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EURASIANIASM—FROM LITHUANIA TO LONDON INTERVIEW: ALDONAS GRUPAS COVID CRISIS IN CENTRAL ASIA: COMPLIANCE, CAUTION, DENIAL CENTRAL ASIA 3.0: 2020 & BEYOND INTERVIEW: IHOR KYZYM, UKRAINE’S AMBASSADOR TO BELARUS POSTOIEV’S JOURNEY: FROM TASHKENT TO SAO PAOLO

ISSN 2053-1036 RRP: £20.00 / $25.00 WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM ESTABLISHED 2009

OCA MAGAZINE


ECG BOARD JOHN FARNDON - CHAIRMAN MARAT AKHMEDJANOV - VICE CHAIRMAN

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF NICK ROWAN PUBLISHER MARAT AKHMEDJANOV EDITOR ASSISTANT SANIYA SEILKHANOVA DESIGN ALEXANDRA REY

OPEN CENTRAL ASIA MAGAZINE #35 SUMMER 2020

Cover: Aldona Grupas(see p.6) MAGAZINE PUBLISHED FOR EURASIAN CREATIVE GUILD

CONTACT INFORMATION EMAIL: PUBLISHER@OCAMAGAZINE.COM WWW.EURASIANCREATIVEGUILD.UK WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM EDITORIAL OFFICE SILK ROAD MEDIA SUITE 125 43 BEDFORD STREET COVENT GARDEN LONDON WC2E 9HA, UK CONTACT NUMBER (+44) 07411978 955 WHATSAPP & VIBER

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EDITORIAL TEAM ESBOL ABENOV MARIA BATZ BOZHENA KRASNOGIR CONTRIBUTORS GARETH STAMP MARC DAVID MILLER BAKTYBEK ABDRISAEV RUSTY BUTLER FARUKH LEQA UNCHIZADA YERLAN SYDYKOV ROBYN ALICE MCCUTCHEON TARA PANDEYA PAVEL PODZOROV MIKHAIL RYBAKOV BOZHENA KRASNOGIR

ADVISORY BOARD ANDREY ZAPSHA OKSANA ZHUKOVA MIKHAIL ANANOV ELENA ASLANYAN ILHAM RAHIMOV VIKTORIA LEVINA SHAVKAT ISMAILOV NATALIE BAYS SÖLVI FANNAR STEPHEN M. BLAND NADEZHDA SEREBRENNIKOVA LOLA SAYFI VALENTINA DINYCH DAYL LESOVEY AZIM AKMATOV ELENA BEZRUKOVA JONATHAN CAMPION IANA SAVELEVA

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 the virus, but as we move towards the longer term impacts there are very real questions emerging about whether regional finances will be sufficient to move them out of lockdown and into some form of normality. After the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in March, counter-infection measures were rapidly initiated by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Tajikistan and Turkmenistan were more muted in their responses, with the latter claiming to be Coronavirus free at the time of writing. One suspects that when all-cause mortality rates are reviewed the numbers in all countries will be significantly higher than reported.

WELCOME WORD Dear Reader, This is now our second issue, produced from the comforts of our own home, as the production team manage to work with seamless efficiency and skill to be able to continue through the biggest global crisis for over a century. For that I must send my huge thanks to the team that continues to make this magazine happen. When I wrote the welcome word to the last edition, Coronavirus was in the headlines but we were hardly even at the beginning of things – Global cases stood at just 70,000 confirmed. Today we approach 9 million as I write this. Sadly, as I look back at the words I wrote back then, they were remarkably prescient. The world shut down - words I could not imagine I would ever utter – and people put their everyday, normal lives on hold as a global pandemic was announced by the World Health Organisation. Oil has crashed, economies have registered historic falls and governments have produced magic rabbits from invisible hats to provide stimulus and assistance where possible. It is not clear, however, that this will be enough to stop a severe and long-lasting recession across the world. As I expected, Central Asia also started to see the beginning of the curve of infections. What is interesting is that this global challenge does have some very different local impacts. Coronavirus knows no borders and spreads largely without discrimination (at least in terms of wealth, religion and geography, though there are signs of genetic and age discernment). All countries though have experienced three common phenomena: 1) an immediate health emergency; 2) economic and social effects of containing the virus’ spread; and 3) longer term effects and the restoration of economic and social relationships. There is no doubt that Central Asia is facing the same challenges, but their circumstance of geography, economy and culture does create some unique problems. In terms of their responses to the pandemic, they have, comparatively, done well in supressing the spread of

Air, rail and road traffic was halted, supply chains broken and public places such as markets and places of worship closed.The commodity price collapse threatened exporters and millions of households have seen livelihoods evaporate overnight. However, one Central Asia specific problem to watch is the 4 million Central Asian migrants working in Russia – their jobs are likely to suffer cuts first and they will then be forced to return to Central Asia.This will add to the unemployment burden while reducing remittance receipts – a double whammy. This is perhaps just one of a panoply of other collateral effects the pandemic will create. It is likely to provide an unprecedented social and economic crisis that is yet to unfold fully in Central Asia. Social and economic upheaval on this scale will likely give rise to political effects that need careful planning and management. Now, as never before, Central Asia needs to embrace initiatives such as the Eurasian Economic Union and China’s Belt & Road, but that may come at a cost of true independence being put on hold for a bit as countries look to larger partners and international institutions for critical support. These are extraordinary times - and yet within them we always find stories of hope and inspiration. Stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to try and maintain our civilisation as we know it. In this issue we try to look at how people are coping with the situation while still promoting Central Asia as a place to visit, do business and admire. These stories, where people volunteer to put themselves on the frontline every day, revives my faith in humanity and its resilience. There is huge personal tragedy felt in this epidemic and many are making sacrifices above and beyond, but I still take great comfort that we will get through this. There is no doubt that there will be far-reaching and long-lasting change in the Eurasian countries and their relationships – it will be political change, economic change, cultural change and more, but we do have a unique chance to become a better world as a result and I sincerely hope we take that chance. As always do drop me a line if you have ideas and stories share - it’s great to stay connected, even if socially distanced.

Yours, Nick Rowan Editor-in-Chief WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM

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COVER STORY

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EURASIANIASM — FROM LITHUANIA TO LONDON INTERVIEW: ALDONA GRUPAS Born in Riga, Latvia, to Lithuanian parents, Aldona Grupas later moved to Klaipėda in Lithuania, before resettling in the UK, where she embarked on a geriatric-nursing career. She has written books for Lithuanians who move to the UK to help them settle and has reflected upon her own personal and professional journeys to help others navigate their new lives. OCA Magazine got the chance to ask Grupas a few questions about how her own experience has embodied the feeling of Eurasianism that many readers and members of the Eurasian Creative Guild (ECG) have been expressing over the years. OCA Magazine: What is “Eurasianism” for you? Aldona Grupas: For me it is about the opportunity to be a member of a group with similar views. It is about taking part in multicultural events such as the Open Eurasian Literature Festival & Book Forum or the Eurasian Film Festival. And then, building on that it provides the opportunity to publish information and articles in English on platforms such as this magazine. Finally by bringing people together it provides the opportunity for exchange of ideas and feedback of experienced from experts, writers and readers. OCA: Who are your favourite artists? AG: I have a few but probably my favourite is Bob Proctor, a world-renowned speaker, motivational coach, author of bestselling books, as well as a Law of Attraction teacher. I’d also cite American novelist Margaret Mitcheel. And Tina Turner is a pretty good singer and actress! OCA: Have you taken part in the events of the Eurasian Creative Guild (London)? AG: Yes, I participate in guild events. I have been to literary weeks in London, forums and the Open Eurasian literature and book forum festival in Brussels. OCA: What does the Eurasian Creative Guild mean to you, and how does it influence your work and creativity?

AG: It provides me with the opportunity to participate in the Open Eurasia literary competition and other ECG projects. It is also a meeting place for professionals providing a wide range of activities and serving as place for discussion of their work with each other. OCA: What projects have you participated in and which ones do you plan to participate? AG: I participated in the competition ‘Small Prose’ in the category ‘Literature’ in the nomination Woman’s writing. And I was awarded 2nd place in this nomination. I also participated in an online competition #NOcovidECG. I have published my new book, “It Is Not Easy To Be An Angel” with Hertfordshire Press and I am planning to present the book at the literary week in London. I also plan to participate in some competitions. OCA: What would you say to the members of the Guild, just starting their career? AG: When a writer sets out on their career, they need a community of interest to help them negotiate the creative world. The Eurasian Creative Guild (London) was established to stand up for the career of writers and creative people. The ECG is your friend in the business. OCA: Do you have a personal project that you would like to talk about?

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COVER STORY AG: Yes, I do. My editor, David Stanford, is currently working on a book on the Lithuanian community in West Anglia after World War II. It is called ‘West Midlands Ho! The Community Life and Personal Tales of Lithuanian Refugees since World War II’. This book, is a revised and updated edition of a book published in 2014 under the title “Lithuanian Community in the West Midlands after the Second World War (1947– 2012)”. I produced the original book with the help of a wide range of people, mostly members of the Lithuanian community in the West Midlands.The focus was on the personal tales of refugee families who had settled in this corner of England after World War II. In addition, I provided some historical information on the Lithuanian community as a whole, including its social and cultural activities over several decades. OCA: What can you tell us about Lithuanian society in the UK? AG: There are more than 100,000 Lithuanians in London and over 200,000 in the UK. The largest Lithuanian communities can be found in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Bradford, and in Scotland. Lithuanian student associations have been established at the universities of Birmingham, Edinburgh, Huddersfield, Cambridge, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Southampton and Warwick. Lithuanian schools, kindergartens, children’s clubs, language, ethnocultural, art studies were founded by Aberdeen and Fraserburgh (Aberdeenshire), Armagh, Birmingham, Bolton, Colchester, Crawley, Dungannon (Northern Ireland), Glasgow, Ipswich, Leyton, Kingston upon Hull Lithuanians from Lincoln, London, Luton, Cambridge, Corby, Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn, Norwich, Nottingham, Peterborough, Portadown (Northern Ireland), Scunthorpe, Wolverhampton. The Lithuanian Youth Union of the United Kingdom is also active. There is a British Lithuanian Basketball

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League and a British Lithuanian Sports Association, Our feature is diligence and appreciation and preservation of culture. Our pride is basketball. OCA: Being a nurse,what made you decide to write a book? AG: My second book (Nurse, give me a pill for death...) is different from the first – as this book highlights much of my own journey. It is important to me that it is not seen as a self-indulgent autobiography, but rather I tell from my unique perspective both the experiences newcomers have who come to make a life in the UK from overseas– and also from the perspective of my work. Both my husband and I have professional qualifications and experiences in the medical field – this book shows our struggle to join this field in the UK. I wanted the book to be challenging as well as heart-warming too. OCA: What inspires you to write about peoples’ lives? AG: My hope is that whilst you may be challenged and


compelled to see things in a new light –most of all, you will be inspired by people who not only come to the UK from Lithuania but also from many other countries. OCA: Why do you think that medicine is important in literature? AG: The book has been and remains an important source of spiritual and cultural human development. Artistic text is a complex phenomenon: it is both a means of communication, and way to store and transmit information, a reflection of the psychological life of a human, a product of a certain historical era and reflection of national culture and traditions. The image of a doctor is present in a large number of works of classical and modern literature, which gives us the right to argue: the profession of a doctor at all times has been in demand in society. OCA: How does your working day now look during the Covid-19 pandemic? AG: There are no particularly big changes in my work. I do my job as always. Helping people feel better. Of course, precautionary measures are strengthened. We protect our patients and we must protect ourselves for those who need us.

As a young woman, Lithuanian nurse Aldona Grupas had a dream. She longed to travel, to explore a new language and culture – and build a new life abroad. 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.

Panic and stress are the main difficulty. Not knowing what will happen next. Mostly I think about my team and patients. Our team supports each other and our patients with a positive attitude.

