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24-30 MAY, 2020 LONDON

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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. Embassy of Belarus to the UK. Embassy of Turkmenistan to the UK


FROM THE EDITOR Amidst the crisis, therefore, I am particularly surprised that, as of the time of writing, no Central Asian country has reported or admitted any cases, despite bordering China and having many links there. Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have all repatriated, treated and quarantined individuals from Wuhan and wider China. Authorities have suspended flights to China and strongly discouraged tour operators from operating tours there. These countries, like China, have the means to track, trace and prevent citizens in case of suspected localised Coronavirus outbreaks, but their health systems and economies are likely unprepared for a major outbreak - I suspect there may already be cases in country that are unreported. In this connected world it is hard to imagine they will go through the crisis unscathed as it develops fully. Some commentators are speculating a “worse” case infection of 1 billion individuals, with a death rate of 1% - so far we have seen that where you are when you fall victim plays a big role on recovery chances.

It is hard to write an introduction to the latest issue of Open Central Asia Magazine without focusing on the global spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus epidemic that threatens to become a global pandemic. As of 16th February 2020, there are almost 70,000 cases worldwide, 69,000 of which have occurred within China. But the probability of this being kept at local containment is narrowing and many are forecasting a global surge, made all the more difficult buy the relatively long incubation period and unknown detail on the means of transmission.

Of course there is always hope that local containment will work but there is a high likelihood it will become endemic in the global population and claim its toll of lives annually just as the flu does. On the one hand concern is understandable, but equally it is possible that it will become just another part of daily life as vaccines and methods to treat victims become apparent. One thing is for sure though Central Asia will feel the impact one way or another sooner or later and it probably already is seeing this economically even if it will take time to manifest itself.

In China, despite much criticism of the government’s efforts, there does at least appear to be a slowing of new cases dayon-day, but this has come at an enormous economic cost that will knock many percentage points off GDP growth in 2020. Factories in many parts of China have now been at a halt for weeks, with workers barred from returning, and the products and parts that they make and export to the rest of the world are starting to hit global supply chains and output that will dent global growth significantly. All this while share prices hit new highs...there is an illogical disconnect and when the correction comes it will likely hit hard.

This is not, perhaps, the most upbeat of starts to the year and a new issue, but as I said at the start it would be remiss not to mention it and difficult not to consider that this is not the end, nor is it the beginning of the end but perhaps the end of the beginning of this crisis is in sight. I hope at least that this issue brings a little more cheer with its contents, crafted largely in the oblivion of a new year pre-crisis.

Such a correction has been most immediately seen in oil prices, now hovering around $50/bbl from levels $15 higher just a few weeks ago. OPEC may respond to cut supply but demand has already been slashed by almost half a million barrels per day. People aren’t just not driving and flying in China but fear is gripping the world who are slashing travel plans and routes preferring to stay home rather than mingle with the crowds both at home and abroad.

Enjoy the issue.

Yours, Nick Rowan Editor-in-Chief




IN CONVERSATION: SHALVA NATELASHVILI FIGHTING FOR POLITICAL CHANGE IN GEORGIA Sixty-two year old Shalva Natelashvili is no ordinary Georgian politician. Born in the northern mountainous part of Georgia, he graduated from Tbilisi State University with a degree in Law before pursuing a post-graduate degree at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian federation. He began his career in the General Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia, later becoming head of the Department for International Relations. In 2004 he studied in the Leadership Programme of the US State Department earning an honorary position as envoy of the state of Louisiana. He is known to be a peace ambassador and founded the Georgian Labour Party in 1995 to help bring about change in his country after independence. OCA was fortunate enough to find a few spare minutes in his busy schedule to speak to him about his experiences and ambitions. We relay the conversation that Marat Akhmedjanov had recently with this man of change below.



OCA: You established the party in 1995? SHN: Yes, I established party in 1995, but I have been in politics since 1992 – at that time I was the chairman of the legal committee of the Georgian parliament and the head of the editorial-constitutional commission in the country’s parliament. OCA: You are not just staying in politics, but you are playing a very active role in politics. You participated in the presidential election, though your vote share percentage was reported to be low. Perhaps a disappointment? SHN: Like in the Olympic Games, the important thing is to participate (he laughs). In 2002 we got 26% of the vote in the local elections. After that, in the parliamentary elections they have reported we achieved 12.5%, while in fact we understand we got 27%. And then, this damned revolution happened, and everything went backwards. In the first 2 years, there was a rise. OCA: The leader of “Georgian Dream” party Bidzina Ivanishvili promised that they were going to reject the majority system and will move to a proportional election system, and they actually didn’t keep their promise. What do you think of this behaviour? SHN: You know, in human history, that subject, the Russian billionaire, Gazprom shareholder, The Kremlin and Putin’s representative, will stay as a great “backstabber”. I think you have heard the saying, I guess Churchill said: Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen. But, what Ivanishvili promised to people was unprecedented. He promised invaluable money, promised zero bank percent, and now Georgia is in the first place for bank debts. He promised that there will be work for everybody; every village will have 5 million [dollars]; that all refugees and emigrants will be back home. But now he calls everybody to leave the country and find some job in Europe.

Of course, all this accumulated as a negative charge. And this charge accumulated and blew up on the night of the arrival of that poor deputy Gavrilov in Tbilisi, who was then the chairman of parliament. If this would have happened 5-6 years ago during the rating peak of Ivanishvili, then there would not have been such reaction. But, this time, people just blew up, obviously this was the reason. At the same time, not a single statement was made by Georgia to the UN Security Council, because the government forbids it. And then all this blew up on the night of June 20, and the process of power change began together with the recognisable unrest. And this process was stopped only by a promise to hold proportional elections. You see, in the world there are no precedents in a democratic system when deputies are elected from two different systems: proportional representation and majority vote. Furthermore both sit in the same house. Even in Russia, for this, there is an upper house, a federation council for majorities. We have it only in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, i.e. when deputies elected by a mixed system are sitting in the same house. My son was detained twice, he is the head of international relations of our party. The leader of our youth organization was detained, and other young people were detained, they all are held in prisons as political prisoners. Currently, the leaders of political parties have been arrested, they are in prison.Things got to the point where, for negotiations between the opposition and the government, international mediators were really needed, you know?! There are only two countries in the world where the opposition and the authorities speak through international mediators - these are Syria and Georgia! It is a fact! That is why, you need to raise your voice. OCA: On December 6, an opposition meeting was held in your office and a decision was made to hold protests throughout the country. And as you say your



COVER STORY son was arrested. How long will these processes last, OCA: It is a big deal that you were able to unite everyand what are you planning to join? one in your office. But, it gives the impression that you are applying for a leadership role, or for some kind of SHN: Opposition meetings are always held in our intermediary role of parties. office. These protests will last until the departure of Ivanishvili and his group, and until the advent of a co- SHN: No, no alition government, a multi-party government, and the introduction of proper proportional elections. Georgia OCA: What role do you see for your party then? must get rid of this archaic voting system of majorities. SHN: We are happy that we can unite all political forcOCA: What is the role of your party in the opposi- es to achieve one goal, and specifically to end oligartion? Because, there are a lot of opposition parties now. chic rule. As long as the oligarchs are in power, these pro-Russian - Gazprom, pro-monarchist or pro-feudal SHN: There are about 38 major opposition parties types, there will be no development in our country. here. We have meetings here. We are happy that we Now the situation is that the oligarch abolished the were able to coordinate a very diverse Georgian polit- multiparty system. This refusal to accept proportional ical spectrum, that could not even sit together in one elections means: “You know, my dear parties, I do not place for about 30 years. Because of this, sometimes need you, leave, I will look after everything myself. My we received coups, civil wars, serious conflicts and de- henchmen lead their ministries, my appointees will talk struction. Thank God that the Georgian political mind in parliament about “great achievements” on your behas come to the point that for basic issues, you need to half. sit together at the same table.



OCA: Who is the main opposition? There are 38 parties, but which ones are the most significant and influential?

OCA: Regarding the Labour Party, what are your foreign policy aims?

SHN: Almost all the main parties are here, and they are all equal at the same time.We simply have the function of coordinator-unifier in order to reach the final goal, getting rid of Ivanishvili. After this, there will be elections for which the parties will gain the majority, if they do not, then they will [have to] create something special just as in Germany where the most ancient enemies: Christian Democrats and Socialists united in one coalition government.

SHN: By the name of our party it is clear that we are oriented towards Western values. In the 12th century, we already had signs of parliamentarianism, a special institution was created under Queen Tamar, in which laws were ratified. Similar principles created the famous parliament in Great Britain. And in the 17th and 21st years, when Georgia became independent, women in the UK did not have [fully equal] rights yet, but at that time we had not only female deputies, but also Muslim women (female deputies).

OCA: 38 parties sounds good. It speaks of pluralism of opinions in the country.But what are the main 5 parties?

That is why, our historical values are Western values, but Asian values are not foreign to us, because Georgia was at the junction of Western and Eastern civilisation.

SHN:It will be an unethical step from my side to name these parties now. Since this may cause some kind of conflict. I can’t do this at the moment. I can’t allocate any one of them. But, you can take a survey of the Republican Institute, where the main parties are listed there.

OCA: How do you see the organization of the country? Suppose you win the next election? And with which party is your party is ready to enter into an alliance with?

OCA: What are the main demands of the opposition except the departure of Ivanishvili? SHN: After that, the parties will have a huge field for the implementation of their ideology. Of course, not a single ideology has been fully implemented in the history of mankind... OCA: Speaking specifically about the Labour Party, what are your main objectives? SHN: More specifically, it is de-oligarchization (from the word “oligarch”), an independent judiciary, real democracy, and not just in words, and social guarantees to people. Now, unfortunately, in our country, a maximum of 15% -17% of the population use all the national wealth, and the rest live as secondary citizens. We want the country to create a middle layer that will control the politics, economy, legal system and future development of the country.

SHN: We can enter into an alliance with all parties only if we lead the government. If this does not happen, then we will remain in constructive opposition, all the more we are used to this state, and we will control the actions of the authorities. OCA: What is your attitude towards the Eurasian Economic Union? SHN: I think that this is the worst model of the Soviet Union. You know why? During the Soviet Union, the center gave subsidies to the republics, that is, the republics lived and did nothing.They were just sent money from Moscow, and now we have to send money to Moscow. OCA: What are your plans for integration with the European Union? SHN: Our plans are very pleasant, we want to be members of the European Union, but unfortunately this is not quite achievable for us now, due to the geopolitical situation. Unfortunately, I want to repeat once



COVER STORY again that France and Germany, while making decisions regarding Georgia, are following a very pro-Russian course.That is, they do not want to quarrel with Russia over Georgia. Therefore, I am very worried that Britain is leaving the European Union. Leaving the European Union means inviting Putin as a host, because Putin has gas and energy for Europe in his hands. Energy decides a lot for the development of Europe and Asia. I respect the opinion of British voters who voted for Brexit, but that means they will give Europe to Putin. OCA: In order for the opposition to win and be able to overthrow this regime, you need some kind of support in the regions. How strong is your party’s support in the regions? And in which particular regions do you feel support? SHN: Our party has always had great support both in the regions and in the capital city. But, unfortunately, we were not able to establish real democracy, and at least count the votes correctly. We have support in all regions, since the social situation in all regions is the same and they have the same interests. Despite the fact that Georgians are in the majority, an significant Armenian or Azerbaijani minority also live there. But unfortunately, in the regions, in which Azerbaijanis or Armenians live, there is also the factor of trade between the government of Georgia with Baku and Yerevan. That is, there is an agreement between the presidents, all these regions will vote for Saakashvili, for Shevardnadze, for Ivanishvili and all. I am very worried because we have wonderful citizens of Georgia, Azerbaijanis and Armenians, some of the world’s famous figures who grew up here, who glorified Georgia and their historical peoples. And now they are deprived of the right to vote. Our main regions are Kartli, Kakheti, Imereti, Tbilisi, Rustavi. I repeat in all regions we have voters, and have always had them. OCA: There is an opinion among experts that in reality the confrontation that is taking place in Georgia now is a battle of the oligarchic clans of Ivanishvili and Saakashvili. There is a struggle for power, for one it is


revenge, in order to return. And Vashadze, it doesn’t matter, the first and second are his proteges. SHN: Grigory Vashadze is the chairman of the national movement, he is a professional diplomat. OCA: I don’t disagree but rather see a struggle between the two clans. SHN: No, its Ivanishvili’s PR that, with the help of scarecrow Saakashvili, he can create personal immunity and eternity. There is a struggle of the people and the whole political spectrum against the oligarchic regime ... By the way, the oligarchy is being destroyed from within, there are huge contradictions. OCA: Ivanishvili, as you said, a Russian oligarch, a person who owned or owns businesses in Russia, and is affiliated with Putin. Is there any threat that Russia could take its side and in some circumstances occupy Georgia? SHN: Russia has already occupied Georgia, 20% of the territory of Georgia is under the control of Russian troops. They are 300 metres from the main Eurasian highway, 300 metres, do you understand? So, if this continues, the political occupation is too obvious. OCA: If you win and drive him out [Ivanashvili], will the Russian armoured personnel carriers come to his aid? SHN: No, the matter will not come to this. Today the Kremlin is not satisfied, because it has not had its promises completely fulfilled. Shevardnadze played with both Moscow and Washington, then, both overthrew him, Bush and Putin. And Saakashvili had such a position, at first had excellent relations with Moscow, they agreed to create an anti-terrorism centre here, in Tbilisi. This is also a military base in Russia, and had excellent relations with Washington, and then took a pro-Western course and naturally this course continued. Putin was very dissatisfied, he considered that he had been “cut out” and burst here and there. Now the same situation is being established, everyone is tired of Ivanishvili. Everyone, this is a fact!

