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ISSN 2053-1036 RRP: £7.50


Erkin A’zam’s book in English comprises two novellas, The Din and A Tender-hearted Dwarf, and two short stories, The Writer’s Garden and A dog bit the Incomer’s Daughter, which previously have been published by the Uzbek representative office of UNESCO under the title Farewell to Fairy Tales. The newly-translated novella Gooli-Gooli is published for the first time. Heirs to the Great Sinner Sheikh San’on opens a window onto what life was like in Uzbekistan in the recent past, and shows the reader what it means to be an Uzbek man or woman today. As one author and critic puts it: “Nothing is eternal in this rapidly-changing, globalized world: time hurtles on, political systems rise and fall, the ever-hungry din roars on, inside and out, and all this takes its toll on each and every one of us. Only human nature and the soul remain unshakeable – this is the main message of.”


Classic dishes from Uzbekistan, Turkey, Russia and Eastern Europe, plus regional decor and live acts.

Address: 158 Camberwell Rd, Camberwell, London SE5 0EE Phone:020 7871 9963






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.




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.




It is now well documented that several thousand people from Central Asia have gone to fight for ISIS over the last few years in Iraq and Syria. Russia has repeatedly voiced concerns about extremism in the region with which it shares borders. As I mentioned in my Welcome Word last year, Russia is still a key security guarantor in the region and its response to the attack in St Petersburg and how it will influence the region to protect its citizens will no doubt return unwelcome focus on the region for all the wrong reasons.

Dear Readers, I was in my office in Moscow as news started to break that St Petersburg had been the location of a greatly saddening attack that killed 14 metro users on April 3rd. Terrorism started to be cited as the cause early on and a parallel crack down across the capital started to set in. When security forces revealed that the main suspect was likely a Kyrgyz national, it set my mind back to a theme we had explored around this time last year around ISIS’ grip on Central Asian countries.

And all this may well overshadow a year where Kazakhstan’s hosting of Expo 2017 had hoped to show the world why it, and indeed the whole region, was taking a new path of leadership in the world. Expo 2017 will open in June therefore, with many wider questions being asked than the main focus of the exhibition, which is on “Future Energy”. Throw into this the political uncertainties that swirl around international terrorism, North Korea, the Middle East and both European and US politics, and unfortunately 2017 promises to be no less complex than last year and no less critical than any other year. If Kazakhstan and Central Asia, therefore, can prove pivotal in tackling some of these areas, then that would be a very pleasing step forwards for it on the world stage.

I do hope you enjoy this issue, the first of 2017, and that you find our expanded coverage of the region informative and thought provoking. Once again we continue to bring you the best opinion, commentary and interviews from and about the region and I urge you to When news of a further attack led by an Uzbek citizen, get in touch and keep the discussion and ideas flowing. Rakhmat Akilov, emerged barely ten days later in Sweden, it was becoming clear that some of my previous Finally, I would like to thank Matt Traver for his enthusiconcerns were starting to become a reality. Whilst it is asm and willingness to act as guest editor for this issue not clear the extent to which these attackers had links - I hope you will agree that he’s helped to put together to ISIS, Central Asia has had a history of separatism, a super edition. with groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Hizb ut-Tahrir leading the cause, and recently has been the source of growing Islamist extremism as the influence of Al Queda, the Taliban and the Muslim Brotherhood has spread. ISIS’ public propaganda and call for its “soldiers” to attack western targets using more simplistic, but equally horrifying and terrifying, veEditor-in-Chief hicle rammings may well have been taken up by these apparently lone wolves.


Nick Rowan




‘New Soviet Person’ concept shows valuable evidence for the ways in which a nation’s collective identity and culture can adapt itself when faced with a wider political influence. Finally, as a relatively new member of the Eurasian Creative Guild, it was a delight for me to hear more about the extensive events that are organised and hosted by the Guild’s industrious team, who are also involved in the production of this magazine. It is reassuring to know that such an unique organisation exists and provides so many opportunities for minds to meet and ideas to flourish. One offering that was particularly inspiring to read about was the internship launched in Bishkek, Minsk and Astana. Across these three countries over 1200 people applied; proof that the Guild is making a remarkable social, cultural and creative impact! Have a good summer, Dear Readers,

Matt Traver

Firstly, I would like to say thank you to Open Central Asia magazine and Hertfordshire Press for inviting me to be a guest editor of this edition. It has been an enlightening experience reading through such a wide variety of articles covering everything from traditional Ukrainian recipes, Central Asian diplomacy, the creation of laboratory-grown emeralds in Belarus, to the exploration of the Soviet Union’s impact on national identity. I feel particularly humbled in knowing that behind all the words I have read are authors who are playing a part in providing all of us the opportunity to learn something new and stimulate cultural intrigue. I would even go as far to say that some of the pieces contributed to this magazine have the added ability to shift perceptions. One such example in this edition is Paul Wilson’s thoughtful discussion highlighting the common misconceptions of the ‘Silk Road’ and reminding us, as readers, to be aware of the oversimplified views surrounding this historic and highly complex trade network. Similarly, Mumtod Kamalzod’s critique of the




AZAMAT (AZA) SYDYKOV: POLYPHONY RULES THE WORLD Kyrgyzstan may be better known for its welcoming people and spectacular nomadic mountain scenery if it is known at all, however there is no shortage of talent emerging from this small Central Asian country. Open Central Asia speaks to a young and upcoming talented musician from the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, to follow the story of Azamat Sydykov.



Open Central Asia: Azamat, what age were you, when you first started playing piano? Azamat Sydykov: Because of the fact that both of my parents were musicians (my mother, Alymkan Sydykova for many years served as Dean of Choral Conducting at Beishenalieva State University of Arts while my father, Djumakadyr Kanimetov, is the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor at Kyrgyz National Opera and Ballet Theater), I was raised in musical environment. I think it was my unavoidable destiny, therefore, to end up studying music sooner or later. So, officially I began to learn music when I was 7. But in fact it happened much earlier. OCA: How did your parents react to that? AS: It all turned out very smooth. Firstly, my mother didn’t have a single intention to raise another musician in her family, but I really liked to sing since my early childhood, and ironically it was because of my mother that I was surrounded by musicians, who heard my voice and kept on telling me that my future was in music. OCA: How did you decide what instrument you wanted to play? AS: One of our neighbours was a famous violinist, and she told my mother that her biggest mistake in life would be stopping me from going in for music. That’s why she decided to enroll me in a violin class. This, however, was not the most pleasant experience for me – pretty soon I had broken my first violin. But the tragedy of realising that the violin wasn’t “my” instrument didn’t last long. My mother took me to another teacher and another school, which ended up becoming my “destiny”.That’s when I first saw a glorious and magnificent instrument, which reminded me of Pegasus, the grand piano. From the very first moment I felt no doubt in my strong sympathy for that instrument. OCA: Where did you study in Kyrgyzstan and in other countries? Tell us a little about your creative development. AS: The place where I first became familiar with my future profession was at the republican secondary special music boarding school named after M.Abdraev. I finished 8 classes there under the untiring supervision of the brilliant teacher and musician, Svetlana Krivopalova. The Abdrayev School became a very important stage for me, because this is where I got my strong musical foundation, which helps me in my professional life to the present day. I think you can estimate the strength of Kyrgyzstan’s musical education possibilities by this fact. After Abdrayev, when I was 14, I went to Moscow to continue my education there at the Central Musical school. After the Central School I entered Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, where I studied another 8 years.The Moscow period gave me a great experience and several brilliant tutors, such as Anatoly Ryabov (a widely known and respected pianist, who contributed greatly to Kyrgyz music), Yuri Lysychenko and Andrey Pysarev. In Moscow I found the teacher who I would call “a tutor for all my life” – Nikolai Petrov – a legendary figure of the 20th century.



COVER STORY OCA: Now you live and work in the USA. How did you end up here? AS: This story is a long one, and it’s connected with a very important and hard set of events in my life. In 2010 there was political confrontation in Kyrgyzstan, a revolution, and following this disorder spread all over the country. I was in Moscow back then and of course I was very worried and scared for my relatives in Bishkek. At that moment by the long arm of coincidence I got acquainted with a well-known American composer and conductor, Joel Spiegelman. Joel, being always interested in Russian culture, was kind of a “cultural emissary” in past times during the Cold War between USSR and USA. He had permission to visit the USSR and represent his art there, communicating with local composers, therefore enhancing relationships between two countries at least in the sphere of art and culture. So, Joel wrote to me on Facebook, and we started our dialogue. Before long he offered me the opportunity to visit Kyrgyzstan with a range of charitable shows. He had some acquaintances with ambassadors in Central Asia - and an American ambassador for Kyrgyzstan as well, who liked our idea, and just two weeks later we found ourselves in Bishkek, making it all work. The first thing that we noticed was how sad and full of despair were the locals. We could feel the spiritual vacuum of people who never wanted that unrest to happen. Holding several symphonic concerts in Bishkek we hoped people could finally find a place free from negative thoughts, where they could have a physical and mental rest. Then right after our concert on 10th of June, 2010, we heard more bad news, this time ethnic clashes in Osh: the city was almost ruined. Again I felt a strong sympathy for my country and decided that I wouldn’t sit still. I wrote a request to the American embassy to help me with financing a range of concerts in Osh. We headed up for south of the country in the beginning of September. The interim government of Kyrgyzstan was almost begging us not to go there because of the dangerous conditions, but who else could do that, if even the government was afraid to? I even think they were trying to stop us because they realized that we were doing it before anyone else. This was a convoy of art and peacemakers, who weren’t afraid to show people that they still had something else besides grief and destruction. Our plan was, as before in Bishkek, to rebuild trust between people who live on the same ground. The best reward for us was to see how


people cried with happiness at our concerts, how yesterday’s enemies were hugging each other with grateful and excusing words. I was a young person of only 23 or 24 years back then, and I could say that these events determined my future aims, helped to define myself not only as a creative person, but also as a citizen. From that day I found myself and I’m an active member of public dialogues.This is what I use the scene for: I stand for truth and peace, I talk about freedom and the rights of people, and I work for all the world to hear me. OCA: What happened next? AS: Not long after all these events Joel called me to inform that he gave my records to some American professors. By the end of September Mannes school of music (New York) called me in personally to say that they loved my work and would be glad to see me taking their examinations. Then there was a period of preparations, obtaining visas and all that needed to be able to visit USA - and Joel was the one helping. I think it’s pretty logical that I still call him my grandpa. In spring of 2011 I came to audition. What I saw in the USA amazed me: all that freedom and openness of minds! I felt a strong wish to stay. Mannes school soon offered me a full scholarship and of course I accepted their proposal. Then there was an additional scholarship for further education, then a masters’ degree, then a year of working in universities. After finishing my education there I heard: “Azamat, you should stay here.Your abilities are critical for us.” I decided to stay. Finally I got my documents for a permanent visa. OCA: So, could you call yourself an “American citizen” now? AS: My position is that all creative people are global citizens. The world actually is not as big how as we often think of it. We are all connected by the internet, telephone communications and an ability to fly all over the world. Permanent ideas exchange, international competitions and festivals - that’s what helps us to stay together. All my practice and creative progress than I gained in USA, Russia and Kyrgyzstan - all my life and work experience - for me represents a kind of a bridge between these countries. And I can feel the strength of this cultural exchange in the results of my own work. So first of all I’m an artist. And we tend to stay at places where we feel comfortable. I have colleagues who can’t stand living in the USA, but they like Germany, Switzerland or China. I’m trying to say that creative people

choose places when they are able to fulfil their potential. And my success belongs also to all those people connected with me, who contributed their efforts through me. OCA: Do you still feel special about Kyrgyz culture and how does it influence your current life and art? AS: No doubt I do. For me, a man can love and respect himself only when he knows his belonging. For me to be a Kyrgyz is to belong to all the great things that my people have in their history, to our nature, traditions and culture. People should always seek their spiritual base. And that base is what you have in your soul, what you know about your nation’s great people. Who am I and what do I belong to? I met many Kyrgyz people who were ashamed of where they belonged to, because of conflicts, war or corruption. I told them these were not the things you need to think about when we talk about a nation’s essence. Every nation has its own problems. And I’m proud to be Kyrgyz because I belong to Chingiz Aitmatov’s nation, for example. And for those Kyrgyz people who don’t know who that is - I advise them to fix that as soon as they can. (Chingiz Aitmatov is a worldly known Kyrgyz writer and diplomat) OCA: Is there anything that you do to popularise the Kyrgyz culture in USA? AS: Together with my friends we opened the “Kyrgyz American Foundation”. This organization represents some kind of a result of all that I’ve done for my life. Our foundation is the only one of its kind by now and it unites people out of any political context, but on the basis of a person’s interests - art, science, culture and education. The relationship between the USA and Kyrgyzstan used to be exceptionally strategic before, but today with the growing number of Kyrgyz people who come to the USA to make a living we see how it lacks other spheres of cooperation. There are a large number of children born into Kyrgyz families in USA, who are growing and associating themselves with American culture only. And the thing is that they want to know their roots too. That’s why we made this centre - to give them an opportunity to learn their language, to become familiar with their music and culture. We’ve already organized several historical events. The latest one was a concert, “SOUNDS OF KYRGYZSTAN”, in Merkin Concert Hall, which was the first one to represent Kyrgyz national music in New York.

OCA: What can be done for young musicians and specialists from your country to help them become successful? AS: People should be allowed and able to go to another country to experience it. I remember what I wrote on twitter: “We need to gather 200 talented Kyrgyz artists and deport them!” And this phrase drew such a big response. I believe every citizen of a Central Asian country knows all our society’s problems not worse than me: religious fundamentalism, corruption, tribalism and et cetera. How do we stop that? What can be done? Revolutions and takeovers are not the best choice, and we can see a proof to that by the modern experience of many conflicted countries. The right decision lies in the need to enhance education, sciences and art. We need experience that other countries can give us, we need to learn from them as much as we have energy to. Because knowledge is that special power that can show people difference between the light and the dark. That’s why I’m telling you that no one should be stopped from getting an education. And these are the purposes of my social activity: to help people get knowledge. I dream of our people being able to respect themselves just as Chingiz Aitmatov wrote about. With that kind of respect, together we can fight any problem. And education can help to find it. OCA: What is the most valuable experience that Central Asia can teach the Western world? AS: It’s the successful experience of building a multicultural society. This ability is priceless in the modern world and that’s why we need to be proud of it.Years of harmony, freedom and religious consent - that’s what is our biggest achievement, and I believe that there will be times in future when Eurasia will be the one who could ever tell how to reach that conditions. And again – education is what can help to save and enrich our multicultural doctrine. Text by Margarita Aab




Interview with Tatiana Sharposhikova – Founder of Red Square London OCA Magazine: Please could you tell our readers a little about yourself? Tatiana Sharposhikova: I was born and brought up in Moscow, Russia. I came to the UK in 1993 to study for six months, but fate had different plans for me as I have now lived in this country for over twenty three years. Sounds scary, no? My first few years in the UK were not very happy. My marriage to my then husband, an English man, broke down and I was left on my own to raise our son. These were very difficult times. Being a single mum is never easy, but for me it was even harder. My husband


went on a business trip to Slovakia for what was supposed to be a week and never came back. Only a few months later I found out from a mutual friend that he already had another family there and was expecting a child with his new wife-to-be. I was left, literally, “holding a baby”. Well, not quite a baby, my son was just over 4 years old. I was a student at the time studying at the University of Kent in Canterbury. Needless to say, my son and I had very little money as my ex-husband decided that he didn’t want anything to do with us, so we had no support from him. It is then I had to make a very big decision, one which would define the rest of my life; do I stay at university and try to survive with a

young child on my hands or do I give up this ‘silly’ dream to become a lawyer and go and get a job to support us both? Well, since I’m here today and chatting with you, you can guess what my decision was; fast-forward eighteen years and here we are, my son is twenty two and I am now introducing you to my law firm, Red Square London. OCA: Tatiana, you lead a unique Russian-speaking company in the UK. Tell us about the history of Red Square London? TS: Red Square London was set up over 5 years ago, as an answer to a ‘one-stop-shop’ solution for the needs of the Russian-speaking community in the UK. After qualifying as an English solicitor I worked in a number of law firms in London, the last being a very large American firm, Squire Sanders (as it was called back then). I worked in its London and Moscow offices as a corporate law solicitor. The firm’s Russian-speaking clients would often ask me to assist with various non-legal matters; advice on setting up a business, assistance with domestic employment, finding a good school for children, relocating elderly parents to the UK, recommending a good interior designer or a removal company. At the same time our team was assisting these clients with the legal process of purchasing an apartment in London and handling the immigration matters. It was obvious to me that there was a gap in the market for a combined legal firm and a family office, one which dealt with the issues foreign families may encounter in this country. My friend, John, had a business and premises. Our first office was a small room in the basement of that building. It had one small desk, a few chairs and a computer - Red Square London was born. Five years later we moved to our current offices in Central London, at Russell Square, and the team has grown from one to ten people, with plans to add a few more solicitors in the next few months. OCA: Tell us more about your career achievements? How did you decide to move to the UK? TS: I came as a student-tourist, met my husband whilst in the country and ended up staying. I studied International & European Law at the University of Kent in Canterbury. It was a 4 year degree; the third year being spent in the Netherlands and the fourth and final year being back at the University of Kent. I then undertook a Legal Practice Course, which is a compulsory 12 month course at law school, before starting a 2 year training contract with one of the top ten law firms in London, Denton Wild Sapte (as it was called then). I qualified in September 2004 and have been practising law since then, for almost 13 years. OCA: Your company is a family office. Why did you choose to present it this way? TS: Red Square London is not just a family office. It is primarily a law firm. We hold a full legal licence, granted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. We added the family office and notary services to our range of offerings due to the popular demand from our clients and the families that we look after. As a law firm we support our clients with their immigration matters, corporate and business law, as well as legal support when clients buy and sell real estate. As a family office and notary department we support our clients with all their day to day non-legal matters, like property search, business set up, accountancy and pay roll matters, income and corporate tax self-assessment to the HMRC and many other questions that may arise here in the UK (in addition to their notary requirements).



