young people by helping them in organising exhibitions, artistic plein airs, literary and theatrical festivals, publishing literary works, and in training them in technologies for promoting and commercialising projects and initiatives. The Association is rightly proud of such international projects as the Eurasian International Cultures’ Festival; the International Musical BELBRAND AWARD; “Arts in English” and others. On January 15, 2018, BelBrand officially became a member of the Eurasian Creative Guild. The bilateral fruitful cooperation has allowed us to realise several landmark projects in the spheres of culture, arts, literature and education both in Belarus and the UK. The Eurasian literary collection “Nits” (Thread) was published and presented the authors from the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU); the Association’s activities were presented

at Cambridge University; besides, literary saloons, creative meetings, arts exhibitions and plein airs of young painters were held. In September 2018, thanks to the educational project “Arts in English”, five Belarusian artists took part in a plein air event, held in the town of Hemel Hempstead and in London. The works created during the event, made a part of the exhibition of Belarusian arts in London held in October 2018. The Association’s successful projects are always a fruit of cooperation with its partner organisations. An important partner is the “Art Chaos” Art Gallery. The “Art Chaos” Artistic Gallery is a young Belarusian gallery, whose activities are aimed at the development and popularisation of Belarusian arts, as well as at supporting young painters. It was opened for visitors in 2017. Since inceptoin, “Art Chaos” has been a participant in a number of cultural events in the Republic of Belarus, held a number of personal

exhibitions of young and famous contemporary Belarusian artists, and conducted charity projects.The gallery possesses its own collection of works of arts, as well as a collection of exhibition works, which are shown as part of a permanent sale exhibition in Minsk. BelBrand and Art Chaos have held and plan to organise, with the assistance of the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Eurasian Creative Guild in London, a number of exhibitions: “Belarusian Arts – Life and Dreams” (October 2018), “Step BY Step” (January 2019), and a Week of Belarusian Arts (April 2019). A presentation of Belarusian arts is an infrequent phenomenon for London – the recognized centre of gallery activities. After knowing the works by Kazimir Malevich, Marc Chagall and Léon Bakst, the experienced London audience is still unaware of the contemporary Belarusian culture. Meanwhile,

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EVENTS

by relying on the national history, traditions of the Soviet period and by perceiving the new world trends, Belarusian painters and sculptors are depicting, in their own way, their country, their lives and dreams, by making use of the well-recognisable special author’s synthesis of surrealism and realism. A special feature of the recent exhibitions was the presentation of works by famous masters and by a new generation of painters and sculptors. The young authors: Maria Kosheleva, Anastasia Shilyagina, Alesya Issa, Maria Larionova, Pavel Grebennikov, Roman Sakovich, Varvara Vyborova, Olga Grouss, Alexander Yushkevich, are all laureates of the BelBrand Artistic Award, which gives them an opportunity, with the Association’s support, to take part in international plein airs, master classes and promote their works at various exhibitions.

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The works of the recognized masters, Egor Batalyonok, Nikolai Buschik, Alexander Demidov, Vasily Kostyuchenko, Ivan Semiletov, Anna Silivonchik, Alexander Shibnev and Natalia Ivanova, were presented by the “Art Chaos” Gallery, a major promoter of Belarusian arts. Anna Bizhik, and arts historian and the curator of exhibitions said, “It’s important for a creator to exhibit his/her works and acquaint people with them. Exhibitions in London, one of the world’s cultural centres, can rightly be treated for many talented Belarusian artists as the dream that has come true.” In April, London welcomed, under the general theme “Belarusian Arts in London”, an exhibition of Belarusian artists’ paintings “Step BY Step”; a photo exposition “75”, dedicated to the

75th anniversary of Belarus’ liberation from Nazi invaders; a show and a presentation of the collection of the Belarusian costume designer Anastasia Falkovich; and an exhibition of Alla Gubarevich’s works “Artistic Thread”. The photo exposition “75” presented photos by the Belarusian photographer Anastasia Andreichikova and project “Belarus Remembers” by the Belarusian Republic’s Youth Union. These are not the only events planned by the BelBrand and its partners for holding in the UK in 2019. The deep conviction that culture is the most universal means for revealing new promising ways of interaction among peoples of different countries motivates the organisers to further actions. photos by BELBRAND

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ECG Film festival in London as a platform was not chosen by chance, as many world film studios choose the UK for filming and editing world-class blockbusters. The Romford Film Festival is a stable, well-established festival attended by a large number of film professionals and residents of London. This association is the best solution for attracting the maximum amount of attention from the press, viewers and film professionals to Eurasian cinema. The Romford Film Festival is a five-day international event held in the heart of Romford, the administrative center of London, a great location for independent filmmakers to showcase their work to film lovers. Founded in 2017, the festival has already received brilliant reviews from critics, directors, local residents, spectators and even politicians. We are grateful to Nathalie Bays, manager of the Romford Film Festival for such an initiative. Film festival to be held June 6-10, 2019. More great news is the organizing committee includes such film experts as Dr. Nadi Fadina and Icelandic actor and film director Solvi Fanner. . The festival will feature such works as: feature films, short films, animated films, documentaries, book trailers and best screenplay.

FESTIVAL OF EURASIAN FILMS WILL BE HELD IN LONDON In June 2019, the Eurasian Creative Guild launches the first festival of Eurasian films in London, the ECG Film Festival, which will be held as part of the Romford Film Festival. ECG Film Festival is a platform to promote Eurasian region cinema, bringing it to the English-speaking world! The Festival will introduce those in the Eurasian film industry to film professionals from all over the world. Acquainting the world with films personifying Eurasian

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countries and their peoples. Thus opening the doors for collaboration opportunities, joint development and growth. The western market of cinema is ready to accept the Eurasian market. Professionals from all regions of Eurasia are in great demand. Hundreds of talented directors, producers, actors, directors, animators and screenwriters are ready to enter the world market and show what they are capable of.

Applications have been filed from France, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Germany, United Kingdom, Iran, Finland, Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. AWARDS & PRIZES GRAND PRIX BEST EURASIAN SHORT FILM BEST EURASIAN ANIMATED FILM BEST EURASIAN DOCUMENTARY FILM BEST EURASIAN BOOK TRAILER BEST EURASIAN DIRECTOR BEST EURASIAN SCREENPLAY BEST EURASIAN ACTRESS BEST EURASIAN ACTOR

For many years, the Eurasian Creative Guild has supported and promoted filmmakers as part of Open Eurasia contest. Where the “videofilm” category has been awarded the Nemat Kelimbetov Prize for best film based on literary works. Now time has come for a standout film festival promoting the Eurasia film industry, exemplify their talents and their works throughout the world! All enquiries on the above may be directed to info@eurasianfilmfestival.uk. Applications for screening out-of-competition on a commercial basis are also accepted. ¹Eurasian Creative Guild (London) — Eurasian Creative Guild (London) is a new forum for creative professionals. A virtual as well as an actual platform, whereon creatives from every sphere can unite. As much, dozens of globally significant creatives have already joined forces is an attempt to offer each other mutual support. Men and women from across the planet who believe establishing an association of writers, musicians, dancers, illustrators, graphic designers, sculptors and poets – along with anyone else who considers themselves truly creative – will benefit everyone involved in this partnership. ²“Open Eurasian Literature Festival & Book Forum OEBF”– is an annual international literary festival and forum that unites poets, writers, artists, directors, creative people of any profession from the Eurasian region and from all over the world. The festival and forum is built on the principle of openness and interaction of all arts based on literature, providing an opportunity to establish a dialogue within the literary and cultural space and providing an opportunity for authors to express themselves.