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.

OCA: What would you advise people during this pandemic?

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.

AG: I have no special secrets. I can only advise what they say everywhere on the radio or TV. Wash your hands!  Disinfect surfaces. Don’t eat food or handle dishes or utensils touched by a sick family member. Don’t share a towel with anyone in your household who is sick. Don’t shake hands, kiss or hug people. Practice good hygiene. 

Readers are swept along on a journey that is gruelling and inspiring – at times heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting.

ENG ISBN: 978-1910886939 RUSS ISBN: 978-1913356088 AVAILABLE ON AMAZON WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM

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SOCIAL LIFE

THE COVID CRISIS IN CENTRAL ASIA

COMPLIANCE, CAUTION AND DENIAL As the whole world is coming to terms with what is a ‘new world’ post pandemic, the spotlight is falling on the response of countries to the crisis and as of equal importance how they are dealing with economic recovery.At the time of writing (mid May 2020) the situation around the globe is still very fluid and cautious but an initial focus on the countries of the Central Asian region shows a wide variety of responses and different levels of effectiveness in those responses. Central Asia has a population of about 72 million, consisting of five republics: Kazakhstan (pop. 18 million), Kyrgyzstan (6 million), Tajikistan (9 million), Turkmenistan (6 million), and Uzbekistan (33 million) and while the Novel Coronavirus itself seems to have reached Central Asian states relatively late, they were among the first to feel its economic effects. Across Central Asia, governments ordered confinement measures, paralysing most of the economy, both formal and informal but did so at different speeds. “Saving lives has been and will continue to be the driving principle behind the government’s actions.The government is communicating clear and consistent guidelines for the reopening in certain regions. A measured and responsible approach will ensure the economy can begin reopening while keeping the risk to people’s lives low,” said Erzhan Kazykhanov (Kazakhstan’s ambas-

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sador to the United States.) writing in the New York Times in early May as measures were beginning to be lifted in the country Most, but not all, Central Asian governments have prepared and implemented specific policies to respond to the health situation and to try to mitigate the fallout from the economic consequences. Some have delved into national funds to continue financial flows and support small businesses through the crisis including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. This has included loan deferrals, postponing tax declarations or exempting firms from social contributions among other measures. Several countries have called for emergency financial support from international partners and have received emergency funding to mitigate the immediate economic impact of the COVID-19. For instance, Kyrgyzstan was the first country to benefit from emergency support funds from the IMF. Economic issues are highlighted by the fact that Chinese imports from Central Asia fell sharply in the first quarter, and PetroChina issued a force majeure notice, cutting planned gas purchases from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. According to Chinese trade data, January-February imports from Turkmenistan and


Kazakhstan were down more than 17 and 35% respectively. Trade turnover with Kyrgyzstan fell almost 12%. Given that more than 75-80% of Turkmenistan’s exports have been to China in recent years, the cost to that country is particularly great, according to OECD data. Based on the experience of the 2008 financial crash and subsequent commodities price issues, it is predicted that regional growth will fall significantly, and public finances will come under more strain. The shock of the global drop in commodity prices has a particularly strong impact on countries with large mining and raw material sectors. The combination of reduced export earnings, particularly for hydrocarbon exporting economies such as Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, and significant trade disruptions will narrow the monetary gap for governments to respond, limiting their ability to stimulate local demand, support businesses, and address long-term priorities. Central banks in the region are adopting differing policy responses. The National Bank of Kazakhstan adopted an initially restrictive monetary policy, increasing its policy rate, while supporting the currency against over-depreciation, in an attempt to prevent a surge of pass-through inflation. By contrast, the central banks of Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan have eased constraints on banks’ liquidity ratios and lowered policy rates in an attempt to channel additional liquidity to the economy. Kazakhstan followed suit in early April. Uzbekistan has adopted a third approach, allowing for targeted and eased refinancing operations of commercial banks, while keeping its policy rate unchanged at a record high. The countries of Central Asia are geographically fragmented and the real effect on communities varies widely. Tested COVID-19 outbreaks have been focused in the major urban hubs and whether by geography, cli-

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SOCIAL LIFE mate or luck the virus has not appeared to spread rapidly. Early action and testing have proved successful in countries such as Mongolia, which at the time of writing only had a small number of cases which were all ‘imported’ and their lengthy lockdown was all but eased. Other countries were less quick and even denied the existence of any cases – all of this will be highlighted in post pandemic enquires by local and international organisations. Central Asia, which already faces challenges with public service delivery, has overall coped with testing and tracking but in this region such measures need to be adapted to local conditions as there is no system to fit all. And what of life for the everyday person in Central Asia at this time? Well again the experience has been seen to be polarised. Those with income in the formal business sectors have been able, on the whole, to weather the storm. Those involved in the informal sectors have fared less well. Anecdotal evidence from rural areas show the resilience of small communities – maybe used to the isolation and more self-sufficiency. The real impact appears to be on the young aspiring middle classes that have over the past twenty years moved to the new cities and new jobs. The levels of credit for this group was already high and now many of them may well be saddled with unemployment, debt and destroyed dreams. But there have also been a large number of positive stories, the renewal of community spirit and online connectivity. Examples of coordinated charitable giving, artistic and creative people working together and sharing their work internationally for the first time and even enterprising people seeing exciting new opportunities for business development. Only time will tell what the true fallout will be, but based on previous experiences and hardships, the resilience and positivity of Central Asian people will win through.

text by Gareth Stamp images by Natalie Mahod, Chris Bentley, Keriann Davidson,Madina, Guldariya Abileva, Guldana Kozhakmetova, Almaty city mayor’s office, Nur-Sultan city mayor’s office

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ECONOMICS

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CENTRAL ASIA 3.0: 2020 AND BEYOND For several years I have been out of the Central Asian market. Upon my return in 2019, I saw many changes in the region, changes that are not necessarily good or bad but that investors need to be aware of in order to understand the entire region and the individual countries. There are three significant eras in the last 100 years for Central Asia (I chose 2019 as the divide between 2.0 and 3.0, as many issues that began in previous years have finally reached definitive stages of implementation): Central Asia 1.0: 1920-1991. The Soviet Years. Of some relevance (for instance, the effect of Korean ethnic population transfers to Uzbekistan and its impact on business today), but effectively Central Asia was tied to the Soviet economy. Central Asia 2.0: 1992-2019. Independence, the rise of China, conflict in Afghanistan, Kazakhstan’s encouragement of foreign investment, and European Economic Union. Five countries suddenly became independent in a matter of months, many institutions were carried over or became successors to their Soviet era counterparts. China became more important to each country’s economy, although countries were cautious because of questions of losing their sovereignty. The conflict in Afghanistan made the region a priority to the US government, as troops transited through the region to/from Afghanistan, planes were refueled out of Manas (Kyrgyzstan), and because Pakistan was considered an unreliable partner, transit routes (Northern Distribution Network) were developed. Most of these systems have been shut down and, unfortunately, not repurposed into civilian logistical routes. Rise of energy exports, led by Kazakhstan

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ECONOMICS and its firm commitment to foreign investment. The Eurasian Economic Union, off to a slow start, tries to varying degrees to keep the region’s economies tied to Russia, and countries are just as concerned over issues of sovereignty regarding Russia as they are about China’s investment in the region. In addition, regional energy projects (especially hydroelectric from Kyrgyzstan to Afghanistan and Pakistan) are planned but stalled. Central Asia 3.0: 2020 and Beyond. China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a more open Uzbekistan, a more polarized US/Russia/China business and political climate, bigger push from US and EU for greater economic ties within the region, and Kazakhstan’s next generation of leadership.

As we look ahead, Central Asia 3.0: 2020 and Beyond, might be the start of the region’s greatest chapter. To some, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), announced by President Xi Jinping in Nazarbayev University, Nur-Sultan in 2013, is ‘found money.’ China seems to be pouring billions in infrastructure projects, especially in the transportation arena. The appeal of BRI to a poor or middle income country (and even developed countries like Italy and Greece) is that it is the only game in town for many states, and promises to develop infrastructure on a massive scale in coordination with China’s trade routes. Setting aside issues of corruption in such development, a country’s leadership can show new projects to its people, projects that would probably not have been built without China’s participation. Many countries are concerned with transparency, ‘debt trap diplomacy,’ lack of knowledge transfer, and ultimately loss of sovereignty, either de facto or de jure. Unlike projects funded by EBRD, ADB, the World Bank and other institutions in the West, these projects are largely ‘black holes’ in terms of their financing, construction, and operation. A common criticism is that BRI projects are almost always constructed by Chinese crews and just as critically, subcontracts are awarded to Chinese companies, preventing local companies and people from learning modern accounting, financing and engineering techniques. To contrast, when Telefónica, the Spanish telephone company, went into Latin America starting in the late 1980s, they hired over 300 contractors in their first five years—everything from work crews to wire vendors, from food suppliers to truck manufacturers—which enabled the individual countries to build entire industries, not only to support Telefónica but to bid on contracts for other companies locally and internationally. EBRD, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and development agencies from Western countries like US Development Finance Corporation encourage such development; however, the funding is currently not nearly at the level of BRI and its associated financial institutions. Uzbekistan at independence had arguably the most developed economy in Central Asia, as well as the largest population. Unfortunately, it continued its Soviet-style command economy, with the negativity associated with massive corruption, authoritarian rule, and little prioritisation of its own people’s education and prosperity. Islam Karimov considered himself a ‘Scientific

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Socialist’ and therefor the natural leader of Central Asia and consequently did little to develop a free market. Although blessed with good natural resources and universal literacy, benefits did not trickle down to the general population. In addition, there were disputes with neighbours, especially Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, which prevented better regional economic integration. After Karimov’s death in 2016, Shavkat Mirziyoyev as president has led the country to better regional cooperation, a more open economy, and a vast improvement in human rights. The geopolitical world is more clearly polarised today than it was 10 years ago. Russia is more aggressive and depending on its prosperity more likely to flex its muscles (Ukraine being the prime example). China is mastering the art of soft power, obviously lead by economic investment and trade with the Belt and Road Initiative but also other financing institutions like Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. However, investment from the US, European Union, Japan and Australia is largely favored by both the leadership of Central Asian countries and as well as the middle classes, as it is perceived to ‘come with fewer strings’ attached, as well as allowing a country to prosper. It is important to understand that there is an economic competition in Central Asia, a 21st century Great Game, and countries can benefit by choosing how they want to participate without giving up control of their economies, without giving up work and knowledge opportunities for their own citizens, and still maintaining good relations with their larger neighbours rather than being absorbed into them. Both the US and the EU want the countries of Central Asia to trade more among themselves, as well as incorporate Afghanistan, the Caucasus, and Mongolia (the “CAMCA” region) to promote peace and prosperity in the region as well as avoid over-dependence on either China and/or Russia. Projects such as CASA-1000 (hydroelectric power from Kyrgyzstan into Afghanistan and Pakistan) which have been largely sitting in a desk drawer for 15 years are finally being constructed; the benefits in terms of fundamental improvement to people’s lives is immeasurable. In addition, better co-operation means more direct trade routes for Central Asian exports and imports—all Central Asian countries are landlocked, and Uzbekistan is the largest of the two double-landlocked countries in the world.

Finally, Kazakhstan is in the process of transitioning to its second generation of post-independence leadership. Because of its forward thinking in the 1990s in terms of emphasis on higher education, on investment climate, on poverty alleviation and income growth, as well as being blessed by un-squandered oil and other natural resources, the country has by far the strongest economy in the region. The transition from Nursultan Nazarbayev to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signals that the generation trained abroad, that came back to participate in the development of the country, are now likewise taking positions of leadership in politics and industry. Innovations continue, notably the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) as a financial and legal hub connecting the economies of the Central Asia, the Caucasus, China, Mongolia, Middle East and US/Europe.

text by Marc David Miller

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EDUCATION

Participants of the first International Women of the Mountains Conference at UVU campus near the Kyrgyz Yurt, March 8, 2007

ADVOCATING FOR MOUNTAIN COMMUNITIES THROUGH EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS Since 1999, Utah Valley University (UVU) has partnered with the International University of Kyrgyzstan (IUK). The important feature of their academic exchanges was to study and share experiences of economic development in mountain areas, which are affected not only by traditional challenges from nature such as high altitude, harsh climate, environmental problems, but also the emerging ones like climate change and outmigration.