PEOPLE OCA: Your team consists of qualified lawyers, accountants and business consultants. You specialise in immigration, property law, corporate and company law. What issues do you most commonly deal with?

relocated them to the UK and continue looking after them and their affairs in the UK. We want them to be successful in all their projects, be it application for citizenship or purchase of their family home.

TS: We do have different specialists in the office, including immigration and property solicitors, corporate lawyers, experienced business consultants, an accountant and a number of Russian-speaking paralegals. Investor and Entrepreneur visas are popular instructions, we do have extensive experience with the Sole Representative visa and Sponsor Licence applications for companies which desire to engage non-European workers, as well as Indefinite Leave to Remain and citizenship applications. The firm is also Conveyancing Quality Scheme accredited by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This accreditation is important to us as it is a confirmation from the SRA that we do have all required processes and procedures to safeguard clients’ money and to deliver conveyancing services (legal support when buying and selling real estate) to the highest standard.

OCA: Besides the fact that you are engaged in the business of your clients, your company also writes various publications to share experience and knowledge. Do you have more projects to help those who are not familiar with the local laws?

OCA: You’ve successfully run a company for so many years. Could you share with us your secret to success?

TS: We are planning to grow this year to a strong team of 15-18 people. We currently have 10 professionals working for the business, offering advice and assistance to the Russian-speaking community in the UK and our clients who continue living in the former Soviet Union countries who have business or property interests here.

TS: I am afraid there is no secret. It is all about hard work, loving what you do and delivering results. We genuinely love our clients and our families. With some we have a very longstanding relationship, we actually


TS: We do like to share our expertise and experience. We have written on many subjects relating to business set up, immigration and property dealings in the UK. We try to not solely advise on the law of any particular subject, but also offer practical advice on how to most efficiently deal with certain matters here in the UK. OCA: You are actively developing your company and recruiting talented people. What are the plans of Red Square London in the near future?

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. ISBN: 978-1-910886-37-3 AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM

EXPO 2017




The winning design of the UK’s Astana pavilion, created by leading British designer Asif Khan, has been unveiled to an audience of design and business experts. Forming the centrepiece of an ambitious UK business and cultural programme that shows a Global Britain open for business, the UK pavilion will be a multi-sensory experience involving film, technology, sound and computer generated animation. With the Expo host’s theme of ‘Future Energy’, the UK design explores the origins of energy and begins with the birth of the universe, taking visitors on the journey of energy from the sun through to landscape, climate and human civilisation, culminating in a 360º computer generated universal landscape with an illuminated structure at its centre, inspired by human ingenuity. Completing a world class UK creative team is renowned musician Brian Eno who is composing an original soundscape for the Pavilion and Professor of Astrophysics, Catherine Heymans, from the University of Edinburgh, who is developing the scientific context. The UK’s participation at the three-month long global event, which is expected to attract over two million visitors, will highlight British expertise across the energy sector as well as in design and technology, and promote the UK as a business partner of choice and a hub of academic excellence.



EXPO 2017 International Trade Minister, Greg Hands, said: “The UK is renowned for its award-winning pavilions and this design is a great celebration of British creativity and architectural innovation. Our participation at the Astana Expo will showcase the UK’s impressive capability across the various strands of future energy and is an opportunity for British expertise to shine on the global stage.” UK Pavilion Commissioner, Charles Hendry, said: “We look forward to showing the UK at its creative best in Astana and using the UK Pavilion to share our brilliant scientific and engineering expertise across the energy and mining industries.” “Success in international markets is at the heart of the government’s long-term plan to build a stronger, Global Britain. “ UK Pavilion designer, Asif Khan, said: “The universe was formed 13.8 billion years ago. At that moment all energy and matter was in the same place at the same time. The idea that everything, including life on earth, is comprised of this archaic energy is fascinating to me. I wanted to find a way to express this relationship to our visitors and explore how energy is being continually harnessed and balanced around us.” The UK theme is ‘We Are Energy’ and the UK pavilion will introduce visitors to UK discoveries that have transformed the way people connect across the world, from the steam engine to the world wide web, culminating in the advanced material graphene which has the potential to radically change the way energy is produced and consumed. The UK has established a reputation for world class design, engineering and technology having won awards for its pavilions at World Expos in Shanghai (2010) and Milan (2015). Astana Expo is a smaller Expo dedicated to findings solutions to specific problems.


The design and engineering team comprises: Designer: Asif Khan Music: Brian Eno Creative Agency: KBW Design Design Managerment: WOO Structural Engineer: AKT II Services Engineer: Atelier Ten Installation Interactive Engineering and Fabrication: iart Digital Landscape Art Direction: Xavier Chassaing Digital Landscape VFX: Martin Aufinger, Chris Bore Science Advisor: Professor Catherine Heymans UK Timeline Animations: Factory Fifteen Build Contractor: Nussli





The Secret Development of the Kazakh Hospitality Industry

Elena Bezrukova is a remarkable woman. She has thrown her passion and enthusiasm into many projects over the years and is respected as one of Kazakhstan’s leading business coaches and psychologists. She channels most of her energy these days into the Elena Berzukova Centre, where she works with leading businesses to help drive their agenda and develop their people. Open Central Asia sat down to find out more on her thoughts around how a new area of the Kazakh business landscape is developing – the hospitality industry. Open Central Asia: What uniqueness does Kazakhstan have in the domain of the development of hospitality industry? Elena Bezrukova: Kazakhstan is an exceptional country in terms of its hospitality industry background. Its ground is deeply soaked with one of the national traditions of Kazakh people, to respect a guest. Through the centuries, generosity has been raised to the level of being one of the key values in the national Kazakhstani culture. Respect for a guest is as equal, as respect for elders. The southern heart of the country - Almaty - concentrated both on the Eastern traditions of meal and the Western experience of the HoReCa (food service) industry. Residents of Almaty travel a lot. Almaty’s proprietors also have restaurants and bars in other countries and they bring along new knowledge and impressions from travelling that they introduce in their establishments. Many seek to create European quality standards but with the southern inhabitants’ kindness. Such mix of traditions, cultural values and international experiences makes the restaurant business in Kazakhstan both original and attractive for tourists.



HOSPITALITY OCA: What are the dynamics of the development of Kazakhstan restaurant business market?

even appears in coffee shops. As many have traditionally fixed meetings in the restaurant, so they continue to do it.

EB: According to the website, currently, there are more than 1 000 enterprises registered – owning many restaurants, cafes and bars. Numbers differ across other cities - Astana – 1900, Shymkent about 700. Overall, there are more than 25 thousand food courts in the country.

There was a reduction in numbers dining in restaurants from August 2015 to February 2016, but this was offset by growth in other food outlets (including coffee shops) showing that people are simply changing with the times.

Astana takes the first place for the dynamics of restaurant business development. Many international, cultural and political events take places in Astana. Therefore, Astana has favourable economic conditions for HoReCa. In second place is Almaty. It has not only the heritage of having been the capital centre, but it also continues to position itself by being the cultural capital city, in which traditions of many nationalities, trends of Western neighbours and friendship with Eastern states are intertwined. Therefore it is not surprising that in Almaty seven to ten new establishments are opened every week. However, many of these businesses also close rapidly. The national average is that 30 percent of the establishments close during the first three years. The business is very difficult to manage in spite of its largely visual appeal. Accounting is complicated as well. It is not easy to constantly support the high level of service, mostly because of high stuff turnover and the social unattractiveness of professions in the service sector. Nevertheless, according to the website, despite the instability of the hospitality industry in the country, on the average, it still grows by 15 percent every year. OCA: How has the economic crisis influenced the activity of restaurants, bars and cafes? EB: On the one hand - yes, it has an effect. It has forced owners to search for new tools to attract and retain guests. The crisis awakened many to invest more resources in staff training too. It pushed owners to consider the restaurant business not only in terms of value-enhancing investments, but also in terms of social accountability and providing the possibility for creative work. On the other hand - no, it does not have an effect. People continue to throw the same lavish banquets as they used to. Meat is being ordered more frequently, and


OCA: What do the modern Kazakh restaurateurs do to attract guests? How do they stay afloat? EB: Restaurateurs have generally raised the level of service they provide.They have made prices more flexible and improved the quality of cuisine.These methods are traditional enough of course. There are restaurateurs, however, who use an innovative approach in dealing with staff. Let me tell you one story. There was an old, vintage restaurant “Demalis”, in the Central Park of Culture and Leisure in Astana, which was loved by many people. The business owner constructed a modern complex out of the old building, because the family atmosphere it used to have had diminished and clients turned their back on the restaurant. The construction of the restaurant took two years. At the end of 2016 “Demalis” opened doors to old and new friends. During the two years, while the building was taking place, its guests “were lost” and they no longer had a reason to travel there from the other end of the city. I visited the new establishment in November 2016.The luster of the outside glass, brightness in the children’s halls, the expanse of banquet rooms, the harmony of colour - all of these provided unrestrained wonder. At the same time, though, I was upset by the vast emptiness space. Clearly new (and old) guests were lacking and needed to come back. Unfortunately, the owner of family complex did not have the energy for this and then I offered to involve his staff in some marketing activities. We had two training courses: one for managers, in which they generated objectives and tasks, and the sec-

ond course was held with all the staff. Then, everybody, including me, developed a plan of action to improve the attractiveness of service for guests, which they immediately introduced. “Demalis” employees got into three groups.The first group left to the park and told bypassers about the new restaurant. The second group was photographed with poster proclaiming, “All interested people are welcome!” in front of the building that afterwards was sent to all their acquaintances. The third group delivered business cards to nearby offices, shops and venues located in the vicinities. Training was interesting, easygoing and fascinating. And, the main outcome - there were no empty seats in this restaurant! Thanks to the creativity and courage of the owner and constant work of controlling networks, the participation of the staff in the development of the restaurant, “Demalis” became a new fairy tale of the old legend. I finally want to note a very important phenomenon on what happens in the modern market of the Kazakh

restaurants. The owner of these enterprises have begun to change actively, shown willingness to learn, and opened their doors not only to guests, but also to colleagues’ restaurateurs! The restaurateurs learn together on courses and master-classes, where they share their experience and plans. From the last theme events, it is possible to mark two food tours held together with my colleague, Irina Perminova, in Astana (October 2016) and in Almaty (February 2017). We visited more than 15 restaurants and coffee shops, where more than 30 restaurateurs from big and small Kazakhstan towns took part. Kazakh restaurants have created their own new, original approach to work, but they still are hospitable and welcoming, and expecting their guests from around the world.




EDUCATION IS A CORNERSTONE OF SUCCESS Panoba Executive Lifestyle Services specialises in education, property, relocation and events services for the discerning overseas executive. The London-based firm works with a network of esteemed partners to offer a five-star British lifestyle management service to its ranks of international customers. Directors Debbie Gispan and Nicky Sakpoba explain to OCA the crucial importance of knowing and understanding their market and why every client is treated as a VIP. What is Panoba? Nicky Sakpoba (NS): Panoba is a dedicated lifestyle service for the international executive and his or her family. We offer a professional concierge approach in order that you can focus on your business affairs overseas, while we effectively manage your concerns here in the UK. Debbie Gispan (DG): Panoba is derived from both our family names as we feel we bring together two types of skill sets and life experiences. We both have extensive experience working in the City and also of relocating, so feel we are well placed to understand the way our clients operate.


NS: Debbie worked in investment banking in London, whereas I studied languages and worked in high end property management. But for the education business, our experience as mothers and navigating the complex school admissions process for our children has provided the best background. DG: As two British-based professional women we realised there was a gap in the market to help individuals and families who need access to services in the UK including schools, property and healthcare. Who are your clients? DG: Busy, busy people! NS: Indeed, time is always at a premium for our clientele. DG: Our aim is to help those high-net worth individuals in either setting up or maintaining aspects of their lifestyle here in the UK. It might be a foreign executive who wants to buy a second home in London or someone who would like their children to benefit from a British education. NS: Some families already have a property here or a child at a UK private school. In that instance they might need assistance to maintain the property or move their child to another school. One couple were keen to move their daughter to a larger school for A Levels. They didn’t feel she was progressing academically and wanted external help. We put a plan together for her to be tutored throughout the holidays and made sure they got the results they wanted. DG: In another case we had an entrepreneur who wanted to move his business to the UK, which meant relocating the family too. Not only did we advise on immigration and visas but Panoba also helped install the family in a great area with access to top schools. NS: The system can be complicated for someone who wasn’t raised in Britain or doesn’t currently reside here, which is why we hold our clients’ hands from start to finish. Our service provides access to the best of the British lifestyle, including invaluable insider tips and advice. How did you decide which areas to specialise in? DG: Our relationship with many of our clients stems from their need for the educational consultancy service we offer, but that relationship doesn’t need to end as soon as a school place is secured. NS: Yes, we pride ourselves on following up on the child’s progress and families often retain our services in an academic guardian ca-




pacity. This might involve attending parents’ evenings and liaising with staff on the family’s behalf if they cannot attend in person. DG: In some cases, the interest in our education services can lead to other things too, like the search for a second home in the UK or private health insurance for the family. How do you measure up to the expectations of parents? NS: No two families are the same, which is why we treat each case individually. As a result, clients automatically expect a tailor-made service and they are never disappointed. We have an extensive network of top-performing UK schools, which gives parents the widest possible choice when it comes to making the right choice. DG: Our involvement can be as far-reaching as our clients like, from the initial registration to exam preparation and accompanying children on school


visits. Understandably, parents expect and demand the highest levels of discretion and customer service when it comes to their children and we never fail to deliver. How does your tutoring service work? NS: There are many times during the education pathway when tutoring might be required. Either before children start school for entrance exams or at times when facing a particular challenge. As with all our services, the tutoring we offer is completely bespoke and tailored to the needs of the individual. DG: Rest assured that we only work with the best tutors as we know the value of mentoring and inspiring your child. Whatever the child’s needs, Panoba can be trusted to deliver the best organised and well managed plan. We have found tutors abroad for a summer holiday period or someone to support the child in their own home.

NS: We organise the whole package for that to happen. Flights, visas etc, as well as organising sessions via Skype if necessary beforehand to prepare for exams. When selecting tutors for residential placements outside of the UK, we always send the most suitable and able individuals who will approach your family and host country with the utmost respect. DG: And, on a separate note, if either you, your partner or your children need a little help with your English, we can also arrange for private language tutoring when you arrive or before you touch down in the UK. Where would you recommend setting up home in Britain? NS: There is no question that as a global city, London is by far the most desirable and popular location for international visitors. But where to settle depends on individual tastes and requirements. Central areas like St John’s Wood, Chelsea and Kensington are always popular, though we have noticed a shift towards leafier parts of north-west London and Home Counties like Surrey and Hampshire, which are within an easy drive of the capital. DP: We save our clients a lot of time and effort with our property consultancy, which takes in their needs and preferences. Once we have a shortlist of desirable locations, clients then often arrange a short visit for viewings – or entrust their choice to our expert advisors. How important is the Central Asian market? DG: We recognise Central Asia as a strong growth market and that relationships are flourishing between the UK and countries in the region. As such, a growing number of highly influential people now have interests in the UK. NS: We have strong connections with the representatives of London’s Central Asian community. They want to know where the best areas are to live and, like all our clients, how to make the most of their time in Britain for themselves and their families.

DG: As Britain prepares for a new future and plans to open up its relationships it’s vital that we forge solid reliable relationships in growth areas such as Central Asia. NS: That integration is valuable for both adults and children. British education is still seen as a world class leader and schools are keen to recruit families from growth economies to extend all that they have to offer. Why choose Panoba? DG: Our motto is ‘wisdom is wealth’ and this is what we hope to convey to our highly valued customers. With the help of our extensive expertise in high end lifestyle management, you and your family will have more time to focus on enjoying and making a success of your time here in Britain. NS: Arriving in any new country can be overwhelming and disorientating, but Panoba promises the smoothest and most pleasant of traditions into British society. No two clients are the same. For us the most important thing is to provide a high-quality personal service tailored to their needs. We pride ourselves in developing relationships to make sure we accommodate every need of our clients. A bespoke tailored service to each person’s needs and not a one size fits all model.




The Imagined Road to Socialism

National Identity vs. the New Soviet Person in Soviet Central Asia

During the establishment of the Soviet Union, the government set up large scale reforms, one of which was the national-territorial delimitation. At the same time the Soviet government strove to create a standard “Soviet person” or New Soviet Person – essentially conglomerating all people in the Soviet Union in to one. The idea of forging people in to one proletariat working class is a philosophically idealist concept however, the nation-building policy contradicted this at the same time. On the one hand, the Bolsheviks wished non-Russian nations to develop their own cultures and languages. On the other, Stalin expressed ‘Soviet intentions to overcome national differences’. Stalin’s policy about the Soviet national culture was ‘as national in form and socialist in content’. In this article we will briefly examine the consequences of this ideological clash, specifically in Central Asia.