Deadline: 30 April 2019

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ECG - OEBF 2019

OPEN EURASIA 2019 CONTEST ANNOUNCED! Open Eurasia is an international creative competition, now in its eighth year, which brings together creative people from all over the world. Writers, poets, translators, illustrators, videographers and publicists will be competing for a number of awards with a total prixe fund of $31,000. The winners’ money will towards design and print costs for books to be published or to cover trip expenses to the annual Festival Open Eurasian Book Forum & Literature Festival in 2020. In 2018, the festival was held in Thailand, and in previous years it took place in Bishkek, London, Almaty and Stockholm.

The winners will be announced at the annual Festival Open Book Forum Eurasian & Literature Festival to be held during 14-17 November 2019 in the capital of the European Union - Brussels. During these 4 days, presentations, exhibitions, gala dinners and much more will be held. The winners’ works will be presented at the literary week in London in October and at the OEBF Festival in November of 2020. TODAY, EVERYONE CAN TAKE PART IN THE FOLLOWING COMPETITION CATEGORIES:

The aim itself of the competition is to gather creative people and give a platform to display their talent in such categories as “illustration”, “video” and “translation”. This means that contest creates new projects and opportunities as well as recognising and celebrating talent.

1. ARTWORK (PROSE/SMALL PROSE/POETRY) 2. ILLUSTRATION 3. LITERARY TRANSLATION 4.VIDEO 5. PUBLICISM

Winners will have their books published for free in one of greatest cities of writers and poets - London. Thanks to the 10 established awards, in 2019, the authors can publish their works which will be represented in the framework of the Open Book Forum Eurasian & Literature Festival and at other places across Eurasia!

For more information and terms of participation please contact us using the following email address: konkurs2019@ocamagazine.com

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2017

2018

EURASIAN CREATIVE GUILD BOOK SERIES САУЛЕ ДОСЖАН САҒЫНЫШ... сборник рассказов на казахском языке / kazakh language ISBN: 978-1-910886-46-5 RRP: £9.50 MARSEL SALIMOV

THE BOOK WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN WRITTEN BEFORE

CATALOGUE

ISBN: 978-1-910886-61-8 RRP: £12.50

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ГУЛЬЗАДА НИЕТКАЛИЕВА ЖҮРЕКТЕГІ ИМАН ГҮЛІ поэзия на казахском языке /kazakh language ISBN: 978-1-910886-51-9 RRP: £9.50 РАИМ ФАРХАДИ ОСТРОВ СТИХОВ стихи ISBN: 978-1-910886-56-4 RRP: £14.50

МУРАТ УАЛИ ИЗ СИБИРИ К СВОБОДЕ роман russian language ISBN: 978-1-910886-44-1 RRP: £12.50

КУАНЫШ ЖИЕНБАЙ ТАҒДЫР рассказы на казахском языке / kazakh language ISBN: 978-1-910886-50-2 RRP: £9.50

DENIS KUVAEV THE DOOR TO A FAIRY TALE Fairy tale Illustrated (english /russian) ISBN: 978-1-910886-63-2 RRP: £22.50

ТЕМIРХАН МЕДЕТБЕК КӨК ТҮРІК - КӨК БӨРІ поэзия на казахском языке / kazakh language ISBN: 978-1-910886-48-9 RRP: £9.50

МАРИНА МИХАЙЛОВСКАЯ СОРОК ХРАМОВ поэзия russian language ISBN: 978-1-910886-41-0 RRP: £14.50

ПИТЕР БЕРМАН БОИ БЕЗ ПРАВИЛ авантюрный роман russian language ISBN: 978-1-910886-42-7 RRP: £12.50

ДИЛЯРА ЛИНДСЕЙ МУЗЫКА МЕЖДУ СТРОК поэзия russian language ISBN: 978-1-910886-57-1 RRP:£ 9.50

НАЗИКЕН АЛПАМЫСКЫЗЫ ҚИЯЖОЛ ҒҰМЫР поэзия на казахском языке/kazakh language ISBN: 978-1-910886-49-6 RRP: £9.50

ANASTASIA KUZMICHEVA BELARUSIAN WHALES poetry english-russian language ISBN: 978-1-910886-45-8 RRP: £14.50

НАЗЫМ САПАРОВА ПРАВДИВЫЕ ИСТОРИИ рассказы russian language ISBN: 978-1-910886-55-7 RRP: £12.50

LENAR SHAYEKH ONE OF YOU poetry ISBN: 978-1-910886-47-2 RRP: £9.50

ANTONINA SHUSTER THE LINES OF LIFE english ISBN: 978-1-910886-64-9 RRP: £9.50

ALDONA GRUPAS NURSE, GIVE ME A PILL FOR DEATH true stories ISBN: 978-1910886922 RRP: £9.95 PB / £14.95 HB

ДИЛЬДОРА ТУЛЯГАНОВА ПОДРАЖАЯ СУФИЯМ

ЮРИЙ БАШМАНОВ ГОНКИ ПО ВЕРТИКАЛИ рассказы ISBN: 978-1-910886-82-3 RRP: £9.95

ШАХСАНЕМ МЮРРЕЙ ХОЛОДНЫЕ ТЕНИ повесть ISBN: 978-1-910886-74-8 RRP: £9.95

НУРЫМ ТАЙБЕК ЛЮБОВЬ КО ВСЕМ, НЕНАВИСТЬ НИ К КОМУ! — СМЫСЛ ЖИЗНИ МУСУЛЬМАН-АХМАДИ послание ISBN: 978-1-910886-73-1 RRP: £14.95