OCA: Now there are European MPs intermediaries whole have intervened, and they offered a mixed form, and it seems that the government is thinking about it... SHN: Sorry, I do not trust these deputies. I still think that these diplomats are lobbying Ivanishvili. OCA: You mean to say that these intermediaries protect Ivanishvili? SHN: Not protect, but if there is an opportunity they will protect him and implement his interests. These grievances are not directed to the whole of Europe, now I really appreciate that the deputies of the European Parliament arrived, that they recognised the existence of political prisoners, and told the truth. But there is a tendency, in the French-German bloc, which is always recognised by the Georgian government, and not by the people or the country, they are cooperating with the government, not with the opposition and all political representatives. For us, Europe is like that. Due to the fact that we loved England/Europe, that is why we called ourselves Labourites, took the ideology of classical social democracy, the oldest one, thought that we would be partners, and embarked on the European path. They all failed and left us here alone against the oligarchs, Putin and against all this savagery. OCA: It remains a fascinating and tense time. Thank you for taking the time to speak to us.

Elish is a small boy who lives in a small village, a boy who prefers not to socialise, a boy who’s a little scared and clumsy, one that sits alone in a shed… wickering? For him, that is his only true talent and passion, the only thing that really matters. It all changes when Elish meets the Rider, a strong warrior from a distant land. After the Rider learns of Elish’s talents, he sets off with a new wickered bridle to discuss important matters with the King. The Rider learns of a great threat lurking in the far north… The Dark Wizard, a man who’s said to be imprisoning the creative people of his land, where they stay for life and are made to look for a stone. But why a stone? Is something no one can answer. Vashag, the Rider, sets out on a quest to make peace with the Wizard and perhaps also learn of his dark truth. However a couple months have passed and not a sighting or word has been heard from Vashag, people are beginning to fear the worst... Whilst trouble is steering, not all have realised the dangers that are coming, and during a great festival the King holds a competition for the best saddle. Elish hesitantly agrees and after arriving to the city, impresses the King with his excellent wickerwork. Whilst they enjoy a great feast, Babir, Vashag’s brother and warden of the land, interrupts the dining and speaks of a wickered bridle he found, belonging to Vashag. People are scared and suggest Elish has something that Vashag needs. Thus with an unwilling purpose and Babir by his side. Elish sets out on an adventure that has him trembling, one to save Vashag and put an end to the Dark Wizard’s devious deeds.






Michael Gifford joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1981, with his first ambassador role coming in 2004 when he served as the British Ambassador to Yemen. He then moved to be the Deputy Head of Mission in Cairo before becoming the Ambassador to North Korea in October 2012. Following intensive Russian language training he was appointed as British Ambassador to Kazakhstan in 2018 where he continues today. OCA Magazine had the opportunity to get a further insight into Gifford’s career and plans during his tenure in Kazakhstan.

OCA: Please tell us a bit about your background and why you decided to join the Foreign Office in 1981? Michael Gifford: I grew up in Hastings in East Sussex. I didn’t have a burning ambition to become a diplomat; there isn’t any tradition of it in my family. But after completing my education I looked at jobs in the private sector and the Civil Service was also an obvious place to apply as well. The Diplomatic Service was a separate competition and entry procedure and I was lucky enough to be accepted. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I made – and I hope the Foreign and Commonwealth Office feels the same! OCA: You have been posted to what many people might call tough places. What skills do you think help to bring out the best in an Ambassador’s role? MG: British diplomats work worldwide, because Britain has a global foreign policy. I have been lucky enough to work in some important and interesting countries, including Egypt, Yemen, North Korea and now Kazakhstan, where I took up my present position in January 2018. I would not characterise any of my previous jobs as ‘tough’ because that is an oversimplification of often complex problems. Levels of security and prosperity differ widely from country to country and each posting brings its own challenges. Diplomats need many skills, including resilience, a thorough understanding of a country’s history, language and culture, a clear view of the UK’s interests in their patch, and the energy to get out there and promote and defend those interests.

OCA: What have you learned from your previous postings that you have taken into your current posting in Kazakhstan? MG: Standing up for our values has been a constant theme, whether that is respect for the international rule of law, promoting democracy and human rights, or the vital importance of global free trade. In June, Kazakhstan will host the next WTO ministerial meeting, which will be a great opportunity for the UK and our international partners to defend and promote the rules governing global trade, on which our shared prosperity depends. Climate change is another very important topic. Five years on from Paris, COP26 in Glasgow in November is the next big moment for raising global climate ambition and action. We want to work closely with Kazakhstan and others to make real progress on this vital issue in 2020 and beyond. OCA: Given the government’s desire to build trade with new trading partners, what are your priorities for helping the UK in doing more business with Kazakhstan? MG: In my two years in this job, it’s clear to me that British firms are already well established in Kazakhstan in oil and gas, mining and financial and professional services. Our two-way trade is a very healthy £2.5 billion a year. We want to take that further, including in sectors such as renewables and waste management, water infrastructure, healthcare and agriculture. British companies offer world class expertise and cutting-edge




technologies and services which Kazakhstan needs as it economy develops. There are many new opportunities opening up, including with the Astana International Financial Centre. The City of London is a global centre of experience and excellence in many specialised areas such as Fintech and Islamic finance. And privatisation of significant state-owned Kazakh government assets present key opportunities for the London Stock Exchange. OCA: Culturally Kazakhstan and the UK are very different. What can each culture learn from the traditions and ways of life of the other? MG: It’s fair to say, I think, that the UK is better known in Kazakhstan than the other way round – although that is changing fast as Kazakhstan establishes and promotes its distinct and vibrant national culture. Many thousands of Kazakh students choose to study in Britain at all levels, and I’ve been struck by the fact that the UK issues more student visas for Kazakhstan each year than we do for Brazil or Australia. Each personal connection or visit - for business or pleasure - creates new understanding and trust, whether that is expressed through educational links, art, music, or simply new friendships. OCA: How do you see the form of government in Kazakhstan developing and what could be


learned from the UK’s democracy? Should Kazakhstan be a leader of the world, or just the region or just a follower, and what are the benefits and risks you see in such a choice? MG: A set of big questions! Kazakhstan is the leading regional state in Central Asia; it is finding its own role in the world and is developing fast. A sovereign, prosperous and independent Kazakhstan, acting as a force for good in the world, is very much in the UK’s interests. We share Kazakhstan’s ambitions to promote international peace and stability, for example through UN mechanisms such as peacekeeping operations. In terms of Kazakhstan’s domestic development, we strongly support President Tokayev’s new programme of political and social reform: without continued positive change on issues such as judicial reform, corruption and media freedom, further economic progress will remain elusive. OCA: What is your favourite thing to do while living in Kazakhstan? Talking to young Kazakhs always inspires me.They have such a pride in their country and a high level of ambition for the future, which are both great to see. I also enjoy visiting various regions of the country to see at first hand the enormous diversity of landscape and culture which exists outside Nur-Sultan.





ALEXEY TALAY - A SPORTSMAN WITHOUT LIMITS The media call him the “Belarusian Nick Vujicic” (Originally a world famous preacher from the USA, born without legs and hands). Only in early 2017, at the age of 34, Alexey Talay began practicing professional sports. He has achieved incredible results in a short period of time - he was awarded the Master of Sport title, he is a member of the National Paralympic Team of Belarus in swimming and a multiple record holder throughout the World and Europe. Public activist, Motivational Speaker and entrepreneur, Talay has visited many countries in Europe, CIS, Russia and 30 states of the United States, as well as India with his speeches. He is a father of four children, a philanthropist and the founder of the Children’s Aid Foundation. Working abroad, Alexey acts as a Goodwill Ambassador for the Republic of Belarus. He lectures about the country, encourages local businesses to invest in the economy of the government and to develop collaborative projects. Tragedy happened when Alexey, a 16-year-old boy, stepped on a shell that had been left in the ground since the World War II and it exploded. The shell fell during fierce battles with the Nazis invaded his hometown of Orsha. It was on the anniversary of the end of the war, May 8, 1999, that this event changed Alexey’s life completely.The exploding shell ripped off Alexey’s arms and legs. Life full of hopes and plans stopped at once. The turning point in the life of the future champion was the days spent in Germany, where he underwent rehabilitation. There, he faced the terrible fate of children with cancer. They endured the most severe surgeries, losing their vision and losing their organs. The situation they were in seemed to be much worse than his and this gave him strength.

only through the characters of novels and stories I was gaining experience. In their actions I found clues - how to behave, what decisions to make,” Talay continues in an interview. TO FIGHT AND SEEK, TO FIND AND NOT TO GIVE UP. To children and teenagers of today, Alexey advises not to disregard books. Perhaps soon there will be his story in the libraries and on the shelves, the story of a man without arms and legs, who became a champion, made a family, ran his business and helped people with disabilities like him.

Alexey personally did not accept the fact that the only window into the world for him would be the TV. He read a lot, including classics and modern literature, finding in the characters of books examples to follow. “Now I can run my business without arms and legs. Thanks to the latest technology, I correspond, negotiate and manage my Facebook page. None of this happened back then. I was alone with myself, and it was



PEOPLE “My training and lectures are very popular. I explain how I endured pain, how I fell in the mud with my face, how I withstood the mockery by people who seemed to be close to me, the most respected people for me. In my training, I encourage people, whatever your situation, do not give up,” Talay recalls. He told how he saw very different reactions from the people he encountered. How he registered his business and went through the offices. They used to say things behind his back: what was he doing here? Couldn’t he ask his mother or his brother to come instead of him? Is he showing off, trying to prove something? The behaviour of people around him made Alexey doubt - maybe he was really overreaching, maybe he was an invalid. His fate was already sealed - he would live out his days in sadness and gloom. Then a new stage began for him - one where he could overcome of doubts. “And I said to myself, no! You can’t take me, this is my life. Only I will live it. If you don’t like me, don’t look at me,” Talay comments on his situation. THE ROAD TO SPORT About eight years ago, watching the Paralympic Games on TV, inspired by courageous people, he began to dream about sports - suddenly he realised that he could be good at something. Alexey came to the Paralympic Committee in Minsk and met with officials. They looked at him, thought about it and offered him the opportunity to go swimming. “I had to forget about my courses. That means I had to give up the opportunity to earn money by conducting public motivational meetings. Thank God, I had a financial safety cushion, and I financed myself,” Talay recalls. He should’ve forgotten about everything in the world. He was practising. Coming back home, he fell down exhausted, slept and the next day he started all over again. And so, month after month, friends would say to him, “You’re a grown man, a family man, a father of your children, why would you do that?” During this period he was supported by his wife (Alexey married again), and two months later Alexey Talay swam to a standard that surprised most. “Today I am a European and World record-breaker in


the 50m breaststroke, so I have already made history in the world Paralympic sport,” said Alexey on the day of his triumph. The other day, the Paralympic Committee of Belarus received a letter from the International Paralympic Committee with a request to Alexey Talay to give a speech at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. TALAY CHARITY FUND SUPPORT Today Alexey is more often with his training and lectures in Russia and the former Soviet Union republics - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine. He performs a lot in Belarus. Together with the government of Minsk and the Belarusian Association of Athletics, Alexey Talay and his charity foundation work on a program to prevent suicide among young people. “In the European Union, these trends are clearly manifested. But there are also some cases of suicide in Belarus. When I, father of four children, hear about it, it my heart breaks,” says Alexey. “We will act to overcome stigma towards children with disabilities. Now we have started such a project, together with UNICEF, other state structures and organisations, and with the support of the Foundation and financial support of the Russian Federation.” “I will personally describe my unique life experience, about those steps to happiness, about the path to independence, about success in life, and about my family. This project will be carried out throughout the country, and in all regions”.