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IUK then studied the economic model in Utah which is considered as one of the best in the U.S. to do business, and how UVU contributes to it. UVU is the largest university in Utah, which primarily serves local communities in mountainous Utah by combining both community college, as well as baccalaureate and master’s degrees for students.


UVU, in turn, was able to learn about IUK’s experiences with the United Nations (UN) and its contribution to Kyrgyzstan’s co-sponsorship of the United Nations’ initiative to celebrate 2002 as the International Year of Mountains (IUM). This led to a cooperation between the State of Utah and the Kyrgyz Republic to jointly advocate for a UN Sustainable Mountain Development (SMD) agenda in the State of Utah, Kyrgyzstan, and elsewhere. As a result, Utah Governor, Olene Walker, visited the Kyrgyz Republic in August 2003 and, in reciprocity, President Askar Akaev traveled to Salt Lake City in September 2004. In 2006, UVU joined the Mountain Partnership (MP) under the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO-UN), the first North American university to do so. MP coordinates the SMD agenda globally through more than 390 members including 60 mountain nations, except the United States.

a regional network on sustainable mountain development and gender issues.” UVU was the only academic institution from North America highlighted in both UN documents. During 2007-2013, envoys from Kyrgyzstan to the UN and US regularly visited UVU. They were followed by three visits to Utah of deputies of the Kyrgyz Parliament representing such parties as Ata-Meken, Respublica and Ata-Jurt. As reciprocity, a joint delegation of state legislators from the State of Utah and the State of Montana visited Kyrgyzstan and, through joint dialogue, contributed to building the Parliamentary model of democracy in Kyrgyzstan.

Since 2011, students have played a major role in SMD advocacy. Through a UVU-developed inclusive, student-engaged learning (SEL) model they gain professional skills by addressing real-world problems of mountain communities as a group with faculty being as Since then, UVU and IUK advocated SMD by imple- mentors. The model engages students across the cammenting the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA pus, especially non-traditional learners who are older 2003) Resolution ”International Year of Mountains, than 25-years of age, and balance their education all the 2002”, A/RES/57/245 from 30 January 2003. This UN while working part- or full-time jobs and taking care of document recommended that interested institutions: their families. 1) Join the MP; 2) support, including financially, programs resulting from the IYM, and; 3) organise events The Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coeach 11th December as part of the UN Internation- alition of student clubs serves as its core. Its members al Mountain Day (IMD) to highlight the importance of advocate for SMD by contributing both initiatives and SMD. funds and then being recognized at the UN level. They, for example, recruited more than 15 new MP memIn March 2007, UVU and IUK co-hosted the first in- bers in the region and jointly with many of them raised ternational Women of the Mountains Conference awareness about SMD in North America, in particu(WOMC) in Utah as a major initiative to implement the lar by observing the International Mountain Day every second recommendation of the UNGA 2003. WOMC year since 2010. supported the 2002 “Celebrating Mountain Women” conference in Bhutan. UIMF members advocated for the adoption of three mountain targets as benchmarks for implementation of Under the MP umbrella, the first WOMC gathered SMD, among 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals more than 120 participants, including officials from the (SDGs) during sessions of the UN Open Working UN, diplomats from mountain nations accredited both Groups (OWG) on SDGs in 2013-2015. to the UN and the USA, specialists from Central Asia, and experts on gender issues from all Rocky Mountain UNSG Report on SMD A/71/256 from 29 July 2016 States, as well as more than 25 mountain nations. The highlighted UIMF for the first time for hosting the United Nations Secretary Generals’ (UNSG) Report fourth international WOMC in Utah in 2015, as well as on SMD A/62/292 from 23 August 2007 highlighted for providing recommendations about implementation UVU for hosting a forum to “ensure an improvement of SDG #5 on gender in interaction with three mounof women’s status in mountain communities around tain targets. UIMF was the only student club coalition the world.” UNSG Report on SMD A/64/222 from worldwide featured in the UN document. 3 August 2009 emphasized that WOMC “established

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EDUCATION

Since 2016, UIMF members advocate for the implementation of three mountain targets during forums of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on sustainable development. They reported about WOMCs contribution to support mountain women and girls during the 62nd and 63rd sessions of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in 2018-2019. They also spoke about the lack of attention from the international community to challenges experienced by mountain communities, especially from food insecurity, during general debates at the High-Level Political Forum of ECOSOC on sustainable development in New York on July 19, 2018. Most recently, the Outcome Document of the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference held in Salt Lake City during August 26-28, 2019 included, for the first time, language about the importance of mountain communities to be in the focus of the UN 2030 Agenda on sustainable development – again, due to the efforts of UIMF members.

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Similar educational programs developed by other academic institutions could make a difference in the destinies of their own students, who then facilitate changes in the livelihoods of their local communities, as well as global communities.

AUTHORS BIOS: Baktybek Abdrisaev, PhD, Lecturer, History and Political Science, Utah Valley University, was the Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the US during 1997-2005. Rusty Butler, Ph.D., main representative at the UN of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, an NGO in general consultative status with ECOSOC, was Associate Vice-President for International Affairs and Diplomacy at Utah Valley University, 1992-2016


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POLICY

INTERVIEW: IHOR KYZYM, AMBASSADOR OF UKRAINE TO BELARUS 22 OCA MAGAZINE


As Ukraine continues to look towards the EU for its future, OCA Magazine met with the Ukrainian Ambassador to Belarus, in order to find out more about the European geopolitical  direction of the country, as well as the development of Ukrainian-Belarusian relations. OCA: What is the regime of work of your embassy during the coronavirus pandemic?

differences in cultures between these countries are most noticeable? IK: Obviously, the situation with the pandemic in IK:There are several particular features. Firstly, Belarus Ukraine and the rest of the world affected the work of is our neighbor, a country with which we have a Ukrainian diplomatic institutions abroad, including our common border of about 1084 km. There is always own Embassy. Above all, we value the health and safety a special relationship between countries that share of the embassy staff, as well as that of the guests of our borders. Since we cannot choose our neighbors, it is diplomatic institution. Thus, since the 14th of March this vital to live in peace with them. This was not the case year, the Embassy has been working in a special mode. with the previous countries where I worked in. In particular, we suspended the reception of visitors on consular issues, with the exception of some emergency In this context, I need to mention that Ukraine and cases. Our consular staff is still available online and on Belarus have somewhat opposing strategic aspirations. the phone hotline. Ukraine has a clear strategic goal of joining the EU and NATO while Belarus has strong contacts within the Unfortunately, I also had to cancel or reschedule framework of the Eurasian community and Tashkent important events. For example, the Days of Ukrainian Treaty.  Business in Belarus as well as a public screening of the film «My Grandmother from Mars» and a number of Despite this, our countries, traditionally, have friendly other events. relations. For many centuries, starting from the Kyivan Rus, the period of Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the However, the embassy is working. Some of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, we practically employees switched to the so-called ‘remote’ work lived in one state. Moreover, we obtained independence mode, others still go to work while observing certain almost simultaneously. We have very close cultures requirements of self-isolation (fortunately, every and languages. We even speak without translators at diplomat has his own office). The Embassy continues conferences using Ukrainian and Belarusian languages. to fulfill its functions, which consists of representing Linguists reveal that 83% of the vocabulary in Ukrainian the interests of Ukraine in relation to the Republic and Belarusian coincide.To my mind, these are the three of Belarus and protecting the rights of our citizens in main features that make relations between Belarus and Belarus. Of course, the special workload now lies with Ukraine special and very different from relations with the consular section of the Embassy. Our consular staff countries of my previous missions. assists Ukrainians 24 hours a day, especially those who   need help to return to Ukraine or to resolve urgent OCA: What was the most memorable thing you found issues. during your stay in the UK?   In addition, we continue to deal with issues related to IK: In regard to my diplomatic work I have to the development of bilateral relations in the political mention the deep understanding by politicians and and economic fields. After all, the pandemic will pass, representatives of the British public of the events and our main task today is not to lose the achievements taking place in Ukraine. Everyone understands how that we have made in our bilateral relations. careful they should be while speaking about the war in Donbas and Ukrainian-Russian relations. The UK OCA: Your work as the diplomatic representative of supported Ukraine from the very beginning of our Ukraine has led you to many countries, such as France, conflict with Russia and we are grateful for that. For all Nigeria, Canada and Great Britain. You have been in these years, providing us, not with weapons, but with the Republic of Belarus for three years now, what economic, political and military training assistance.

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POLICY For the UK, it is clear who the aggressor in Crimea and Donbas is and the British understand our internal situation very well. It was very helpful in carrying out my mission. In general, the UK is well known for its traditions and democracy. I was astonished by the work of the British Parliament, as well as the decision-making process and the perfect coordination of action by their governmental agencies. Ukraine can learn a lot from the UK. I hope that despite all the changes that are currently happening, including Brexit, the UK will continue to support Ukraine. We count on British support in keeping the pressure on Russia in order to restore the territorial integrity of our country.   OCA: The Republic of Belarus is not only the closest neighbor of Ukraine, but also an important ally in the settlement of the conflict in the Donbas region. How do you work with the government of Belarus to engage and assist in these delicate matters?   IK: Let us be correct. Belarus is not a mediator in our negotiations with Russia on Donbas and Crimea. In this regard, Belarus takes a neutral position, and president Lukashenko has repeatedly said, “We will support what Ukraine and Russia agree to”. However, we are grateful to Belarus for providing a platform for conflict resolution negotiations. In this regard, the role of Belarus is important as it helps provide ideal conditions for such negotiations.   OCA: How do you plan to develop relations between Belarus and Ukraine in both trade and economic spheres?   IK: At the moment, the economy is an essential component of Ukrainian-Belarusian relations. For Belarus, we are the second largest trade partner, and for Ukraine, Belarus is the second in the post-Soviet space and the fifth largest in general. Therefore, we have highly developed cooperative ties. The growth rate in bilateral trade has slowed down a bit, nevertheless, a slight increase has been recorded last year. In 2019 trade between our countries amounted to about 6 billion US dollars. And we do hope that despite all problems caused by COVID-19 we will keep positive dynamic in trade this year.

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In 2018 we have started to organize a Forum of Regions, that is, we are taking regional cooperation very seriously. Two regional forums have already been held in Belarus (Gomel) and Ukraine (Zhytomyr). They provided a great opportunity for regional leaders to meet personally and agree directly on cooperation. At the first forum (2018), nine regional agreements were signed, at the second forum (2019) – thirteen. The presidents of the two countries participated in each of the Forums.We are preparing now for the third Forum and we expected both presidents would take part in it. Largely thanks to such forums over the past two years, all 6 Belarusian regions and 19 Ukrainian regions intensified their bilateral trade. In addition, in recent years, the number of contact and agreements between the cities of our countries has significantly increased. We actively support these developments. OCA: Since 2014, Ukraine signed an Association Agreement with the European Union to strengthen ties in the areas of politics, trade, culture and security. The course of President Volodymyr Zelensky regarding foreign policy is to make Ukraine an equal member of the European Union. In your opinion, how long will the implementation of this plan last and will it be successful? IK: My assessment is that we will continue to move in this direction. Honestly speaking, I can see that the main trends are being preserved. This is evident from the recent visits and meetings of our president.There is no doubt that we are moving in the right direction defined by our Constitution – full membership of Ukraine in the EU and NATO. But how long this will take is a question that no one can answer today. Nevertheless, we all want this to happen faster.   OCA:  The EU is facing widespread criticism of expanding too much too quickly with major migration and economic concerns. What would Ukraine bring to the EU that mitigates these fears and adds to the union?   IK: My view is that without Ukraine, the model of the European Union will not be finalized. Therefore, I see Ukraine as part of the European Union, as a single structure. I think that migration will bring many opportunities, taking into account human resources, capital resources – these opportunities are great for both sides. By the way, even now, despite all restrictive


measures connected to COVID-19, Ukrainians workers are very demanded on European labor market. OCA: There is a stereotype that corruption is a widespread problem for Ukraine. This could make for a significant challenge to Ukraine’s ambitions to join the European Union. What further measures are being taken by the government to eradicate corruption? How does Belarus compare?   IK: The question is very relevant. Reforms have been undertaken and special structures have been created in order to combat corruption. The main question now is whether these structures will work. This is a challenge for the president of Ukraine and all of us. I am a supporter of radical measures, not only the adoption of law, but also actions. Regarding Belarus, there have never been major complaints. Here, the governance system is tough in the fight against corruption. There are strong law enforcement agencies and from time to time they reported about success in this field.   OCA: On the world stage, there is a double attitude to the Russian Federation. Not so long ago, a new list of anti-Russian sanctions came into force. To what extent does Ukraine still serve as a pretext for world leaders to impose sanctions?