The party leaders promoted the New Soviet Person concept in order to make people forget their old conventions and replace them with communist standards. The Bolsheviks used mass mobilisation tools, such as education, mass media and art forms, to instil heavy propaganda of their new ideology. Another way to induce people from the republics to become a part of the ideology was through a membership in the Komsomol, which fully embraced the Soviet values. The majority of young working class strived to enter this elite organisation, which gave them the New Soviet Person’s status. The Soviet ideology was also instilled via industrial reforms. Factories, plants and kolkhozes were beautified in literature and arts, and people who worked in such places were presented as a perfect example of the Proletariat Superman. The role of the economic sector of society was to influence people using the superiority of the New Soviet Person and to infuse ‘disorganized

human individuals into a gigantic collective machine’. As for nation-building, one of the reasons the Soviets promoted nationhood in Central Asia (apart from suppression of Pan-Turkism and Pan-Islamism) was to lead them to the ‘imagined road to socialism’, where a nation being only at a ‘transitional stage’ would melt into ‘a socialist union of denationalized people’ . These groups had to become conscious of themselves, as nations under the Soviet system, but also prevent any thought of independence. Instead nations were to dissolve into the New Soviet Person. The same methods as for the New Soviet Person were used; national histories rewritten, national literature created, national languages reformed, national news media developed. All of this was carried out with communist ideology ingrained. However, the nation-building worked more effectively in this region than the New Soviet Person ideology. People who never identified themselves as a nation before developed strong connections with each other through autonomous nationalism-threaded education and mass media. Thus nationalism was the main customs. Since the 1970s Islam experienced a revival reason for obstructing the embedding of the New So- and further proliferated in Tajikistan. There were several religious schools, although unofficial, but not banned. viet Person’s concept. This impeded the New Soviet Person’s concepts, which Specifically, in the case of the Tajiks, one of the reasons were difficult to be fully permeated through this doufor not becoming the New Soviet Person was their ble life. immobile lifestyle. Russian people willingly moved from their country to other Soviet Republics and easily in- Geiss declares that the national identity linked to Sotermarried with the local population. Central Asian viet identity was not important, because the Soviets people, especially Tajik people, were quite satisfied with avoided its politicisation and restricted the scope of their situation in kolkhozes and were not willing to this identity’s conceivable illustrations. Yet although the move into the environment where they could suffer foundation of territorial and bureaucratic systems of physical difficulties, such as the Far East, or to any other Central Asian states gave rise to a loyalty of the Soviunfamiliar places where they would not have any kin- et regime, the national-territorial component outlived ship ties. Family connections and taking care of elderly the Union itself. The influence of the Soviet Union on people is a prominent feature of Tajik culture. The re- Central Asia earlier in the century seemed to be rapid luctance to leave their region during the Soviet Union and successful. However, as soon as the Soviet Union was one of the factors bolstering the development of was abolished, it was apparent that the concept of a New Soviet Person was not instilled in populations of stronger national identity vs Soviet identity. these countries. Central Asian countries returned to Religion indeed could be another reason for the New the principles of regionalism, protectionism, and a kinSoviet Person concept not being fully embedded in ship-based system of promotion in all spheres of soCentral Asian people. The New Soviet Person was sup- ciety. Even though the relative rapidity in the rise and posed to be ‘a-religious’ in a traditional religious sense, fall of the Soviet regime did not allow the New Soviet but ‘to believe wholeheartedly in and be devoted to the Person concept to become firmly rooted in these culideology, the Party’. Yet religion was embedded into tures, the ideas of national identity became engraved in Central Asian culture, it was in their everyday rituals, the self-identification of people in this region. secretly kept up by people at home. For example, Tajik people seemed to be devoted members of the ComText by Mumtoz Kamolzoda munist party, but at home, they still practiced religious




The Wizards of the Emerald City Belarus’ National Academy of Science has learned how to grow emeralds. It might sound like magic, but our chat with Andrei Soldatov, who is head of the Department of Physics and Ultra-Strong Materials, will explain the science behind this remarkable achievement. OCA: In Belarus there are apparently no naturally occurring jewels. Is this the reason you started growing emeralds, rubies and sapphires? Andrei Soldatov: Whilst it is often said that there are no naturally occurring jewels in Belarus, it is somewhat incorrect. Occasionally you can find amber. The idea to grow emeralds, such as green beryl (and even-


tually red beryl) came to us through a leading specialist in our laboratory called Barilo Sergei. Our laboratory is generally most known for producing monocrystals and single-crystalline films, with minimum defects, for use in scientific research. We had all of the equipment already to hand for growing monocrystals and the experience with doing it‌ so we wondered whether it would be possible to develop other things. After three

or four years of research we managed to develop the emerald growing technology. Afterward we learned to grow rubies, sapphires and alexandrite.

OCA:You managed to grow a red emerald. Normally this can only be extracted in Utah, USA. How did you manage that?

OCA: What is unique about your method of growing emeralds and how long does it take to grow?

AS: I think you are exaggerating our achievements a little.We aren’t the only ones growing red beryl. Have a look at “bixbite” on the internet (it’s another word for red beryl) and you will find many offers of this “natural” AS: The method is not unique. In the melted vanadi- jewel going for £80-160 per carat.The natural form will um oxide we dissolve berlox, silicon, aluminium oxide, cost you twice as much. We adapted our technology chromium oxide etc. Then we define the saturation of growing the emerald, changed the composition of temperature, after which it is run through a procedure chromophoric additives and received the experimental where the temperature is gradually reduced. Eventually samples. We’re working on the colour now to make it this causes the crystal to grow. The uniqueness is all superior and expanding our colour scale increases the about the small technological details, not the method number of potential buyers. It is all very interesting! itself… such as the concentration of chromophoric additives, adjusting the diffusion rate of graining elements OCA: What are your main reasons for growing to the surface of the crystal, the modes of change in emeralds, who are your main buyers and how temperature, amongst other things. We are always much do they cost? making progress on some level, primarily because of our improvements in technology; we learned to reduce AS: All of the crystals I’ve mentioned above are grown the amount of wastage during the formation process, for use in jewelry, the highest in demand being emerald. along with creating other methods for adjusting the Our buyers are mostly men looking to buy something shade. for their woman. Cost depends on quality, size and cutting method. But generally it is between £32-57 per carat. OCA: Do you have any competitors? AS: One of the largest manufacturers of artificial emeralds is an American company called Chatham. Also beryl is grown in Russia. Aside from inevitable competition, there are also other barriers we must overcome to succeed such as ensuring the quality of our crystals and the colour. Along with this we also do not have enough professional advertising, purely because our existing output at the minute is too low to attract any large buyers. All of our profit goes in to creating larger installations at the minute for the cultivation process, which will eventually help us to lower the manufacturing cost by two or three times. OCA: How easy is it to tell with the naked eye whether a jewel is genuine or artificial? AS: Essentially, if it is pure and free of defects then most likely it is an artificial stone. Interview prepared by Ksenia Gold




The ‘Silk Road’ Exposed: Why it was never a single road, had little to do with silk, and rarely set about linking East with West ‘History is written by the victors’. So it is disappointing many commentators fail to follow this through and challenge the bias inherent in a ‘victorious’ narrative.The historiography of the ‘Silk Road’ is a significant case in point. Originating in Central Eurasia as small-scale tracks on the steppes, the route developed into the pre-industrial world’s most momentous, extensive and productive network of commerce and culture, yet is all too often misrepresented as a manufactured highway whose sole purpose was to bridge the ‘gap’ between the powerhouses of Europe and the riches of the China. Over time, this had led to the build-up of a series of misleading misconceptions in need of re-examination. 32 OCA MAGAZINE

ROAD OR ROADS? The term ‘Silk Road’ is relatively new, dating from the nineteenth century, but it is perhaps indicative that it was coined by a European explorer, Baron Von Richtofen. Illustrious geographers indigenous to the region (and there were plenty of them) never described it as such at the time. To his credit, the uncle of World War One’s Red Baron used the plural ‘silkenstrassen’ as often as the singular, since he appreciated that he was dealing with an intricate web of trading posts rather than a single autobahn bulldozing its way the length of Asia. Nevertheless, Von Richtofen was writing from a distinctly ‘Occidental’ point of view. Just as in his mind the Mediterranean World eclipsed all others in the evolution of civilisation, so he assumed his newly-labelled trade route must have been designed to transport ‘Oriental’ luxuries to the markets of all-conquering Europe. Unfortunately, this romantic vision of caravans crossing sandy deserts, camels laden with bales of silk, proved irresistible, and has obscured much. In truth, the ‘Silk Roads’, for if we are to use the term it must surely be in the plural, were a complex and ever-changing jigsaw of local trading routes, large and small, interconnecting the nomadic tribes of Eurasia’s steppes and deserts with their neighbours in the continent’s sophisticated urban centres. Valerie Hansen convincingly demonstrates in her recent The Silk Road: A New History that, no matter which century we look at, almost all the archaeological evidence points to trade being carried out in extended chains made up of small merchant caravans travelling to and fro across their ‘patch’. Primary literary sources likewise indicate that there was no contemporary concept of a single, consistent route. Merchants such as the Polos attempting the entire route in one go (if indeed they did*) were very much the exception rather than the norm. SMOOTH AS SILK? There is no denying that some silk came to Europe from China via the Silk Roads, even if it did change hands many times along the way. Yet that certainly isn’t the whole story. Firstly, China was as happy exporting its silk by sea, in the boats and dhows of the Silk Roads’ littoral cousin, the ‘spice route’. Secondly, silk was merely one of a host of different goods to be traded along our route. Slaves, for example, were just as

crucial a commodity. Thirdly, this network was not just about produce, it also formed a key conduit for peoples, ideas, religions and culture. So alongside glass, paper and jade, came the likes of Jews, Huns and Scythians, with the direction as frequently east as west (in some cases it could even be north or south). And alongside conquerors, refugees and slaves, came Buddhism, Islam and Christianity (Peter Frankopan provides a complete picture of this to-ing and fro-ing in his Silk Roads: A New World History). The importance of the Bombyx mori (and China) is further diminished when we consider the profusion of ‘wild silk’ (grown in India, Persia and Greece). This may have been of inferior quality but, being cheaper, was no less popular. What’s more, archaeological evidence indicates that the vast majority of Chinese silk garments found in Europe and the West were manufactured by Byzantine, Persian or Central Asian, rather than Chinese, artisans – another reminder of how critical a role the ‘gap’ played.




One extra caveat comes from Chinese history itself. Xuan Zang tells of a Han princess sent to marry a Khotanese prince in the 5th century. Appalled at the idea of being stranded in a foreign land so far from home, she secretly hid silkworms and mulberry seeds in her hair, so as to produce her own silk in exile. An apocryphal tale maybe, but it leads to the drawing of two conclusions, both supported by several other pieces of evidence: that after the 5th century AD (i.e. for half of the Silk Roads period), sericulture was no longer a secret known only to the Chinese, and that for most of its life Khotan (like the other oases of the Taklamakan), was considered ‘foreign’ by the Chinese part of the Central Asian world, not China. EAST MEETS WEST?

ner Mongolia, and Manchuria, and the observer starts to realise that for much of its history China consisted of little more than its Han heartland. In contrast, Central Asia and Persia were massive; great green and pink splodges that together form an enormous beating heart. Empires of the steppe covered not just West Turkestan (roughly the modern-day ‘Stans’), but East Turkestan (north-west China plus Mongolia), most of Russia east of the Urals, and much of the territory north of the Black Sea. Similarly, the frontiers of successive Persian Empires regularly stretched from the Mediterranean to northern India, and shouldn’t be confused with the borders of modern-day Iran. ‘Tajik’, after all, means ‘Persian-speaker’ and historically Tajik cities, such as Samarkand and Merv, were to be found across Central Asia, not just in what is modern-day Tajikistan.

Pull out the map. Not a modern political map of Asia but maps of the whole Eurasian landmass through the centuries (Christopher Beckwith provides a more than ample collection in his Empires of The Silk Road). What strikes, again and again, is how peripheral European states tended to be and how small China usually was. Take away Tibet, Qinghai province, Xingjiang, In-

With this in mind, shouldn’t Europe be reduced to a ‘supporting’ role? If, in their heyday, the cities of Bukhara, Balasagun, Baghdad and Balkh were as powerful and rich as Brussels and Barcelona, is it too hard to believe that they were the centre of the Silk Roads and major trading destinations in their own right, rather than stepping stones between East and West?


Does China deserve similar treatment? Like Von Richtofen, Chinese annalists pressed readers to believe the ‘Start’ of the Silk Roads was the ancient capital of Chang’an/Xi’an (something the country’s tourism industry pushes equally bluntly today). They also promoted the notion that historically ‘China’ extended to not only what amounts to its present borders but beyond. Yet ‘frontier’ gates at Dunhuang, Jiayuguan and elsewhere along The Great Wall tell a very different story, and in reality, a ‘web’ of Silk Roads could never have a ‘beginning’ or an ‘end’. MIND THE ‘GAP’ For the two thousand years that the Silk Roads flourished, it thus appears their routes belonged to neither Occident nor Orient, but rather Central Eurasia, born out of a delicate balance between the needs of nomad and city-dweller. It was because this symbiotic relationship was so successful that the network grew and stretched to encounter (and sometimes encompass) other trading empires, whether Ancient Rome, Tang China or Mauryan India. Such superpowers were, of course, ultimately important players in the Silk Roads’ sustained success, but we must resist temptation to put the cart before the horse. The ‘gap’ was no void,

rather the hive of activity upon which the whole enterprise was based. Sceptics would do well to consider the so-called ‘death’ of the great land routes.Tradition dictates that the moment in 1498 that Vasco Da Gama landed in Calicut, the fate of the Silk Roads was sealed, doom and oblivion beckoned.Yet did not the Junghars of 17th century Central Asia oversee a booming trade empire; were not the 16th century Safavids (and their wondrous new capital at Esfahan) an economic and cultural match for any of their Persian predecessors? The answer, as always, lies with the central Eurasians themselves. China and Europe may have been responsible for many goods (including silk) that made their way across the continent, be it as trade, tribute to neighbouring kingdoms, or payment for far-flung garrisons, but Central Eurasian merchants negotiated their safe passage. It was Sogdian, Kushan and Uighur glue that stuck the Silk Roads together. Paul Wilson is the author of The Silk Roads guide book (Trailblazer), and The Alphabet Game (Hertfordshire Press). He is an advisor to the UNWTO’s Silk Road Project and regularly speaks at the Open Central Asia Literary Festival.




Rimsky-Korsakov Opera Tours England Time Zone Theatre’s acclaimed revival of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s rarely performed masterpiece is touring in England and Denmark this year. We are delighted to celebrate the start of our tour with a special performance at the Russian House of Culture and Science on 22nd May 2017 at 8pm. The opera follows the apocryphal legend that Antonio Salieri poisoned his rival and fellow composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, out of jealousy over his talent. Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) used the short story of Mozart and Salieri by Alexander Pushkin as libretto, which also inspired Peter Shaffer’s famous stage play and film, Amadeus. Rimsky-Korsakov’s rarely performed two-hander is a character study, it is a close-up of Salieri’s tormented mind. He is portrayed as a generous man who is torn between admiration for his fellow composer and his own jealousy. In a new English translation and supported by an award-winning team led by stage director, Pamela Schermann, and musical director Andrew Charity, the audience will be captivated by this original production; making people witnesses to Salieri’s plan to poison Mozart. Following a successful run at the Arcola Theatre during the Grimeborn Festival in 2015, Time Zone Theatre’s original take on this classic started their England tour on 25th March 2017 at the Old Joint Stock Theatre in Birmingham. Other touring venues include Albany Theatre (Coventry), Kenton Theatre (Henley-on-Thames), Marine Theatre (Lyme Regis), The Place (Bedford), Shelley Theatre (Dorset), and Yvonne Arnaud Theatre (Guildford). Full touring schedule can be found on Web and social media links:, @TimeZoneTheatre, FB: /timezonetheatre Contact: Pamela Schermann, Sung in English and accompanied by piano and viola. Running time: 50 minutes Tickets: £ 16.50 (incl. booking fee) in advance via WeGotTickets: £ 18 at the door (cash only) Date: 22nd May 2017, 8pm Venue address: Russian House of Culture and Science, 37 Kensington Street, London, W8 5ED


The Academy of Ambitious Artists The Academy of Ambitious Artists is a global platform for talented modern artists. This year’s 2017 tour concluded in Barcelona. It was here that the Eurasian Creative Guild became official media partners for the academy, which is organized by Alessya Artemyeva. Alessya told us more about the tour and academy itself saying, “working with creative people, I frequently face problems, especially when they are new to publicly displaying their work. No matter where I am in the world and whom I’m dealing with, the big question I always have to ask myself is – ‘How can I get everything organized? Who are we going to invite to the event(s)? What’s the best way to liaise with local journalists and other creative people in the area?’. Ultimately I wanted to see if this project could really assist with helping people to achieve what they want out of life and strengthen the alliance between creatives on an international level”. The headquarters of the academy was created in 2015 in Almaty. One of the first projects was an exhibition of young artists from Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, India, Nigeria, Netherlands and Germany. It took place in The State Museum of National Musical Instruments named after Ykhlas, which is where Alessya’s first private exhibition was held in 2014. Amongst this expansive collection included Edri van Neiuwenhof’s, Promised Land; Armat Bektas’, Steppe Line, which was assembled with ancient Kazakh symbols; and Mozes Siboro’s, Plaza, which depicts life in a Nigerian market.




Belarus Bible Celebrates 500 Years of Print

By Stephen M Bland

To mark the 500th anniversary of Francis Skaryna’s translation of the bible into Belarusian, on the 27th February 2017, the British Library in London hosted an event. Speakers included His Excellency Sergei Aleinik, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus in the UK, Professor Roman Motulsky, Director of the National Library of Belarus, and Dr Kristian Jensen, Head of Collections and Curation at the British Library. A humanist, physician and translator, Skaryna was one of the first book printers in Eastern Europe. Between 15171519, Skaryna published a translation of the bible in twenty-two volumes, before helping to tackle an outbreak of deadly disease in Prague. He later went on to publish further books in Vilnius, Lithuania. Speakers at the event focused on Skaryna’s contribution to laying the groundwork for the development of the Belarusian language. Dr Aliaksandr Susha, Deputy Director of the National Library of Belarus went on to outline his institution’s efforts to collect copies of all Skaryna’s manuscripts in the archives of the library. Originals of Skaryna’s extremely rare manuscripts are currently housed in Minsk, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Vilnius, Lvov, London, Prague, Copenhagen and Krakow.