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





Many OCA Magazine readers will be aware of the Central Asia and Transcaucasus Business Information Group (CATBIG), hosted by British Expertise International (BEI) for well over 20 years. Based in London, British Expertise International facilitates government to business dialogue – whether with UK government, visiting foreign dignitaries or during in-country business development visits. British Expertise works across emerging markets, and Central Asia is just one of its many foci. OCA Magazine has been supporting BEI’s Central Asia group for years, and we would recommend their events as a source of insights and contacts you would not get elsewhere.Among the more traditional country- and sector-focus events, BEI runs general, cross-sector, and cross region events which touch on security, political risk, investment opportunities, best business practice, and more – in short, everything a company needs to know when considering whether new markets.


Throughout February 2020, British Expertise International presented a series of events aimed at giving members an overview of trends and opportunities in each of the priority regions they cover. Each event featured a panel of regional experts, who shared their insights and discussed the region’s economic and political outlook for 2020, as well as looking at the trends and key areas of opportunity for UK business. The discussions also covered specific opportunities aligned to UK expertise. Alexandra Barnes, BEI’s Director covering Central Asia, told us about the conclusions of the Central Asia event. Central Asia Outlook 2020: what did we learn? On Wednesday 5th February our members were treated to a masterful presentation of the region’s prospects in 2020, delivered by Kate Mallinson (Prism; Chatham House), Simon Glancy (Strategic Solutions) and Bilal Zahid (FCO) in conversation with Campbell Kier. Campbell recently joined the BEI Infrastructure team, having just completed a four-

year stint at the UK Department for International Trade as Director for Energy and Infrastructure; and prior to that had a 30-year career at Shell, including 6.5 years as Country Manager for Kazakhstan. Our events are run under the Chatham House Rule, however the Rule permits me to list out some of the overarching themes we covered – without quoting the speakers. So, what did our experts think salient to UK companies working in Central Asian markets this year? In the region as a whole, every sector must be on top of changes to political undercurrents. Some of the region’s economies are still largely remittance dependent, and as a result, more vulnerable to events in its neighbouring countries. The region’s nations are aware they need reform to attract more investment and provide for their growing populations, at the same time knowing they should be trying to diversify away from extractives. The whole region has great growth potential, with a young, dynamic and well-educated population. UK expertise is well recognised and highly regarded throughout the region; British is synonymous with quality; and as the region’s markets are all looking to diversify now is a good time to enter. Working with donor banks is often the easiest way into these countries as they provide guarantees and the security of a good procurement framework.

Agriculture, technology, renewables and technology all get a lot of support from the UK government. Sadly, capacity building and education do not get the same level of support, and organisations like British Expertise International are vital in supporting UK business interests in soft infrastructure and international development, as well as physical infrastructure. Kazakhstan has come further in its development that others in the region since independence and has seen the lion’s share of foreign investment in the region. However, growth rates are predicted to slow. Much has been said about how the transition of power is being managed – in any case, one may argue that any power shift inevitably affects the investment environment. The Astana International Financial Exchange and the associated Court, with English judges presiding and practicing English Common Law, has been in the news a lot.The Court’s influence on business confidence is still to be seen, as we wait for the first case to be brought to see what actually happens in practice. The UK’s bilateral trade with Kazakhstan was worth a whopping $2.8bn last year – admittedly, most of this was in extractives. Kazakhstan is the only country in the region to have a dedicated Infrastructure Ministry, which speaks of foresight and focus on development. A key priority is to increase investment in things like car manufacturing and construction materials, while developing industries to meet international standards so more can be exported. A big programme to develop and update airports has been announced and surely offers many opportunities



ECONOMICS for British consultancy, master-planning and project management capability. When one reviews the country’s Infrastructure Strategy (Nurly Zhol 2) which was launched in December 2019, it looks like Kazakhstan seems to be stepping back from large-scale, overambitious PPP projects. One can expect the development of many highways and toll roads. Uzbekistan is making up for lost time. Since the power transition a few years ago, and has seen fast and active reform, with currency liberalisation, tax reform and many other initiatives. Some of these initiatives have been incredibly important to creating a workable business climate – such as the elimination of child and forced labour. The president wants to see a radical reset to the economy, while improving relations with the country’s neighbours. This is by far the most populous country in Central Asia, with around 45% of the country’s population under 25 and thousands of new graduates joining the job market every year. The government is trying to meet the challenge of creating enough jobs year on year. The president’s annual address at the start of February sought to dispel criticism that the country’s reform programme has slowed down. In the last month, the government released the State Investment Strategy to 2022, which gives a good indicator as to where the priorities lie.These include building and modernising infrastructure assets, as well as investment in energy, agriculture, food processing, healthcare and education (especially at pre-school and vocational levels). Turkmenistan’s government has not embraced reform to the same extent as some of its neighbours. It does however have plans to boost light manufacturing, as well as the more


traditional focus on boosting gas production – it is estimated that the country holds almost 10% of the world’s gas reserves. The country may yet see a hereditary power transition, as legislation was recently changed to accommodate this. Tajikistan’s economy is still dependent on remittances and as such, it is vulnerable to global shocks. Tajikistan may also see a hereditary power transition, with Rustam Emomali – the eldest son of president Emomali Rahmon – currently serving as mayor of Dushanbe. Tajikistan is undergoing institutional reform, which should help bring more investment. The country has fantastic potential in mining, energy and tourism, to name just three areas, and it’s worth visiting to see some of these opportunities in person – as well as some of the fantastic sights, such as travelling down the Pamir Highway. Kyrgyzstan is the region’s other smaller, remittancedependent economy. The UK happens to be one of the largest investors into Kyrgyzstan, and according to some figures, accounts for the majority of Kyrgyz exports into Western Europe – to the tune of $700 million worth of gold per annum. This year’s parliamentary elections are highly anticipated and may bring a range of new parties to the table. With many donor organisations active in the country, it’s worth exploring opportunities – and of course spending a few days seeing the country, which was named top emerging destination at Wanderlust World Travel Awards in 2019.

Author: Alexandra Barnes is a director at British Expertise International, supporting members on Central Asia, the South Caucasus and South Eastern Europe.




Dubai Hosts 2020 Focus on Turkmenistan Oil & Gas The vice-Chairman of Eurasian Creative Guild (London), Marat Akhmedjanov, visited the official opening ceremony of the international conference “TAPI - the Pipeline for Peace and Cooperation” and the roadshow “Oil and Gas of Turkmenistan” which took place in the Al Maha conference hall of the Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights Hotel on 24 February 2020. OGT 2020 IS DECLARED OPEN Yagshigeldy Kakaev, Advisor to the President of Turkmenistan on Oil and Gas Issues, addressed delegates with a welcoming speech. Noting the role of Turkmenistan’s neutrality as an effective mechanism for establishing fruitful co-operation in addressing pressing issues, strengthening the friendly, good neighbourly relations between states and peoples,Yagshigeldy Kakaev urged potential investors to consider mutually beneficial co-operation. He stressed that the stable economic and political situation in the country, as well as the legislative framework and


state guarantee are among the main factors that make Turkmenistan increasingly attractive for foreign investors. The participants were shown a detailed overview of the achievements of the oil and gas industry of Turkmenistan and te future plans and projects of the oil and gas sector. Ambassador of Turkmenistan to the UAE, Serdarmamet Garajayev, noted the importance of the current event for the Turkmen-Emirati relations and expressed confidence that the open door policy of Turkmenistan couple with its neutral status will continue to promote the comprehensive development of international co-operation. Saeed Al Tayer, Dragon Oil Board Chairman - the sponsor of the plenary session, welcomed the guests, stressing the productivity of co-operation between the UAE and Turkmenistan in the oil and gas sector and expressed hope for further long-term cooperation, paying special attention to safety.

The working sessions of the first day of the international roadshow were devoted to the prospects of development of the gas, chemical and oil refining industry of Turkmenistan, industrialisation, as well as development of the offshore blocks of the Turkmen shelf of the Caspian Sea and attracting of investment. Managers and leading specialists of the oil and gas sector of both Turkmenistan and foreign companies, including Gas Strategies, Haldor Topsoe, China National Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Corporation, Dragon Oil, WOOD, and Gaffney, Cline & Associates, made comprehensive presentations.

Ajmal Ahmady,Acting Minister of Industry and Commerce of Afghanistan, dedicated his speech to the significance of the TAPI gas pipeline for Afghanistan’s economic development, noting the Afghan government’s readiness to fulfill its commitments on the project. Delegates could learn in detail about the construction progress, economic and political impact, advantages and peculiarities of the TAPI gas pipeline from the presentation of Muhammetmyrat Amanov, CEO TAPI Pipeline Ltd, which provided varous statistics about TAPI. Further information was also presented during a presentation by Rahimberdy Jeparov, Chairman of the State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan. Presenting the summary of economic indicators in Turkmenistan for 2019, the speaker emphasised the country’s wide investment opportunities and openness of the bank to cooperation. At the end of the plenary session, moderator Ronald Nash, Chairman of the Turkmenistan-UK Trade and Industry Council, drawing attention to the exceptional importance of the peace-loving policy and neutral status of Turkmenistan in the modern world, cited the relationship between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan as an example. The speaker stressed Turkmenistan’s efforts in supporting Afghanistan for political, economic and social stabilisation of the country, noting the provision of humanitarian aid, electricity and the benefits of commissioning the TAPI gas pipeline in the future.

In the afternoon, a round table session titled, “TAPI - the Beacon of Peace and Cooperation”, and a seminar on legal and tax aspects of investing in the oil and gas sector in Turkmenistan were also organised. At the end of the day, delegates from companies such as Siemens LLC, BP, SOCAR AQS, Baker Huges, Technip FMC and others met with the heads of the oil and gas industry of Turkmenistan. On the second day of the international conference «Oil and Gas of Turkmenistan» dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan, two more sessions on investment in the oil and gas industry of Turkmenistan were actively held. In their speeches, representatives of SC «Turkmengas», TCOR and NaPeCo revealed the potential of co-operation of the Turkmen side with international investors and proposed new solutions to bring Turkmen hydrocarbons to world markets. The final word was given to the advisor to the President of Turkmenistan on oil and gas issues. Summing up the conference, Y. Kakayev noted that more than 300 delegates from 113 companies took part in the conference. He thanked these companies for their interest, the moderators for conducting the sessions, the speakers for their rich presentations full of useful information, and the organisers for the high standard of the forum. At the end of his speech, the advisor invited all participants to the next events, recalling that as part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan, the next roadshow will be organised in early July in London, and in October, as per tradition, the 25th anniversary international forum will be held in Ashgabat.





Stories and reminders of Uzbekistan’s great scientists and scholars of the past can be found everywhere in the country.Travellers on the magnificent Tashkent subway, when stopping at the Kosmonavtlar station, can walk the length of the platform and view a gallery of those who built, influenced and pioneered the Soviet space program. In chronological order, this starts with Mirzo Ulugbek, whose 15th Century pioneering work on astronomy-related mathematics and trigonometry, as well as the building of the Ulugh Beg Observatory helped set this part of the world on a course that eventually sent Yuri Gagarin into space in 1961.