IK: Ukraine is not a pretext for anti-Russian sanctions. Sanctions were imposed because of the armed aggression of Russia against our country. They are effective. I can even say that if sanctions were tougher, we would have had a completely different picture and peace on Ukrainian land. The only effective way to restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine and force Russia to leave Crimea and Donbas is to impose sanctions.These sanctions should continue until Russia understands that it is losing, and should be lifted only after Russian troops are withdrawn from Crimea and Donbas.   OCA: How has the conflict between Russia and Ukraine changed the relations with Central Asian countries?   IK: We have no problems. This is Russia’s problem with everyone. All post-Soviet states have problems with Russia in some areas. However, there are no problems between Ukraine and Central Asian countries, such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan among other. In fact, our relations with these countries are developing rather well. Everyone wants peaceful and mutually beneficial relations with Russia, but it is extremely hard to deal with them. So, let us together make Russia understand what it is doing wrong.

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EVENTS

AZERBAIJANIS AROUND THE WORLD CELEBRATE THEIR NATIONAL DAY ON MAY 28 Tahir Taghizade, Ambassador speaking at the Gala dinner dedicated to 100th Anniversary of ADR in October, 2018

Establishment of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic on 28 May, 1918 was a glorious page in Azerbaijani history. Committing to principles of democracy and secularity, ADR was the first parliamentary republic in the Muslim East, granting women the right to vote before most western democracies.

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ADR fell in April 1920 after Bolshevik invasion. Nevertheless, it laid the foundations of Azerbaijani statehood and in 1991, the restored independent Azerbaijani state recommitted itself to the traditions of the First Republic. Today Azerbaijan is a dynamic, modern country, actively contributing to the maintenance of international peace


Armenia, with whom Azerbaijan has no relations due to the continuing aggression and occupation policy of this country against Azerbaijan. As an oil exporter country, Azerbaijan plays a critical role in global and in particular European energy security. Yet, amid the recurring economic fluctuations the country has redoubled its multi-faceted reform agenda in a bid to achieve a sustainable economic development which already bears its fruit nowadays. This year Azerbaijan celebrates its National Day at a time when the world is fighting novel Coronavirus pandemic. Azerbaijan was one of a few countries to introduce early and effective measures to contain the spread of the virus. “Restructuring its healthcare system in the shortest possible time, promoting global solidarity, Azerbaijan, in spite of the sharp decrease in global oil prices, also managed to mitigate negative socio-economic impacts of pandemic with government having so far allocated AZN 3 billion towards this end”, said Mr. Tahir Taghizade, Ambassador of Azerbaijan in the UK. Azerbaijan, as chairman of the Non-Alignment Movement for the 2019-2022, held its first-ever virtual summit on 4 May, under the leadership of President Aliyev where more than 40 joining heads of state discussed the necessity of implementing an effective global response to COVID-19. Azerbaijan allocated about USD 10 million to the WHO especially with the objective to help needy population in Africa, Asia and Latin America amid pandemic. WHO experts hailed the country’s healthcare preparedness and in a letter to President Ilham Aliyev, WHO Chief called the measures taken by Azerbaijan “exemplary”. and security and promoting tolerance and multiculturalism in domestic and international levels. Guided by the supremacy of international law,Azerbaijan’s multi-vectored foreign policy enabled it to build reliable partnerships across the continents. The only exception is

Cherishing the legacy of First Republic and in spite of ever-emerging challenges, Azerbaijan continues to reshape itself to serve the best interests of its population and international community.

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SOCIETY

DEFENDING WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN AFGHANISTAN I am from Afghanistan. I am Uzbek by ethnicity and Uzbeks are the least privileged and the most marginalised ethnic group in Afghanistan. Educational opportunities are scare for an Afghan Uzbek woman in the male-dominated society. I managed to complete my masters degree in International Public Law with distinction. I am among the very few Uzbek women who obtained a masters degree.

In 2012, we formed a Civil Society Forum in Faryab province and a Women Leadership Network. The key objective was promoting the culture of tolerance and non-violence. For promoting human rights, to fight for elimination of violence against women in Faryab province, I was humbled to be awarded a medal by then President Hamid Karzai in 2011 in recognition of my services.

In 2004, I started working as Monitoring Officer at the Afghan National Solidarity Program for Rural Development. In 2007, I worked as the officer in-charge of violence against women at Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) in Faryab province. I dealt with dozens of cases of violence against women, closely monitored the judicial process and advocated robustly for the victims.

From January 2013 until January 2019, I worked as Human Rights Officer with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in Faryab. I have been living and working in Afghanistan, a country where protracted conflict has wrought havoc to the country. Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic country and several ethnic groups live in each province. Four-decade s of conflict and animosities among ethnic groups have created an

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environment where non-violence is non-existent and they do not tolerate each other. Mistrust is wide. The norm is to resolve all difference through conflict.

en. The commission of Elimination of Violence against Women (COEVAW) has been established at the provincial level. A safe house to shelter and protect women victims has been established. However, violence against women has not diminished, but has increased with each passing day. Sadly, the majority of cases of violence against women happen in remote villages and districts and remain unreported. Due to a lack of security, government organisations working for human rights cannot travel to the field due to ongoing conflict.

In my province Faryab, we are working extensively with community elders, influential, local governmental figures and women to develop a culture of tolerance and non-violence. Violence against women was high to change mindsets, events needed to bring women on board and create an environment for dialogue and discussion so that the families and communities could find solutions to their problems and tensions without re- Sexual violence is one of the most serious problems sorting to violence. The process encouraged everyone, faced by women. Based on traditional society, women including women, to be valued. and girls who are raped or have a sexual relationship with an unmarried man bring shame to the family or We demonstrated that conflict could be resolved by village. Some see that the only response to restoring active listening, empathy and dialogue. Events were or- honour is from the death of the victim. Government ganised with community elders, religious scholars, the agencies still do not respect justice. In their territoyouth, peace activists, civil society activists, women ries, women are flogged in public for having an illicit and representatives of different ethnic groups to col- affair with an unmarried men – but the male partner laborate on co-existing peacefully and resolving issues isnever been punished or prosecuted. As an example, a through peaceful means, mutual understanding and tol- woman named Reza Gul who residence of Ghormach erating different views, political affiliations and diversity. district, Faryab province, was attacked her husband cut Violence against women is one of the most serious off her nose – this happened in 2016. The victim was human rights issues in Afghanistan. Although important transported to Maimana hospital to receive treatment. achievements have been made in different areas of such Faryab human rights defenders jointly advocated to as education for women and girls, health and partici- send her to Turkey where she could receive nose repation of women in civil and political activities during constructive surgery that was not possible in Afghanithe last decade, however significant violence against stan. The perpetrator was not punished. women remains a part of life in Afghanistan. In 2009 Karzai pledged to eliminate violence against women, The elimination of violence against women needs for passing a law that considered 22 acts to be violence more time. Afghanistan women must continue the fight against women including abuse, harassment, beating, for equality and justice. We women will need to make exchange marriage in bad (blood), forced marriage, this sacrifice and search for international communities underage marriage, deprivation of property and inher- to support us in the fight against these violations and itance. Although the Eliminating Violence Against Wom- injustices. The victim women suffering from injustice en (EVAW) Law was enforced in 2009, there has been want to access to justice and this most basic of rights no change in the violence figures. Cases investigated cannot come soon enough. reveal that many women and girls continue to suffer from domestic violence in Faryab province. Cases of text by Farukh Leqa Unchizada beatings by a husband or husband’s family members are common. The victims either seek separation or, in the extreme, escape by self-immolation or committed suicide. The issue of marriage is central to many of these problems. Forced marriages and engagements remain deeply culturally engrained and continue to be widespread. In Faryab, significant steps have been taken toward improving protection mechanisms for vulnerable wom-

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EDUCATION

“WE SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE QUALITY� By Yerlan Sydykov, Chancellor of the Eurasian National University named after Lev Nikolayevich Gumilyov

In 2021 the L.N. Gumilyov ENU celebrates a quarter of a century since its birth. The young and promising university was founded on 23 May 1996 by merging two well-known universities - Akmola Civil Engineering Institute and Akmola Pedagogical Institute. The first intake of students amounted no more than 1000 people. The university was in the midst of a historic mission. Today the university provides new prior-

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ities for training the professional elite of Kazakhstan society and has consolidated its position as a leading educational and scientific centre, also known abroad. In 2012 ENU was awarded Best Service Company (Gold Standard).The university was among the top 400 according to the QS World University Rankings. ENU was one of the first Kazakh universities to such international ranking, opening the way for other national universities on the road towards international recognition.


In addition, ENU became the only CIS university in the top 50 developing universities, which opened no longer than half a century ago. According to QS World University Rankings Top 50 Under 50 the L.N. Gumilyov ENU was ranked number 38, ahead of hundreds of universities around the world. It is pleasing that Kazakhstan’s quality is gaining recognition. Over the decades, the university has been aiming for recognition as one of the top three classical Kazakhstan universities under various versions of national Credit-Rating agencies: IAAR (Independent agency for accreditation and rating) and IQAA (Independent Agency for Quality Assurance in Education). Certainly this is a quality indicator of educational services, science, lecturers’ professionalism and general teamwork. The L.N. Gumilyov ENU sits in the heart of Eurasia and the capital of Kazakhstan. Since its establishment it has attracted the attention of progressive and young people. We are chosen by the owners of state education grants, lapel badge “Altyn Belgi”, winners of republican and international academic competition, children with achievements in sports, culture, and art. The number of students increases from year to year. Within the last five years alone the amount has grown by 42%. Overall, 20,000 people currently study at ENU. Educational activities are taken in 242 educational areas, and the figures are increasing. In the framework of the state program “Digital Kazakhstan” experimental education programmes have been developed, among them IT-management, IT auditing, environmental audit, computational linguistics and digital forensics. Positioning the ENU on the international stage is ensured through the Eurasian Association of Universities, Association of Asian Universities, Turkic Inter-University Union (brings together university of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan), UNAI (The United Nations Academic Impact is an initiative that aligns institutions in supporting and contributing to the realization of United Nations goals and mandates). Major efforts are being undertaking by the Council of chancellors of Kazakh universities and Scientific and

Educational Consortium of Belarusian and Kazakh Universities. The ENU is also a party to the IREG, the Regional Network for Education and Training in Nuclear Technology (STAR-NET), CIS Net-University, SCO University, Turkic Inter-University Union, Scientific and Educational Consortium of Belarusian and Kazakh Universities. ENU’s international cooperation is based on 400 agreements with universities and research organizations in 50 countries. The Cooperation Framework - academic mobility, internships for masters degree students, joint scientific research, cooperation within Erasmus+ and etc. Within the framework of academic mobility under bilateral agreements, ENU receives and sends students to and from Europe, USA, Asia and CIS.