NADEZHDA KOLYSHKINA A FEAST IN PLACE OF WAR play RUS /ENG ISBN: 978-1-910886-71-7 RRP: £9.95 PB

ЛАРА ПРОДАН ПОЧЕМУ МЫ ТАК ПОХОЖИ? рассказы ISBN: 978-1-910886-79-3 RRP: £14.95

ШӘМШИЯ ЖҰБАТОВА ӨҢ МЕН ТҮС поэзия ISBN: 978-1-910886-69-4 RRP: £9.95

ISBN: 978-1910886830 RRP: £7.95

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HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS - AWARD WINNING CRANES IN SPRING by Tolibshohi Davlat (2015) BLUE RIVER by Zinaida Longortova (2016) Through her childhood reminiscences, Zinaida Longortova brings to life a remote region in far-northern Russia. Extrapolating the folklore and mythology of the Khanty people from her experiences - set around the simple story of a wounded elk calf - the author explores the bonds between humans and nature. Yet whilst this is a novella about a little known indigenous group, the narrative succeeds in harnessing powerful emotions which speak to us all. A timeless story, at once both joyful and melancholy, Blue River is a beguiling tale for all age groups. LANGUAGES ENG / KHANTY HARDBACK ISBN:978-1-910886-34-2 RRP: £17.50 WIND: SHORT STORIES 2017 In this collection of Open Eurasian Book Forum & Literature Festival 2017 prize winning stories, The Fried Chicken by Jacqueline de Ge weaves a magical narrative within which the urban reality of dispossessed children conflicts with the sorcerous assignations of a mysterious, cloaked, figure, while My Heart is Burning by Lenar Shaeh allows the overwhelming human need for an organic community to engage Western audiences with the lament of a paradise now lost. What is more, The Fish by Sultan Isahon uses the innate mysticism of our natural surroundings to act as a backdrop against which hidden motives (whether they be naïve, brutalised, or toxic), are permitted to speak with an almost existential argot, before this masterful literary assemblage finishes with the flourish of A Drug Addicts Confession by Mukhamed-Ali Sulaymanov; a modern “morality anecdote” detailing the innocent sentiments of abandoned youth teetering on the brink of self-destruction, whilst framing its shabby social sketches through images of urban squalor. All in all, an intriguing synod of stories boding extremely well for the future careers of these wordsmiths, as much as being a tantalising taste of future delights for our European readerships.

CATALOGUE

HARDBACK

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ENG ISBN: 978-1910886915

RRP: £17.50

MAN OF THE MOUNTAINS by Abudlla Isa (2014) ( OCABF 2013 Winner) Man of the Mountains” is a book about a young Muslim Chechen boy, Zaur who becomes a central figure representing the fight of local indigenous people against both the Russians invading the country and Islamic radicals trying to take a leverage of the situation, using it to push their narrow political agenda on the eve of collapse of the USSR. After 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan by coalition forces, the subject of the Islamic jihadi movement has become an important subject for the Western readers. But few know about the resistance movement from the local intellectuals and moderates against radical Islamists taking strong hold in the area.

PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-0-9930444-5-8 RRP: £14.95

This novel highlights a complex issue that millions of Tajiks face when becoming working migrants in Russia due to lack of opportunities at home. Fresh out of school, Saidakbar decides to go to Russia as he hopes to earn money to pay for his university tuition. His parents reluctantly let him go providing he is accompanied by his uncle, Mustakim, an experienced migrant. And so begins this tale of adventure and heartache that reflects the reality of life faced by many Central Asian migrants. Mistreatment, harassment and backstabbing join the Tajik migrants as they try to pull through in a foreign country. How will Mustakim and Saidakbar’s journey end? Intrigued by the story starting from the first page, one cannot put the book down until it’s finished. LANGUAGES ENG / RUS RRP: £14.50

HARDBACK

ISBN: 978-1-910886-06-9

THE BEST DAY OF THE YEAR THE DAY THAT DAD RETURNED Maral Hydyrova (2017) “One day of the big year or when the father returned” is a new novel that was written by Hydyrova Maral. According to the author herself, she is an amateur in the art of literature. Nonetheless, in the category “best literary work” in the “Open Eurasia 2016” competition, this book has won the first place.

LANGUAGES ENG PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-65-6 RRP: £12.50 FOREMOTHER ASIA by Natalia Kharlampieva (2016) In this first ever collection of Sakha poems in our English language, the highly talented poet Natalia Kharlampieva weaves openly neo-Impressionistic threads of common heritage, communal faith and shared ethnicity, into an overall tapestry of cultural optimism. Indeed, to Kharlampieva’s mind, the unique significance played by independent women (willing to endure every hardship) in these restorative endeavours clearly signals the spiritual strength of Central Asia Unanimously applauded as an impassioned book revealing the delights of a recovered national identity, Kharlampieva also captures Natures savage beauty, as well as the harsh existential truths of life in the far North. LANGUAGES ENG / SAKHA RRP: £17.50

HARDBACK

ISBN: 978-1-910886-22-9

STOCKHOLM SYNDROME S.S. NAZAROVA (2017) MY HOMELAND, OH MY CRIMEA by Lenifer Mambetova (2015) Mambetova’s delightful poems, exploring the hopes and fates of Crimean Tartars, are a timely and evocative reminder of how deep a people’s roots can be, but also how adaptable and embracing foreigners can be of their adopted country, its people and its traditions. LANGUAGES ENG / RUS HARDBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-04-5

Called ‘taboo-breaking… revolutionary” by RFE/RL, Stockholm Syndrome is one of the most controversial books to emerge from Tajik society in recent years. The story of a young woman’s struggle to choose between her career and motherhood, the novella shocked this traditional and conservative society. A remembrance of childhood and rumination upon challenges present and future, Nazarova’s work explores themes of immigration, identity and mental imbalance. Acclaimed as ‘ahead of its time’ by Persian reviewers, Stockholm Syndrome is an emotional tour de force.

LANGUAGES ENG HARD BACK RRP:17.50 ISBN: 978-1-910886-60-1

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PRIME

KASHMIR SONG by Sharaf Rashidov (translation by Alexey Ulko, OCABF 2014 Winner). 2017 This beautiful illustrated novella offers a sensitive reworking of an ancient and enchanting folk story which although rooted in Kashmir is, by nature of its theme, universal in its appeal. Alternative interpretations of this tale are explored by Alexey Ulko in his introduction, with references to both politics and contemporary literature, and the author’s epilogue further reiterates its philosophical dimension. The Kashmir Song is a timeless tale, which true to the tradition of classical folklore, can be enjoyed on a number of levels by readers of all ages. RRP: £24.95

ISBN: 978-0-9930444-2-7

THE PLIGHT OF A POSTMODERN HUNTER Chlngiz Aitmatov Mukhtar Shakhanov (2015) “Delusion of civilization” by M. Shakhanov is an epochal poem, rich in prudence and nobility – as is his foremother steppe. It is the voice of the Earth, which raised itself in defense of the human soul. This is a new genre of spiritual ecology. As such, this book is written from the heart of a former tractor driver, who knows all the “scars and wrinkles” of the soil - its thirst for human intimacy. This book is also authored from the perspective of an outstanding intellectual whose love for national traditions has grown as universal as our common great motherland. LANGUAGE: ENG RRP: £24.95

HARDBACK

ISBN: 978-1-910886-11-3

HEIRS TO THE GREAT SINNER SHEIKH SAN’ON by Erkin A’zam (2016) I think that anyone who wants to write in Uzbek will address again and again the books of Erkin A’zam even in 100-150 years ahead because he is unique. He is the only one. Nabijon Boqiy An Uzbek writer PAPERBACK ENG

ISBN: 978-1-910886-32-8

RRP: £14.50

KAРА Автор Султан Раев (2015) Кара - главный на сегодняшний день роман автора - писатель работал над ним на протяжении двадцати лет. Это философское размышление о пути человеческом и о роли человека в мире. Книга, удостоенная премии Лучший роман 2014 года. Как сказал Э. Арнольд - Жизнь человека... результат его предшествующих жизней; Горе и беды проистекают от содеянного в прошлом зла, тогда как праведность родит блаженство.... Семь пациентов психиатрической лечебницы решают совершить побег, чтобы достичь Земли Обетованной. Как они оказались в сумасшедшем доме, истории жизни, злоключения в пустыне... Язык издания РУССКИЙ / RUSSIAN ISBN: 978-1910886137 RRP: £24.50