Earlier still, in the ninth century, the scholar Mohammad al-Khorezm produced works in mathematics, astronomy and geography and became the father of algebra and lent his name to the algorithm. When I visited Urgench, the capital city of the region that bears his name in July of last year I came away of a deep sense that his name and legacy are deeply ingrained in the character of the region, and that the people who live there don’t consider his time to be particularly long ago. It is the legacy of men such as Ulugbek and al-Khorezm that is in many ways a driver of how society in Uzbeki-

the school system to expand provision and choice, and a five-year programme of radical improvement of the higher education system. This also includes the abolishment of the system of student and teacher participation in the nation’s cotton harvesting, which for many years led to classrooms being emptied so that school and university students could gather the cotton, the export of which had become so crucial to Uzbekistan’s economy. Mirziyoyev’s commitment to raising educational standards, and to Uzbekistan becoming a country that once again produces scientists of the international and historical calibre of Ulugbek and al-Khorezem, is most visibly manifested in the establishment of the Presidential Schools, the first of which opened in September 2019. I was part of the international project team from Cambridge Assessment International Education brought to Tashkent to contribute to this effort, and I was astonished that the schools were planned, designed, built, staffed and opened in just nine short months after an initial meeting with them in January of that year. Patches of land in Tashkent, Nukus, Khiva and Namangan became architectural designs, which became construction sites, which became landscaped, full furnished, state of the art schools in what seemed like no time at all.

stan values and reveres learning, scholarship, discovery and intellectual pursuits, and how much value is placed on education in the country. After President Shavkat Mirziyoyev took office in 2016, education reform has taken centre stage in Uzbekistan’s national development. The National Development Action Strategy on five priority areas for 20172021 has generated around 100 decrees, resolutions and orders by the President aimed at improving the education system. These include a programme to reform the system of pre-school education, a revision of

Students at the schools, at which places are extremely limited, are selected on a competitive basis and are tested on their critical thinking, problem solving and English language skills. Any child in the regions where a school is opening was eligible to apply, regardless of their economic circumstances. 28,500 students applied for the 480 places available in the first year. This required a monumental logistical and security effort on the part of the Uzbekistan Ministry of Public Education and Cambridge Admissions Testing to ensure fair, valid and reliable methods were used to select the students who entered the schools in September. The examination halls in Urgench alone fit almost 1,000 children, proudly singing the national anthem before their two-and-a-half-hour final exam. Waiting out-



EDUCATION side in searing temperatures, their parents listened and waited, greeting their children with hugs and words of pride as they eventually exited the exam hall. The schools themselves are impressive facilities with the very best classroom equipment, sporting facilities, dormitories and staff. The curriculum of the school is broad and balanced, with a focus on the STEAM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. As the students study these subjects in English alongside national compulsory subjects such as Literature and History in the Uzbek language, I was struck at the ease with which these children access their lessons and interact with the teachers, many of whom come from abroad. Mirziyoyev visited the Tashkent School on September 10th, 2019. Scheduled to be at the school for 45 minutes, the President stayed for three and a half hours observing lessons, speaking to teachers and students, and talking with the leadership at the Ministry of Public Education and the Presidential Schools project office. I greeted the President as he entered the school for the first time, and we discussed both Uzbekistan’s great scholars of the past, and British scholars of Cambridge such as Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin. He said to me that he wanted the students at these school to stand on the shoulders of all those who came before them, and achieve even greater things for their country and the world. Ten more Presidential Schools are planned to open by 2021, which means that there will be one school for every region in Uzbekistan. The practices learned in curriculum implementation, assessment, teaching and learning at the schools mean that they can become centres of educational excellence and models for state schools across the regions they are embedded in, which will lead to improvements in the system as a whole and better outcomes and prospects for the country’s young people. It is possible that a successor to Mirziyoyev is at one of the schools today. It is possible that there is a successor also to Mirzo Ulugkek, Al-Khorezm, Iasaac Newton or Charles Darwin.We shall see.These are undoubtedly special and talented children.


Author: Steve King is based in Cambridge and leads the Central Asia education reform projects team at Cambridge Assessment International Education, a non-teaching department of the University of Cambridge. He has worked in international education for over twenty years, and has been involved in educational publishing, assessment, and teacher development projects worldwide. A firm believer in the power of education to positively transform societies, his current focus is on working with national education authorities and international development organisations to design and deliver education reform projects in the Central Asia region, particularly in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and the Kyrgyz Republic. He has also been captivated by the natural beauty of the region, and takes as many opportunities as possible to experience the spectacular architecture, natural environment and cuisine of Central Asia.







EXTINCTION REBELLION INSPIRES ECOLOGICAL READINGS IN KYRGYZSTAN International Extinction Rebellion and the Legacy of the 2003 London Anti-war marches I have been following the discourses and actions by Extinction Rebellion for a while now, pretty much ever since its inception in London. It is an quite an endeavour and a very brave approach of handling current climate issues and the potential for an ecological catastrophe to unfold before our eyes. As a Kyrgyz woman who spent most of her formative years in the end of 1990s and early 2000 in the UK, USA, and Europe studying and working (including a stint with the Financial Times), I gained a more or less balanced view of the Western spearheading of the Eurocentric outlook at the Rest of the World and the former USSR. I found that the outlook was tainted by the lack of understanding about the history and culture of Central Asia but with plenty of what was in fact a predatory interest in the oil, gold, rare metals, minerals, and cheap labour sourced from the region. At the same time the official, corporate, and research agenda had been linked to the human rights, democracy, and good governance advancement and most recently green economic and climate discourse – which made it seem ever more sinister, is there any disinterested agenda among them? I became aware that the hegemonic liberal ideal and method diffusion through the bi-


lateral and multilateral organizations and their projects in Kyrgyzstan often brought harm as only a narcotic needle of donor injections can do on a community that lacked the Third Sector (the social self-organization sector) during the Soviet years. The so-called civil society started growing with the arrival and motivation of international donors and their inscribed agendas since early 1990s to Central Asia. But can we really complain about it? Can we at this time of history stay away from this, which seems to be not a mere wave but a tidal wave of tsunami proportions within the global development “industrial” complex with some unpredictable consequences for the local communities. Nevertheless, there is still a great deal of human and cultural interfacing and interbeing that makes the globalist project less harmful in some ways. The connections at the people’s, intellects’, and hearts’ level also happened in London for me and it turned out to be a rewarding experience mainly because it brought to my attention the civil disobedience and some of the most progressive thinking about labour, land, and money. On the memorable Saturday 15 February 2003 I took part in the biggest rally ever in London, which was dedicated to stopping the war on Iraq. It was the first time I saw over a million people marching in a peaceful protest. I heard speeches full of meaning and spirit from the likes of the incredible former MP Tony Benn, Former

US presidential candidate the Rev Jesse Jackson, writer Tariq Ali, playwright Harold Pinter, actress Vanessa Redgrave, Hollywood actor Tim Robbins, human rights campaigner Bianca Jagger, ex-minister Mo Mowlam, and London’s mayor Ken Livingstone. The electrifying atmosphere of the people voicing their concerns about the eminent crises shook me in a new way, I learned then that protest can shift the energy of a nation and, indeed, of the world for a long-term impact. Doris Lessing, Hot Planet, and Climate ABCs Most importantly, while living in London I discovered the incredible Doris Lessing and her feminist writing and sci-fi. In one of her books, Mara and Dann, she describes the desperate human children living on a hot planet with very little water, people fighting wars, surviving on meagre food and hiding away from the deadly heat, new types of predators and insects, new diseases. After reading that futuristic apocalypse vision I was a changed person. The connection between Kyrgyzstan and UK, between Bishkek and London became clear to me at that time. London was to become my intellectual catalyst. I knew then that the Earth, its climate, and the humanity’s survival in the nearest century would become the central axis of my personal and professional art and technology. The seeds of my Climate ABCs were planted. Today, as many of my friends and colleagues across the world feel daunted and depressed by the looming cli-



ECOLOGY mate issues, I cast my antennas towards London again to connect with London’s XR (Extinction Rebellion). At the same time I am have also become inspired to start an Ecological Reading group based at the office-studio of the green climate consultancy Dialecticon in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The Bishkek Connection to the Global Climate Discourse We are starting an Ecological Reading (ER) group at Dialecticon in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan with a group of friends during the week of solidarity with the International Rebellion. We are hoping to wake people up to the realities of climate change and the lack of policies in Kyrgyzstan in regards to protecting nature, glaciers, clean water, soils, forests, and pastures. There is a foreign corporate encroachment on the gold and other rare minerals in our celestial mountains at the time where instead what must be prioritised is the prevention of mining radiation, soil and water damage as a threat to the future generations.Yet with the globalist gold lobby being so strong, more than 2500 mining licenses have been given away to dubious companies, likely illegally. Thus, the Ecological Readings (ER) have the chance of being timely and critical for Kyrgyzstan despite them being comprised of mostly English-language authors and books, essays and articles. This is mostly due to the fact that the Climate and Green Economy discourses are driven mostly by the English spoken scientists, communities of practice, interest groups, and the communities that are the target of and the active promoters of the green mitigation and adaptation technologies offered through the English language science and English centred finance. Yet, the most advanced thinking and action on the climate, ecosystems and regenerative ecology has been produced by very local and practical people, including inter-disciplinary scientists, activists, and practitioners in the a variety of fields. Among them are my friends and mentors Jo Brewer and Weitske Medema, researchers and authors whose work I follow closely, including Daniel Christian Whall, Kate Raworth, Jordan Greenhall, Edward Muller, John Verveaeke, Jem Bendelle, and of course the gurus of the Gaia Tradition of Earth Humanity such as Professor Stephen Harding and the maverick Professor James


Lovelock. These are the authors I want to present to audiences in Kyrgyzstan. Also, I am hoping to establish a constant following among audiences to the works of authors such as Mathis Vackernagel, William Rees, Rachel Carson, David Suzuki, Naomi Klein, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Peter Wohlleben, and spiritual leaders such as Vandana Shiva and Thich Nhat Hahn. It is my hope that the ER becomes instrumental in bringing the discourses of these authors and activists to the Kyrgyz social, ideological, and political landscape and support the exchange of ideas, filtering those that are most potent for the Kyrgyz eco-systems and social and ecological regeneration as the main antidote to the environmental destruction and societal and political neglect of the collapse at all levels. This is also one way to cope with my personal despair about the socio-ecological and climate collapse not only at home but globally.

Author: Jamilia Jeenbaeva is based in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. She is the co-founder of Dialecticon and Ecological Lecture readings for Electoral Quality (ELEK). Contact:Tel. +996 777 593 460; E-mail: jamilia.jeenbaeva@gmail.com

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.




BACH’S CHACONNE DELIGHTS SALISBURY CATHEDRAL AND BRINGS MESSAGE OF PEACE TO YEREVAN Gayane never liked politics and sought to have minimal interaction with its continuous information flow. A decent education and critical thinking made her feel disgust towards the hackneyed cliches in the speeches of the powerful, towards their seeming compassion for the welfare of people and their seemingly good intentions, paving a road to hell. Since her very childhood, the words of her beloved O. Henry were always on her mind: “It’s a glorious thing, .. to be able to discharge a government, and insert one of your own choosing, in these days.” “Oh, it is only a matter of business,”... “and that is what moves the world of today. That extra real on the price of bananas had to go. We took the shortest way of removing it.” (story “Rouge et Noir”) Every time she witnessed large crowds of people in different countries advancing “their own revolutions” in the 21st century along with chanting some primitive slogans, she couldn’t help appreciating the genius of the American writer, whose words are still relevant nowadays in the age of global computer literacy and the victory of democratic principles. One thing is for sure: even the most advanced and developed


societies cannot avoid contradictions that firstly grow into hidden discontent and then erupt into social unrest, riots, and, last but not least, violence, which Gayane could neither understand nor accept. And now, the revolution came to her hometown Yerevan. Almost the entire city went out to join mass protests, the functioning of educational institutions and transport network was partially paralysed, but hospitals and other medical facilities continued to work, although doctors were having a hard time getting to work. Banks, shops, and government agencies also functioned. The streets were deserted at night; the organisers urged the people to go home and restrain themselves and others from ill-conceived and dangerous actions. Gayane immediately sided with the peaceful “velvet revolution”, and went out with her fellow musicians to peaceful protest rallies, forming spontaneous quartets and quintets and playing classical Armenian music on the go. And it was exactly at this time that Gayane gave a recital, which was a huge success and was attended by many guests: the peaceful revolution awakened the noblest of feelings, the eternal source of which is classical music. The swift river of life, after a victorious revolutionary flood, got back into its usual course, and Gayane reread her beloved O. Henry: “It’s not that bad as long as the shortest path leads to a large safe road, and not to a dead end.” Taking part in the revolution did not cure her intolerance of the false speeches of politicians, but it helped the twenty-year-old Gayane to realise that her place in this life is at the piano, in the thick of performance, her vocation is to improve her professionalism and thereby serve the aspirations of mankind for a fairer life. She began to pay more attention to the news, especially since the events of April 2018 in Yerevan almost entirely occupied both the Armenian information space and the attention of its citizens.