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EDUCATION An important area for international cooperation has been the establishment of the Cultural Education Centres in Belarus, China, Turkey, Iran. Further Centres are envisaged in India, Romania, South Korea and Lithuania. On 6 October 2017, the annual ceremony “Springer Nature Awards” were convened by the National Centre of Science and Technology Evaluation, together with international publishing house, Springer, which acknowledged the most published authors and organisations from Kazakhstan and countries of Central Asia. ENU was awarded recognition in the following categories: “Top Springer Organization”, “Top Springer Author”, “Young Scientist Award”.

There is also the Centre of distance education technologies. In order to make accessible materials and automating the educational process, Moodle was launched, which ensures students’ access to learning and control materials for all type of sessions. A portal of mass open online courses was initiated. This portal and the courses are available on it provide the flexibility in education, learner accessibility and mobility. The task of the media and information literacy programme of students and lecturers is also in focus. Workshops and trainings on using the resources of the Internet, database presentations and individual consultations are being organised to achieve this task.

At the present time 16 scientific journals are published in the L.N. Gumilyov ENU: “Eurasian Mathematical Journal”, “Eurasian Journal of Mathematical and Computer Applications”, “Problems of engineering drawings and vocational education” and “The L.N. Gumilyov ENU’s Herald”, most of whom belong to the list of publications recommended by Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Scientist, the winner of “Top Springer Author” Ratbay Myrzakulov, holds the record in Kazakhstan for the number of articles in journals published by one author during a year. The list also includes the names of the dozens of other scientists from the L.N. Gumilyov ENU. An important indicator of scientific impact is the level of the citation index of publications. For the past five years the average citations of our scientists have represented about 3,05. The rate exceeds the national average by more than 2,5 times.

Diplomas of L.N. Gumilyov ENU with personal template have been issued since 2019. Currently the university has 20 dissertation councils for awarding PhD. The university holds first place, by number of publications in journals, with databases run by Thomson Reuters,Web of Science, Scopus and Sci Dire impact-factor. As part of the transition to research university rank, the scientific school has placed special emphasis on creation the necessary conditions for the science of our staff.This has certainly affected the facilities and resources, providing the necessary base for international scientific co-operation, which formalizes the creation of scientific and educational consortium world research centres and universities. Part of this has entailed opening branch offices of the L.N. Gumilyov ENU in foreign countries. Step by step over the years the university has been granted status of the leading university of the republic and today is proud to put quality mark, guarantees and assurances on its diplomas.

Significant scientific advances of academic teaching staff are confirmed by the results of competitions for personal awards in the field of science, public scientific grants for young scientists, and those who have made outstanding contributions to science and technology.The union of ENU’s young scientists is “The best Council of Young Scientists”.

Today a new strategy of the ENU for the following years is being formulated according to education and science state program of the Republic of Kazakhstan. ENU’s staff have been working on the future development of the university. This is closely related to contemporary realities and future global processes, to stay ahead of the curve. Most importantly our desire is that qualified specialists graduate with a great deal of knowledge that will benefit them throughout life, guide them and point towards the right decisions.

L.N. Gumilyov ENU is one of the first Kazakh universities to implement skill enhancement for academic teaching staff in the international arena - in top foreign universities in USA, United Kingdom, Japan and other counties.

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OPEN EURASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA BOOK FORUM & LITERATURE FESTIVAL

OPEN EURASIAN BOOK FORUM & LITERATURE FESTIVAL Literary competition NOW ACCEPTS APPLICATIONS in the following categories:

DEADLINE 5TH SEPTEMBER 2020

PROSE SHORT PROSE POETRY LITERARY TRANSLATION ILLUSTRATION JOURNALISM REVIEW

THE PRIZE FUND IN 2020 WILL BE $40,000! SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY NOW WWW.AWARDSLONDON.COM WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM

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OPINION

FROM MASSACHUSETTS TO TASHKENT: A CAREER IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Interview: Michael Schena Growing up in Plymouth, Massachusetts and later studying at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he pursued a degree in International Affairs, Michael Schena decided to pursue a career that would allow him travel and work. A regular visitor to the countries of Central Asia, Schena, had been able to develop wider co-operation between the United States and the Central Asian countries while also enjoying the culture and traditions on offer. Open Central Asia Magazine took time to find out more and what Schena thinks of future directions in such co-operation. OCA Magazine: What was it that led you to consider pursuing such a career path? Michael Schena: Two of my Professors who were also mentors suggested I consider looking at the Foreign Service Exam and internships with the State

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Department. Those Professors were Dr. William Clark, a former Soviet specialist and Dr. Benjamin Martin a European History specialist. While at LSU I had my first major work outside the US experience. I served as an English teacher at a school in Shaoxing, PRC in 2005. As luck would have it I was accepted into a


State Department internship program in 2006. From the internship I was hired in 2007 as a Foreign Affairs Officer. OCA: You have wide experience in working with Central Asian countries.What was your first impression when you came to this region for the first time? MS: The first my first of many visits to the region was to Kazakhstan, the US Embassy asked me to come out. I was already in the middle of a short-term assignment in Budapest, Hungary, so I had to work with our local staff to try to get a visa from the Kazakh embassy there - that was an interesting experience. From there when my assignment ended in Budapest instead of heading back to the US I got on a flight from Frankfurt to Astana (now Nur-Sultan). I still remember when I landed it was snowing so hard and it looked like the snow was snowing upward from the ground. I remember thinking to myself what have I gotten myself into? It was great experience with lots of accomplishments and was the first of many trips to the region.

OCA: Did you experience a culture shock? MS: Not much, I am hard to culture shock, I went from living in Massachusetts to living in Louisiana, that’s about as different states as you can get, so Kazakhstan, yes the -40 degrees cold weather was something else but fortunately I bought heavy winter clothing in Budapest and a big fur Ushanka and I was fine in the weather. OCA: What features did you notice in Uzbekistan that differ from other countries in Central Asia? MS: Uzbekistan Is definitely much more urban while still holding on to its agrarian economy. Uzbekistan has the most amazing nuts and fruit. The watermelons there were incredible.They are this dark maroon inside and so full of flavour. I have never seen that anywhere else. The Uzbek people are also very approachable, welcoming and warm. If I needed any help with anything someone would always attempt to help even as I struggled through my limited Russian language skills. Literature and culture: I loved the traditional dances I was able to see a few. I also found it absolutely amazing

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OPINION that Samarkand was the centre of so much discovery and learning in the ancient world, from making major progress in Algebra to having one of the first major telescopes. I always heard about these inventions, but rarely are they attributed to Uzbekistan - when people think of this coming from Muslim scholars they think Iraq or the Arabian Peninsula. OCA: Based on your previous experience working on projects of co-operation between the U.S and CA countries, what are the main spheres of economic or trade cooperation between the countries? MS: My greatest accomplishment with Uzbekistan was the finalisation, approval and signing of the 2010 U.S. - Uzbekistan Science and technology Agreement. Although I no longer work on that portfolio I still see occasional updates about its success. This area, educational exchange, cooperative science and possible commercialisation of science could be an area ripe for development between our countries. In 2012, I was invited to speak at a trade and foreign investment conference held in Tashkent, and even President Karimov addressed this event as a priority for the country. At that conference, I presented on a program the United States helped establish in Chile, called Start Up Chile where the government gives a grant to entrepreneurs from all over the world to come to Chile and build their business in Chile. I thought this was a good model and could be utilised by the government for a relatively small cost. One problem was that Uzbekistan did not at the time have diplomatic relations with Chile, so I helped connect people from the Uzbek Ministry with counterparts in Chile. That was a second major career high point for me connecting two countries that did not have formal relations to discuss on areas of mutual benefit. Other areas that will remain important are exports, imports, oil and gas, security, counter terrorism, counter-narcotics, more FDI in the country. More barriers to FDI need to be removed -for example, there is a GM-Daewoo plant in Uzbekistan that can’t keep up with demand just within Uzbekistan, never mind the opportunities of selling throughout Central Asia and the broader CIS countries, but this plant has been unable to expand its operations due to limits on taking cash out of the country to get the supplies needed to expand.

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OCA: What priorities do you think The United States could develop more with the Central Asian Countries? MS: The US needs to find ways to continue to expand co-operation and economic linkages beyond the security sector. Both Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have been vital parts in the War in Afghanistan and are key players in the Northern Distribution Network. The NDN should be utilised going forward as another way to ship goods into and out of the region. OCA: Based on recent events in the world due to the pandemic, how has your work changed? And what obstacles have you faced? MS: For me the biggest obstacle is that I am a people person - I do much better work with people in the same room than over video conferencing or endless back and forth e-mails. I believe this will go on for a few more weeks then hopefully I can return to the main building for work.


SEPTEMBER 2020 RUSSIAN FEDERATION

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

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HISTORY

POSTOIEV’S GREAT COMET JOURNEY: TASHKENT TO SÃO PAULO

Arrest, prison, GULag, suffering, and death – all are images that come to mind when we think of the Stalin era Great Purges of the 1930s. Solzhenitsyn’s GULag Archipelago and the memoirs of survivors document this period of a government’s war against its own people in heart-wrenching detail. It was a war fought so successfully that the government had to withdraw the Soviet census of 1937 to cover up the obvious loss of life by unnatural means. Along with tragedy, the Great Purges produced some improbable stories of survival. One of the most improbable of these is the case of Alexander Ivanovich Postoiev , astronomer and one-time director of the Tashkent Astronomical Observatory who would go on to long career in Brazil. Born on 26 February 1900 in the village of Osovets, in what is now Ukraine, Postoiev joined his life to the stars when his father woke him one night to see the Great Comet of 1910. Friends recount how the memory of that night sustained Postoiev through the calamitous decades to come. Postoiev entered Kharkov University in 1917, but the Civil War cut short his studies. In the 1920s he resumed his education at Leningrad State University and

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continued with graduate study at the Leningrad Astronomical Institute. In 1928 Postoiev joined the staff of the Tashkent Astronomical Observatory (TAO). The observatory had come into existence in 1873 as part of the Turkestan Military Topographic Department. The Russian Empire’s new conquests in Central Asia had not yet been mapped in detail, and the Russian military needed trained geodesists to carry out this work. Postoiev rose quickly to become assistant director in 1930 and director in 1935. In 1936 he was elected a member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). When the Great Purges unfolded, along with the first show trials in 1936, astronomy was not exempt. More than two dozen astronomers were arrested in 193637, some 20 percent of all astronomers working in the Soviet Union at that time. The arrests centered on Pulkovo Observatory and the Leningrad Astronomical Institute, but the Purges also fell hard on Tashkent. Out of nine astronomers on the TAO staff in 1935, six vanished without explanation in 1936. 1 In Russian, Александр Иванович Постоев. The name is transliterated here as Postoiev to coincide with the spelling used by Postoiev himself after his emigration to Brazil.