A Tale of Silk and Fashion By Dr Alma Farmer

The Silk Road is well known as a conduit for travellers, for ideas, for armies, for products and for exotic mysteries. But it is a textile that gives the Silk Road its name. It was these textiles and the fashions accompanying them, which led merchants to travel thousands of miles, often in considerable danger. Their potential rewards were great and the cross-fertilisation of materials and fashion ideas caused profound changes for all those affected all along the Silk Road. This was the case two thousand years ago (one of the earliest Roman graves in London is of a woman wearing Chinese silk) as it is today, with fashion designers exploring new ways of using traditional materials and finding new ways to exchange ideas with others around the world, including along the old Silk Road. Caravans loaded with silk made their way from China to Europe, as well as East to Korea and Japan. The silk was worn only by sultans, emperors and the rich, until the secret of silk production was opened and it started produced in Byzantium and later in Venice. Although silk has now spread around the world, it still remains a luxurious fabric and is widely used by today’s fashion designers. For example, the handmade Asian silk fabric Ikat is used widely by western ‘fashionistas’, including by world renowned Oscar de la Renta. Other textiles have also spread widely along the Silk Road. Woollen felt, the oldest known textile, has long been used by nomads in Central Asia to make yurts and gers. Nowadays, the techniques of felt makers bring together felt and silk to make a wide variety of garments. Cotton is also a major fabric of the region. Six out of ten top world cotton producers are on the Silk Road. What are people wearing today in the Silk Road countries? The influence of western style has strongly infused fashion evolved in the Silk Road through the centuries, but they still retain their own distinctive styles, as well as being centres for new, cutting-edge ideas. The Silk Road Fashion show in 2017 is organised by Pro Art & Co in collaboration with Legacy Routes Ltd and Elanu Enterprises Ltd.





Turkey: Eurasia’s Three-Sided Jigsaw Piece Geographically linked to three major surrounding regions, Europe, the Middle East and the Caucasus, Turkey is the three-sided piece of the Eurasian jigsaw puzzle. Having been at the heart of the Eastern Roman and Ottoman Empires, the country’s history is especially representative of this unique and composite identity. Yusuf Akçura, a Russian-born Crimean Tatar intellectual who lived in the Ottoman Empire and later, the Turkish Republic, is perhaps one of the most perceptive observers of Turkey’s distinct position. At a time when the crumbling Ottoman State was much in need of a unifying national identity to consolidate the loyalty of its subjects and strengthen itself by doing so, Akçura summarised the country’s extraordinary situation in an article he wrote in 1904 attempting to address this national predicament. Akçura wrote that the empire had three options; one was to pursue a secular French-Swiss style ideal to unite the empire’s ethnically and religiously diverse population as Ottoman subjects, another emphasised the empire’s Islamic attributes and its role as the world’s leading Muslim power, and the third was based on the empire’s Turkic heritage, linking it to the Turks of Azerbaijan and Central Asia, then ruled by the Tsar. As a non-Ottoman Turk who lived in the empire, Akçura’s perspective as both an outsider and insider is particularly useful for understanding the Ottoman Empire’s triple identity; this is because he was able to comprehend the similarities and differences between the Ottomans and their other Turkish counterparts abroad, as a result of his experiences in Russia. When taking this into account, the variety in identity that he refers to indicates that the Ottoman Empire had firm intellectual and cultural links in all directions and was an integral part of Europe, the Middle East and the Turkic world, an identity which modern-day Turkey has inherited as the empire’s most direct successor.




When considering the country’s archaeological and architectural heritage, this mix becomes even more apparent. One needs only to visit some of Turkey’s great museums and historical sites to see these rich identities come to life. Take for example, the Anatolian Civilisations Museum in Ankara or the Antalya Museum; both reveal the extent of Greco-Roman influence in ancient Turkey, which the Turks themselves would later build upon. Showcasing numerous artefacts, we can see that the people of ancient Anatolia enjoyed life and leisure in the same way as many other Roman subjects. We see images of gladiators and statues of gods and goddesses and in Antalya especially, a statue of Emperor Hadrian. The person of Hadrian, who visited Antalya as its emperor in 130 CE is especially illustrative of Turkey’s wider Roman connection to Europe; indeed, he was born in Spain, ruled from Rome and built a famous wall in Britain. At this time, Turkey was part of a European or at least Europe-centred imperial entity even before the Ottoman Empire, and shared in the cultural life of the Roman world while being so.


While it is true that the Turks themselves did not yet inhabit the territory now comprising the Republic of Turkey when Hadrian visited Antalya in the 2nd Century, the importance of Roman culture and history was not lost on them after they had arrived and settled. Turkish migration to Anatolia began to grow in the 11th Century with the defeat of the Eastern Romans or Byzantines by the Turkish Selçuk Sultan Alp Arslan at the Battle of Manzikert or Malazgirt in 1071, but this military defeat for the Romans did not entirely translate into a cultural one. Instead, with the arrival of the Turks, the country’s Roman heritage was complemented with additional Islamic and Turkic layers, displayed beautifully by the Hagia Sophia, once the largest church in Europe. Built in the 6th Century by Roman Emperor Justinian I in Constantinople, today’s Istanbul, this church was converted into a mosque by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II when he conquered the city in 1453. Importantly, the Muslim Ottoman conquerors did not destroy this great piece of Roman Christian architecture, but exalted it and repurposed it to suit their own religious needs, adding

minarets for example. This great structure still symbolises this synthesis today, having served as a museum in the Turkish Republic since the 1930s with historical Islamic calligraphy and Christian mosaics and frescoes on display in its interior. Importantly too, this cultural fusion continued in the classical Ottoman period, as architects began to replicate the Hagia Sophia’s domes and cubic structure when building other mosques, gradually developing a distinctive Ottoman style. Mosques like these both large and small can still be found across contemporary Turkey, especially in Istanbul including the city’s most famous ones such as the Sultanahmet, Süleymaniye and Rüstem Paşa mosques to name just a few. It is through this architectural synthesis that Turkey’s three historical identities blend in a tangible way; culturally Turkish sultans and nobles endowed these mosques that were designed using Roman churches as their blueprints, and with it,Turkic, Islamic and European heritage blended in bricks and mortar. So there it is, even since the most critical and important periods of the country’s history through the many centuries of the Ottoman Empire and beyond into today’s republic, Turkey has been a country with many influences and connections to the East, the South and the West. It is and long has been, Eurasia’s three-sided jigsaw piece. Text by Edward Rowe





Will Kyrgyzstan leave the Eurasian Union? by Christopher Schwartz Originally published in Voice of Alatoo Gazette and The Diplomat Could Kyrgyzstan one day go down the path of the United Kingdom and choose to depart from the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU)? On the one hand, macroeconomic troubles, shifting geopolitical sands and social anxieties point to a very real situation of rapidly diminishing returns and hence the groundwork for an eventual divorce. On the other hand, public opinion data and strategic calculations point to the necessity of a continued inconvenient marriage of convenience. A SURPRISING PARALLEL An interesting parallel exists between the world’s premiere island democracy and Central Asia’s “island of democracy”. Both countries became members of their respective regional blocs without direct consultation with the electorate: Edward Heath’s government took the United Kingdom into the European Economic Community without a vote on January 1st 1973, as did Almazbek Atambayev’s government with the EEU Kyrgyzstan on December 23rd, 2014. Gallup polls taken in 1973 initially found the British public almost evenly divided on the decision. However, by 1974, there was a two-to-one majority believing the country had been wrong to join, and by 1975, Gallup found that 41% of people said they would vote to leave in an immediate referendum and only 33% to stay in. Perhaps June 23rd, 2016 proved a long-overdue reckoning with a government that, in retrospect, shockingly seems to have been intent upon ignoring its electorate.



CENTRAL ASIA Yet, in the lead-up to the Brexit referendum, seasoned analysts had expected economic realities to trump symbolic concerns over immigration and foreign competition for jobs. The United Kingdom is far too integrated with the Continent, especially in terms of financial markets, to just walk away. By upending over 40 years of diplomatic history, according to the London School of Economics, over 100 trade agreements must now be renogotiated – a Heruclean diplomatic challenge, possibly the largest the world has faced since the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the wake of the 52-48% Leave-Stay result, these same analysts are now realizing that the symbolic discourse over immigration and jobs should not have been downplayed. Although fears of “Islamicization” have doubtlessly been exagerrated, it nonetheless signals the English working-class’s genuine anxiety over the changing religious landscape of British society. There is also a genuine feeling of being left behind by European integration in very real bread-and-butter terms. By contrast, Kyrgyzstan is a country in which analysts are much more aware of the intricate ways in which the economic and the symbolic are intertwined. Kyrgyzstan’s various conflicts – the border conflict with Tajikistan, the water conflict with Uzbekistan, the situation between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in Osh, and the rise of nationalistic and Islamic extremism – “are all symbolically connected,” says Meerim Maturaimova, a lead specialist with the Research Center on the Religious Situation under the State Commission of Religious Affairs. “All of these are not just material disagreements, but are really competitions over whose group, and hence whose culture, can control space, territory and resources.” THE CASE FOR EXITING Arguably, EEU-membership is exasperating these problems in Kyrgyzstan. On the economic front, according to the National Statistical Committee, in the period January-May 2016, compared to the same period last year, imports fell by 8.2%, exports by 29.3%, and the most damning statistic: trade with other EEU member-states amounted to


$770.3, a reduction of 21.6%. In general, Kyrgyzstan’s GDP decreased by 2.3% during the first half of 2016. It thus comes as no surpise that in the International Republican Institute (IRI)’s most recent public opinion poll, published on May 9th, 49% of respondents said that job creation and unemployment are the most important issues facing the country. Although Kyrgyzstan was never an employment utopia, EEU-membership is certainly a major factor in the country’s latest economic woes. Membership imposes a high tariff system upon Kyrgyzstan’s trade with nonEEU countries, which complicates trade with China, which for 14 years fueled much of this tiny mountainous republic’s economy. The EEU has thus diminished economic activity in Kyrgyzstan’s important system of bazaars and increased its dependency upon Russia and Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, both of these countries have been in an economic tailspin since 2014. Meanwhile, China has experienced a meteoric rise as potentially the most important long-term economic power in Central Asia. This divergence between reality and policy has not been lost to the leadership of Kyrgyzstan, who are already considering to pivot back toward China, according to a well-placed anonymous source within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On the symbolic front, there are creeping concerns about how EEU-membership may also be negatively impacting Kyrgyzstan’s societal composition, especially its religious landscape. The India-based Tablighi Jamaat is a controversial Islamic movement that Central Asian security agencies worry serves as a gateway into radicalism. According to an anonymous source close to the Kyrgyzstani government, when the movement was banned in Kazakhstan in 2013, it exploited Kyrgyzstan’s lax border policies to move its activists en force into the country, and that it may now be exploiting the slightly-more relaxed travel regulations of the EEU to entrench its position here. Indeed, according to Maturaimova, the Research Center recently learned of a large number of complaints of door-to-door Islamic prosletyzation connected to Tablighi Jamaat, either by its official missionaries or former members.

“I see Kyrgyzstan as the most stable of the Central Asian republics, ironically in part precisely because of its dependency upon Russia,” explains Khamidov. “There are a lot of young men up there working hard, feeling productive, and not being here in Kyrgyzstan, not working and getting angry.” No matter how difficult it may get in Russia, Kyrgyzstan’s migrant laborers do not really have any viable alternative destination. Western countries have stricter immigration rules, Turkey is increasingly unstable and China is the example par excellence of labor surplus. Moreover, even if the value of the money Kyrgystan’s labor migrants are able to send back decreases as the Russian economy continues to decline, it is nontheless a lifeline for those they who have stayed behind, Khamidov adds. The EEU is thus a kind of safety valve for Kyrgyzstan, a country which has experienced two political revolutions and an inter-ethnic conflict: it releases the steam of unemployment and discontent. In this day and age, with religious concerns often directly linked to security concerns. it was thus not lost upon the general public that a crucial element of a purported terrorist cell killed in a shoot-out with police on July 16th, 2015, were Kazakhstani citizens. Nor has it been lost upon them that Kazakhstan has experienced an uptick in purported terrorist attacks, including one recently in Almaty, on July 18th. THE CASE FOR STAYING All that being said, according to Alisher Khamidov, an analytical consultant with the World Bank, Kyrgyzstan’s fate may be inexorably tied to the EEU for demographic and strategic reasons. On the demographic front, anywhere between half and one million Kyrgyzstani citizens – or between 8-16% of Kyrgyzstan’s population of approximately six million – are currently working in other EEU member-states, especially Russia, which constitutes 85% of the country’s entire remittance inflow and approximately onethird of its GDP according to calculations by various international observers.

“Bishkek knows this, and it is depending upon this as a key to Kyrgyzstan’s medium-term stability,” says Khamidov. “It is obviously not the greatest solution, but it can work for a long enough time for the country to peacefully develop – and it can develop in part because of those remittances.” Indeed, the IRI found that as of this past March, despite Kyrgyzstan’s struggles with political corruption and its battered economy, 65% of respondents to its public opinion poll believe the country is headed in the right direction. Moreover, 36% and 42% “strongly” and “somewhat” support the EEU, respectively, which is more less the same with their response nine months before in July 2015 (38% and 44%).




Khojaly – A Tragic Artistic Inspiration Text by Margarita Aab

February 1992 saw the single worst atrocity committed during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.The Khojaly Massacre took the lives of 613 civilians. The death toll included 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly people. Despite this tragedy, and many other instances of unimaginable brutality, Azerbaijan always looks for peaceful resolution of this unresolved conflict. This has been demonstrated by the recent establishment of the Platform for Peace, an Azerbaijani initiative that brings together members of Azerbaijani and Armenian civil society in an attempt to increase understanding on a human level. The same premise was the catalyst for the annual Khojaly Peace Prize for Art; an initiative of the Justice for Khojaly campaign, under the auspices of The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS), which seeks to represent the horrors of the tragedy through art. Launched in 2016, and now in its second year, this prize continues to channel the creativity of art students living in the UK. The prizes were awarded on 22nd February amidst the historic surroundings of the Strangers’ Dining Room in the House of Commons before a gathering of over 100 multinational Londoners. Selected from over 70


entrants, the judging panel for the art prize comprised the Hon Baroness Sayeeda Warsi; Baroness Zahida Manzoor; Bob Blackman MP and Chair of the Azerbaijan All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG); Sabina Rakcheyeva, Cultural Advisor for TEAS; and Lionel Zetter, Director of TEAS. Jack Pegoraro, Director of TEAS London, commented: “During the Armenian–Azerbaijani conflict, all ethnic Azerbaijanis were either killed or forced to flee Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions. One of the defining moments was on 26th February when 613 unarmed civilians – men, women and children – were killed by invading Armenian forces. It is now the 25th anniversary of this tragedy, and no one has been brought to justice. The purpose of events like today is to commemorate the victims and to ensure that such tragedies never recur.” Baroness Zahida Manzoor, host of the event, stated: “I was one of the judges of the competition. During my visit to Azerbaijan, with some other members of the Azerbaijani All-Party Parliamentary Group, I was very privileged to meet some of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the Nagorno-Karabakh region. It

was terrible to hear some of their very sad stories. Despite the terror they had experienced, there was hope, love and harmony. They were seeking peace and resolution for the future. I was deeply moved and touched by those experiences. Hosting this event is very meaningful – it is about the future of humanity.When we see such atrocities around the world, we must speak up and share our thoughts. By speaking with one voice, we can address those issues with which we don’t agree.” She further commented, “all these paintings show some element of hope. In some, you can see the peace and love. In others, you can see eyes that are full of despair and sadness. In others, there are wings of the dove of peace, as we all share the same humanity and seek to move forward. It has been very difficult to decide on the winners of the Khojaly Peace Prize for Art, but all the paintings spoke of the need for resolution and peace.” Baroness Sayeeda Warsi announced the prize winners. First prize was taken by British-born Louisa Marriott, a student at the Norwich University of the Arts, for her painting Tranquillity of Movement. In her acceptance speech, she commented: “My art is very political, and I want it to push towards change and positively affect the world. My painting commemorates the 63 children who died in Khojaly, but their faces are those of today’s refugees. Hopefully it will help us become more compassionate to the plight of refugees.” Despite the passing of four UN Security Council resolutions against the invasion, Armenia continues to occupy Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions to this day. Currently nearly 20 per cent of Azerbaijani territory remains occupied, and approximately one million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are spread across Azerbaijan. The evening was dedicated to the memory of the Khojaly victims and those Azerbaijanis who have only one wish – to return to their homes and lands. Khojaly Peace Prize for Art 2017 First Prize – Tranquillity of Movement by Louisa Marriott Second Prize – In The Morning by Tae Eun Ahn Third Prize – Don’t Be Submerged by Ming Ying Highly commended – Please Don’t Call Me Refugee by Katie Shevlin





TO KAZAKHSTAN Text by Alina Elibol


Windsurfing can be considered as one of the most beautiful sports; wind, adrenaline, sea, sun, and all of this combined with the art of sailing. Watching windsurfers ride the blue and furious waves sometimes seems like watching butterflies with their colorful wings. But windsurfing is not only a pleasure for one’s interested eyes; this is actually a pretty tough sport which gets you to train in any weather conditions – no matter how wild - using expensive and fragile equipment. As windsurfing becomes more popular in Kazakhstan, there’s a handful of the sport’s practitioners who are directing their ambitions with the aim to represent our landlocked nation in the Olympics. One such person is seventeen year old, Nikita Chetvernya. Originally from Astana, Nikita has been living in Turkey for the last six years, spending all but one of those years windsurfing.

didn’t stop the hardy participants from all over Turkey showing off their professional levels of sailing skill. Despite Nikita’s success, there is an unlikely twist to this story; as Nikita isn’t a Turkish citizen he isn’t able to join the country’s national windsurfing team and neither is he able to represent Kazakhstan because so far there is no national team! Nevertheless, every time we see Nikita standing high on the first step of the podium, clasping the winner’s trophy in his hands, we can still feel proud to know that Kazakhstan is his motherland and hope to one day see him and others of his nation in the Olympics!