But when Gayane was watching CNN news one day, she was astonished by footage from Salisbury and learned, with some delay, about the events that occurred in this wonderful city, which became hard to recognise after the poisoning incident. She visited Salisbury three years ago in December 2015. Participating in a master class in Windsor, Gayane realized her long-held dream and dedicated one day to a trip to Salisbury to see Stonehenge. Armenia has its own mystical landmark - the prehistoric observatory Carahunge, which was nicknamed “The Armenian Stonehenge” by tourists. Archaeologists and historians believe the similarity is no coincidence, so it was very interesting for Gayane to see everything with her own eyes. After visiting Stonehenge and strolling around the city, she visited Salisbury Cathedral. It was there, right in the cathedral, that a real miracle happened: it is every musician’s dreams that came true for Gayane in Britain - to perform Bach under the arches of the church. After a small concert by schoolchildren, a piano remained open in the cathedral, and Gayane, shivering with excitement and unable to



STORY tract from the gravity of this particular problem in this particular place - the town of Salisbury. “What could I do for you, my sweet child, or for your mother, or for all those people in your town who were so kind to me,” Gayane thought out aloud. And suddenly an idea occurred to her - there was definitely something she could do.

believe her luck, sat at the piano and started performing Bach’s Chaconne. The sounds of music gave her wings to fly over coloured stained glass windows and sculpted pillars, losing the sense of time and space. She was brought back to reality by the applauding audience, and among them, a lovely baby in a stroller, who was mimicking adults by clapping his small hands with an adorable smile on his face. Words of gratitude by total strangers, their benevolence, and the atmosphere of the cathedral itself, the fulfilment of a cherished dream - all this created a sense of miracle and aroused great happiness. The events of three years ago light up like fireworks in Gayane’s memory even today. Then it gave her so much joy, but now, seeing another completely different Salisbury on the footage crowded with policemen, cordoned with police tapes – she couldn’t help but shed tears of sadness and compassion. Maybe the adorable baby she met there can no longer stroll in the cozy parks of his hometown, since his mother does not feel safe walking outside. Well, she knew he was not the only child in the world who was in danger, but this could not de-


Six months later, dozens of posters welcomed residents and guests of Yerevan to the Premiere, which was considered by many local musicians as a musical sensation - the recital of English composers’ works, which, actually, are rarely performed around the world, by the laureate of international contests, Gayane Aslanyan. text by ByYelena Aslanyan (translated by Astghik Melik-Karamyan)

2-4 AUGUST 2020


FRIENDS VOICES REEL POETRY FESTIVAL This is our first international festival of video poetry, which will be held in Kaliningrad. The event will include a poetic marathon, personal presentations, master classes, evening shows and guided tours of historic sites. The aim of the festival is to unite all the poets of the world in one place and to give participants the opportunity to share their work with everyone. At the festival, the first poetic almanac of “Friends Voices� will be presented the winner of the video poetry contest will be announced, who will be able to attend the Open Eurasian Book Forum & Literature Festival for free. WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM





“We originally wanted to make the pieces of jewellery so that they could be sold around the world.� The history of the Kazakh jewellery brand BALAUSA Jewellery began with an amazing family legend. Now BALAUSA has about 30 partner stores across Kazakhstan, successful participation in international exhibitions and big plans to conquer the jewellery market in Europe. The editorial staff of OCA Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing its creators, married couple Iliyas Myrzakhmetov and Mariya I had bought some jewellery tools, and I went to jewellery Marikkyzy. training. We had invested all the money into the business, OCA: Iliyas, can you tell us how the BALAU- bought tools, I started making 12-15 rings a day, and then it reached 20. The quality of the rings was good, and the SA jewellery brand started? orders began to flow, I started to hire employees and Iliyas: It all started in 2007. Mariya and I just met and purchase equipment. decided to start a business - to sell silver. We had a small counter in Kaskelen, deliveries were once a OCA:Why exactly BALAUSA, how was this name week, on Tuesdays, and on that day I was not engaged born? in trade. I was just sitting and studying the design of jewellery. I decided that I could do it myself and Mariya: BALAUSA means new beginning or young started looking for a jeweller to go to his apprentice- sprout. There is no direct translation, but the meaning is roughly that. The point of the name is that it is a new diship programme.


rection and a new technology. We expanded the style of “ethnomodern”, used ethnic design in modern products. We have invented a style of national jewellery so that it could be worn every day. OCA: So you’ve created the market for your own production? Iliyas: Yes, we did it in order not to work for wholesalers, but to sell on our terms. Today we have 29 stores; we plan to open three more shops by the end of this year. We are the only jewellery company that sells 100% of its own products. In our showcases, you can find only our products.

make jewellery so that it would be sold all over the world, it would be universal, that not only those who are interested in national themes would buy it. OCA: Tell me, what inspires you? And how do you see the future of the brand? Iliyas: We are inspired by the stories of Cartier,Tiffany and De Grisogono. We could work for a flea market, make golden products and earn a lot more. We want to keep the company. We will be gone, 200-300 years will pass, and the company will live. We have children growing up, we want them to continue our business, I hope one of them will become a designer.

Mariya: All this chain of stores, the production itself was given to us with great effort and sleepless nights. Nevertheless, for us, this is not the limit of growth. Now we are going into European markets. In September 2019, we participated on International Jewellery London exhibition in London Olympia, from where the path to European market is opens.

Not so long ago, I found out a wonderful family history. It turns out that my great-great-grandfather was a famous jeweller in the Tashkent province. The saddle of his work is in the Kokand Local History Museum. He had many children, but only two survived, the elder and the younger, and the rest were killed by robbers. The eldest did not study jewellery, and the youngest was still very young when his father was killed. Knowledge OCA: Have you researched the European mar- of jewellery making was lost, the jewellery dynasty ket, are there any designers of jewellery of sim- broke down, but it was reborn with me (unwittingly) ilar style? after several generations. I only learned this family history in 2016, when I went to Tashkent. When I heard it, Iliyas: We have been selling in Europe for a long time, I got goosebumps. It turns out that fate itself made me just in small quantities. In 2017, we participated in start jewellery business. the WOW Show in Dubai. There was great selection among the jewellery brands, only three were chosen, You can see and order our jewellery from: including BALAUSA. At that time our jewellery was Instagram @balausa.jewellery.europe bought by Europeans and Americans, and they used to WhatsApp +44 0792 6934839 say: Unique, unique, unique! That is, exclusive. There is Tel: + 7 705 781 3841 no such thing on the market. We originally wanted to www.balausajewelry.com




A MEETING WITH KAZAKHSTAN BY JONATHAN CAMPION I used to dream of visiting Central Asia. For 12 years, first while studying in Russia, and then working in jobs connected with the Russian-speaking world, I longed to one day find myself in a city on the Silk Route, talking with the people, and immersing myself in the markets. In 2017 I booked a trip to Almaty, and my dream finally came true. I would be in this lively city tucked against the Tien Shan mountains for a week. Only there was a twist: this was a business trip, for my new job writing reports about the wine & spirits industry. The people I was in Kazakhstan to meet were managers at alcohol companies; the markets I was there to learn about were business markets.


But still, landing in Almaty, I couldn’t bring myself to think like a business traveller. I booked a basic room in a little Kazakh hotel on Tole Bi street, and planned my work so that, between several meetings each day in offices all around the city, I could see as much of Kazakhstan as possible. I organised morning meetings with the companies close to the hotel, so I could walk to their offices and take some photos on the way. One company was on the same street as a cafe serving Dungan food, so I arranged to go there after lunch, and slurped some laghman noodles as I waited. I had to see a wine importer based in the fancy Dostyk Plaza mall; I made it my last appointment of the day, so I could walk through the shops before going back to the hotel.

But it was in the meetings themselves that I really experienced the many sides of Kazakhstan. In a boardroom in Nurly Tau business centre, Almaty’s prestigious new complex of skyscrapers close to the mountains, a lady at a whisky distributor told me that their sales were growing, as more middle-class Kazakhs now want to experience the products and lifestyles that are trendy in Europe. Later, in a dark and crumbling office on Nurmakova street, I also learned that a local vodka company is struggling, because many of the poorer people in Kazakhstan’s regions are reconnecting with Islam, and so turning away from alcohol. Each day I met Kazakhs of all ages and backgrounds. There was a former finance minister (an influential advisor to Nursultan Nazarbayev), who had discovered an abandoned vineyard in the Assa Valley outside Almaty, and had made it his mission to bring it back to life.After him I met two young lads working in the reception of another company. They drove me to my next meeting when my taxi didn’t turn up, and were stunned to receive a 3,000 tenge tip to share. I met ethnic Kazakhs, Russian Kazakhs and Armenian Kazakhs, and each of them taught me something new about their country. Walking between meetings carrying a list of addresses, I spent half my time getting lost. I wandered into a deserted apartment block on the edge of the city hoping there was a wine company on the third floor, before realising that the building I needed was further down the street. In another dark building I thought I found the office of a beer company, until some paramedics came and opened the doors to a clinic. Once, completely disoriented and soaked with rain, I had to hitch-hike to a meeting. A cheerful man picked me up off Abay Avenue in less than a minute. I thought about my colleagues from London who were in other cities at that time, researching reports on other countries. They were calling cabs to modern business centres in the centre of Paris, Sydney, New York… But I didn’t envy them. Their meetings were only about cold numbers and data; in Central Asia, I found out, you can’t talk business without the human touch as well. Arriving at each office speaking fluent-but-flustered Russian, my contacts in Almaty always tried to make me




feel at home. The former finance minister gave me two bottles from his resurrected vineyard; another company presented me with a beautiful notepad to write my meeting notes in. Knowing that I was English, one man broke the ice by asking me who my favourite snooker player was. I don’t think this would happen in Paris. The weekend before I flew home, I had to write up my reports. But I couldn’t spend my last two days in Kazakhstan stuck in a hotel room. Instead I worked by night, putting the numbers into my spreadsheets until 3am, fuelling myself with the apples that Almaty is famous for.Then I got up at dawn to explore every street that I hadn’t been to yet. I spent a morning in the murmurs of the Green Bazaar, and chatted to the sellers about what they were selling - everything from fruits and nuts to homemade medicinal potions. The lady from the whisky company had told me to go to Shymbulak ski resort, in the mountains above Almaty. But I didn’t make it: I got on the wrong marshrutka bus on Al Farabi street and ended up 30km away, in the bedlam of the Altyn Orda bazaar.


When I left the company, and stopped travelling to cities in Eurasia for these meetings, I thought I had said goodbye to this part of the world forever. Then one week out of the blue, I found myself back in Central Asia - in Almaty again, for a press trip with Air Astana. This time it really was to immerse myself in Kazakhstan. But on reflection, the business trip those years before taught me much more.

Author: Jonathan Campion writes about his travels in Central Asia, the Caucasus, Russia and Europe at jonathancampion.com. He is also a translator, editor, and still works as an analyst. Visit website: http://jonathancampion.com




THE LIFE OF A ROYAL PAINTER FROM RUSSIA This interview with portrait painter Sergey Pavlenko was recorded by Oksana Karnovich, Director of the Galina Ulanova Museum-Apartment in Moscow, and Maria Lvova, Member of Russian Heritage in the United Kingdom. We are in the very centre of London, on the busy, but cozy High Street Kensington. The reason was for the participation in the jury of the Fourth International Art and Creative Contest “Outstanding Russians.The history of cooperation between Russian and British educators and scientists”, which was organised by “Russian Heritage in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.” Before the meeting, I had only one question for the jury member Sergey Pavlenko and for myself – “How did a maestro with a Russian surname turn out to be the main contender for the role of the Royal Family artist?”. I questioned Sergey about this, and the following interview emerged.