Postoiev was one of the first to be arrested. It happened in February 1936 while he was on a trip to Leningrad. Handed a five-year sentence, he spent one year in prison before being sent to a camp in Vorkuta. There he was lucky to serve as head of a meteorological station rather than being sent to hard labor, and this luck led to his early release in 1939. As was often true, those arrested early during the Great Purges tended to receive shorter sentences and had better chances for survival. Released from Vorkuta, Postoiev found his lucky star had faded. Typical for those released from the GULag, he was not allowed to return to Tashkent or settle in any other major city. He went instead to Ukraine and obtained a part-time teaching position in Poltava. When Soviet and Western astronomers met at Copenhagen in 1946 to discuss the future of the IAU, the Soviet delegation deleted Postoiev’s name from its list with the remark, “He went west with the Germans.” Indeed, the German army occupied Poltava early in World War II. Postoiev and his family lived through two years of hunger and uncertainty, but in 1943 they seized their chance. As the German army began its retreat, Postoiev escaped as a common laborer taking his wife and seventeen-year-old son with him. The end of World War II left the Postoiev family as displaced persons (DPs) in the American zone of Germany. Postoiev may have escaped the Soviet Union, but his troubles followed him. The lot of DPs was not a happy one. The British and American governments had agreed to Soviet demands that displaced Soviet citizens be repatriated, by force if necessary, and DPs did everything they could to avoid this fate. They knew that if they did return, it would be for a long prison term if they were lucky, for a firing squad if they were not. Enter Harlow Shapley, director of Harvard College Observatory (HCO), an astrophysicist of world fame and a well-known humanitarian. After the Great Purges unfolded in the Soviet Union, Shapley spent years trying to learn the fate of Soviet colleagues who had disappeared without a trace. As Nazi Germany extended its grip over Europe, Shapley devoted much of his energy to spiriting Jewish astronomers to safety. With fear of repatriation in the background, Postoiev wrote to Shapley describing his plight and saying,“I shall never abandon the hope for a better future and return to my science, but now I am ready to take any job, be it humblest in any part of the world in a free country.” Between 1945 and 1950, Postoiev held several positions in in the International Refugee Organization under the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). The director of the camp where Postoiev was detained wrote to the Tolstoy Foundation in New York and urged that a position be found for him: “The family, in our opinion, would be an asset to any American community and is capable of rapidly adjusting to American standards.”

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HISTORY Although Shapley, the Tolstoy Foundation, and others worked hard to bring Postoiev and his family to the US, their plans never quite succeeded. Finally, after many years of attempts, in November 1948, Shapley found funds to create a position for Postoiev at HCO. It seemed Postoiev’s odyssey had ended at last, but when he and his family applied for immigrant visas in 1949, they were turned down without explanation. We will never know why Postoiev’s visa was denied, but the chronology offers hints. Anti-Communist paranoia was beginning to sweep across the United States, and Shapley had earned enemies in Washington. Or it could be that the interviewing U.S. Consul saw Postoiev as a Soviet agent? If so, the ironic tragedy of Postoiev’s life was complete, convicted without trial in the Soviet Union and now labeled a Communist by the United States. Postoiev’s final letters to Shapley were full of foreboding, but his lucky star was about to return. It was Brazil that came to the rescue, offering to relocate Postoiev and his family. They arrived in Brazil in January 1952. Within a month, Postoiev was offered a position at the Instituto Astronômico e Geofísico (IAG) of the Universidade de São Paulo. Postoiev went on to a long and fruitful career in Brazil. In 1953 he restarted the publication of Brazil’s Astronomical Yearbook that had not appeared since 1938, and he brought positional astronomy at IAG up to international levels. He was re-elected as a Brazilian representative to the IAU and travelled internationally on behalf of his adoptive country. Grateful to Brazil but not wanting to abandon his roots, he accepted Brazilian citizenship only in 1969. Alexander Postoiev died in 1977 after a long illness. The odyssey was over. Stalin’s Great Purges of the 1930s had, unwittingly, given Brazil one of its brightest stars. Alexander Postoiev’s unwavering childhood memory of the Great Comet of 1910 sustained him through the greatest calamities of the twentieth century. It had brought him to a land where he could fulfill his childhood dream.

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The author wishes to acknowledge the assistance of Drs. O. T. Matsuura and P. M. Dos Santos in reviewing this work and for permission from them and from Alexander Postoiev’s son Vadim Postoiev for use of family photos. For further reading about Alexander Postoiev and Soviet astronomy during the Great Purges – P. M. Dos Santos and O.T. Matsuura,The Astronomer Alexander I. Postoiev (1900-1976), Astronomical and Astrophysical Transactions 17, 1998, pp. 263-279 П. М. Дос Сантус, О. Т. Мацуура, Обсерватория имени русского астронома в далекой Бразилии. К 100-летию со дня рождения Александра Ивановича Постоева (1900-1976), Историко-астрономические исследования 26, 2001 pp. 190-214 R. McCutcheon, D. DeVorkin, S. Dick, L. Doggett, and R. Doel, Astronomy under the Soviets, Journal of the History of Astronomy 26, Part 4, November 1995 R. McCutcheon, The 1936-37 Purge of Soviet Astronomers, Slavic Review 50, No. 1 (Spring 1991), pp. 100-117 R. McCutcheon, Stalin’s Purge of Soviet Astronomers, Sky and Telescope, October 1989, pp. 352-357 Robyn Alice McCutcheon is a retired Foreign Service Officer who served in Washington, Astana, Bucharest, Moscow, and Tashkent. Although Ms. McCutcheon was employed by the U.S. Department of State, the views expressed in this article are strictly her own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of State or the U.S. Government.

text by Robyn Alice McCutcheon


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ART

IS IT IN OUR BLOOD? OR SWEAT? Dance is an integral part of life in Central Asia; it can be seen both in rural settings and on the proscenium stage, from highly developed virtuosic classical styles to nuanced and subtle folk-dance forms. Western audiences might be surprised to learn that Central Asia has an ancient and classical music and dance tradition, like ballet: Shashmaqam (meaning the ‘sixth maqam’ in Persian). This classical tradition was patronised in the multi-ethnic royal courts of Bukhara and Samarkand by the emirs, much like ballet was patronized in the French court of King Louis XIV. Dance is more than just recreational movement and sound: it acts as a barometer of the cultural and social health of a community. It is also a facilitator in many important cultural functions such as rites of passage and seasonal celebrations. The performing arts are elevated to the status of ‘record keeper’, generating unique cultural messages and act as a living link to environments inside the minds and hearts of people, throughout time and space. As a foreigner who has been passionately researching, studying, practicing, seeking out and performing traditional and ethno-contemporary dance forms from the region of Central Asia for nearly two decades, I often hear the phrase ‘it is in your blood’, following my performances or after a social dance gathering. Audience members often say ‘you must have some “Uzbek, Tajik, Afghan, Uyghur or Persian” blood in you to be able to dance the way you do!’ Although, the statement is made with the intention of being a compliment, it also sheds light on the way our society devalues dance and dancers as skilled and disciplined working practitioners. The reality is that behind every presentation of dance, as in any other form of art, exists hours of thoughtful intention, creation, discipline, practice and dedication. Not everyone may appreciate all of the arts; some people enjoy only music or fine arts, others may enjoy literature, poetry or dance. But

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one thing we can all appreciate is the thorough craftsmanship behind any artform. It is certainly true that some people are born with natural talents or propensities towards given practices. For example, interpreting music, sculpting clay, crafting sentences, or moving with seamless grace. But when a naturally talented artist couples their abilities with deliberate and sustained practice the results are undeniably noticeable. One example of this includes one of my dance teachers, Zaragol Iskandarova, a revered and iconic dancer who came from the Pamir Mountains of Badakhshan, Tajikistan. When asked about dance, she said she ‘would become sick without 2 or more hours of dance practice per day’. Another example of this type of artistic discipline comes from the famed doira master Abbos Kosimov from Tashkent, Uzbekistan. When I performed in Abbos’ jubilee concert this February 2020, I sat in on 5 to 8 hour rehearsals with him and his musicians. He mentioned in a rehearsal one day that he would practice alone 6-7 hours a day as a young doira artist. Abbos is a virtuoso of the doira and his artistic work habit and dedication, in the form of daily practice, remains unwavering today. I myself, a second-generation dancer, have practiced a minimum of 2 hours a day daily for decades and during periods of creation for new productions rehearsals can go from 5-9 hours a day. Countless examples of this dedicated work ethic in the performing arts include respected living dance artists such as Mamura Ergasheva, Qodir Momenov, Farohat Saidova, Malika Kalondarova, Dilafruz Jabarova, Narziddin Shermatov, Zeynab Farzada, and so many others. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but the nuanced work of these master artists is clearly reflected in the hours and decades of practice that they have invested into their art making.


Why then is dance as an art form often marginalised and not appreciated as an intellectual act, requiring great discipline and intentionality? As humans we do not possess a disembodied consciousness, free from our physical bodies. We are living, moving creatures with embedded intelligence that extends throughout our entire bodies. The fundamental perception of the body being inferior to the brain is an ageold prejudice which, has deeply affected how we view our bodies. This mind-body disconnect also contributes to societal stigmas surrounding dance as an art form, as the canvas of the dancer’s body is used to create art. How we view our bodies in relationship to our brains affects how we think about ourselves and also how we think about thinking itself. Neuroscientist Antonio Damassio clearly elucidates this ancient “mind-body problem” through his proven research, explaining that our bodies can instinctually sense emotion and external threats five to ten times faster than the conscious brain can perceive. Our bodies are always communicating with us, even before our brains realise what is going on. But how should this research affect our perception of the dancer? By paying attention to our bodies, acknowledging movement as an intellectual act and normalizing taking care of the health of our bodies, we can help transform our view of dance. From a purely innate social activity to a high art requiring rigorous dedication, physical force, emotion and intellect. There is a large disparity between how dance is used for art, propaganda and cultural events and the actual treatment of working dance artists. I believe we can change our thinking

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ART by giving greater respect and education to our respective performed heritages. In this era of heightened xenophobia, it is crucial to reveal intersecting points in our shared histories, to help remove the fear of ‘otherness.’ If dance practitioners are not recognised as actors of intangible heritage, vital pieces of our humanity and collective history will be lost. When dance forms like those of Central Asia remain unseen and marginalised, we in turn are deprived of vital pieces of cultural inheritance. Clichés associating contemporary, innovative and progressive attributes with the West, versus traditional, stagnant and nationalistic qualities with the East, limit opportunities for an artist’s individual expression and self-definition. Some might be surprised to know that some of the most celebrated contemporary dance artists and choreographic minds of the 20th century have origins from Central Asia and Caucasia. For example, Robert Joffery of the famed Joffery Ballet Company is a choreographer of half-Afghan parentage, George Balanchine, the Founder and Director of the New York City Ballet, was of Georgian parentage, the ballet virtuoso Rudolf Nureyev was of Tartar heritage, and ballet superstar Tamara Toumanova was of Armenian-Georgian parentage. Inspiration for one of the most controversial and famed ballets, the ‘Rite of Spring’ by Vaslav Nijinsky, drew inspiration from ethnographic sketches of dancers from the Central Asian steppe and paintings by Nicholas Roerich. Nijinsky mined for the avant-garde in the antiquity of Central Asian dance imagery, regalia and imaged movement vocabulary to produce this iconic choreography, which was restaged by dance choreographer Pina Bausch, one of the most celebrated contemporary choreographers in the world. Is the work of iconic dance artists purely in their blood or is it in their labouring bodies? Much sweat, blood and creative thought was devoted to roduce these masterpieces, which are recognized and performed around the world today. As Dr. Kealinohomoku writes in her article “An Anthropologist Looks at Ballet as a Form of Ethnic Dance”: “The ethnicity of ballet is revealed also in the kinds of flora and fauna which appear regularly. Horses and swans are esteemed fauna…..” In contrast, animals native to Central Asia are pantomimed in Central Asian dance forms reflecting creatures such as the jerboa, the bulbul, crows and snakes. Kealinohomoku continues: “In ballet, grains, roses, and lilies are suitable flora, but we would not likely find much call for taro, yams, coconuts,

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acorns, or squash blossoms.” The comparable flora to Central Asia, might include poppies, tulips and staple food items such as grapes, apples, osh (pilov) and non. Kealinohomoku adds: “economic pursuits are reflected in the roles played in ballet such as spinners, foresters, soldiers, even factory workers, sailors, and filling station attendants. However, we would not expect to find pottery makers, canoe builders, grain pounders, llama herders, giraffe stalkers, or slash and burn agriculturists! The question is not whether ballet reflects its own heritage.The question is why we seem to need to believe that ballet has somehow become acultural. Why are we afraid to call it an ethnic form?” I invite you, particularly communities of the Central Asian diaspora, to examine the lenses we use to filter the stories and histories we are told about performing artists. The spectrum through which our world dance heritage has been communicated, both on the world stage and in the field of academia, must be rebalanced and expanded. It starts with you - how will you contribute to a renewed perception and reorientation of your own enduring culture and it’s performed heritage? Support dance artists and keep in mind the next time you watch an ephemeral art form, the hours of sweat that were shed to create these fleeting moments of nuanced beauty.