REPENTANCE Yermek Amanshaev (2016) SERAGLIO’55 by Georgy Pryakhin (2016) “This is a wonderful publication, full of Georgy Pryakhin’s personal recollections of a lifetime spent not only as one of the most revered Russian writers but as a political supremo in the inner circle of the Gorbachev government during the last years of the USSR. It will enchant readers with a thirst to learn more of the inner workings of those who lived through the USSR, Glasnost and Perestroika. Pryakhin’s vivid recollections of real events, idealistic dreams and his way of seeing life, tell stories that go much deeper than the words printed on the page. PAPERBACK ENG ISBN: 978-1910886281

RRP:£ 12.50

WHEN EDELWEISS FLOWERS FLOURISH by Begenas Saratov (2012) A spectacular insight into life in the Soviet Union in the late 1960’s made all the more intriguing by its setting within the Sovet Republic of Kyrgyzstan. The story explores Soviet life, traditional Kyrgyz life and life on planet Earth through a Science Fiction story based around an alien nations plundering of the planet for life giving herbs. The author reveals far sighted thoughts and concerns for conservation, management of natural resources and dialogue to achieve peace yet at the same time shows extraordinary foresight with ideas for future technologies and the progress of science. The whole style of the writing gives a fascinating insight into the many facets of life in a highly civilised yet rarely known part of the world. ISBN: 978-0955754951

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PAPERBACK

RRP: £12.50 ( ALSO AVAILBLE IN KYRGYZ )

‘Repentance’ is a poignant collection of three short stories- ‘Song of Laments’, ‘Futility’ and ‘Repentance’ – which explore the psychological complexity of relationships between fathers and sons. The issues addressed are ageless and universal. Set across the centuries, from biblical times to the present, often merging mythology with illusion and reality, the stories focus on challenges faced by fathers and sons as each struggles to assert his own identity and individual place in the world. LANGUAGE ENG PAPERBACK / HARDBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-33-5 RRP: £14.95 / £19.95 THE GRAMMAR OF WITCHCRAFT David Parry (2016) In this collection of Mini-Sagas and poems, Parry narrates the final journey taken by his alter ego Caliban from the surreal delights of a lesbian wedding in Liverpool, all the way back to a non-existent city of London. In himself, the author is aiming to resolve lyrical contradictions existing between different levels of consciousness: betwixt reality and the dreaming state. And as such, unnervingly illogical scenarios emerge out of a stream of consciousness wherein bewildering theatrical landscapes actively compete with notions of Anglo-Saxon witchcraft, Radical Traditionalism, and a lack of British authenticity. Each analysis pointing towards those Jungian Spirits haunting an endlessly benevolent Archetypal world. LANGUAGE ENG PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-25-0 RRP: £9.95

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HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS

PRIME

“SHORT STORIES FROM AZERBAIJAN” 2018 Short Stories from Azerbaijan in one volume. From the Translation Centre under the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan. English translation by Nazakat Agayeva, edited by Anne Thompson-Ahmadova. Located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Azerbaijan’s rich literary heritage reflects the influence of the two continents. The authors in this collection are the successors to the 12th century poet Nizami Ganjavi, the great poets and bards of the 14th to 16th centuries and the Russian-influenced writers of the 19th century. The first writer in this anthology was born in 1870; the last in 1968. Spanning a century, their stories offer glimpses into the marvels and uniqueness of Azerbaijan as it went from being part of the Russian Tsarist empire, to an independent republic in 1918, to being absorbed by the Soviet Union and finally gaining independence in 1991. The stories include an account of the events of Black January 1990 when hundreds of people were massacred by Gorbachev’s forces. There is also a wonderful novella of literary and spiritual musings triggered by Pope John Paul’s visit to Baku in 2002, and stories set in remote villages that shine spotlights on the human condition. ISBN: 978-1-910886-72-4

COMING SOON

TALES FROM BUSH HOUSE (BBC Wolrd Service) by Hamid Ismailov (2012)

“The World Dissolves like a Dream” book by young Azerbaijani poetess Leyla Aliyeva. Composed of 130 poems, the book was translated into English by famous British poets lators Caroline Walton and Anna Maria Jackson.

and trans-

HARDBACK 978-1-910886-76-2 RRP: £14.95

Tales From Bush House is a collection of short narratives about working lives, mostly real and comic, sometimes poignant or apocryphal, gifted to the editors by former and current BBC World Service employees. They are tales from inside Bush House - the home of the World Service since 1941 - escaping through its marble-clad walls at a time when its staff begin their departure to new premises in Portland Place. In July 2012, the grand doors of this imposing building will close on a vibrant chapter in the history of Britain’s most cosmopolitan organisation. So this is a timely book. PAPERBACK

ISBN: 9780955754975

RRP: £12.95

THE LAND DRENCHED IN TEARS by Söyüngül Chanisheff

MY NEIGHBOURHOOD SISTERS by Gulsifat Shakhidi (2016) Set in Dushanbe, Tajikstan’s capital city, My Neighbourhood Sisters provides a snapshot of a close-knit community as it endeavours to adjust to changes induced by the country’s senseless civil war in the 1990s. Turning the pages of Gulsifat Shakhidi’s novel is like looking through a photo album, in which the narrator, Zulfiya has lovingly pasted images of both her own family and those of her neighbours. And behind each picture lies a poignant story. Shakhidi’s key protagonists are her close female friends; a group of proud, hardworking Tajik women who are challenged by both political and domestic unrest as they wrestle to maintain traditional family values.

The Land Drenched in Tears is a moving history of the tumultuous years of modern China under Mao’s rule, witnessed, experienced, and told through the personal lens of an ethnic minority woman, who endured nearly 20 years imprisonment and surveillance regime as a result of her political activism in Xinjiang, or East Turkistan, located in the far west of China. Chanisheff ’s autobiography is a rare, detailed, and authentic account of one of the most poignant and most fascinating periods of modern China. It is a microcosmic reflection of the communist regime’s tragic realities presented through the suffering and hope of a young woman who tied her fate to that of her beloved homeland.

LANGUAGES ENG / RUS RRP: £19.95

PAPERBACK

HARDBACK

ISBN:978-1-910886-35-9

It is a collection of essays, short stories and plays in which the author explores issues of identity and aspiration, illusion and delusion, within the contexts of heritage, culture and the societies in which its characters live and work. It opens with a short metaphorical passage which a butterfly literally plays with fire; irrepressively drawn to its bright flames despite the inherent dangers.

EBOOK

ENGLISH

ISBN: 978-1-910886-77-9

ISBN: 978-1910886380 RRP:£24.50

RECYCLED by Anna Komar

‘A BUTTERFLY’S SONG’ by Yermek Amanshaev, 2018

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Saule Doszhan’s short story, The Tragedy of a Bastard, treads recognisable territory for us Europeans, even though the plot is placed in present-day Kazakhstan; a land faraway from our conceptual, not to mention socio-historical, spheres. Admittedly, some of Doszhan’s moral assumptions read a little strangely, although the intrigues and pressures of extended familial obligation amid a family at clear war with free emotive choice, speaks volumes across our globe.