Maria Lvova: Sergey, so did you paint the royal family?

According to dictionaries, painting is called fine art that reproduces objects and phenomena of the real world with the help of paints. The word is a tracing- paper Sergey Pavlenko: No, I did not draw the royal family. from the Greek language. The fact is that in the ancient I painted a portrait of the queen! world, the ability to draw an object “like in real life” was especially appreciated. It is no coincidence that ML (thought): In my head, the words of the painting there were legends about the artist’s ability to draw teacher of an art school, where I had the opportunity grapes in such a way that birds flew to peck them. to graduate in Moscow, instantly arise: “the artist does not draw, the artist writes, from the word “painting” Fortunately for me, another member of the jury Pictures, indeed, are painted more often, rather than joined us, the director of the Galina Ulanova museumdrawn, which is connected with the etymology of apartment in Moscow, Oksana Karnovich appeared with these words. The word “draw” (“рисовать”) appeared a voice recorder in her hands, asking for permission to in Russian at the very beginning of the 18th century; record, which allowed me to correct and repeat my it has been noted in dictionaries since 1731. It is first question in a more skillful way. borrowed from Western European languages, where its senior meaning was “draw, cut, scratch”. To draw is ML: Sergey, getting back to my first question, are to depict, reproduce objects on a plane (pencil, pen, you the same artist who painted the members charcoal, paints). The word to paint has been known of the royal family? since the 11th century, but its meaning was closer to the modern concept of “paint in colors”. It is enough SP: Yes, one portrait, a canvas is a family portrait to recall that the words “motley” and “write / dazzle” with the concept of the princes studying at a military academy. have one root.


ML: Did you paint from the actual princes or from a photograph? How did the process go?

Fortunately, I had a way out of the situation due to the fact that there were steps that allowed to spread everything horizontally and make a more or SP: First, the composition was developed. And at this less interesting composition. I drew a sketch. Then stage I knew how many people would be there. Their there was another rehearsal, which was attended by role was played by cadets, respectively, male and female. everyone except the members of the royal family, but The general was the actual general, and the princes there were ... [recalls] trumpeters, yes, trumpeters. But, were the actual princes. But at that time they were unfortunately, they appeared in the wrong uniform, all dressed in khaki, as I can remember, except for the because when there was a real parade already, they princes. The princes were already in full uniform. And I were in a different uniform. But nobody told me about just moved them like chess pieces, developing different this, and I had to do a second sketch. compositional options. Because, you might understand, when a crowd of people is below my gaze, they all The third time was, in fact, the action itself - there was overlap each other on the same level, or they must be a parade, and they all arrived. And since the sketch put in a row, like a football team. Neither is the best was already approved, the task of the princes was to option. arrange all the participants as needed and depicted in



HISTORY Oksana Karnovich: Did they sit patiently? SP: They stood. Stood as much as needed. But there’s something interesting. In Russia, if you went to different exhibitions in the 7080s, there were autumn painting or spring ones, for example, “Lenin in the Gorki”, “Gorky, hosting the Archery Parade” [laughs] ... In general, people painted portraits of people whom they had never seen. Or a portrait of Alexander Green. And sometimes they were good, you know. Because they were based on such figurative similarities. It was not so important to draw or not, by looking at actual people. In England, it’s the opposite. If a person did not pose for the artist - that’s it. For professional portrait galleries such portraits are not of interest. Therefore, when they told me that no one would pose separately, I answered - you know that if no one poses, then your painting will not have value. So they immediately organized all this for me [laughs]. OK: Incredible! How many royal family members did you paint? S.P.: In this case, there was Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Charles, Camilla, two princes ... that’s all. Yes, my sketch. All this action lasted roughly three minutes. Certainly, in parallel, a lot of photos were taken, one way or another, so that some details and poses could be considered. And then, when the painting itself was being painted, they posed individually in Buckingham Palace. That, in fact, is the whole story. ML: Did each character pose in the approved position as shown in the final sketch? SP: Of course, yes. Everyone was in a uniform. Absolutely as they should be.


there was a general, a senior sergeant and trumpeters, two trumpeters. OK: And everything was painted in Buckingham Palace? SP: No, it was painted in the studio, but they posed in Buckingham Palace. It’s better. Everyone posed in Buckingham Palace, except for Charles and Camilla, who posed in Clarence House.

ML: Who approved you? Who picked the main artist for this role? You were already in England at that time, not in Russia I suppose. SP: Yes, I was already in England, it was the seventh year of my stay here. The truth is that I had already painted the Queen before. ML: But how were you chosen to paint the first portrait of the queen? SP: Voters were in charge [laughs] ...You want to know everything right away and don’t let me say [laughs] ... ML: Because I’m curious, you see. I was the one who approached you with a question, and not you [everyone laughs] ... SP: Yes, you are right, I’ll tell you. Voters went to the National Portrait Gallery and searched for the file with names, which at that time still existed in the gallery. There was no computer system yet. According to this file, they selected people whose style made them more or less satisfied.Then they narrowed and narrowed the list, and I was the only one left [laughs]. ML: Ah, I see, they have already seen your works and your style. How interesting that such style of painting caught their gaze. OK: So they did see your works?

SP: Almost every piece, except museums. Do we consider museums as a private collection or not?! [ponders] OK: That is to say, the members of the royal family also ordered you a portrait, particularly for themselves? SP: No, no, there’s no such thing; the members of the royal family do not order anything for themselves at all. Someone else always orders, for example, to write to the members of the royal family. ML: Have you ever painted Prince Michael of Kent?

SP: No, not the actual works, but their photos in a file. The National Portrait Gallery is a very strange establishment.Very.

SP: Well, I have, the painting is ... let me remember where ... Michael of Kent is depicted as a freemason. There is a portrait in some London branch of the freemasons club.

ML: How did your works get there?

ML: Is he a member of the freemasons society?

SP: They did not. There are only photos. They don’t have and did not have any of my works in the exhibition or their property. But because they keep lists of prominent artists, who paint and create well-known British portraits, I belong to that circle of artists.

SP: Yes, he is a freemason, a famous freemason. I painted the two main masons in life. The first was Michael of Kent. That’s right, it was Michael, Duke of Kent. And the second, who really ran everything - Marquess of Northampton.

ML:Are all your works part of private collections then?

ML: Sergey, thanks for the fascinating interview.





My trip to Tajikistan in the summer of 2019 was one of my most memorable adventures ever. I’ve been travelling full-time for the past 9 years and seen some stunning destinations, but not many countries have touched me like this little Central Asian country did.

Part of me wants to keep this destination hidden from the outside world. It might be a bit selfish but I love the fact that, when I was travelling through the country, I barely met other tourists. It made me feel like a real explorer.

What exactly makes Tajikistan so special?

Even taking public transportation was an adventure on its own.While there’s definitely room for improvement concerning the tourist infrastructure in the country, I love that it’s still challenging as a traveller to get from one place to the other. This sets Tajikistan apart from popular destinations and makes the country so authentic.

93% of the country is covered in mountains, making it a perfect destination for outdoor lovers. It’s home to the Pamir Highway, one of the world’s wildest and highest roads, and the beautiful Fann Mountains. Almost every day my breath was taken away by the extremely scenic landscapes, lush river valleys and azure-coloured alpine lakes. Tajikistan is one of the few countries in the world where tourism hasn’t left its traces yet. I love seeking genuine experiences in non-touristy places and that’s exactly what you can still find in this off-the-beatenpath destination.


Tajikistan is also one of the best trekking destinations people haven’t heard of. If you’d normally go on a multi-day treks in destinations like Nepal and Peru, you would typically have to share the hiking trails with many other hiking enthusiasts. While hiking through the mountains of Tajikistan, however, you’ll often get the feeling you’re alone in your own little patch of paradise.

I especially enjoyed my hiking trip to the Kulikalon lakes and the Allaudin lakes in the Fann mountains.The 3-day trek itself wasn’t too challenging as I’m quite used to trekking in mountains but it took me ages to hike across the mountain passes as I constantly wanted to stop to photograph and take in the fantastic scenery. Words fail to describe the beauty of this region. The sense of awe I felt in the presence of such dramatic landscapes was overwhelming. Rugged mountain peaks stretching up to touch the sky. Juniper forests surrounding turquoise and aquamarine lakes that shimmer like jewels against a dusty backdrop. As far and wide as I could look, I was surrounded by this majestic beauty and I just couldn’t get enough of it. This region is truly a little heaven on earth! Another thing I absolutely loved about Tajikistan is its people. The Tajiks are genuinely happy to meet foreigners and will welcome you like an old friend. Never before have I been greeted by so many




waving hands and big smiles. Whenever you get invited to a family’s home, tea and biscuits are waiting for you and your hosts will do their utmost best to offer you something delicious. The Tajiks go to great lengths to make sure you’re well taken care of. They turned hospitality into an art! So while I hope that Tajikistan will forever be as unspoiled, untouched and unique as it’s now, I also don’t want to deny its beauty to others. Every traveller who decides to visit this little corner of the world will be greatly rewarded!


Cynthia (35) is a Belgian travel photographer, Panasonic Lumix Ambassador and travel blogger. She writes for the outdoor and adventure travel blog Journal of Nomads together with her Canadian travel partner, Niko. Instead of rushing through places and ticking off countries on a list, they prefer to spend some quality time in the places they visit. They travel very slowly so they immerse themselves in the local culture while learning more about the traditions and daily lives of the people they meet. Follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook. com/journalofnomadsaworldodyssey Instagram: @journalofnomads YouTube: Journal of Nomads





KALININGRAD – A CITY OF POETS “I arrived at my station in Kaliningrad as if posted there by an army of desires entering through the gate with a firm set jaw into the guarding teeth of iron girders driven into the soft soul of the soil by hammering heels as bold as yours approaching a fateful encounter quite naughty amidst ghosts in an Eastern European night its sights built when all roads led to Königsberg city taking pretty daughters of frightening Prussian knights to a military parade past the rust of heavy industry…” An excerpt from a poem by Anthony Williams




Kaliningrad is a city of contrasts. Unlike any other Russian city, Kaliningrad was built from the ruins of old Prussian capital city of Konigsberg, a citadel on the shores of Baltic sea. Here, Prussian discipline merged with Russian creativity, to create a truly unique architectural image. Old German gothic architecture alternates with new Russian modernism, the spirit of ordnung with the Russian soul, this contrast gave a huge impulse to a fast development of the city. Walking through the old quaint streets, you feel like the heroine of a good medieval fairy tale. The main thing is to notice are the details and enjoy the beauty. Kaliningrad is called the amber capital of Russia, few cities can boast of such a favour of nature! The Amber Room is a small World Wonder, but your Kaliningrad grandmother could have amber pictures all around her flat’s walls. More


than 80 percent of the world’s sunstone reserves are concentrated here. Kaliningrad is a welcoming jewel of the Baltic, a city first built by the Teutons to battle Lithuanian romuvans, later a home of Friedrich I, the first king of Prussia, Emmanuel Kant, the great philosopher and the site of some of the bloodiest battles of the 20th century – during East Prussia Offensive, the Red Army stormed an impenetrable stronghold of Konigsberg. Kaliningrad truly has a lot to offer for any visitor: great architectural wonders – a castle, various churches, houses, fountains, and different museums. This city personally sets me up for a philosophical view, perhaps because one of the greatest philosophical minds, Emmanuel Kant, lived and worked here. Thanks to Kant, namely his grave, the main

attraction of the city survived - the Cathedral of the 13th century! If you are ever lucky enough to visit this Cathedral, you will be able to feel the spirit of the old Konigsberg from the time of the great philosopher and feel the mysterious breath of that time. Königsberg Cathedral is built in a brick Gothic-style with a magnificent pipe organ, the largest in Europe.

history, the beauty of its buildings and its unique atmosphere merging the two cultures - Russian and European - has decided to host its first Voices of Friends Reel Poetry Festival in Kaliningrad. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Kaliningrad oblast, a co-organiser of this event, notes that the Eurasian Poetic Festival will fit right in to the city that easily mixes old and new, German and Russian, East and West, and will play a key part in uniting poets from all over Eurasia.