text by Tara Pandeya


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CULTURE

ART UNITES The modern world is complex and diverse, it is full of opposing trends. Never before our earth has been subjected to such political and physical overloads. Never before has man taken from nature so many resources and never been so vulnerable to the power that he himself created. Taking into account the events happening in the world at this moment, the most important role in uniting all people, regardless of nationality, colour and country of residence is culture and art. A common culture is the main thing that s able to bring people together in spite of all the ideological and social inequalities. We are united by art, which is eternal. We feel connected by the beauty of the music, classic movies and great books. Art was created by people back in the Middle Paleolithic era. Even then, people painted. Over time, it began to be appreciated - that was the way art was born. Art is also associated with games, rituals, ceremonies, and martial arts. Artworks create a person who can enjoy beauty. Due to its diversity, art combines itself in all forms of social activity and knowledge through which a person can express his/her attitude to reality. American actor and musician, Hollywood star - Stephen Seagal has been known in Russia since the days of

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the USSR. A whole generation has grown in films with his participation. This is the reason why many young people in Russia (and other countries) became interested in martial arts. Martial arts are part of self-defence systems; it was developed mainly to conduct hand-to-hand combat. Currently it is practiced in many countries around the world in the form of sports exercises that aim at physical and spiritual improvement. Steven Seagal was born on April 10, 1952 in Lansing, the capital of Michigan (USA), in the family of a mathematics teacher. According to some reports, his parents came to America from Russia, or rather, modern Belarus (Bobruisk at that time was on the territory of the Russian Empire). At the age of seven he began to practice karate, at the age of 15 - aikido, when he was 17 he moved to Japan to study with the masters of martial art. In 1975, he became the first American to open his own aikido school in this country (he developed his own style of hard aikido). In 1977 he was recognised as one of the best masters in Japan, in 1982 he became a master of oriental martial arts (aikijin). In 1984, Seagal came back to the United States. In 1988, at the age of 36, he starred in the Hollywood action movie “Above the Law� as a policeman who knows aikido art. In subsequent movies, Seagal was working not


only as an actor, but also as a co-author of the scripts and co-producer and director of battle scenes. By 2018, he had played about 50 roles in which he demonstrated martial arts skills. Steven Seagal is also a musician.Together with the band Thunderbox, he released two albums - Mojo Priest (2005) and Songs From The Crystal Cave (2006). In total, he has performed about 130 reggae songs. In the early 2010s, Seagal worked as a deputy sheriff in Texas, New Mexico and Louisiana. He is actively involved in charitable activities around the world: he supports environmental programs, organizations to fight HIV / AIDS and animal welfare, participates in projects aimed at helping starving and sick children, provides assistance to Tibetan monasteries, and donates to religious organisations. Stephen Seagal has been to Russia several times and in recent years has strengthened his ties to the country. So, in May 2013, he visited Chechnya where he met with the head of the republic, Ramzan Kadyrov. In June of that year, he also visited the city of Beslan (North Ossetia), where he laid flowers on the graves of those killed during the 2004 terrorist attack. He has been seen in Red Square at the May 9th parade celebrating 70 years. And in 2016 Russian President,Vladimir Putin, him a Russian passport. In April, Stephen Seagal was appointed special representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry for Russian-American humanitarian relations. Seagal commented on his appointment, “I have always tried to do my best to help Russian-American relations become better. I have been working tirelessly on this for many years informally, and now I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to do this officially.” In 2018, under the leadership of Seagal, the First International Aikido Festival was held in Moscow. The festival was organized by the Aikido Federation of Russia. The event was attended by more than 100 masters from 17 countries: Russia, Kazakhstan, the DPR, Belarus, USA, Azerbaijan, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Iran, Italy, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Norway and Poland. Within the framework of the Festival, a scientific and practical conference was held dedicated to martial arts bringing people together, in the name of peace and security.

At the opening ceremony the First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Russia Sergey Kiriyenko gave his speech. Representatives of the Ministry of Sports, Roscosmos Corporation, honoured athletes also made welcoming speeches to the organisers and participants. Participants, including this author, were able to ask Seagal questions directly. Most interesting was his response to the question: “What is the meaning of life?” For him, every day you need to become better than you were yesterday to develop and improve yourself. The practice of martial arts is a great way to do this. This small example shows that martial arts, as well as art and culture in general, have no borders and nationalities. text and photos by Pavel Podzorov pavelspne@tut.by

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EVENTS

MUSIC WITHOUT BORDERS The Tariverdiev International Organ Competition is one of the world’s largest organ contests. For organists, it has the same significance in Russia as the Tchaikovsky competition does for pianists and violinists. Outstanding organists from a number of countries have been on the competition’s panel on several occasions, including Martin Haselböck, Michel Chapuis, Jean Guillou, Thierry Escaich. Winners of the competition are now among the world’s leading organists: Jean-Baptiste Dupont (head organist at Bordeaux Cathedral), Baptiste-Florian Marie-Ouvrard (head organist at St Eustache, Paris), Iveta Apkalna (organist of Elbphilharmonic, Hamburg), Lada Labzina (head organist of Zaryadie Concert Hall, Moscow).

Mikael Tariverdiev is a composer whose music is popular with several generations of the Russians. The popularity came from his very successful music for films. He has done music for 132 films. But his operas, vocal cycles, symphonic and organ pieces remind virtually unknown, since some of them was never performed in his life time.

Over the 20 years of its existence, the competition achieved a special standing with organ professionals. Thierry Escaich, head of the panel at the 8th competition, said, “The musicians that took part in the competition showed a high level of performing skill in every round. Participants in the Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ Competition greatly surpass those taking part in other contests. The very friendly environment at the competition is also important.”

The competition is made not only of Mikael Tariverdiev’s music but also of the new names of talented individuals, created a musical brotherhood of sorts. It exists above all barriers, sometimes in spite of them.

Held biennially, the competition spans three continents.The semifinals and finals are held in the city of Kaliningrad, previously known as Konigsberg.The first round consists of three stages, held in Lawrence (Kansas, USA), Hamburg (Germany), and Moscow (Russia). The competition is accompanied by the Organ+ festival, featuring international stars of organ performance. Vera Tariverdieva, Art-Director of the competition: Let me introduce this Angel, international Organ Angel. It was manufactured in Kaliningrad. Then it travels to Moscow, Then flies over the ocean to Kansas. Then Angel goes back to Moscow, then to Hamburg for the first European round. Then again to Moscow and finally flies to Kaliningrad, where the second and third rounds of Mikael Tariverdiev International competition be held and Jury decides with whom and where this International Organ Angel has to go.

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24 years back when Mikael Tariverdiev left us, I started thinking how should I live to make part of his music known. I am sure that this music carries a message which is of great importance for men and women all over the world. I am sure they need it.And I invented the competition. It became my life and my vocation. And it never stopped to be my dream.

The 12th Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ Competition will be held in 2021. It will be held in Hamburg (April, 19-24), Lawrence, Kansas (April, 29-May,1), Moscow (August, 28-31), Kaliningrad (September, 3-9). Winfried Bönig will lead the Jury Panel in Kaliningrad. Last year I started my speech to present the Organ Angel in Lawrence at the North-American round of the competition with the following quotation: ‘Do you like Americans?’ ‘I don’t.’ ‘And Germans?’ ‘I don’t.’ ‘How about the Russians?’ ‘Who likes them?!’ ‘Then who do you like?’ ‘I like my friends.’ I repeat this once more: I love my friends. All those who join in the competition and decide to be a part of the philosophy of Mikael Tariverdiev are friends.


EVENTS

FASCINATING TOUR TO DAGESTAN! ABOUT THE TOUR: The goal of our tour is to broaden the horizons and worldview through communication with like-minded people, learning about culture and traditions of ethnic groups inhabiting the republic of Dagestan. We will visit the historical cities of Makhachkala and Derbent, the Gunib fortress and Naryn Kala fortress.We will see the Sulak canyon and the Karadakh gorge (Gate of Miracles), the Samur forest and the beautiful Tobot waterfall. We will also visit the mountain mineral spring in the village of Akhty and we will see the highest mountain of the North Caucasus - the sacred mount Shalbuzdag. At the end of our journey, we will participate in a traditional Dagestan wedding. 9 days of an amazing adventure in the North Caucasus. More than 1000 kilometers of mountain roads and serpentines. Splendid beauty of mountains, Caspian Sea, Caucasian hospitality and rich traditional cuisine! DISCOVER AND EXPLORE THE WORLD WITH US! ABOUT US: We are a team of like-minded people and we believe that trips should be fascinating, active and multidirectional. We will organise trips of different complexity for those who want to acquire new experiences and share with us the passion for exploring nature, culture and traditions of indigenous peoples. http://photoroomtur.tilda.ws/ https://www.instagram.com/assesandr/ https://vk.com/assesandr

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HERITAGE

VASILY KOREN - A NEW NAME OF GLORY FOR BELARUS Vasily Koren, is still a little-known name in Belarus, but for the first time this name, significant for the Belarusian historical and cultural heritage, has begun to be heard on the streets and in the media in Belarus. In January 2020 in the State Museum of History of Belarusian Literature, in the framework of the project “Returning Forgotten Names”, opened a unique exhibition, “The Bible for the People of 1692-1696 by Vasily Koren”. For the first time in Belarus, reconstructed sheets of the first engraved Bible for the people that Belarusian woodcarver Vasily Koren created in the 17th century, were presented to the general public. Reconstructed sheets of the Book of Genesis and the Book of the Apocalypse were provided to the museum by the President of the Academy of Folk Art of Russia (Moscow), Viktor Penzin, who spent ten years on their

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restoration using a method of reconstruction based on the original model. Vasily Koren was born around 1640 in the town of Dubrovno (now a city in the Vitebsk region). In 1691 he settled in Moscow in the Meshchansky settlement. Here, between 1692-1696 he engraved and printed the Bible in paintings similar to the Western Bibles of the Poor. It included a series of painted prints with captions for stories from the Book of Genesis and the Apocalypse. Koren’s technique combines the influence of the Catholic and Protestant illustrated Bibles (in particular, the Piscator’s Bible), the icon-painting tradition and the aesthetics of the popular print that appeared at that time, and is deeply original in character. Due to the presence of non-canonical images of God (in the illus-


trations for the Six-Day appearing in the form of an angel), the circulation of the Bible of Koren (about a thousand copies) was withdrawn and almost completely destroyed. The only partially surviving copy of the book (36 sheets) is a 17th-century original, which is today stored in the Rare Book Department of the State Public Library in St. Petersburg. The authorship of Koren is indicated by the personal signature of the carver. Currently reconstructed by the famous Moscow graphic artist, Viktor Penzin, the Bible by Vasily Koren (in posters) is available in only a few museums around the world: in the Vatican, Mexico, Madrid, in Russia - in the Hermitage and the Tretyakov Gallery. Copies of the Bible were handed to Pope John Paul II, Exarch of Belarus Filaret, Patriarch Kirill.

In various hypotheses the creation of the book is considered as a textbook for senior officials (possibly from the royal family) or as a “book on the road” for the army and immigrants for the “Azov campaigns” of Peter the Great. These are not the only versions, which, like the others, can be defended or refuted with a certain degree of probability. A narrow circle of specialists, who studied the history of engraving and Russian popular print, was previously aware of the carver Vasily Koren. One such philologist, art critic, and best specialists in Russia in the field of Russian folk art and Russian engraving, is academician of the Russian Academy of Folk Art Antonina Sakovich, who discovered and documented the Belarusian origin of the master.