RRP: £19.95 ENG HARDBACK

“THE WORLD DISSOLVES LIKE A DREAM” by Leyla Aliyeva, 2018

LANGUAGE: ENG

TRAGEDY OF BASTARD by Saule Doszhan, 2018

RRP: £5.93

This book is a bilingual collection by a Belarusian award-winning poet Anna Komar. The poems in the book are strongly personal, yet they are reflections of the reality that is so familiar to many of us. Love, friendship, self-exploration, childhood memories, fears – Anna finds new ways to speak about the things we have heard so much about, and her voice is frank. The thread connecting the poems in this collection is being a woman in the strongly patriarchal society which Belarus still is. These poems are a rebellion, they touch, provoke, embarrass, get under your skin, but leave hope that the wounds will be healed, the home will be found, and love will live in it. HARDBACK

ISBN: 978-1910886816

RRP:£17.50

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SERIES

shahsanem murray

TRAVELOGUES SILK, SPICE, VEILS AND VODKA by Felicity Timcke (2014) Felicity Timcke’s missive publication, “Silk, Spices, Veils and Vodka” brings both a refreshing and new approach to life on the expat trail. South African by origin, Timcke has lived in some very exotic places, mostly along the more challenging countries of the Silk Road. Although the book’s content, which is entirely composed of letters to the author’s friends and family, is directed primarily at this group, it provides “20 years of musings” that will enthral and delight those who have either experienced a similar expatriate existence or who are nervously about to depart for one.

HOWL novel by Kazat Akmatov (2014) PAPERBACK ENGLISH –RUSSIAN ISBN: 978-0993044410 RRP: £12.50

SHAHIDKA/ MUNABIA by KazatAkmatov (2013) PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-0957480759 RRP: £12.95

THE NOVEL “ARHAT” by Kazat Akmatov (2015) LANGUAGE ENG PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1910886106 RRP: £17.50

kairat zakyryanov

13 STEPS OF ERIKA KLAUS by Kazat Akmatov (2013) PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-0957480766 RRP: £12.95

Raushan

Burkitbayeva - Nukenova

KAZAT AKHMATOV

HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS

SHADOWS OF THE RAIN Raushan Burkitbayeva - Nukenova (2016)LANGUAGE ENG HARD BACK RRP:19.95 ISBN: 978-1-910886-31-1

THE WORMWOOD WIND Raushan Burkitbayeva - Nukenova (2015) LANGUAGE ENG HARD BACK RRP:14.95 ISBN: 978-1-910886-09-0

PAPERBACK RRP: £12.50

ISBN: 978-0992787318

ALPHABET GAME by Paul Wilson (2014) Travelling around the world may appear as easy as ABC, but looks can be deceptive: there is no ‘X’ for a start. Not since Xidakistan was struck from the map. Yet post 9/11, with the War on Terror going global, could ‘The Valley’ be about to regain its place on the political stage? Xidakistan’s fate is inextricably linked with that of Graham Ruff, founder of Ruff Guides. Setting sail where Around the World in Eighty Days and Lost Horizon weighed anchor, our not-quite-a-hero suffers all in pursuit of his golden triangle: The Game, The Guidebook, The Girl. With the future of printed Guidebooks increasingly in question, As Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop did for Foreign Correspondents the world over, so this novel lifts the lid on Travel Writers for good. PAPREBACK ENG ISBN: 978-0-992787325

THE TURKIK SAGA Kairat Zariyanov (2016) LANGUAGE ENG HARD BACK RRP:14.95 ISBN: 978-0-9927873-7-0

UNDER THE WOLFS NEST Kairat Zariyanov (2012 LANGUAGE ENG /KAZAKH HARD BACK RRP:14.95 ISBN: 978-0-9927873-7-0

RRP: £14.50

FRIENDLY STEPPES. A SILK ROAD JOURNEY by Nick Rowan (2012) This is the chronicle of an extraordinary adventure that led Nick Rowan to some of the world’s most incredible and hidden places. Intertwined with the magic of 2,000 years of Silk Road history, he recounts his experiences coupled with a remarkable realisation of just what an impact this trade route has had on our society as we know it today. Containing colourful stories, beautiful photography and vivid characters, and wrapped in the local myths and legends told by the people Nick met and who live along the route, this is both a travelogue and an education of a part of the world that has remained hidden for hundreds of years. HARD BACK ISBN: 978-0-9927873-4-9

PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-0-9557549-4-4

DOES IT YURT? by Stephen M. Bland (2016)

COLD SHADOWS Shahsanem Murray (2016) LANGUAGE ENG PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-27-4 RRP: £12.50

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FINDING THE HOLY PATH by Shahsanem Murray (2014) RUS ISBN: 978-0-9930444-8-9 ENGL ISBN: 978-0992787394 PAPERBACK RRP: £12.50

Conjuring images of nomadic horsemen, spectacular monuments, breathtaking scenery and crippling poverty, Central Asia remains an enigma. Home to the descendants of Jenghiz Khan’s Great Horde, in the nineteenth century the once powerful Silk Road states became a pawn in the ‘Great Game’ of expansion and espionage between Britain and Russia, disappearing behind what would become known as the ‘Iron Curtain’. With the collapse of the USSR, the nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were born. Since independence, Central Asia has seen one civil war, two revolutions and seven dictators. LANGUAGE ENG PAPER BACK RRP:14.95 ISBN: 978-1-910886-29-8

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HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS

SELF HELP

JUNIOR

LIFE OVER PAIN AND DESPERATION by Marziya Zakiryanova (2014)

AYSU AND THE MAGIC BAG by Maide Akan (2016)

This book was written by someone on the fringe of death. Her life had been split in two: before and after the first day of August 1991 when she, a mother of two small children and full of hopes and plans for the future, became disabled in a single twist of fate. Narrating her tale of self-conquest, the author speaks about how she managed to hold her family together, win the respect and recognition of people around her and above all, protect the fragile concept of ‘love’ from fortune’s cruel turns. By the time the book was submitted to print, Marziya Zakiryanova had passed away. She died after making the last correction to her script. We bid farewell to this remarkable and powerfully creative woman.

In anticipation of Expo 2017 in Astana, publishing house Hertfordshire Press presents first book by Maide Akan. Entitled Aysu and the Magic Bag, the book tells the amazing story of a girl whose life is no different from ordinary children, until one day she meets a magical bird. Thus begin the extraordinary adventures of Aysu and her quest to save the environment. Written with a charm and sophistication which belie her tender years, Maide Akan’s narrative is a seamless blend of fantasy and more modern concerns. Beautifully illustrated, her work is sad and poignant, yet full of youthful hope for the future.