There are plenty of sailing sport clubs, including for windsurfing, such as in Izmir, where Nikita lives. Nikita was very lucky to become the member of Çeşmealtı Windsurf ve Yelken Spor Kulübü (Çeşmealtı Sailing Sport Club). The club organises training for both children and adults, but there are only teams for juniors and students. Çeşmealtı is considered to be a strong club and two of its members are part of Turkey’s national windsurfing team, which participated in Rio de Janeiro’s recent Olympic Games. Nikita started his windsurfing career from the smallest of available sails, a single square meter, and went through several age categories over the years. Previously competing with the Techno sail, he now rides an RS:One – a sail which has almost 8 square meters of surface area. Three years previously this young and driven Kazakhstani-Turkish windsurfer won the third place in his age category and since then he has never stepped down from the podium. Each competition has helped him to become more confident, with permanent training on the open sea contributing to Nikita’s strength and mastery. For the last two years there hasn’t been a single time that he has lost to another competing club; achieving first place positions in all Turkish Sailing Federation competitions.The most recent one, the Winter Cup of the Turkish Sailing Federation in Cheshma, earlier this year saw him again victorious.The competition took place in variable weather conditions characterised by cold temperatures and stormy winds. But this




Off to the Pamirs Text by Mattew Traver

In September 2013 I travelled with British writer Jamie Maddison to produce a film, in conjunction with the Murghab Ecotourism Association, about a KyrgyzstaniTajik hunter and herder named Orozbek, who lives in a small settlement just off the beautiful Pamir Highway and overlooking the verdant Alichur Plains of eastern Tajikistan. During the month we spent with Orozbek we had a rare and unforeseen opportunity to explore the surrounding region, which neighbours Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor to the south.

horseback. Our first day in Tajikistan saw us bumping and grinding our way down the Pamir Highway in a decrepit Lada driven by two young soldiers from Dushanbe. Peering out the tinted windows, I watched the Chinese border fence cut an arbitrary line through the expansive wilderness. Amid the pristine, snowcapped peaks and uninhabited plateau, our little car was an absurd microcosm of the modern world as the stench of tobacco smoke and stale breath slowly mixed with ear-splitting Uzbek techno and the soldier’s conversations about missing family in the capital.

Our journey toward Eastern Tajikistan began with a two-day overland hitchhike and taxi share from Almaty, The somewhat surreal journey turned memorably Kazakhstan, where we had been resting up after ludicrous when the axle of the Lada snapped in half completing a two-month crossing of Kazakhstan on coming down from Ak-Baital Pass (4,655m), resulting in


four screaming men fruitlessly clutching the dashboard, seats, hair, and each other in the irrational hope it might stop our car from rolling over in a ditch. Eventually, after an overnight car nap in the middle of the highway, and with the axle repaired with salvaged wire and zip ties, we spluttered in to Orozbek’s farmstead and yurt, approximately 5km north of the Kyrgyz settlement of Bash-Gumbez. Over the weeks that followed Jamie and I were able to document the Kyrgyz communities of the GornoBadakhshan Autonomous Oblast resulting in the completion of an ethnographic documentary film on the life of Orozbek and his family titled ‘A Portrait of Orozbek’, which is due for public release this summer.

Many of the factual themes observed in the film, such as the agricultural practices, foraging for wild tea, marmot hunting, regional geography and exploring the little known archaeological sites such as BazarDara in the nearby North Alichursky Mountains have been published in to a new photography booked titled Eastern Tajikistan: A Visual Exploration of Life in the Pamirs. It is available in hardback and to view in digital version via





BISHKEK’S BIG RED BUS When you travel to new places most of us tend to do some research, ‘the top ten places to visit ‘, ‘must do in Bishkek!’ and in doing so we connect with previous travellers and base our experiences on theirs. If somewhere is so alien then a ‘guide’ is a good idea but I like to wander explore and discover. I also like to find connections – usually historical: a street named after someone, a building that is a copy of another, a plant or animal that is familiar. Connections are what make the world smaller, gives a common bond and a discussion point to break down language barriers and the cultural divide. But when looking for connections sometimes they jump out at you so much that you cannot believe they really exist and so it was with an old big red London bus in Bishkek, of all places! Relaxing and contemplating life, the weather, and the surroundings I happened to glance up and through the trees, across the park there was the distinctive shape and colour of a double decker bus. Bright red and shining in the sunlight it sat there out of place and time. I was intrigued and made my way across the grass hoping it would not drive off before I reached it – fortunately it did not.

Text & Photos Gareth Stamp

Sat onboard were three young Kyrgyz ladies, a Russian looking man with walrus mustache and two other young men. I told them I was British and their mouths fell open. The more confident of the women asked me, astounded, ‘What are you doing in Bishkek? . I replied ‘What is this doing in Bishkek?’ and so the connection was made!




The Red London bus or Route Master to give it its formal name is a design icon and when people think of a red London bus it is this version that instinctively comes to mind. In the late 1950’s it was an innovative design and used lightweight aluminium along with construction techniques developed in aircraft production during World War II. The buses served in London for over twenty five years declining after 1982 when conductor less busses became the norm. We sat and talked and it turned out they were waiting for a young photographer to join us - this was not their usual stop or route but they were doing a promotional video of the bus and the restaurant that it was advertising. I was allowed to wander and found the bus to be in almost pristine condition – there was some discussion as to it’s age but between 1963 and 1967 were the dates given by different passengers who seemed to ‘know ‘– but how it came to be in Bishkek was a myth and an enigma that no one could agree on. So I searched!


Kamilla the confident young Kyrgyz woman is now the proud owner of the bus and has a great idea – promoting a top chain of restaurants by taking customers to and from their nights out in a traditional British icon and the idea seems to be popular – customers can leave the car at home and enjoy themselves confident that they will be driven home in style.There is only one problem - that some parts of Bishkek are not accessible due to low bridges or tram lines but these high-end customers rarely live in those districts anyway! Kamilla is a confident 20-something Kyrgyz woman with a young family, intellect and a forward thinking mind will hop on with her for the ride. This demographic is increasingly common in this small but rapidly developing country. The bus was ‘found’ semi abandoned in a garage and that is where she saw the potential. As I wandered through the bus I saw details that I had to explain to her, the rope cord pull to alert the driver (sadly no longer connected), the handles to wind down the windows and the meaning of the Number 12 route map still intact in the stair well. Some other clues: a

patent plate and a brass plate proclaiming the ‘London Bus Export Company, Chepstow ‘ the company that had delivered the bus to someone, somewhere, some how and a clue. After an enjoyable afternoon driving around Bishkek in the big red London bus while the photographer did his work and chatted with the young Kyrgyz people – the man with the walrus mustache was the driver but said little! I decided to investigate. I had little to go on with no original registration information, or data but surely the brass plate would hold the clue – a quick search and the London Bus Export Company, Chepstow was easily found and an email was sent. Within a short time a puzzled reply came back from a wonderful person called Vanessa. Puzzled, because there were bits of the jigsaw missing. One of the young Kyrgyz women had mentioned that it had come over the border from Kazakhstan and indeed the Chepstow company did sell a Routemaster to a tobacco company in Almaty some years back, 2007, we think. But there was another problem. “We were told that they were unable to register it in Kazakhstan and it was re-routed elsewhere, Austria I believe,” lamented Vanessa. “We can deduce from this that they did eventually manage to get the bus in somehow at some later stage or they bought a bus from somebody else later.” I hoped this was not a dead end. “Our vehicle was a 1966 Routemaster (RML model) registration number JJD 574D, fleet number RML2574. I’m puzzled on this issue because of the circumstances I mentioned earlier and the fact that the route number in the photographs is 12 when our bus worked on route 19!’ said Vanessa. What is even more remarkable is that this Bishkek bus is already famous and a visit to the Routemaster Wikipedia page shows a picture of the bus in a different colour scheme – it was repainted after export. I had to leave Bishkek the following day but stayed in touch with Kamilla, hoping that the bureaucracy of this country would mean she had documents telling us more about the bus. Sadly over time the leads went cold and the elusive paperwork remains hidden but maybe some mysteries are best left unsolved, enabling other people to wonder how a very British product ends up in a very un-British place. Bishkek is a vibrant developing city with the feel, in parts, of the old Silk Road. In other parts a Soviet past are found and in others strong hints of original Kyrgyz cultural identity but this is the last place you expect to find an old big red London bus!




Queen Receives New Kazakh Ambassador

At the end of February 2017, Mr. Erlan Idrissov was appointed as a new ambassador for Kazakhstan to the UK. However, as a prominent politician and Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Idrissov is well versed in representing his country overseas. Immediately after coming to the UK, Mr. Idrissov presented official copies of his credentials to Mr. Julian Evans, Director of Protocol and Vice-Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps. The meeting between Mr. Idrissov and Mr. Evans focused on Kazakh-British relations. This followed on with an additional meeting with Her Majesty’s Marshal of Diplomatic Corps, Mr. Alistair Harrison, in preparation for Mr. Idrissov’s meeting with Queen Elizabeth II on March 8th 2017. It was here he would present his credentials and extend his personal best wishes to her on behalf of His Excellency Nursultan Nazarbayev, President to the Republic of Kazakhstan.


Mr Idrissov also congratulated the Queen on her Sapphire Jubilee last month. The new ambassador pointed out to her the excellent links between Kazakhstan and the UK, in areas such as politics, trade, economy, investment, cultural and humanitarian areas. In turn, the Queen stressed the importance of further strengthening and expanding cooperation between Kazakhstan and Great Britain, and praised the dynamic development of Kazakhstan under the leadership of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Erlan Idrissov was born on 28th April 1959 in the Karaganda region of Kazakhstan. In 1981 he graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the USSR. After that he had benefited his country by working on many critically important positions, such as First Secretary of the Permanent

Mission of Kazakhstan to the UN (1992-1995), Head of the Department of America, Ambassador-at-large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan (19951996), an Assistant to the President of Kazakhstan (1996-1997), First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan (1997-1999), and even a Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan (1999-2002, 2012-2017). Between 2002 and 2007, he worked as the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, non-resident Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the Kingdom of Sweden, The Kingdom of Norway and the Republic of Ireland. Between 2007 to 2012, he worked as the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the United States of America and non-resident Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Federal Republic of Brazil. Mr. Idrissov is the author of a huge row of articles on Kazakhstan’s foreign policy issues

and multilateral diplomacy. He speaks English, French, Urdu and Hindi. A few words that the new Ambassador starts his post with: “I find it very symbolic that I started my current UK assignment in 2017 – the year when we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Kazakh-British diplomatic relations. It is also symbolic that I am writing this note at the time of Nauryz – Central Asian New Year - which starts on spring equinox and heralds the revival of nature, new life and new beginnings. So, it is in the vibrant spirit of Nauryz that I welcome you to discover Kazakhstan and hope that you will find there abundant new opportunities and exciting new travel destinations.”




Security and Human Right to Water in Central Asia by Miguel Angel Perez Martin In Central Asia there are more than 19 million people living in the region without access to drinking water. One of the main causes of the crisis is due to the lack of cross-border cooperation between the Central Asian countries, especially with the Amu Darya river. The lack of joint water resources management of this river has given rise to numerous conflicts between the riparian countries. But how well is the link between security and water understood within Central Asia, and are international security organisations, such as NATO, assisting in managing water-related conflicts? The book, Security and Human Right to Water in Central Asia, discusses the importance of water resources through highlighting historical, political and socio-economic events that have occurred in Central Asia. It analyses the current risks and threats arising from the mismanagement of water resources (mainly in the Amu Darya basin) and its impacts on the human right to adequate water and sanitation. However, the most outstanding feature of this book is the overlying theme which proposes that effective management of water resources is a central pillar in maintaining peace and security in Central Asia. Furthermore it identifies the various actors involved in water issues, and their relations in terms of conflicts, paying particular attention to multilateral security organizations (NATO, SCO, CSTO) and whether they have been effective in addressing water conflicts in the region. * Miguel Angel Perez Martin is coordinator of the Observatory of Human Right to Water. He is also a specialist in water resources and Eurasian studies. He has worked in Iran, UK, Germany, and Kazakhstan as researcher and teacher. Hardcover ISBN 978-1-137-54004-1 eBook ISBN 978-1-137-54005-8 Publisher Palgrave Macmillan US 2017


Central Asia may not boast the Michelin starred cuisine of Tokyo, London or Paris, but don’t be deceived by those who say it has nothing to offer by way of gastronomic experiences. There are plenty of delights and new foods to try in a cuisine based largely on the region’s nomadic heritage that has fused together millennia of itinerant international cuisine. Traditionally this meant horse or sheep’s meat, with vegetables hard to come by, but today’s Central Asian cuisine has adapted to the modern table, retaining a lingering twist of Soviet and Asian influence that will delight the adventurous and surprise the skeptical. There are many reasons that we have chosen to include recipes in this book, but we have done so primarily based on five crude criteria: deliciousness, cultural significance, historical commentary, uniqueness and “for the experience”. You will notice however, that there are many variations on certain themes; dumplings or noodle dishes for instance. This is because the six countries that demarcate Central Asia in this book share some of their history in that they are all, in some part, a result of the collision between the Turkic world and the former Soviet Union. You will see that some of the tastes are not accompanied by a recipe. This is because they depend utterly upon their location, chal (fermented camel milk) being one such example. Also, some recipes do not reflect exactly what you might eat in restaurants or Central Asian homes. This is for two reasons: firstly, because there is so much variation within recipes in Central Asia, and secondly, because some of the ingredients are difficult to obtain in a western context.




Text by Victoria Semyonovykh



Ukraine is a country undergoing a lot of different changes at a great speed. Our country has been trembling from ever-changing rules for the last twenty years. However, it continues to develop and despite the political shake-ups, it is clearly developing its spiritual and creative components despite all the varying difficulties and disturbances. Ukraine has been famous for its cuisine for hundreds of years. This is not surprising. Ukrainians appreciate the value of good, quality food due to its amazing and fertile lands.That is why we have sweet flounder, gentle bullheads, mussels and many recipes involving fruit and vegetable. Even though Ukrainian cuisine has undergone many transformations over the years, basic traditional dishes remain almost unchanged. Borshch and varenyky with various fillings remain popular in both Ukrainian restaurants and home kitchens. But the famous Kyiv cutlet - loved by all since the Soviet Union - has lost its reputation. This is mostly because it has been overtaken in popularity by Italian, Japanese and Mediterranean cuisine. Sadly this has led many to believe that the humble cutlet is too time consuming and uninteresting to cook. However, borshch, a classic and favorite of the modern Ukrainian cuisine, still holds strong with contemporary culinary tastes. The borshch recipe has continued to be passed down over the years from one generation to another.



FOOD CORNER Today we’ll present about the authentic versions of both these foods, starting with BORSHCH which is a thick vegetable soup with veal or pork, in which beet is the most important ingredient. Proper borshch should have a rich ruby color and have a bright, sweet taste and smell. Here’s how to prepare it: 1.Take veal or pork (meat on the bone is preferable). Wash and chop it into pieces of 40-50 grams. 2. Divide the ribs one by one and cut into pieces of 5-6 cm. Boil half a pan of water and put the meat and bone in it, carefully removing the foam. 3. Add spices, black pepper corns and parsley root to taste. Ensure you add the spices only in a small quantity so the smell is not too intense. 4. Leave the meat to simmer for an hour in order to get a strong meat broth. When the meat is soft and easily separated from the bone, remove the parsley root and pepper. 5. Add the following finely chopped fresh vegetables into the cooked broth; Bulgarian pepper, onion and carrot. Crush a few cloves of garlic and add together with a pinch of hot pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes. 6. Afterwards add the beet cut into strips. Boil the broth for 10 more minutes and add the diced potatoes. 7. When the potatoes are cooked (usually after 10 minutes) add the tomato paste. 8. At the end of cooking, chop the cabbage into the soup, cook it for another 5-7 minutes and 8. sprinkle with herbs. Before serving allow the soup to stand cold overnight and then when ready you can serve it with sour cream and appreciate a magical taste of the most popular first course dish loved by all in Ukraine. INGREDIENTS: 1 kg of pork or beef 1 carrot 3-4 potatoes, 1 parsley root, 1 beet 1 red bell pepper 2-3 cloves of garlic 1 onion 1/2 white cabbage 2-3 tablespoons of tomato paste Salt and pepper to taste


As for the tasty and popular VARENYKY, this is a gentle, lean dough in which a variety of sweet or savory fillings are wrapped. In both cases, varenyky are served with sour cream, where it acts as a sauce. This is how varenyky are cooked: 1. Make the dough for varenyky with cherries, roll it (2mm thickness) and cut out the circles. 2. Put three cherries on each circle and connect the edges. 3 Put the varenyky in boiling salted water and take them out when they come to the surface. Put cherry kernels with cherry juice on the fire, add a little water and cook for 2-3 minutes, gradually adding sugar (to taste). The syrup is now ready. 4. While serving varenyky with cherries, mix the syrup with sour cream and pour into a separate container. DOUGH INGREDIENTS: 3 cups of flour 1.5 cups of water 3 eggs 0.5 teaspoons of salt FILLING AND SAUCE INGREDIENTS: Cherry Cherry kernels Cherry juice Sugar Sour cream

Bon Appetit!



OEBF from the director’s view Since 2014, Anna Lari has been the director of Open Eurasia. Formally known as the Open Central Asia and Eurasia Book Forum, Open Eurasia is an international literary contest for writers, poets, translators, illustrators and film directors. We wanted to interview Anna to find out more about how last year’s event went and what’s planned for 2017.

OCA: How does Open Eurasia differ from other literary contests?

OCA: Which countries took part in last year’s festival?

AL: What makes Open Eurasia different from other literary contests is that it is based on the principle of openness and interaction between those involved in the differing creative and literary disciplines. This provides an opportunity for those involved to establish a constructive dialogue with one another. The main prize of the contest is the publication of the winner’s book in English.