The land of Kaliningrad gave birth to many talented people, among them many poets, and many more came here in search of its unique spirit. Some faWelcome to Kaliningrad – a place of contrasts, mous names include Simon Dach, Kristijonas Donrich history and good people! elaitis, Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann, Simkin Sam Haimovich, and Ziborov Eugen Alexandrovich. Kaliningrad, the most western and European city of Russia ,this year will become the centre of poetic Photos by: Pirozhenko Zakhar, Step Svetlana, Georg life of Eurasia. The Eurasian Creative Guild (Lon- Adler don), giving due note to the city’s long and bright




POVERTY, PARALYSIS AND PERSISTENCE CREATE PURE PERFECTION INTERVIEW: EVGENII DOGA Moldovan musician, Evgenii Doga, dismissed his life of poverty and paralysis to realise his dream of becoming a musician. His fascinating story is uncovered here. OCA: How did you become such a talented creative person in Moldova? Evgenii Doga: I liked music from my childhood, but I could not even imagine that it would become my profession. Music had always been out of favour. Even the famous classics mostly lived in poverty. And even in our village, musicians played only at weddings and funerals. The time of my childhood was not up to music: a terrible post-war famine, continuous epidemics, the loss


of my father in the war. But my destiny was probably already destined somewhere up there. I loved tinkering, whether it was a bicycle, gramophone, mandolin or harpsichord. I abandoned my plans for entering an industrial school where I was supposed to be fed, dressed, and I only needed to study for 2 years, in order to quickly come to the aid of my mother. Only three months later, my mother sold everything to survive and I went barefoot to Chisinau. It was here that I was fortunate to be asked to play the cello.

But at the end of the conservatory, my left hand was paralysed and I bid farewell to the cello, although I played well and even a film was shot with my performance. What to do? I decided to return to the conservatory to the composer faculty. I wanted to come up with something, some kind of dance, since my childhood, and so that the brass band of our village would play this. But I was embarrassed to even tell anyone about it. In parallel with the cello classes, I secretly wrote something. But my teacher P.I. Bachinin became interested in my “creativity” and organised it to be played with the orchestra, and then on the radio. My first song was performed by my classmate, Marie Biesu, who later became a world star, one of the best chio chio san of the world. And it went on from there. OCA: How did you create the famous waltz for the film “My Sweet and Tender Beast”, which was recognised as a 20th century masterpiece by UNESCO? ED: It is unlikely that the composer thinks about creating a masterpiece during their work. What is true is that he is trying to do his best. With the ingenious director of this film, Emil Lotyanu, six months before the shooting, we agreed to write “Waltz” for the scene of the wedding of Olya Skvortsova, since we did not find anything good in the music libraries. The film shooting began with it. And then one late evening, an angry director bursts into my hotel room and says from the threshold: “Waltz!” I quickly removed the notes for another picture so that the director wouldn’t notice and in fear I “trinketed” something in the rhythm of the waltz, not being completely ready for such a situation and knowing that this was not at all what Lotyan demanded. After strained improvisations, the director opened the door and left, terribly angry left. And then, from the hallway he informed me that tomorrow there was a recording and an orchestra was already ordered. After painful thoughts, I gathered my thoughts and began to add up the score of the future waltz. What I wrote, and how it turned out, I did not even have time to realise, or at even remember. By the morning I passed the score to the orchestra and by evening, at the Mosfilm studio, the cinematography orchestra under the guidance of the talented conductor S. Skrypka played this “Waltz” and the musicians began banging the consoles with bows in approval. At the beginning I thought it was a joke, a practical joke, but time judged in its own way and today this music sounds around the world.

OCA: Do you visit Moldova and and conduct concerts there? ED: Moldova is my homeland. I live there, although for many years, and even now, my life is connected with Moscow. I was recognised there, and for the first time my music entered the big world. I continuously hold concerts there. At the very beginning of my career, I travelled with small groups of performers throughout the Soviet Union, and visited almost all of its geographical points. I love iconic performances. If holding a concert, then it’s in the Kremlin Palace, in Ateneu Romin in Bucharest, in Schonbrunn in Vienna, in Ankara with the presidential orchestra, Canada, USA, China ... And, of course, in Chisinau in the National Palace. I also performed together with the Leningrad concert orchestra in my native village of Mokra. But I especially remembered the performance in front of 9 listeners in a taiga pear, where my small group of performers and I, came on a tractor through terrible mud, and in the rain. These people saw artists for the first time in their lives. You should have seen these happy faces and outstretched, strained hands to us as a token of gratitude! They are still in my mind. OCA: Do your listeners from Central Asia differ a lot from listeners from European countries at your performances? ED: I have long ago understood that the listeners around the world don’t differ a lot. I remember a performance in China. I was terribly worried how they would perceive my music there! During the performance, you could even hear a fly (though they don’t have flies there), there was such silence. I had to perform at different times in Tashkent, Alma-Ata, Samarkand, Bishkek and the reception everywhere was always very warm. Moreover, when the film with my music “Gypsies go to Heaven” was just released, I was asked by the audience to perform something from this film. A lot of letters were received from Asian republics asking where to buy records with the recording of this, and other music. Even now, sometimes someone comes up after a performance to sign an autograph on an old record. Listeners want to listen to music that excites them, which affects their souls. I try to write such music. And the listener feels it perfectly and reciprocates both in Europe and in Asia.




OCA: Do you still write music for movies or TV shows? If so, which ones? ED: It has been a few years now that I no longer write music for films. Those who offer them are not interesting to me, and those to which I would write with pleasure, are not to be found. I love romantic films, and today they are almost gone. There are a lot of detective stories, films of violence, rudeness, sex-mania. Soon there is an interesting work expected at the Bucharest studio, where I can again return to the movie genre, which I yearn for. For TV shows, I wrote music, but not for long. This is also not so interesting, since the meaning in them is far from romanticism. And they prefer electronic music. OCA: Do you write compositions for ballet or operas? Yes, I have three ballets. But only one was played in the theatre. This is the ballet “Lucheaferul” based on the eponymous poem of the brilliant Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu, the libretto of Emil Loteanu. It went on a stage very successfully, received the USSR State Prize, was shown at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, and at the Mariinsky Theatres in Leningrad, Kiev and Minsk. Today in Chisinau, the ballet troupe is not able to play such a performance due to complex problems in the opera and ballet theatre itself.


OCA: What do you like to do in your free time? ED: I have no free time. Even if I don’t do music, I’m doing other interesting things for me. I have not yet realised the need for a simple walk, just to walk, to go to rest houses. In my “free time” I participate in some jury or arrange musical evenings in my music salon with the participation of musicians, artists, poets, drama artists, etc. OCA: Where in the world do you feel most comfortable performing? I am European. This is my large house. It’s impossible not to love the land on which I was born. The huge intellectual forces and activity of tens of generations of outstanding people are concentrated here. I am glad that my ancestors were Europeans and conveyed this love to me. Maybe that’s why in any countries where I have to perform, they listen to me with great understanding and love. I really want such concerts, as in Chisinau or in Romania in the open air with the participation of thousands of listeners. To come to listen, not only those who can, but also those who want to. I love it when people come together, when the whole world comes together. Music contributes to it.
















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




ISBN: 978-1910886816


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

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

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

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


ISBN: 978-1-910886-22-9

STOCKHOLM SYNDROME S.S. NAZAROVA (2017) Called ‘taboo-breaking… revolutionary” by RFE/RL, Stockholm Syndrome is one of the most controversial books to emerge from Tajik society in recent years. The story of a young woman’s struggle to choose between her career and motherhood, the novella shocked this traditional and conservative society. A remembrance of childhood and rumination upon challenges present and future, Nazarova’s work explores themes of immigration, identity and mental imbalance. Acclaimed as ‘ahead of its time’ by Persian reviewers, Stockholm Syndrome is an emotional tour de force.

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





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

ISBN: 978-0-9930444-2-7

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


ISBN: 978-1-910886-11-3

MY NEIGHBOURHOOD SISTERS by Gulsifat Shakhidi (2016) Set in Dushanbe, Tajikstan’s capital city, My Neighbourhood Sisters provides a snapshot of a close-knit community as it endeavours to adjust to changes induced by the country’s senseless civil war in the 1990s. Turning the pages of Gulsifat Shakhidi’s novel is like looking through a photo album, in which the narrator, Zulfiya has lovingly pasted images of both her own family and those of her neighbours. And behind each picture lies a poignant story. Shakhidi’s key protagonists are her close female friends; a group of proud, hardworking Tajik women who are challenged by both political and domestic unrest as they wrestle to maintain traditional family values. LANGUAGES ENG / RUS RRP: £19.95



“THE WORLD DISSOLVES LIKE A DREAM” by Leyla Aliyeva, 2018 “The World Dissolves like a Dream” book by young Azerbaijani poetess Leyla Aliyeva. Composed of 130 poems, the book was translated into English by famous British poets lators Caroline Walton and Anna Maria Jackson.



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

and trans-

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

REPENTANCE Yermek Amanshaev (2016) ‘Repentance’ is a poignant collection of three short stories- ‘Song of Laments’, ‘Futility’ and ‘Repentance’ – which explore the psychological complexity of relationships between fathers and sons. The issues addressed are ageless and universal. Set across the centuries, from biblical times to the present, often merging mythology with illusion and reality, the stories focus on challenges faced by fathers and sons as each struggles to assert his own identity and individual place in the world. LANGUAGE ENG PAPERBACK / HARDBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-33-5 RRP: £14.95 / £19.95

TRAGEDY OF BASTARD by Saule Doszhan, 2018 Saule Doszhan’s short story, The Tragedy of a Bastard, treads recognisable territory for us Europeans, even though the plot is placed in present-day Kazakhstan; a land faraway from our conceptual, not to mention socio-historical, spheres. Admittedly, some of Doszhan’s moral assumptions read a little strangely, although the intrigues and pressures of extended familial obligation amid a family at clear war with free emotive choice, speaks volumes across our globe. LANGUAGE ENGL PARPERBACK ISBN: 978-1910886892 RRP:£14.95 “SHORT STORIES FROM AZERBAIJAN” 2018 Short Stories from Azerbaijan in one volume. From the Translation Centre under the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan. English translation by Nazakat Agayeva, edited by Anne Thompson-Ahmadova. Located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Azerbaijan’s rich literary heritage reflects the influence of the two continents. The authors in this collection are the successors to the 12th century poet Nizami Ganjavi, the great poets and bards of the 14th to 16th centuries and the Russian-influenced writers of the 19th century. The first writer in this anthology was born in 1870; the last in 1968. Spanning a century, their stories offer glimpses into the marvels and uniqueness of Azerbaijan as it went from being part of the Russian Tsarist empire, to an independent republic in 1918, to being absorbed by the Soviet Union and finally gaining independence in 1991. ISBN: 978-1-910886-72-4






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 KANYBEK IMANALIEV THE KAGANATE Overall, The Kaganate is a remarkably skilful and fabulously imaginative prose poetry collection, which explores the overwhelming need for young men to be destructive, the overtly pagan sensibilities of the authors native Kyrgyzstan, along with those disciplines required by adolescent boys to channel instinctive animosities away from their parents into the rigours necessary to become worthy young warriors in such a way that his volume proves virtually obsessive. After all, each one of these observations evokes a subtle type of “second puberty” occurring between older men assaying values above mere materialism, sexuality, and having children - in order to focus on shared spiritual concerns. ISBN: 978-1910886960 HB RRP:£19.95

VLADIMIR TULINOV THE GUARDSMEN OF HIPPOCRATES No people suffered more during the Second World War than the people of the Soviet Union and the soldiers of the Red Army. Tens of millions perished and further millions were wounded – horrific numbers, which would have been even higher if it weren’t for the efforts of the army of doctors, nurses, and medics who treated the wounded and the suffering. V.M. Tulinov’s The Guardsmen of Hippocrates brings the reader up close to the men and women who fought to save the lives of those struggling to resist the Nazi invasion. ISBN: 978-1910886946 HB, RRP: £19.95 THE LAND DRENCHED IN TEARS by Söyüngül Chanisheff The Land Drenched in Tears is a moving history of the tumultuous years of modern China under Mao’s rule, witnessed, experienced, and told through the personal lens of an ethnic minority woman, who endured nearly 20 years imprisonment and surveillance regime as a result of her political activism in Xinjiang, or East Turkistan, located in the far west of China. Chanisheff ’s autobiography is a rare, detailed, and authentic account of one of the most poignant and most fascinating periods of modern China. It is a microcosmic reflection of the communist regime’s tragic realities presented through the suffering and hope of a young woman who tied her fate to that of her beloved homeland. PAPERBACK


ISBN: 978-1910886380 RRP:£24.50

self help 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 MADINA DEMIRBASH THE ART OF MATURE LOVE (2017) Madina Demirbash is an international relationship expert. She has lived and worked in seven different countries in the pursuit of the answer to one question: what does it take to be happy with somebody? It took her long years of personal and professional search to find but a simple answer: it takes one’s decision to grow up. As soon as she started a process of conscious maturity, her life thrived. She had better friendships with different kinds of people, started her own international business, and most importantly – regained her inner strength. She later met her husband, with whom she continues to enjoy growing every day, overcoming relationship challenges. She believes every person deserves and capable of building truly happy relationship. ISBN: 978-1-910886-42-7 ENG RRP: £12.50 ALDONA GRUPAS NURSE, GIVE ME A PILL FOR DEATH true stories Nurse, Give Me a Pill for Death is the story of Aldona’s long journey from Lithuania to a new life in England, complete with the challenges of adapting to a new culture while launching a successful nursing career. The book also provides a rare window onto the daily work of nurses caring for the sick and elderly as they face that final journey into death – some filled with hope, others sunk in despair. The author shares the joys and heartaches that such work entails, along with the compassionate motivations that transform a nursing career into a genuine vocation. Readers are swept along on a journey that is gruelling and inspiring – at times heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting. ISBN: 978-1910886922 RRP: £9.95 PB / £14.95 HB

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!