HARD BACK ISBN: 978-0-99278733-2 RRP: £14.95

CARDBOARD ISBN: 978-1-910886-24-3 RRP: £10.00

MADINA DEMIRBASH THE ART OF MATURE LOVE (2017) Madina Demirbash is an international relationship expert. She has lived and worked in seven different countries in the pursuit of the answer to one question: what does it take to be happy with somebody? It took her long years of personal and professional search to find but a simple answer: it takes one’s decision to grow up. As soon as she started a process of conscious maturity, her life thrived. She had better friendships with different kinds of people, started her own international business, and most importantly – regained her inner strength. She later met her husband, with whom she continues to enjoy growing every day, overcoming relationship challenges. She believes every person deserves and capable of building truly happy relationship.

ELISH AND THE WICKER TALES by Kamran Salayev Elish is a small boy who lives in a small village, a boy who prefers not to socialise, a boy who’s a little scared and clumsy, one that sits alone in a shed… wickering? For him, that is his only true talent and passion, the only thing that really matters. It all changes when Elish meets the Rider, a strong warrior from a distant land. After the Rider learns of Elish’s talents, he sets off with a new wickered bridle to discuss important matters with the King. The Rider learns of a great threat lurking in the far north… PAPERBACK SQUARE ENG ISBN: 978-1-910886-88-5

ISBN: 978-1-910886-42-7 ENG RRP: £12.50 СВЕТЛАНА ЮДИНА КАК ПОЛЮБИТЬ СЕБЯ? (2017) автобиография «Как полюбить Себя» - это первый литературный проект Юдиной Светланы, своего рода – исповедь. Честный, открытый и прямой рассказ о том, как она: родилась, взрослела, развивалась и расцвела. Это история о том, как полюбить Себя, Родных и свое Дело. Если вы хотите вырваться из ловушки постоянных проблем и ищите собственный Путь в жизни, но не знаете с чего начать? Эта книга станет для вас открытием и настольным инструментом, применяя который, вы включите механизм трансформации себя и своей Жизни. Достоинством издания является простата изложения сложных идей и рекомендаций, а также нацеленность на практическое применение в Жизни. Для широкого круга читателей. ISBN: 978-1-910886-53-3 RUS RRP: £9.95 RUSSIAN

RRP:£12.50

POOL OF STARS by Olesya Petrova (2007) It is the first publication of a young writer Olesya Petrova, a talented and creative person. Fairy-tale characters dwell on this book’s pages. Lovely illustrations make this book even more interesting to kids, thanks to a remarkable artist Askar Urmanov. We hope that our young readers will be very happy with such a gift. It’s a book that everyone will appreciate. For the young, innocent ones - it’s a good source of lessons they’ll need in life. For the not-so-young but young at heart, it’s a great book to remind us that life is so much more than work. PAPERBACK ENG / RUS ISBN: 978-0955754906

RRP: £4.95

MENIK THE MAMMOUTH by OGDO (2017) ЭТО ЗАВИСИТ ОТ МЕНЯ 7 СПОСОБОВ ИЗМЕНИТЬ ЖИНЬ К ЛУЧШЕМУ Автор Меган Вернер (2017) Знакомтесь - замечательная книга Мэган Вернер «это зависит от меня». Великолепный стиль изложения, живая, наглядная подача материала, все четко и объемно. Читается на одном дыхании, оставляет самые светлые эмоции, заставляет задуматься – помогает лучше понять себя, понять, надо ли что-либо менять в своей жизни, поставить цели и пошагово их решать, позитивно мыслить, а главное, программировать свое счастливое будущее!

PAPERBACK

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RUSSIAN ISBN: 9781910886397

RRP:£9.95

The charm of this children’s book lies in its original storyline which successfully encompasses folklore, science, natural history and geography. As the baby mammoth develops, the author raises issues concerning parenting and what a child needs to make its way through life, through the male and female perspectives of its young creators, Boris and Veronica. Menik, by default, finds himself facing the world alone and we learn how he copes with danger and struggles, as a displaced being, against ingrained prejudice and people’s fear of the unfamiliar. But there are also glimpses of human kindness and generosity of spirit which eventually, win the day. Beautifully illustrated, this little book is likely to become a favourite bedtime story and one to which children will return again and again. PAPERBACK ENG ISBN: 978-1-910886-62-5

RRP: £12.50

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DISCOVERY GUIDES & TRAVEL COMPANIONS

HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS THE GREAT MELODY by Tabyldy Aktan ( dedicated to Toktogul Satylganov) E-BOOK ISBN: 978-1-910886-02-1 RRP:£3.24

100 EXPERIENCES OF KYRGYZSTAN by Ian Claytor ENG ISBN: 978-0957480742 RRP: £19.50

100 EXPERIENCES OF KAZAKHSTAN by Vitaly Shuptar, Nick Rowan and Dagmar Schreiber ENG ISBN: 978-0-992787356 RRP: £19.50

BUYUK THEMURKHRON by Christopher Marlowe PAPERBACK UZ ISBN: 9780955754982 RRP: £10.00

TERROR: EVENTS, FACTS, EVIDENCE. by Eldar Samadov, 2015 PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-00-7 RRP: £9.99

CHANTS OF THE DARK FIRE by ZhulduzBaizakova PAPERBACK RUS ISBN: 978-0957480711 RRP:£10.00

THE CITY WHERE DREAMS COME TRUE by GULSIFAT SHAHIDI 2015 HARDBACK ISBN: 978-1910886205 RRP:29.99

KAMILA by Rahim Karimov (OCABF 2012 Finalist) PAPERBACK KG / UZ ISBN: 978-0957480773 RRP:£10.00 ISLAM, RELIGION OF PEACE AND CREATION by Sheikh Abdsattar Haji Derbisali * Joint edition with Stacey International HARDBACK ENG ISBN: 9781906768683 RRP:£24.95 DANCE OF DEVILS, JINLAR BAZMI by Abdulhamid Ismoil and Hamid Ismailov E-BOOK UZ ASIN: B009ZBPV2M RRP:£2.00 VICTORS by Sharaf Rashidov E-BOOK COMING SOON KURMAJAN-DATKA by Bubaisha Arstynbekova COMING SOON

100 EXPERIENCES OF MODERN KAZAKHSTAN by Vitaly Shuptar, Nick Rowan and Dagmar Schreiber ENG ISBN: 978-1-910886-15-1 RRP: £19.50

THE TASTE OF CENTRAL ASIA COOK BOOK by Danny Gordon ENG ISBN:978-1-910886-09-0 RRP: £19.50

SILK ROAD by Nick Rowan COFEE TABLE BOOK HARDBACK ENG COMING SOON

KYRGYZSTAN - 20 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE: BETWEEN SCANDALS AND CORRUPT ELITE by Giorgio Fiacconi * Partner Edition By Times of Central Asia HARDBACK ENG ISBN: 9789967265578 RRP:£29.95 THE HOLLYWOOD CONUNDRUM OR GUARDIAN OF TREASURE by Maksim Korsakov PARERBACK ENG ISBN: 978-1910886144 RRP: £24.95 LITERARY ALMANAC - TVORCHESKOE SODRUJESTVO - 1 RUS HARDBACK ISBN: 978-1910886014 RRP: £15.25 LITERARY ALMANAC - TVORCHESKOE SODRUJESTVO - 2 RUS PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1910886212 RRP: £15.25 GODS OF THE MIDDLE WORLD by Galina Dolgaya (2013) ISBN: 978-0957480797 PAPERBACK RRP: £14.95 CHANTS OF DARK FIRE (Russian Language Edition) by Zhulduz Baizakova ISBN: 978-0957480711 PAPERBACK RRP: £9.50 CRANE by Abu-Sufyan (2015) PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-23-6 £12.50