AL: Every year we see an increase, not only in the prize fund but also the number of applications and range of nationalities. The first year (in 2012) saw 140 applications from 22 countries; 2013 - 170 applications from 20 countries; 2014 - 450 applications from 22 countries; 2015 - 800 applications from 28 countries; and 2016 - 1500 applications from 40 countries, such as Kyrgyzstan, Bulgaria, United Kingdom, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Canada, Mozambique, United States of America, Serbia, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Russian Federation, Belarus, Ukraine, Japan and others.

Open Eurasia consists of two main components: 1. A contest which includes four categories; literature, translation, illustration, and film. 2. A book forum which includes workshops, discussion panels, and scientific conferences. This is intended to bring together well-known and up-and-coming, young talented authors who work across a variety of disciplines and genres.

OCA: What are your opinions on the results of the contest? Do you feel satisfied?




AL: In 2016 we reached a new personal record receiving more than 1500 applications. This suggests that the competition with each passing year is becoming more popular. There are authors from new countries and new literary works offering fresh styles. I hope that it will continue to grow over the coming years and that authors will be able to communicate more, discussing common topics and collaborating further with one another. OCA: Do you think the festival provides more exposure for Eurasian literature? What is an important aim for the festival? AL: The rapid development of the Open Eurasia contest indicates that there is a great interest in modern Eurasian literature and that it has a place in the international arena. The festival contributes to the unification of the whole Eurasian region, helping authors to prove themselves, show their work around the world, and for readers to learn about authors who have the potential to become as famous as Shakespeare, Pushkin, Akhmatova, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky. OCA:Tell us more about the 2016 festival.What events took place? AL: In 2016 we had a full schedule for participants and guests. We organized numerous presentations re-


lating to Hertfordshire Press’ books, lectures, concerts, poetry reading, photo exhibitions, roundtable discussions, excursions to the BBC’s headquarters and top universities around London. The events took place in 9 venues across 3 cities; including the Turkish Cultural Centre in London, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), the Royal Geographic Society, Cambridge, Oxford, University College London and others. For the first time in the history of our festival a poetry evening called, The Voices of Eurasia, took place during which talented poets read out aloud their works in their native language. OCA: What are your final impressions from the festival and what do you hope for next year? AL: Receiving works and having participants from so many countries is very encouraging and shows that there is potential to keep expanding significantly. It’s inspiring to see that everyone involved not only wishes to display their creative works, but also has an interest in sharing ideas and collaborating with one another. I think this indicates that we are moving in the right direction. In terms of what I hope for next year? More guests, rewarding experiences, engaging events, and innovative works.

This is a major new history of an increasingly important country in Central Asia.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. A succession of armies and empires, tribes and khanates, appeared and disappeared, before the siege and destruction in 1219 of the ancient Silk Road city of Otrar under the Mongol leader Genghis Khan. The emergence of the first identifiable Kazakh state in the sixteenth century was followed by early contacts with Russia, the country which came to be the dominant influence in Kazakhstan and Central Asia for three hundred years. The book shows how Kazakhstan has been inextricably caught up in the vast historical processes - of revolution, civil war, and the rise and fall of communism - which have extended out from Russia over the last century. In the process the country has changed dramatically, from a simple nomadic society of khans and clans, to a modern and outward-looking nation.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.



OEBF - 2016

WINNERS The 5th Open Eurasia Book Forum & Literature Festival was held from the 25th to 28th November 2016. As the world’s leading literature festival for promoting Eurasian literature on an international level, one of the primary parts of the weekend-long event is the chance for authors to win an opportunity to have their book published. In 2016 the cash prize amounted to $32,000 and attracted more than 1,400 authors from 43 countries. The winners were as follows:




Maral is a qualified philologist and Russian language teacher. She works as a journalist for a website where she writes about her fellow countrymen, creative people, authors, artists, actors, and musicians. She has a strong interest in studying the biographical genre. Maral has been fond of creative writing since she was a child. Her poems, fairy-tales, and stories have been published in local newspapers. “I am keen on the history of my native land and I used to write my own columns in a local newsletter which were called ‘Ashgabat 100 Years Ago’ and ‘On a Great Silk Road’. The research for most of these articles was done through the archives available to me at my national library. My story, ‘One Day of the Big Year’ is based on my mother’s stories about her childhood. The reason why I wrote this story is because they are about the harsh times of war and I feel they are worthy of being heard. I said to myself, ‘I must not let these humble, yet heartwarming and kind stories, be lost in time’”.

He is a graduate of the Faculty of Journalism of the Tashkent State University (1988-1993) and he has worked as a journalist for over 20 years. He began publishing his short stories in the 1990s. In 2016 his first book, Tolkuprik, a collection of short stories and novels, was published. In 2015, Zvezda literature magazine in St. Petersburg, Russia, published his short story, Kuldirgich, in Russian. In 2014 his novel about life in the Soviet Army, Memoirs of S.A., had become one of the five winners in the regional competition called Novellasia, where works of more than one hundred authors from the five Central Asian countries were represented.




Yulya Sibirtseva does not actually need a pen name considering nobody even believes her surname is real. She is too old to be a teenager, but not old enough to fit into the adult world. She likes to listen to and observe the word around her When thoughts are stuck in her head she writes them down, an act which has now become a habit - she guesses that this is how one becomes a writer.

With a brown belt in Aikido and a background managing positions for public organisations and corporations, Oleg is also an active writer producing psychological stories and has been the winner of a series of literary competitions in the past.


1ST PLACE: ALIYA KARIMOVA (REPUBLIC OF TATARSTAN, RUSSIA) FOR HER BOOK, KUTTUU YYGӨ KABAR AYTPAY, CHAKYRTPAY (КУТТУУ YЙГӨ KАБАР AЙТПАЙ, ЧАКЫРТПАЙ). Aliya is a poet, translator of Turkic languages (Tatar, Kirghiz, Chuvash and Bashkir) and is a member of the Tatarstan Writers’ Union and Tatar PEN Center. She is the author of the following books; ‘Another Dress’ (Kazan, Tatar Book Publishing House, 2006), ‘Alifba - Tatar Alphabet’ (Moscow, Mardzhani’s Publishing House, 2012), ‘Cold – Hot’ (Kazan, Tatar Book Publishing House, 2015). She is also the winner of Kazan Literary Award named after M. Gorky (2007) and Republic Prize Award named after G. Derzhavin (2016).



OEBF - 2016

2ND PLACE: NADEZHDA SEREBRENNIKOVA (USA) FOR HER NOVEL, BORN AGAINST ALL ODDS. After she quit being a journalist for a well-respected, yet boring, newspaper in St. Petersburg, Nadezhda became a freelancer and commenced writing her first novel, Born Against All Odds. Since moving to California in 2013 she has focused on pursuing writing on her own terms, producing stories for both kids and adults.

3RD PLACE: EKATERINA KRAVCHUK (BELARUS) FOR HER NOVEL, ONE DAY OF A LONG YEAR OR WHEN THE FATHER CAME BACK. Ekaterina considers herself a creative person and likes to participate in various literary competitions.


1ST PLACE: MARIA LOZBENEVA (RUSSIA) FOR HER PSYCHOLOGICAL FANTASY, THE CAT WHO KNEW HOW TO CRY. She always loved to draw. This is an essential part of her life and for her, it is a way of communication and expressing emotions or even a way to find inner peace.


2ND PLACE: ZHENIS NURLYBAYEV (KAZAKHSTAN) FOR HIS STORY, QONIRQAZ (ҚОҢЫРҚАЗ). Kazakh painter, art critic, author of the Year of Cultural Support emblem in Kazakhstan (2000), and laureate of the presidential grant of The Republic of Kazakhstan (2010). In 1989 he worked as the art illustrator of ‘Ak Zhelken’ journal in Almaty; 1990-91 he was art editor of ‘Zerde’ journal in Almaty; 1991-93 he was the artist of ‘Madeniet’ journal in Almaty; and 1994-2009 he was artist of ‘Tura Bi’ journal (Almaty and Astana). He has also had personal exhibitions held in the President’s Culture Center (April 2003, Astana); Abilkhan Kasteyev State Art Museum (December 2005, Astana); Museum Of Modern Art (December 2006, Astana); School-Lycée № 53 (November 2007, Astana); Kulanshi art gallery (April 2009, Astana); and The Quintessence in the National State Library of Kazakhstan (November 2010, Astana).



Dina is a graphic artist born in Kazakhstan. She loves the traditional techniques of graphic art such as chalcography, xylography, lithography, and etching. She lives and works in Chelyabinsk.

She likes to draw, read and she engages in belly dancing.



OEBF - 2016


1ST PLACE: DLYAVER DVADZIEV (REPUBLIC OF CRIMEA), WINNER OF THE NEMAT KELIMBETOV AWARD FOR, MY HOMELAND, OH MY CRIMEA. He has been working as a TV producer for 10 years and began his career as a videographer in the news media. He lives and creates in his beautiful and native Crimea. He is into creating musical clips, promo films, advertising, and photography.

2ND PLACE: MARIA ABADIEVA (KAZAKHSTAN) FOR HER DRAMA FILM, EVIDENCE. In 2014 she graduated from the Kazakh National Academy of Arts named after T.K. Zhurgenov, where she learned to direct feature films and TV. In 2015 she was a finalist with her movie, CHOICE, which won the Best Actress award for Dinara Zhumagalieva at the 5th Svirsky Mif International Film Festival; 2014/13 winner of the international competition based on the myths, fairytales and epics of Asia; 2013 prize from the Ministry of Culture and Information; 2013 winner of the scholarship fund, First President – Leader of the Nation. In 2015 she entered the magistracy in the Kazakh National Academy of Arts named after T.K. Zhurgenov.




In 2005 she graduated from the Minsk State Musical College. Following this she graduated from the Belarus State Academy of Arts as a film and theatre actor in 2011. Her non-fiction film, Canons of David-Gorodok, was her first debut in 2012 and in 2014 she produced her second documentary, Face. She has received a special prize at the international film festival, Magnificat, in 2012; first place in the premiere category at Russia’s Golden Vityaz International Film Festival in 2013; an award at the Light of the World international film festival in 2014; and lastly a special award/cash prize at the Kunaky Open Film Festival in 2014.

In her own words, Anna says, “I’m just a girl from Kazakhstan with a camera and craving for something extraordinary”. In her spare time she likes reading psychology and criminology books, as well as eating carrot cake.



OEBF - 2016

THE Nemat Kelimbetov award

Fitzroy House, the home base of writer and philosopher, Ron L. Hubbard, hosted a lunch dedicated to the memory of Nemat Kelimbetov on 26th November.The winners in the “film” category were announced and the former Ambassador of the UK, Craig Murray, presented the $5000 Nemat Kelimbetov award to the winner in this category, Dlyaver Dvadzhiev (the Republic of Crimea). Nemat Kelimbetov (1937 – 2010) was a Kazakh philologist, writer, translator, Turkologist, and an academic at the Academy of Humanities in Kazakhstan. Leaders in the literary and scientific communities frequently compared him with the Russian writer, Nikolay Ostrovski. There is certainly truth in this. Nemat, as well as Ostrovski, both struggled for years with terrible illness and both were courageous writers who consistently sought perfection in their work.


The Sara Ishanturaeva award

Sara Ishanturaeva was a renowned theatre and film actress, People’s Artist of the USSR and icon of dramatic art in Soviet Uzbekistan. Along with holding an extensive resume of outstanding roles in plays such as Ostrovskii’s Thunderstorm and Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Othello, Sara was also the deputy to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. On top of this she also received multiple State Prizes, medals and awards, including two Orders of Lenin. This year the Sara Ishanturaeva Prize of $3000 was presented to Dildora Tulyaganova (Uzbekistan/Turkey) by Hamid Ismailov, the head of BBC Central Asia, for her literature work. Dildora is a journalist and screenwriter. Much of her work is inspired by the creations of Pushkin, Alisher Navoiy, Mandelstam, Esenin and Akhmatova. She is also influenced by the great educators of Jadidism in Central Asia, such as Behbudiy, Fitrat and Munavvar Qori Abdurashidxonov.



OEBF - 2016

The Marzia Zakiryanova award

On August 1st 1991, Marzia Zakiryanova’s life had been split in two through a single twist of fate which left this mother of two small children disabled. Narrating her tale of self-conquest, the author speaks about how she managed to hold her family together and win the respect and recognition of people around her. By the time Marzia’s book went to print she had already passed away, but not before making the final correction to her script. We bid farewell to this powerful and remarkably creative woman. The Marzia Zakiryanova Prize of $5000 for the best female work was won by, Shahzoda Nazarova from Tajikistan for her poem, Dialogue with the West.The prize was presented by Marzia’s grandson, Tamerlan Zakiryanova, along with Yakutian poet, Natalia Kharlampieva (winner of the award in 2015). Shahzoda is a young poet, writer and journalist who also founded the first Tajik TV program, Chashme Del, in Samarkand after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Nazarova published two Persian novels; Stockholm Syndrome by Khavaran press (Paris, 2011) and Motherland by H&S Media (London, 2013). Motherland has since been translated into Cyrillic and Arabic scripts.


The Maria Shevel award

The Maria Shevel Prize was established for the first time this year.The prize is awarded to contestants in the Literature Category for works focused on children’s topic and written in any language or genre. Maria Shevel is a Ukrainian architect (b. May 1st 1943). After graduation she departed for Central Asia to participate in the construction of the Toktogul hydroelectric power plant in Kyrgyzstan. Afterwards, in 1965, she began working under the direction of Sharf Rashidov’s personal administration team in the development of the Hungry Steppe and the architectural layout of Dzhizak city in Uzbeksitan. She received numerous state awards for her work, such as the Hero of Social Labour, Retired Worker and the Motherhood medal. This year the Maria Shevel Prize of $1000 was awarded to Yakutian writer, Evdokiya Erintseeva (Ogdo), for her fairy tale titled, Baby Mammoth Manik. The prize was awarded to Evdokiya by the Art Director of Hertfordshire Press, Aleksandra Vlasova. Evdokiya has dedicated her life to working with children and encouraging their creativity and works in the editor’s office for Yakutia’s children’s newspaper, Ke’skil, which is distributed across the republic.



OEBF - 2016

The Generals FOR PEACE Award

The Generals Award from the Association of Generals “Generals of the World for Peace” and the Association’s highest award of the “Dove of Peace” medal, was awarded to the Kazakh poetess, Raushan Burkitbarva-Nukenova, for the best work on the topic of strengthening peace, friendship and mutual understanding between people. The prize was awarded by the Tajik writer, Gulsifat Shahidi (the winner of the award in 2015). The International Association "Generals of the World for Peace" is based on membership by voluntary association, at the initiative of citizens, united by common interests to pursue common goals focused on strengthening of peace and friendship between peoples.The Generals from Russia, Armenia, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are in our Association. The Generals from over 50 countries gave their approval to establish the association and to join it. Awards of the International Association “Generals for Peace” Public Union (hereinafter “awards”) is a form of incentive for a significant contribution for consolidation of peace, friendship and mutual understanding between nations, for active charitable activity and other services in front of the world and the International Association “Generals for Peace”. Everyone can merit an award irrespective of citizenship, race and religion.


The Guardians of Treasures award

Maksim Korsakov (b. 1949) is a Canadian writer, originally from the city of Kokand (Uzbekistan), and is the author of the adventure thriller, “The Guardians of Treasures”. In 1991, he took a business internship at Montreal’s McGill University. He worked as an engineer in Kyrgyzstan and was the Kyrgyz Deputy Chairman of the Board of Management of Resorts and of Trade Unions for architecture and construction. Serik Karakulov from Kazakhstan received a $1000 prize for best sequel story of “The Guardians of Treasures”.



OEBF - 2016


Each year Hertfordshire Press nominates a selection of their published authors and their books for an award. The winners for this year were as follows: • • • •

“Cold Shadows” by British-Kyrgyz writer, Shahsanem Murray, won the prize for “The Best Book of the Year” British writer, Stephen M. Bland, was awarded the prize “Breakthrough of the Year” for his book “Does it Yurt?” Gulsifat Shahidi was presented the award of “Author of the Year” A diploma for contributing to the development and advancement of Central Asian literature was awarded to Begenas Sartov.

Recipients of awards in previous years have included others such as British Historian, Robert Wight, for his book “Vanished Khans and Empty Steppes”, along with Kazakh poetess, Raushan Burkitbaeva-Nukenova.