RUSSIAN ISBN: 9781910886397





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

shahsanem murray

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

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

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

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

kairat zakyryanov

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


Burkitbayeva - Nukenova



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

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

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


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

TRAVELOGUES THE SILK ROAD REVISED by Nick Rowan Take a trip along this remarkable route as it runs from Venice, through the Mediterranean, across Turkey and Iran, through the Caucasus and Caspian Sea, onwards via Central Asia and finally to China. Be part of this epic journey now by pre-ordering and/or sponsoring this new publicati


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

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

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

DOES IT YURT? by Stephen M. Bland (2016) Conjuring images of nomadic horsemen, spectacular monuments, breathtaking scenery and crippling poverty, Central Asia remains an enigma. Home to the descendants of Jenghiz Khan’s Great Horde, in the nineteenth century the once powerful Silk Road states became a pawn in the ‘Great Game’ of expansion and espionage between Britain and Russia, disappearing behind what would become known as the ‘Iron Curtain’. With the collapse of the USSR, the nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were born. Since independence, Central Asia has seen one civil war, two revolutions and seven dictators. LANGUAGE ENG PAPER BACK RRP:14.95 ISBN: 978-1-910886-29-8





RHYMES ABOUT BOYS by Lyudmila Dubkovetcaia (2019) A prize-winning poem by Moldovan author, Ludmila Dubcovetcaia, Rhymes about Boys is a vibrant tour de force. Joyful and witty in equal measure, this engaging and fast-paced book is bound to captivate children. Can you find your name in there? HARD BACK ENGLISH ISBN: 978-1-913356-03-3 RRP: £17.50

СОФЬИНЫ НЕБЕСА, ИЛИ ВОЛШЕБНЫЙ ДАР ГНОМОВ Оксана Гордийко (2019) The eleven-year-old Ukrainian girl Sofiyka, after the events of the Maidan, moves to live with her family in Wroclaw, Poland, where her father was offered a job. A young family settles in an unusual, mysterious apartment of an old house with antiques. It is in this apartment that the Wroclaw gnomes hide the magical colors that the forces of Good and Evil have been hunting for for centuries. In the city of Fabulous Beauty there are many mystical adventures. The writer Oksana Gordiyko invites readers to experience them together with the heroes of the book. HARDBACK RUSSIAN ISBN: 978-1-910886-97-7 RRP: £14.50

LEIA THE LITTLE MOUSE by Arina Chunaeva (2019) Leia the Little Mouse follows a small, determined mouse called Leia who loves to draw and paint more than anything else in the world. However, the mayor of her hometown of Yoshlish, the oppressive Mews Mursus is determined to stifle the passions and aspirations of its citizens. In this society, people are only allowed to pursue a career dictated by their family business, which is passed down through the generations. Another horrible and restrictive custom is that young people are forced to marry via a lottery. Thus, Leia finds herself promised to an old sewage worker, doomed to a loveless marriage and unable to fulfil her creative passion. HARDBACK ENGLISH ISBN: 978-1-913356-01-9 RRP: £22.50 AYSU AND THE MAGIC BAG by Maide Akan (2016) 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. CARDBOARD ISBN: 978-1-910886-24-3 RRP: £10.00


JUNIOR TALES OF GRANDMA GULSIFAT by Gulsifat Shakhidi Everyone loves fairy tales, both adults and children, and in this book each person will find something both attractive and instructive. In this volume, the heroes of these fairy tales: a wounded dove which refuses to surrender, a tricky monkey called Cutie, an old-time doll named Alyonushka, a naive lamb, a young wolf which does not want to grow bloodthirsty, and other animals will tell their stories to you, my friends and readers. HARD BACK ENGLISH ISBN:978-1-910886-90-8 RRP: £22.50

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


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

RRP: £4.95

MENIK THE MAMMOUTH by OGDO (2017) The charm of this children’s book lies in its original storyline which successfully encompasses folklore, science, natural history and geography. As the baby mammoth develops, the author raises issues concerning parenting and what a child needs to make its way through life, through the male and female perspectives of its young creators, Boris and Veronica. Menik, by default, finds himself facing the world alone and we learn how he copes with danger and struggles, as a displaced being, against ingrained prejudice and people’s fear of the unfamiliar. But there are also glimpses of human kindness and generosity of spirit which eventually, win the day. Beautifully illustrated, this little book is likely to become a favourite bedtime story and one to which children will return again and again. PAPERBACK ENG ISBN: 978-1-910886-62-5

RRP: £12.50





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

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ecg book series

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 WIND: SHORT STORIES 2017 HARDBACK ENG ISBN: 978-1910886915 RRP: £17.50 SERAGLIO’55 by Georgy Pryakhin (2016) PAPERBACK ENG ISBN: 978-1910886281 RRP:£ 12.50 WHEN EDELWEISS FLOWERS FLOURISH by Begenas Saratov (2012) ISBN: 978-0955754951 PAPERBACK RRP: £12.50 ( ALSO AVAILBLE IN KYRGYZ ) HEIRS TO THE GREAT SINNER SHEIKH SAN’ON by Erkin A’zam (2016) PAPERBACK ENG ISBN: 978-1-910886-32-8 RRP: £14.50 THE GRAMMAR OF WITCHCRAFT David Parry (2016) LANGUAGE ENG PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-25-0 RRP: £9.95 ‘A BUTTERFLY’S SONG’ by Yermek Amanshaev, 2018 EBOOK ENGLISH ISBN: 978-1-910886-77-9 RRP: £5.93 TALES FROM BUSH HOUSE (BBC Wolrd Service) by Hamid Ismailov (2012) PAPERBACK ISBN: 9780955754975 RRP: £12.95 SILK, SPICE, VEILS AND VODKA by Felicity Timcke (2014) PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-0992787318 RRP: £12.50 GODS OF THE MIDDLE WORLD by Galina Dolgaya (2013) ISBN: 978-0957480797 PAPERBACK

RRP: £14.95

CRANE by Abu-Sufyan (2015) PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-23-6 RRP: £12.50 TERROR: EVENTS, FACTS, EVIDENCE. by Eldar Samadov, 2015 PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-00-7 RRP: £9.99 THE CITY WHERE DREAMS COME TRUE by GULSIFAT SHAHIDI 2015 HARDBACK ISBN: 978-1910886205 RRP:29.99

САУЛЕ ДОСЖАН САҒЫНЫШ... сборник рассказов на казахском языке / kazakh language ISBN: 978-1-910886-46-5 RRP: £9.50

ГУЛЬЗАДА НИЕТКАЛИЕВА ЖҮРЕКТЕГІ ИМАН ГҮЛІ поэзия на казахском языке /kazakh language ISBN: 978-1-910886-51-9 RRP: £9.50

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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





ISBN: 978-1-910886-61-8 RRP: £12.50 РАИМ ФАРХАДИ ОСТРОВ СТИХОВ стихи ISBN: 978-1-910886-56-4 RRP: £14.50



The scientific and theoretical platform and methodology of the “cognitive-communicative concept of translation studies” are presented on the basis of the “cognitive-linguacultural methodology and the theory of intercultural communication”. The professional and functional model of a modern translator has been proposed and the competence-based educational paradigm has been developed on the conceptually-grounded platform.






The work can be applied to the theory and practice of training as well as to the process of upgrading translators, philologists and specialists in the fields of intercultural communication, foreign language education and in other spheres of international correlation.





The manual is focused on the conceptual basics of cognitive linguistics in the theory and practice of intercultural communication and the formation of a multilingual personality. It describes the patterns of the formation of a global intercultural space; dwells on the conceptual and theoretical foundations of “intercultural communication” as an independent scientific branch; the ways and cognitive-process components of the formation of the “language personality”; the methodological grounds of translation studies and foreign language education.




ISBN: 978-0957480780 RRP: £19.95

ISBN: 978-1-910886-67-0 RRP: £19.50

ISBN: 978-1-910886-99-1 RRP: £14.95

PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1910886267 RRP: £18.50


PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1910886267 RRP: £17.50

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! PAPERBACK

ISBN:978-1910886373 RRP: £14.50

A POETIC TREASURY FROM BELARUS A celebration of the life and work of Vera Rich The copyright on Vera’s translations from Belarusian is held by the Francis Skaryna Belarusian Library and Museum © HARDBACK


ISBN: 9978-1-913356-04-0 RRP: £14.95

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 I AM LOOKING TOWARDS THE EAST by Gulsifat Shakhidi, 2017 ISBN: 978-1910886663 RRP: £19.95 HARDBACK ENGLISH LOST PARADISE - TRUE PARADISE by Gulsifat Shakhidi, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-913356-02-6 ENGLISH HARDBACK RRP: £19.95

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




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


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

ISBN: 978-1910886076 RRP: £24.95

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


ISBN: 978-1910886878


PEACEMAKER THE SYRIAN CONUNDRUM by Nurlan Onzhanov (2017) The Republic of Kazakhstan’s balanced foreign policy is one of our country’s main priorities and is recognised and understood by many. The aim of Kazakhstan, located in the centre of the Eurasian continent, is to maintain friendly relations with its neighbours and partners, and to develop and strengthen these ties, in line with the policy determined by the Republic of Kazakhstan’s president, our nation’s leader: Nursultan Abishuliy Nazarbayev. This book has been written from the perspective of an author who has personally witnessed the Head of State’s multifaceted work in the international arena. Following the earlier publication of ‘Peacemaker’ it encompasses events connected with the Syrian crisis from 2011 to June 2017. LANGUAGES ENG HARDBACK ISBN: 978-1-910886-52-6 RRP: £24.95


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 HARDBACK ISBN: 978-0-955754913

RRP: £25.00

WANTED MAN by Gary Cartwright (2019) “Gripping... an expose of how money talks in the EU and in individual member states. Corruption is a growing problem and as always, as this book shows, the guilty remain at large, and the taxpayer foots the bill.” — Colin Stevens, Publisher, EU Reporter www.eureporter.co ISBN: 978-1-910886-95-3 PAPERBACK RRP: £9.95 PHONETICS AND PHONOLOGY PROBLEMS by Fakhraddin Veysalli (2016) In this manual, the phonetic structure of the Azerbaijani language and its phonological systems have been (systematically) explained by focusing on comparative materials from a number of different languages. Thus, the author defends his theoretical position, as well as persues common principles, through the topics raised. Additionally, he demonstrates his thoughts and considerations, while basing his own investigations upon existing perceptions in literature. As such, this book is primarily intended for philologists. However, these materials can be used by teachers of language or literature, along with postgraduates, dissertants, and students of philological faculties: including everyone interested in linguistics. PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1910886182 RRP: £19.95 ENG





















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