DISCOVERY KYRGYZSTAN travel guide by Ian Claytor ENG, DE, FR, RUS, JAP ISBN: 9780955754920 RRP: £5.95

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DISCOVERY UZBEKISTAN travel guide by Andrea Leuenberger ENG, DE, FR, RUS, JAP ISBN: 9780957480704 RRP: £5.95

DISCOVERY KAZAKHSTAN travel guide by Vitaly Shuptar and Dagmar Schreiber ENG, DE ISBN: 9780955754937 RRP: £5.95

DISCOVERY KARAKALPAKISTAN travel guide by Anja Weidner ENG ISBN: 978-0-9930444-7-2 RRP: £5.95

RRP:

DISCOVERY TAJIKISTAN Travel Guide by Vitaly Shuptar ENG ISBN: 978-09557549-6-8 RRP: £5.95

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CAMBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL PRESS THE CONCEPTUAL STRATEGY FOR HUMANKIND’S SURVIVAL IN THE XXI CENTURY AND FOOD SECURITY By Orazaly Sabden (Author), A Ashirov (2016) As the third millennium dawns, this world storms and changes unpredictably. Hence, it has become difficult to calculate what to expect on the morrow. Indeed, questions of recovery from innumerable crises (along with any possible rescue plan for humankind from adverse global conditions), are now paramount. After all, dangers such as rapid climate change, water scarcity, not to mention preventable food shortages, obviously shake social stability and economic sustainability on a planetary scale. At the same time, of course, as potential resource-based political conflicts appear on the horizon, various natural cataclysms, pure accidents, and negative environmental processes are increasing. All presenting humanity with unprecedented socio-environmental issues. PAPER BACK ISBN: 978-1910886267 RRP: £17.50

PROJECTIVE GRAPHICS by Yelena Bezrukova, Valentina Tikhomirova (2015) This album contains images of an aspiring new art movement known in Kazakhstan as “Projective Graphics”. The images presented in the publication, called “graphelvas” are accompanied by conceptual and explanatory texts, as well as an appendix of works associated with the small, but up and coming movement. This album is intended for a broad audience. HARDBACK

THE MODERNIZATION OF FOREIGN LANGUAGE EDUCATION: THE LINGUOCULTURAL - COMMUNICATIVE APPROACH by SalimaKunanbayeva (2013)

ENGLISH

ISBN: ISBN: 978 – 0993044434

AZERBAIJAN:BRIDGE BETWEEN EAST AND WEST by Yury Sigov, 2015

Professor S. S. Kunanbayeva - Rector of Ablai Khan Kazakh University of International Relations and World Languages This textbook is the first of its kind in Kazakhstan to be devoted to the theory and practice of foreign language education. It has been written primarily for future teachers of foreign languages and in a wider sense for all those who to be interested in the question (in the problems?) of the study and use of foreign languages. This book outlines an integrated theory of modern foreign language learning (FLL) which has been drawn up and approved under the auspices of the school of science and methodology of Kazakhstan’s Ablai Khan University of International Relations and World Languages.

Azerbaijan: Bridge between East and West, Yury Sigov narrates a comprehensive and compelling story about Azerbaijan. He balances the country’s rich cultural heritage, wonderful people and vibrant environment with its modern political and economic strategies. Readers will get the chance to thoroughly explore Azerbaijan from many different perspectives and discover a plethora of innovations and idea, including the recipe for Azerbaijan’s success as a nation and its strategies for the future. The book also explores the history of relationships between United Kingdom and Azerbaijan.

PAPERBACK

HARD BACK ISBN: 978-0-9930444-9-6 RRP: £24.50

ISBN: 978-0957480780

RRP: £19.95

LOOKING WEST: A KAZAKH’S VIEW OF GREAT BRITAIN by Kanat Auyesbay (2016) This new book by the Kazakh broadcaster and journalist Kanat Auyesbay is a fascinating and charming view of Britain. Kanat studied here for a year, living in Norwich with his wife and young son. Here he recounts his impressions of British life and compares aspects of it with life in Kazakhstan. He deals with subjects as diverse as school, charity, public transport, swimming, language and eating horse meat! There are also transcripts of interviews and additional chapters such as ‘35 years in front of the White House,’ in which he talks about Conception Picciotto about her anti- nuclear vigil. The reader will also learn about Kazakhstan and some of it’s customs and monuments. I am sure that British readers will enjoy Kanat’s impressions of our country, and I hope that they be inspired to visit Kazakhstan. I also hope that Kazakh readers will, perhaps, understand our small island a little better. PAPERBACK

ISBN:978-1910886373 RRP: £14.50

I AM LOOKING TOWARDS THE EAST by Gulsifat Shakhidi, 2017 Bringing together two works by the Tajik author, Gulsifat Shahidi, I am Looking Towards the East and Sentimental Journey or All in Good Time, this title takes an in-depth look at the historical relationship between Tajik and Russian literature and literary figures. Volume one draws an endearing portrait of the nineteenth-century translator-poet, Vasily Zhukovsky, whilst volume two concentrates on Russian-Tajik literary connections during the early years of the Soviet Union. Through her painstaking analysis of texts, archival documents and personal interviews, Shahidi masterfully bringing the characters and events of both periods to life. Her works are both academic thesis and a lovingly drawn living history.

HARDCOVER

ENGLISH

ISBN: 978-1910886663

RRP: £19.95

VANISHED KHANS AND EMPTY STEPPES by Robert Wight (2014) The book opens with an outline of the history of Almaty, from its nineteenth-century origins as a remote outpost of the Russian empire, up to its present status as the thriving second city of modern-day Kazakhstan. The story then goes back to the Neolithic and early Bronze Ages, and the sensational discovery of the famous Golden Man of the Scythian empire. The transition has been difficult and tumultuous for millions of people, but Vanished Khans and Empty Steppes illustrates how Kazakhstan has emerged as one of the world’s most successful post-communist countries. HARD BACK

ISBN: 978-0-9930444-0-3

RRP: £24.95

PAPERBACK ISBSN: 978-1-910886-05-2 RRP: £14.50

78 OCA MAGAZINE

IGOR SAVITSKY: ARTIST, COLLECTOR, MUSEUM FOUNDER by Marinika Babanazarova (2011) LANGUAGE: ENG, RUS, FR ISBN: 978-0955754999 RRP: £10.00 SAVITSKY COLLECTION SELECTED MASTERPIECES. Poster set of 8 posters (2014) ISBN: 9780992787387 RRP: £25.00

WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM

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CAMBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL PRESS

GOETHE AND ABAI by Herold Belger (2016)