Breakthrough of the Year




OEBF - 2016

List of Participants and Speakers Hamid Ismailov (United Kingdom - Uzbekistan) Nick Rowan (Great Britain) Shahsanem Murray (Scotland - Kyrgyzstan) Solvi Fannar (Iceland) Nadi Fadina (United Kingdom - Russia) Orazaly Sabden (Kazakhstan) Abdumalik Ashirov (Kazakhstan) Natalia Kharlampyeva (Russia,Yakutia) Yermek Amanshayev (Kazakhstan) Georgy Pryakhin (Russia) Raushan Burketbayeva-Nukenova (Kazakhstan) Erkin A’zam (Uzbekistan) Abu Sufyan (Russia) Robert Wight (Great Britain) Farideh Heyat (United Kingdom - Iran) Siddharth Saxena (United Kingdom)


Fakhraddin Veysalli (Azerbaijan) Gulsifat Shahidi (Tajikistan) Stephen M. Bland (United Kingdom) Kairat Zakiryanov (Kazakhstan) Aigerim Shilibekova (Kazakhstan) Maide Akan (Kazakhstan) Danny Gordon (United Kingdom) Toir Radzhabov (Tajikistan) Anna Gogoleva (Russia,Yakutia) Raza Sayed (United Kingdom) Zaure Turekhanova (Kazakhstan) Zinaida Longortova (Russia,Yamal) Shahzoda Nazarova (Nederlands - Tajikistan) Alan Cox (United Kingdom) David Parry (Wales) Evgeniya Gorobets (Kazakhstan)

Frederic Bressand (France) Kuralay Omarova (Kazakhstan) Tatiana Shpartova (Belarus) Tilavoldi Rasulov (Tajikistan) Azlarov Sunnatkhon (Uzbekistan) Yulia Sibirtseva (Russia) Anastasia Kuzmicheva (Belarus) Shmuel Ben-Zvi (Israel) Sam Yossman (United Kingdom) Nelli Kolesnikoba (Russia) Nadezhda Serebrennikova (USA) Nina Belomestnova (Russia)* Zarrina Asanshoeva (Russia) Joseph Sanders (United Kingdom) Marina Mikhailovskaya (Kazakhstan) Laura Hamilton (United Kingdom)

Jon Beardmore (New Zealand) Anatoliy Skargin (Kyrgyzstan) Vesna Petkovic (Serbia -United Kingdom) Dr. Shahid Qureshi (United Kingdom) Rahima Makhmut (United Kingdom) Kätlin Kaldmaa (Estonia) Mark (Marat) Akhmedjanov (UK - Uzbekistan) Matthew Traver (United Kingdom - USA) Anna Lari (United Kingdom -Russia) Alona Svintsova (Nederlands - Russia) Pavel Shumov ( Russia) Craig Murray ( UK)



OEBF - 2016

SHORT LISTS Short list the category of “Literature� Alimzhan Akhmetov (Kazakhstan) Anastasia Khatiashvili (Georgia) Anatoly Zusman (Israel) Anzhela Postnikova (Russia) Ashot Beglaryan (Armenia) Azam Obidov (Uzbekistan) Ayauka (Kazakhstan) Beknur Kisikov (Kazakhstan) Vladimir Smyshnikov (Russia) Gubian (Russia) Gulsifat Shakhidi (Tajikistan) Dmitry Bliznuk (Ukraine) Dmitry Prilutskiy (Ukraine) Dmitry Shishkin (Kazakhstan) Dawudzoda Suhaylo (Tajikistan) Elena Danchenko (Nederlands) Irina Korobeynikova (Russia) Leyla Akhmetova (Kazakhstan) Lenar Shaeh (Russia) Liudmila Seraya (Russia) Anastasia Borschevskaya (Russia) Maria Bogdanova (Russia) Manarbek Kadyrov (Kazakhstan) Maral Kydyrova (Turkmenistan) Margarita Meklina (Irelands) Maria Ravdanis (Russia) Maryambonui Fargoni (Tajikistan) Masha Son (Russia)


Mederbek Kadyrov (Kyrgyzstan) Muhammad Sharif (Uzbekistan) Nadezhda Kolyshkina (Russia) Nastassia Astrovskaya (Russia) Natalia Bulygina (Great Britain) Nilufar Sharipova (Great Britain) Ogdo (Russia) Oleg Ignatiev (Russia) Oleg Chernitsyn (Russia) Polina Filatova (Great Britain) Raim Farhadi (Uzbekistan) Svetlana Kabanova (Germany) Svetlana Shevchuk (Ukraine) Sergei Platon (Russia) Serik Asylbekuly (Kazakhstan) Silim Kam (Belarus) Tatiana Andronova (Russia) Farzana Akbulatova (Russia) Feruza Amirova (Azerbaijan) Sharif Akhmetov (Nederlands) Yulia Nifontova (Russia) Yulia Sibirtseva (Russia) Cristina Plamadeala (Canada) Gulnara Burhanova (Great Britain) Kaja Pancic Milenkovic (Serbia) Mike Gelprin (USA) Samarqandi (Nederlands) Zima (Great Britain)

Short list the category of “TRANSLATION” Anastasia Sotnikova (Russia) Aliya Karimova (Russia) Alina (Russia) Aygul Kemelbayeva (Kazakhstan) Ekaterina Kravchuk (Belarus) Maria Kevaeva (Russia) Tilav Rasul-zade (Tajikistan) Nadezhda Serebrennikova (USA)

Short list the category of “ILLUSTRATION” Alina (Russia) Aleksandr-A-Tarasenko (Indonesia) Anastasia Schastlivaya (Russia) Andrei Zhukaev (Russia) Artemiy Chayko (Russia) Valeriy Bagaev (Russia) Dina Gorkavchenko (Russia) Ekaterina Bushnevskaya (Russia) Zhenis Nurlybayev (Kazakhstan) Marina Mikhailovskaya (Kazakhstan) Nadezhda Adamenko (Belarus) Sergey Malyakov (Russia) Maria Lozbeneva (Dagaz Spy) (Russia) Klementina Moonlight (Russia)

Short list the category of “VIDEOFILM” Alexandra Shpartova (Belarus) Anna Bernes (Kazakhstan) Artemiy Chayko (Russia) Vasilisa Savitskaya (Ukraine) Dlyaver Dvadzhiev (Republic of Crimea) Irina Kazantzeva (Russia) Irina Tshay (Russia) Maria Abadieva (Kazakhstan) Sasha Abraztsov (Belarus)




The Eurasian Creative Guild (London) is a public non-profit organisation, a new meeting place for creative talents. As an actual and virtual association, the Guild generates a framework within which creative people from across the board can come together and discuss their work. Indeed, the Guild has already enlisted dozens of significant cultural figures from across the globe due to its proactive support for writers, musicians, illustrators, graphic designers, sculptors and poets along with anyone who considers themselves to be creative ... 88 OCA MAGAZINE

The Eurasian Creative Guild (London) is a public non-profit organisation, a new meeting place for creative talents. As an actual and virtual association, the Guild generates a framework within which creative people from across the board can come together and discuss their work. Indeed, the Guild has already enlisted dozens of significant cultural figures from across the globe due to its proactive support for writers, musicians, illustrators, graphic designers, sculptors and poets along with anyone who considers themselves to be creative and is seeking promotion of their work around the globe and a mutually beneficial cooperation. Today the Eurasian Creative Guild is an international non-profit organization with headquarters in London, that is opened for all like-minded people, inviting to actual participation in the activity and occasions in a role that everybody determines to himself : as a member of Guild, in a role of participant of occasions or as a sponsor of events and projects. Overall, the Guilds mission is to ensure real dialogue and genuine interaction between designated representatives from all sectors of the creative (intellectual) elite, public and governmental organizations, as well as the business community. Thereby constructing, as this does, a mutually supportive forum for all member-creatives. David Parry The current Chairman of Eurasian Creative Guild




















“Open Eurasia Literature Festival & Book Forum” - an annual international contest, festival and forum, which unites poets, writers, artists, directors along with anyone else, who considers themselves to be creative from the Eurasia region and all over the world. Contest “Open Eurasia” is held within frameworks of the festival since 2012. Contest is organized in partnership with “Hertfordshire Press” publishing house, built on the principle of openness and interplay of all arts on the basis of literature.


is a quarterly not-for-profit magazine, published in London since 2009, which connects and highlights the links between Europe and the Eurasian region. It promotes the cultures, politics, events and communities of both regions and opens a discussion and exchange of ideas between them to promote both business co-operation and tourist and cultural relations. The magazine is for everyone interested in the region and also for natives from Central Eurasia who currently live in Europe. Magazine actively popularizes events taking place in the countries of Eurasian region and comes to be an only journal in Great Britain, which familiarizes Eurasian Economic Community and CIS countries to English-speaking world. Audience of printed and online versions’ of magazine reaches 50000 readers around the world.

ECG BOOK SERIES - you can create your own personal book within the book series

“Eurasian Creative Guild (London).” The work will be published in the British capital, the home of many world famous writers, including William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Rudyard Kipling, Agatha Christie and JK Rowling. Your book will become a part of the history of mankind. It will receive its very own ISBN and the book will be given to the second library in the world - the British Library and the Legal Deposit. The book series, by Eurasian Creative Guild, will be placed not only on the largest popular shopping web site - Amazon, where tens of thousands of items are bought and sold every day – but also in online stores in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Great Britain and America.



International Festival “Open Central Asia International Arts Festival” includes art exhibitions, literary readings, musical performances and theatre plays. Festival has an impact on many aspects of public’s cultural, economic, educational and social life. Theatre groups of Uzbekistan, Sweden, USA, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Great Britain and China.

The annual collection of the “100 OUTSTANDING PEOPLE OF is a project, together with the publishing house Cambridge International Press.


The publication seeks to enlighten, promote and recognize the region’s great people and their invaluable work. Chosen by an advisory panel from outside Eurasia, assembled for their breadth and depth of Eurasia experiences and knowledge, ”The 100 Outstanding People of Eurasia” will provide the first peer-assessed evaluation of the contribution of these great men and women, both historical and current.


A COMMON INFORMATIONAL SPACE “Open Eurasian Literature Festival & Book Forum ” and OCA ORZU Arts Festival

More than 1.300.000 visits of the website in a year, 3.000 contestants from 40 countries of the world. More than 50 events within the frameworks of the festivals, taking place in London and Eurasian region.

“OCA magazine”: 4 issues per eyar. 50.000 readers of print and web page worldwide

Book readings, presentations and exhibitions: more than 60 events in a year worldwide. Audience in social networks: more than

100.000 followers of pages an groups

in Facebook, VKontakte, Одноклассники, Linkedin, Instagram, Youtube.



JOIN US! REGISTRATION FORM First name_____________________________________________________________ Last Name_____________________________________________________________ Date of birth____________________________________________________________ Place of birth____________________________________________________________ Place of residence________________________________________________________ Phone number (with area code)______________________________________________ E-mail____________________________________________________________________ Tell us about yourself ____________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ Field of activity * Writer Poet Musician Actor Photographer Designer Sculptor Illustrator Dancer Graphic Designer Other:____________________________


Tell us about your art works (500 symbols) _____________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ Is your work publicly available on the internet? If yes, please provide a link to them or web site__________________________________ I have read and agree with the constitution of the Eurasian Creative Guild________________



invites all creative individuals to unite into one creative community for exchange of experience and provide mutual assistance to each other.


As a member of the Eurasian Creative Guild, you can meet and make acquaintance with interesting and creative people. It can be individuals and organizations in every part of the creative sector, not only in Great Britain, but also throughout Europe and Central Asia.


Create a personal profile To share with your creativity with others, To share contacts and communicate with other members Find out about events where you can meet interesting creative people and open new areas of art

3 STEPS TOWARDS JOINING THE EURASIAN CREATIVE GUILD: 1) fill out printed form or register on the website 2) send your photo, and information about yourself and your oeuvre 3) contribute membership fee






300 corporate


free tickets to OEBF festival free tickets to “ORZU Arts Festival” in London free tickets on Guild events Free subscription to the online version OCA Magazine ( advertisement of your events in social network groups and pages of the Guild 25% discount on all books of “Hertfordshire Press” and “Cambridge International Press” 25% discount on publication within Book Series ECG

We invite every person, who considers him/herself a creative individual, to join Eurasian Creative Guild and become a part of unique and growing community! WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM



1. London (Great Britain) 2. Cambridge (Great Britain) 3. Oxford (Great Britain) 4. Edinburgh (United Kingdom) 5. Oslo (Norway) 6. Berlin (Germany) 7. Dublin (Ireland) 8. Vienna (Austria) 9. Paris (France) 10. Istanbul (Turkey) 11. Bled (Slovenia) 12. Stockholm (Sweden) 13. Nicosia (Cyprus) 14. Moscow (Russia) 15. Yakutsk (Russia) 16. Paphos (Cyprus) 17. Ufa (Russia) 18 St. Petersburg (Russia)


19. Kiev (Ukraine) 20. Astana (Kazakhstan) 21. Shymkent (Kazakhstan) 22. Almaty (Kazakhstan) 23. Kyzylorda (Kazakhstan) 24. Baikonur (Kazakhstan) 25 Atyrau (Kazakhstan) 26. Dushanbe (Tajikistan) 27. Nizhny Novgorod (Russia) 28. Tbilisi (Georgia) 29. Minsk (Belarus) 30. Tashkent (Uzbekistan) 31. Samarkand (Uzbekistan) 32. Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) 33. Osh (Kyrgyzstan) 34. Issyk-Kul (Kyrgyzstan) 35. Bangkok (Thailand) 36. Pattaya (Thailand)

37. Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 38. Simferopol (Crimea) 39. Yalta (Crimea) 40. Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) 41. Baku (Azerbaijan) 42. Varna (Bulgaria) 43. New York (United States) 44. Washington (USA) 45. Toronto, Canada 46. ​​Vilnius (Lithuania) 47. Tallinn (Estonia) 48. Lviv (Ukraine) 49. Brussels (Belgium) 50. Munich (Germany)












ECG Internships In 2016 Eurasian Creative Guild has conducted two internships.

marketing events abroad; communicate with outstanding people from the world of art, literature, business and politics. Interns also were involved in the process of OCA MAGAZINE creation and preparation to V International Literature Festival “Open Eurasian Literature Festival & Book Forum”.

The first internship was held in Bishkek, from February until April, where 8 interns tried their hands at 8 different specializations: office manager, specialist in marketing and books promotion, editor-journalist, event coordinator, publisher’s assistant, SMM and PR specialist, Every week under the guidance of representatives of project-manager and book promotion. the Guild interns improved their skills, learned to work in multitasking mode, participated in Eurasian CreThe selection process in Minsk took two months. 400 ative Guild’s activity, distantly promoted projects and candidates were given to pass different tests. The first searched for mutually beneficial cooperation. task was to write a review in Russian and English language on a book published by Hertfordshire press. International internship provide an opportunity to Only 100 candidates managed that task. The second teach young specialists to set priorities, work on time step towards internship was an interview. Representa- management and self-discipline. tives of Eurasian Creative Guild asked candidates professional questions as well as general ones in order to At the end of November three interns went to Lonchoose really super interns. 15 candidates passed the don on International Literature Festival “Open Eurinterview successfully, but there were only 6 cherished asian Literature Festival & Book Forum”. One week workplaces. That’s why last but not least task was to they worked there as organizers, helped writers-parwrite fundraising letter to potential partner company ticipants from different countries on book launches, of V International Literature Festival “Open Eurasian meetings and others events. Literature Festival & Book Forum” which will be held in London from 25th till 28th of November. The next internship organized in Astana, Kazakhstan in April-July 2017. On August 15, six interns started their internship. During 3 months they should work out different tasks: THE STORIES OF INTERNS FROM MINSK: to arrange a lot of meetings; present in the international arena not only Eurasian Creative Guild, but all its Margarita Batygina, graduated from the Faculty of fields of activity; organize literary readings and other International Relations, Belarussian State University.


“I have never worked with such projects that we will be involved in during Minsk internship. And that’s why I came to ECG. I wanted to get new professional experience in international company, which allow me to try my hands at different fields. I wanted to learn new things for my personal development and to contribute to ECG’s important projects. ”

Maria Batz, worked in media centers of World Hockey Championship (Belarus), Minsk International Film Festival “Listapad”, Belteleradiocompany “I wanted to combine all those skills that I got before, to realize myself in the projects that are not aimed at Belarus, but rather force me out of the comfort zone to learn something new, to solve any remote issues. From the very first day, when I started as event-coordinator, the internship started to live up to my expectations. Every day I was receiving new applications from the authors who wanted to participate in contest-festival «Open Eurasian Literature Festival & Book Forum» and every day I realized how unique the culture of Eurasian countries was. I remember how I worried about my first business trip to Astana where I was to present books published by the Hertfordshire Press. Everything that I learned during these weeks of internships, thanks to the Eurasian Creative Guild, is perhaps the fastest project involvement in my life. It’s awesome that ECG gave me such opportunity to realize myself in new projects, to learn more about Central Asia”. In April 2017 in Astana the third ECG internship began. 400 candidates were offered to pass different tests. To internship command got only the best candidates. In this time the internship program changed – organized 4 directions – Members Liaison Office, Society of Authors, Operational Headquarter, OEBF directorate. As curator the graduate of Minsk internship joined to Astana team.

Daria Antonovich, participated in organization of “Belarussian Image”, “Fair of Organizational development”, FSP. Worked as coordinator of volunteers in Minsk. “One of the most unforgettable specialization was Aigerim Alimkulova. 26 years old, intern in Astana. publisher’s assistant. I learned how to conduct business I graduated KIMEP University (Bachelor of Internacorrespondence and write reports on the meetings, tional Journalism) and then I studied in International got acquainted with many interesting people.” University of Catalonia (Master’s degree in Arts and Cultural Management).When I returned to Kazakhstan, Anzhelika Levandovskaya, student of Belarusian I worked 3 years in the field of education. At first in State Economic University (BSEU) Nazarbayev University and then in Kasipkor Holding This internship is a really good chance for young at Ministry of Education. I sent an application on ECG creative people to express themselves as well as de- internship because I wanted to work in the field of culvelop multitasking, time-management, organisational ture and art. From internship I wait for opportunity to and writing skills. It is also a great opportunity to get receive operational experience as marketing manager, acquainted with lots of talented creative people both PR-specialist, to improve my presentation skills and to from Europe and Asia: writers and poets, musicians meet interesting and creative people. and dancers, actors and producers. I cannot even find words to describe this wonderful feeling when you realize that you make your own contribution to the development of the modern Eurasian culture, and literature in particular. I am proud of being a member of the Eurasian Creative Guild’s team.




Create Your Own ECG Book Series

Eurasian Creative Guild is pleased to present to your attention a new project entitled “Book Series ECG”. Now you have the ability to publish your book in London! You can create your own personal book within the book series “Eurasian Creative Guild (London).” The work will be published in the British capital, the home of many world famous writers, including William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Rudyard Kipling, Agatha Christie and JK Rowling. Your book will become a part of the history of mankind. It will receive its very own ISBN and the book will be given to the second library in the world - the British Library and the Legal Deposit. The book series, by Eurasian Creative Guild, will be placed not only on the largest popular shopping web site - Amazon, where tens of thousands of items are bought and sold every day – but also in online stores in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Great Britain and America.


The author will be paid royalties of 10% of the funds received by the Guild for every book sold. The authors, who have participated in this project will be able to present their book at the 6th International “ Open Eurasia Literary Festival” to be held in late November 2017. More details can be found on Wikipedia. The book will be published in both soft and hardcover binding. PARAMETERS FOR THIS EDITION OF BOOKS IN PAPERBACK: Cover colour - the same for the entire series Volume - 100 pages, format - 203 x 127 mm Indoor unit - B / W Author copies - 15 books * Term of manufacturing of the book up to 3 months All the manuscripts are to be approved by the editorial board. Every book will be published based on the author’s original edition.

The price of the publication is ÂŁX and publishing will be made under the imprint of the Eurasian Creative Guild (London). ECG will organise the layout, application for the British ISBN, the organisation of access to books and technology sales under print on demand in more than 10 online stores around the world, including Amazon. ECG will also arrange payment of copyright royalties (10 per cent of the funds received), printing and shipping books to the author and sending mandatory copies to the British library. A stock of books will be kept and copies of copyright protection will also be arranged.The book will be presented in the framework of the international festival of the 6th International Open Eurasia Literature Festival (link to Wikipedia) and will be advertised on the website of the Guild and its quarterly UK journal, OCA magazine. Additionally it will be possible to design an individual cover, including the Guild logo, and increase circulation of the publication as well as to purchase additional copies of the book.

NECESSARY DOCUMENTS FOR PUBLICATION: 1. Information about the author of 300 words 2. Photo of the author in good quality (300 dpi) 3. Work in Word format (words 20 000 -23 000 words (100 000 -150 000 characters) All documents must be sent to: * Including delivery of books to the author (2 kg) If you have any questions, we will be happy to help. Contacts: Email: Tel: +44 7411 978 955 Facebook: https: // eurasiancreativeguilduk




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

My Neighbourhood Sisters

professionals and housewives, grandmothers l unfolds, we learn how they value being able port each other in times of trouble. They also d experience of Zulfiya’s adopted uncle and gory Semenovich.

a powerful and beautiful book filled with e author’s imagination and her actual family, ognise aspects of ourselves and people from be drawn to reflect on that close camaraderie nse of community which in our current age,

RRP: £19.95


hakhidi’s novel is like looking through a phor, Zulfiya has lovingly pasted images of both er neighbours. And behind each picture lies ey protagonists are her close female friends; g Tajik women who are challenged by both s they wrestle to maintain traditional famical environment – the communal courtyard nk tea on a raised bed- may belong to Central ure are universal: infidelity, addiction, abuse, o sensitively described by Shakhidi that will over.

A Collection of Short Stories

I was born in Leningrad in 1955, where my parents lived and studied. According to my mother, children of the postwar generation rarely came into the world healthy. My extraordinary birth- weight of 5 kilograms surprised everyone and the doctors declared me the most perfectly healthy baby. My birth weight was even posted by a Leningrad newspaper, causing my mother to often joke that my profession as a journalist was set from the very start of my life.

MY NEIGHBOURHOOD SISTERS by Gulsifat Shakhidi 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.

And so it came to be: I graduated in journalism from Tajik University, worked for the republican youth newspaper, undertook scientific research, and completed my thesis on “Twentieth Century Tajik-Russian literary connections in the 1920s-‘30s.”



apital city, My Neighbourhood Sisters proit community as it endeavours to adjust to y’s senseless civil war in the 1990s.

My Neighbourhood Sisters

LANGUAGES ENG PAPER BACK RRP:14.95 ISBN: 978-1-910886-29-8

I later worked in the Tajik branch ISTRC “Mir”, as chief editor of Radio and Television and had my work published in Tajikistan and Russia. This collection of stories was first published in Russian but it is my hope that the English edition is just the start of it being translated into other languages. Gulsifat Shahidi








01/01/2017 23:25:28

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

CRANES IN SPRING by Tolibshohi Davlat (2015)


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


ISBN: 978-1-910886-06-9

COLD SHADOWS Shahsanem Murray (2016) The story, set at the end of the 1980’s, revolves around a group of disparate individuals living seemingly unconnected lives in various countries. But then a strange incident on the Moscow to Frunze train leads to the gradual exposure of complex web in which their lives, loves and profession’s have long been entangled. LANGUAGES ENG PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-27-4 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


ISBN: 978-1-910886-22-9

SHADOWS OF THE RAIN Raushan Burkitbayeva - Nukenova (2016) In this bold and insightful second collection of Neo-Expressionist literatures, Raushan Burkit Bayeva-Nukenova invites her readers to revel in the cogitations of a Kazakh Radical Traditionalist. A literary position provoking the exploration of Eurasian motives, Central Asian reactions to London, nomadic love, and the contours of ethnic memory. Each one of which is lyrically scrutinized - along with the dissonant place of women in our postmodern world. Indeed, unlike her highly successful and probing first volume The Wormwood Wind, the author of this present book seeks to extend her poetic analysis of current affairs, before taking her first tentative footsteps into prose. LANGUAGES ENG HARD BACK RRP:19.95 ISBN: 978-1-910886-31-1


HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS GODS OF THE MIDDLE WORLD by Galina Dolgaya (2013) The Gods of the Middle World tells the story of Sima, a student of archaeology for whom the old lore and ways of the Central Asian steppe peoples are as vivid as the present. When she joints a group of archaeologists in southern Kazakhstan, asking all the time whether it is really possible to ‘commune with the spirits’, she soon discovers the answer first hand, setting in motion events in the spirit world that have been frozen for centuries. Meanwhile three millennia earlier, on the same spot, a young woman and her companion struggle to survive and amend wrongs that have caused the neighbouring tribe to take revenge. The two narratives mirror one another, and Sima’s destiny is to resolve the ancient wrongs in her own lifetime and so restore the proper balance of the forces of good and evil ISBN: 978-0957480797


RRP: £14.95

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. LANGUAGES ENG RRP: £24.95


ISBN: 978-1-910886-11-3

GUARDIAN OF TREASURES by Maksim.Karsakov (2015) Maxim Korsakov’s novella The Hollywood Conundrum or Guardian of Treasure simply refuses to acknowledge these dis-empowering parameters in anything other than the most vigorous terms. Frivolously playing, as it does, with genre expectations, and delighting in a highly crafted sensationalism. Twin techniques augmented throughout this ingenious work by Korsakov’s use of texture, colour, taste, temperature, size and fleshliness. Divided into two parts, his initial tale explores the false nirvana masking marriages of convenience. A so-called “biographical” account reading like a masterclass in the muted horrors of selfimposed delusion. Immediately following, intrigued readers will discover a “script”, which would easily put most James Bond screenplays to shame.. LANGUAGES ENG / RUSS PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-14-4 RRP: £24.95

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



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

KAРА Автор Султан Раев 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 ISBN: 978-1910886137

REPENTANCE Yermek Amanshaev (2016) ‘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. LANGUAGES ENG PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-33-5 RRP: £14.95 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. LANGUAGES ENG PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-25-0 RRP: £9.95


HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS FINDING THE HOLY PATH by Shahsanem Murray (2014) “Murray’s first book provides an enticing and novel link between her adopted home town of Edinburgh and her origins form Central Asia. Beginning with an investigation into a mysterious lamp that turns up in an antiques shop in Edinburgh, and is bought on impulse, we are quickly brought to the fertile Ferghana valley in Uzbekistan to witness the birth of Kara-Choro, and the start of an enthralling story that links past and present. The beautifully translated text, interspersed by regional poetry, cannot fail to impress any reader, especially those new to the region who will be affectionately drawn into its heart in this page-turning cultural thriller.” RUS ISBN: 978-0-9930444-8-9 ENGL ISBN: 978-0992787394 PAPERBACK RRP: £12.50

THE TURKIC SAGA OF GENGHIS KHAN AND THE KZ FACTOR by Dr.Kairat Zakiryanov (2014) An in-depth study of Genghis Khan from a Kazakh perspective, The Turkic Saga of Genghis Khan presupposes that the great Mongol leader and his tribal setting had more in common with the ancestors of the Kazakhs than with the people who today identify as Mongols. This is an academic work that draws on many Central Asian and Russian sources and often has a Eurasianist bias - while also paying attention to new accounts by Western authors such as Jack Weatherford and John Man. It bears the mark of an independent, unorthodox and passionate scholar. HARD BACK ISBN: 978-0992787370 RRP: £17.50

THE WORMWOOD WIND Raushan Burkitbayeva- Nukenova (2015) A single unstated assertion runs throughout The Wormwood Wind, arguing, amid its lyrical nooks and crannies, we are only fully human when our imaginations are free. Possibly this is the primary glittering insight behind Nukenova’s collaboration with hidden Restorative Powers above her pen. No one would doubt, for example, when she hints that the moment schoolchildren read about their surrounding environment they are acting in a healthy and developmental manner. Likewise, when she implies any adult who has the courage to think “outside the box” quickly gains a reputation for adaptability in their private affairs – hardly anyone would doubt her. HARD BACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-12-0 RRP: £14.95 LIFE OVER PAIN AND DESPERATION by Marziya Zakiryanova (2014) 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. HARD BACK ISBN: 978-0-99278733-2 RRP: £14.95


e local myths and ay, this is both an of the world that of years but is on e.

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 RRP: £12.95

ISBN: 9780955754975

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 Nick

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


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Friendly SteppeS: A Silk roAd Journey Nick Rowan

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

COLD WAR II: CRIES IN THE DESERT OR HOW TO COUNTERBALANCE NATO’S PROPAGANDA FROM UKRAINE TO CENTRAL ASIA by Charles Van Der Leeuw 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



13 STEPS OF ERIKA KLAUS by Kazat Akmatov (2013) The story involves the harrowing experiences of a young and very naïve Norwegian woman who has come to Kyrgyzstan to teach English to schoolchildren in a remote mountain outpost. Governed by the megalomaniac Colonel Bronza, the community barely survives under a cruel and unjust neo-fascist regime. Immersed in the local culture, Erika is initially both enchanted and apprehensive but soon becomes disillusioned as day after day, she is forbidden to teach. PAPERBACK RRP: £12.95

ISBN: 978-0957480766

HOWL novel by Kazat Akmatov (2014) The “Howl” by Kazat Akmatov is a beautifully crafted novel centred on life in rural Kyrgyzstan. Characteristic of the country’s national writer, the simple plot is imbued with descriptions of the spectacular landscape, wildlife and local customs. The theme however, is universal and the contradictory emotions experienced by Kalen the shepherd must surely ring true to young men, and their parents, the world over. Here is a haunting and sensitively written story of a bitter -sweet rite of passage from boyhood to manhood. PAPERBACK ENGLISH –RUSSIAN ISBN: 978-0993044410 RRP: £12.50 SHAHIDKA/ MUNABIA by KazatAkmatov (2013) Munabiya and Shahidka by Kazat Akmatov National Writer of Kyrgyzstan Recently translated into English Akmatov’s two love stories are set in rural Kyrgyzstan, where the natural environment, local culture, traditions and political climate all play an integral part in the dramas which unfold. Munabiya is a tale of a family’s frustration, fury, sadness and eventual acceptance of a long term love affair between the widowed father and his mistress. In contrast, Shahidka is a multi-stranded story which focuses on the ties which bind a series of individuals to the tragic and ill-fated union between a local Russian girl and her Chechen lover, within a multi-cultural community where violence, corruption and propaganda are part of everyday life. PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-0957480759 RRP: £12.95

THE NOVEL “ARHAT” by Kazat Akmatov (2015) The novel “Arhat” by the Kyrgyz writer Kazat Akmatov was presented in Moscow at the International Festival “Bibliobraz - 2007” in the Kyrgyz, Russian and Bulgarian languages. Then, the novel was introduced to public in New Delhi at the World Buddhist Congress as well as in a city Drahsalam where the Tibetan Dalai Lama XIV lives. The novel has been translated into English and other languages. “Arhat” caused a wide resonance at home and was awarded by a number of national and international awards as well recognized the best novel and the “National bestseller of 2007”. In the novel, it is a deal of the destiny of the Kyrgyz boy - the reincarnation of the great Tibetan Lama and poet who lived a thousand years ago… LANGUAGES ENG PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1910886106 RRP: £17.50


HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS 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. PAPERBACK RRP: £12.50

ISBN: 978-0992787318

LAND OF FORTY TRIBES by Farideh Heyat, 2015 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. PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-0-9930444-4-1 RRP: £14.95 BIRDS OF UZBEKSITAN by Nedosekov (2012) 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 HARD BACK ISBN: 978-0-955754913

RRP: £25.00

KASHMIR SONG by Sharaf Rashidov (translation by Alexey Ulko, OCABF 2014 Winner). 2015 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. COMING SOON!!!

ISBN: 978-0-9930444-2-7



GOETHE AND ABAI by Herold Belger (2016) 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


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

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

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


RRP: £14.50



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. HARDBACK

ISBN: 978-1-910886-24-3 RRP: £10.00

CRANE by Abu-Sufyan In this remarkable collection of prose poems, author Abu Sufyan takes readers through a series of fairy tale scenarios, wherein are hidden a number of sour existential truths. Indeed, from the bewilderment felt by anthropomorphised cranes, to the self-sacrifice of mares galloping towards their (potential) salvation, all the way to the bittersweet biographies experienced by a girl and her frustrated mother, this book weaves darkly enchanted frame stories into highly illustrative fables. Structured, as they are, in the style of unfolding dialogues, Sufyan’s haunting literary technique serves to unveil a story within a storyline. Certainly, as adventures take place between named and memorable characters, each exchange is saturated with wit, practical jokes, and life lessons contributing to an overall Central Asian literary mosaic. PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-23-6 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

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!


RUS ISBN: 9781910886397





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

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

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


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


THE GREAT MELODY by Tabyldy Aktan ( dedicated to Toktogul Satylganov) E-BOOK ISBN: 978-1-910886-02-1 RRP:£3.24 BUYUK THEMURKHRON by Christopher Marlowe PAPERBACK UZ ISBN: 9780955754982 RRP: £10.00 CHANTS OF THE DARK FIRE by ZhulduzBaizakova PAPERBACK RUS ISBN: 978-0957480711 RRP:£10.00 KAMILA by Rahim Karimov (OCABF 2012 Finalist) PAPERBACK KG / UZ ISBN: 978-0957480773


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 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 FLOWER-PRINCESS by Shaimerdenova Nursulu * Joint edition with Aitmatov Academy PAPERBACK COLORING BOOK ENG ISBN: 978-0956809834 RRP:£4.95 THE MONKEY GIRL AND THE SATCHEL by Chingiz Aitmatov * Joint edition with Aitmatov Academy PAPERBACK ENG ISBN: 978-0992618636 RRP: £4.95 100 EXPERIENCES OF RUSSIA by Olesia Fedorova COMING SOON 100 EXPERIENCES OF UZBEKISTAN COMING SOON 100 EXPERIENCES OF TAJIKISTAN COMING SOON VICTORS by Sharaf Rashidov E-BOOK COMING SOON KURMAJAN-DATKA by Bubaisha Arstynbekova COMING SOON TVORCHESKOE SODRUJESTVO second edition COMING SOON SILK ROAD by Nick Rowan COFEE TABLE BOOK HARDBACK ENG COMING SOON


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

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

TERROR: EVENTS, FACTS, EVIDENCE. by Eldar Samadov, 2015 This book is based on research carried out since 1988 on territorial claims of Armenia against Azerbaijan, which led to the escalation of the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. This escalation included acts of terror by Armanian terrorist and other armed gangs not only in areas where intensive armed confrontations took place but also away from the fighting zones. This book, not for the first time, reflects upon the results of numerous acts of premeditated murder, robbery, armed attack and other crimes through collected material related to criminal cases which have been opened at various stages following such crimes. The book is meant for political scientists, historians, lawyers, diplomats and a broader audience. PAPERBACK RRP: £9.99


ISBN: 978-1-910886-00-7





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


ISBN: ISBN: 978 – 0993044434

AZERBAIJAN:BRIDGE BETWEEN EAST AND WEST by Yury Sigov, 2015 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. HARD BACK ISBN: 978-0-9930444-9-6 RRP: £24.50

SAVITSKY COLLECTION SELECTED MASTERPIECES. Poster set of 8 posters (2014) Limited edition of prints from the world-renowned Museum of Igor Savitsky in Nukus, Uzbekistan. The set includs nine of the most famous works from the Savitsky collection wrapped in a colourful envelope. Selected Masterpieces of the Savitsky Collection. ISBN: 9780992787387 RRP: £25.00

IGOR SAVITSKY: ARTIST, COLLECTOR, MUSEUM FOUNDER by Marinika Babanazarova (2011) Since the early 2000s, Igor Savitsky’s life and accomplishments have earned increasing international recognition. He and the museum he founded in Nukus, the capital of Karakalpakstan in the far northwest of Uzbekistan. Marinika Babanazarova’s memoir is based on her 1990 graduate dissertation at the Tashkent Theatre and Art Institute. It draws upon correspondence, official records, and other documents about the Savitsky family that have become available during the last few years, as well as the recollections of a wide range of people who knew Igor Savitsky personally. LANGUAGE: ENG, RUS, FR

ISBN: 978-0955754999

RRP: £10.00





























































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You would be forgiven for missing the tiny landlocked country of Kyrgyzstan on the map. Meshed into Central Asia’s inter-locking web of former Soviet Union boundaries, this mountainous country still has more horses than cars. It never fails to surprise and delight all who visit. Proud of its nomadic traditions, dating back to the days of the Silk Road, be prepared for Kyrgyzstan’s overwhelming welcome of hospitality, received, perhaps, in a shepherd’s yurt out on the summer pastures. Drink bowls of freshly fermented mare’s milk with newfound friends and let the country’s traditions take you into their heart. Marvel at the country’s icy glaciers, crystal clear lakes and dramatic gorges set beneath the pearly white Tien Shan mountains that shimmer, heaven-like, in the summer haze as the last of the winter snows caps their dominating peaks. Immerse yourself in Central Asia’s jewel with its unique experiences and you will leave with a renewed zest for life and an unforgettable sense of just how man and nature can interact in harmony..


ISBN: 978-0957480742

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