LAND OF FORTY TRIBES by Farideh Heyat, 2015

Present publication of Herold Berler’s personal and scholarly essay on these two giants of world literature. Berger’s unique stance is to follow the dictates of his imagination, inspired by a close life-long study of Goethe and Abai, and, alongside many detailed scholarly investigations, e.g. his comparative study of Goethe and Abai’s innovations in poetic metre, form and consonance, or of the sources and background of Goethe’s Eastern inspired masterpiece West-East Divan, Berler muses openly about the personal impact that Goethe and Abai have had on him. HARDBACK ENG RRP: £17.50

PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-0-9930444-4-1 RRP: £14.95

ISBN:978-1-910886-16-8

COLD WAR II: CRIES IN THE DESERT OR HOW TO COUNTERBALANCE NATO’S PROPAGANDA FROM UKRAINE TO CENTRAL ASIA by Charles Van Der Leeuw (2015) Cold War II” is the result of almost two years of intensive monitoring and collecting information and comments from various angles concerning US-led campaigns to surround the Russian Federation with enemies. The book offers a rich anthology of samples how media play into the hands of the US-led “war party” as well as those who try to expose such manipulations. Special attention is given to the civil war in Ukraine and the way it is exploited by the west for its own geopolitical goals, and to Kyrgyzstan which remains at risk of attempts to topple Central Asia’s sole parliamentary democracy and replace it by a US “client regime”. HARDBACK

ISBN: 978-1910886076 RRP: £24.95

This book from the famous Kazakh international publicist reflects the international reality in which the Kazakh people lived and live for the last twenty-seven years after gaining their independence. The reader is given the opportunity to understand how difficult the transition was from socialism to capitalism. The new life caught by surprise the majority of people of the country, that is the simple person. For all these years the author was in the midst of the people and has survived with them all the hardships and privations that usually fall on the shoulders of ordinary citizens. For many years he studied the relationship of people in society, the relationship of peoples and States. ENG

ISBN: 978-1910886878

The Republic of Kazakhstan’s balanced foreign policy is one of our country’s main priorities and is recognised and understood by many. The aim of Kazakhstan, located in the centre of the Eurasian continent, is to maintain friendly relations with its neighbours and partners, and to develop and strengthen these ties, in line with the policy determined by the Republic of Kazakhstan’s president, our nation’s leader: Nursultan Abishuliy Nazarbayev. This book has been written from the perspective of an author who has personally witnessed the Head of State’s multifaceted work in the international arena. Following the earlier publication of ‘Peacemaker’ it encompasses events connected with the Syrian crisis from 2011 to June 2017.

80 OCA MAGAZINE

FIRST AND ONLY PHOTOALBUM OF UZBEKISTAN BIRDS! This book, which provides an introduction to the birdlife of Uzbekistan, is a welcome addition to the tools available to those working to conserve the natural heritage of the country. In addition to being the first photographic guide to the birds of Uzbekistan, the book is unique in only using photographs taken within the country. The compilers are to be congratulated on preparing an attractive and accessible work which hopefully will encourage more people to discover the rich birdlife of the country and want to protect it for future generations HARDBACK ISBN: 978-0-955754913

RRP: £25.00

The monograph is focused on the actual problems of modern higher professional education in the Republic of Kazakhstan. On the basis of critical reflection and analysis of the existing models of innovatively modernizing the higher professional system of education, a system of guidelines for perspective development of the foreign language higher professional education is proposed. The methodologically grounded platform of the approach suggested for modernization of higher education is based on the following components ofconceptually-methodological framework of higher foreign language education: the stage-successive model of competence-based professional training and its universalization; contemporary–demanded innovative versions of basic specialties, contentfunctionally modeling technologies for communicative and intercultural competences’ formation.

PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-67-0 RRP: £19.50 ENG

RRP:£14.95

PEACEMAKER THE SYRIAN CONUNDRUM by Nurlan Onzhanov (2017)

LANGUAGES ENG HARDBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-52-6 RRP: £24.95

BIRDS OF UZBEKSITAN by Nedosekov (2012)

STRATEGIC GUIDLINES FOR HIGHER FOREIGN LANGUAGE EDUCATION by Salima Kunanbayeva

THE EARTH IS OUR COMMON HOME by Bakhyt Rustemov

HARDBACK

Sima Omid, a British-Iranian anthropologist in search of her Turkic roots, takes on a university teaching post in Kyrgyzstan. It is the year following 9/11, when the US is asserting its influence in the region. Disillusioned with her long-standing relationship, Sima is looking for a new man in her life. But the foreign men she meets are mostly involved in relationships with local women half their age, and the Central Asian men she finds highly male chauvinist and aggressive towards women.

PHONETICS AND PHONOLOGY PROBLEMS by Fakhraddin Veysalli (2016) In this manual, the phonetic structure of the Azerbaijani language and its phonological systems have been (systematically) explained by focusing on comparative materials from a number of different languages. Thus, the author defends his theoretical position, as well as persues common principles, through the topics raised. Additionally, he demonstrates his thoughts and considerations, while basing his own investigations upon existing perceptions in literature. As such, this book is primarily intended for philologists. However, these materials can be used by teachers of language or literature, along with postgraduates, dissertants, and students of philological faculties: including everyone interested in linguistics. PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1910886182 RRP: £19.95 ENG

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CONTENTS

6

BEHIND THE DEVIL’S DANCE

38

WORLD MUSICAL HERITAGE IN THE HEART OF EURASIA

42

TIM RIDLEY & NICK JOUBINAUX NAMED INTERNATIONAL RESIDENCY ARTISTS IN AZERBAIJAN

46

KEEPING UP WITH THE TIMES!

50

ARTS IN DEFENCE OF BRANDS

54

FESTIVAL OF EURASIAN FILMS WILL BE HELD IN LONDON

56

OPEN EURASIA 2019 CONTEST ANNOUNCED!

58

ECG BROCHURE

64

ECG SERIES - HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS CATALOGUE

78

CAMBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL PRESS CATALOGUE

INTERVIEW WITH AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR HAMID ISMAILOV

10

A STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY IN KYRGYZSTAN AND THE EURASIAN UNION

14

BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE – CAN YOU PUT A PRICE ON INSURANCE?

18

INDEPENDENCE DAY OF THE REPUBLIC OF BELARUS

22

DISCOVER MAGNIFICENT GEORGIA! THE WELCOME TO GEORGIA - NATIONAL TOURISM AWARDS

24

A GLIMPSE OF 2050 KYRGYZSTAN

28

SIBERIAN SPLENDOUR: A BRIEF TRIP TO LAKE BAIKAL

32

CULTURAL CROSSROADS: TWO WOMEN’S JOURNEY ALONG THE PAMIR HIGHWAY.

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OPEN CENTRAL ASIA MAGAZINE #31  

Events in Kyrgyzstan over the last few days have really shaped this edition of OCA Magazine, not least since our publisher, Marat Akhmedjano...

OPEN CENTRAL ASIA MAGAZINE #31  

Events in Kyrgyzstan over the last few days have really shaped this edition of OCA Magazine, not least since our publisher, Marat Akhmedjano...

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