In general, the Koren’s Bible has become an interesting example of the transformation of the ideas of East and A deep historical contribution of Belarusian masters West through the prism of perception of the world by to the culture of Russia, is confirmed by historians and Belarusian masters of that time. It is very symbolic that art historians alike. Belarusian masters worked on dec- after hundreds of years she returned to her creator’s orating the Faceted Chamber of the Moscow Kremlin, homeland to glorify the skill and innovation of the Beworked in the Armory, Golden and Silver Chambers, in larusian people, to emphasize its historical significance the monasteries and palaces of Moscow and the sur- to those who are now trying to declare the supposrounding area, creating amazingly beautiful creations, edly “youth and artificiality” of the Belarusian people which are now included in the list of highly artistic as such, their lack of historical traditions and the past. works of architecture and art, are part of national trea- The history of such examples proves just the opposite, sures of Russia. that many other nations built their art and cultural traditions on the basis of the creative ideas of Belarusian The Bible for the people in pictures (modeled after the masters and the actions of extraordinary personalities “Western” ones) was cut by Vasily Koren on wooden of Belarusian origin. boards and printed in Moscow in 1692-1696, where he worked with other prominent Belarusian artists taken Unfortunately, access to the original Koren Bible is to Moscow. Its special value is that in its cultural signif- now somewhat difficult. The museum where the origicance for the Slavic writing, spiritual and historical-cul- inal is stored did not respond to letters and requetss tural heritage of the Belarusian people, it is comparable for co-operation. Nevertheless, on the basis of studies to the level of heritage of Francisk Skorina and Simeon and copies of drawings that have come down to us of Polotsk. from the collections of Dmitry Alexandrovich Rovinsky, a senator, a well-known collector and publisher of The Bible for the people of Vasily Koren is quite dis- Russian prints, portraits, folk paintings (1824-1895), as tinctive. He created the first engraved book in Russia, well as the reconstruction of the Koren Bible, authored a “Block book”, created from coloured engravings with by Victor Petrovich Penzin, a researcher , a graphic artcaptions for stories from the Book of Genesis and the ist, President of the Academy of Folk Art of Russia, we Apocalypse. It consists of 36 sheets of engravings ded- managed to see this masterpiece, which should be the icated to the creation and end of the world, the struc- property of many, and not just hide in the depths and ture of the universe, the relationship of God, the devil silence of the departments of a rare book. and man.

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HERITAGE The reconstructed Koren Bible, consisting of all 36 sheets, printed from wooden forms and hand-painted (as it was in the original), was released in 1991, 100 years after the publication of the Atlas “Russian Folk Pictures” by D.Rovinsky, which speaks of the enduring cultural significance of the publication. The Bible, which has been fully restored, has been accepted for storage at the funds of the State Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, 1989). It is stored in the collection of Russian graphics of Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid (Spain, 1990). The Bible of Koren was exhibited in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior (Moscow, 2016). At the request of the Russian Orthodox Church, a copy of the reconstructed Koren’s Bible was made and presented to Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill. Exhibitions were held in the Ivan Fedorov Museum of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra (Ukraine, 1989), the Pushkin Museum (Moscow, 1997), at the State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow, 2016) and many others. Since the reconstruction Koren’s Bible has been exhibited at 116 world exhibition venues, the last of which were museums of the Belarusian cities Dubrovno and Vitebsk (2019). In 2020 the exhibition was held at the State Museum of History of Belarusian Literature in the capital of the Republic of Belarus - Minsk. We hope that the Bible for the people of Vasily Koren will take its place of honour among other pearls of art that have glorified the talented Belarusian people for centuries, and we still have many discoveries and unknown pages ahead for the pride and glory of Belarus. Mikhail Rybakov, Director of the State Museum of history of Belarusian literature (Minsk, Belarus). text & photos by Mikhail Rybakov

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CULTURE

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IN WHICH COUNTRY WOULD YOU RATHER GET MARRIED? In the modern world the idea of “how a wedding should look like” has changed and yet all we want for this day is for it to be perfect and remarkable. It does not matter what your nationality is or where you are from because in any county a bride and groom are extremely excited on this day. But how does a wedding in Central Asia and the USA compare? THE WEDDING IN CENTRAL ASIA The official process begins only after the young couple get a marriage license from the head of the family and elders. It is important to mention that the direct acquaintance of the future newlyweds often happens only on the day of the wedding ceremony. The process of selecting a partner is something the child’s parents begin immediately after his/her birth. The relatives might come into the house of the bride’s son for negotiations, the results of which set the price of the bride. As a rule, the price of dowry is entirely based on the level of material wealth of the groom’s parents. Then goes the official introduction of the groom and bride. On that day, the girl should give their parents a white scarf symbolizing purity and faithfulness. If for any reason the groom or the bride refuses to marry, they have to pay a substantial fine the the family of the bride or groom respectively. Today, wedding receptions are commonly held in hotels and restaurants, but they can also be in family homes or church halls. Eurasian and American weddings generally include the families of the couple, relatives, friends and even congregational members of the church where the wedding is held. During the celebration there will be speeches and toasts. Any wedding has food, drinks and music to celebrate. Usually the preparation takes 6 months. Preparation for the wedding reception includes making foods like curry puffs, sausage rolls, cream puffs, sambal (spicy paste), ham sandwiches and sugee cakes (made from a mix of semolina, flour and ground almonds).

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CULTURE The main decoration of any wedding ceremony is, of course, the costumes. The most expensive and luxurious wedding element is the bride’s dress, called saukele. A hat made of velvet is quite expensive, followed by the decoration of precious or semi-precious stones, velor, beads and so on. There is also a well-known and old tradition called bride kidnapping. In Central Asia, bride kidnapping exists in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. But what does it mean? It all starts when the young man abducts a woman by force, often accompanied by friends or male relatives. They take her to his family home, where she is kept in a room until the man’s female relatives convince her to put on the scarf of a married woman as a sign of acceptance. Sometimes, if the woman resists the persuasion and maintains her wish to return home, her relatives try to convince her to agree to the marriage. But nowadays it is unlikely to see this old tradition being used. The last element of this wonderful celebration is the day for thanksgiving after the wedding. Some couples may attend mass together in their wedding finery. They may also visit people who had assisted with the wedding preparations to express their gratitude and visit older relatives to express their respect. Wedding gifts are usually delivered to the bride’s home the day before the wedding. In recent times, they are given during the reception. Traditionally, gifts or silver were given but it is now common to give cash. THE WEEDING IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA When it comes to weddings in America lots of people think of classic-stereotype weddings which they have seen in movies. Some of the rituals are true, some of them not. For instance, there is the superstition that the groom should not see the bride in her wedding gown before the wedding. People believe that this can be capable of bringing bad luck to the couple who does the opposite.Another example might be the bridal bouquet.This old tradition of carrying a bouquet of flowers used to signify the emotions of the bride during the wedding. Also cutting the cake represents the first activity the married couple does together then they feed each other with a small bite of cake. Along with other traditions goes another one - most brides prefer to

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wear their old family jewellery as a symbol of being proud of their family. A very popular thing in America is when the bride and groom step on a wine glass to remind everyone that love is fragile and easily destroyed, but no matter what has happened in the past, love can and will always find a way. Last but not least is of course throwing rice- guests would throw grains at the newlyweds to ensure prosperity of the marriage. If we take a close look at the clothes it is usually the bride who adorns a white gown. Other guests should refrain from wearing white dresses or outfits so as not to ‘steal the thunder’ from the bride. Most weddings in the United States traditionally follow the white wedding type. Wedding gifts are most commonly sent to the bride’s or host’s home before the wedding day. Usually an American wedding has three parts. First one is when the bride and groom have their own bachelor’s party and a bridal shower. Second one is the wedding itself. Before the ceremony the couple sends invitations to the wedding guests, usually one to two months before the special day. A wedding ceremony may take place anywhere, but often a church, courthouse, or outdoor venue. In general, this will involve the guests and the bridal party including the couple, the groomsmen, bridesmaids, best man, maid of honour, flower girl and ring bearer. And the wedding reception starts after a couple say their vows to each other. After the official part goes celebration- drinks, snacks, or a full meal are served. Often, best men and maids of honour will toast newlyweds with personal thoughts, stories, and well-wishes. The last one after the wedding, the bride and groom traditionally leave for their honeymoon which could last for a few days or even weeks. In conclusion I would like to mention that even though this amazing celebration of love is held with differences and similarities in Eurasia and the USA the main idea is still the same- it is the beginning of a new family. From the bride tossing her bouquet and wearing something old, new, borrowed, and blue, in America to the bride wearing boots with high heels, national headdress, ornaments made of feathers owl, a traditional embroidered robe- chopon in Central Asia. It is a part of the culture to have their own traditions which makes it unique and fascinating! text by Bozhena Krasnogir

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TRAVEL

ARMENIA’S ANCIENT ZORATS KARER STONES The two provinces in the south of Armenia, Vayots Dzor and Syunik, are a spectacular strip of land at the very bottom of the Caucasus. The highway that runs through them, between the towns of Yeraskh and Meghri, passes over the mountains that separate the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in the east from the Azeri enclave of Nakhchivan to the west. The journey is breath-taking, and takes in some of Armenia’s cultural treasures: the monasteries of Noravank and Tatev and the wine-making town of Areni are all on the road to Meghri. The most unusual place in Syunik province is the Zorats Karer stone formation, near the settlement of Sisian – 223 giant boulders that are described, inevitably, as the ‘Armenian Stonehenge’. But unlike the stones in Wiltshire, Zorats Karer still stands in the middle of wild nature: you can wander between the rocks, touch and photograph them.

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The boulders are more rugged than those at Stonehenge – covered in moss, shoulder-height or smaller, and scattered over the hilltop above the canyon that rises from the Dar river. For all that travellers have always been free to explore Zorats Karer, no-one knows for sure what these stones really are. In the last 20 years archaeologists from Germany have discovered tombs from the Bronze and Iron Ages underneath the site. Armenian researchers have studied the small holes that have been made in some of the rocks, and revealed an astronomical observatory that charts the movement of the sun, moon and stars. Zorats Karer means “Army Stones” in Armenian; but they are also known as Carahunge – the Speaking Stones, for the whistling sound that carries through the site when strong winds blow through their holes. It’s estimated that the rocks were placed 7,500 years ago. This means that at the time that Stonehenge was creat-


ed, the army stones had already been standing in Sisian for over two thousand years. At one edge of the site there is a visitor centre in a roomy wooden shack, where you can buy books about Carahunge in several languages, and sip potent Armenian coffee while you browse. Zorats Karer can easily be included into a Silk Road itinerary. Armenia has open borders with Georgia to the north and Iran to the south.You can arrive in Yerevan by road or overnight train from Tbilisi: from there, Sisian is a 200km drive, past Mount Ararat and Khor Virap monastery, as well as Noravank, Areni and Tatev. Zorats Karer is one of the last places before Meghri, on the Iranian border. Jonathan Campion has travelled and worked in Eurasia for 15 years. He writes about Central Asia, the Caucasus and Russia at jonathancampion.com.

text by Jonathan Campion

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award winning HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS

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.

CATALOGUE

HARDBACK

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ISBN: 978-1910886816

RRP:£17.50

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

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

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)

HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS

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

HARDBACK

ISBN: 978-1-910886-06-9

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

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

HARDBACK

ISBN: 978-1-910886-22-9

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

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

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PRIME

HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS

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.

usewives, grandmothers ow they value being able mes of trouble. They also fiya’s adopted uncle and

autiful book filled with n and her actual family, rselves and people from n that close camaraderie hich in our current age,

RRP: £19.95

My Neighbourhood Sisters A Collection of Short Stories

HARDBACK

ISBN: 978-1-910886-11-3

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

MY NEIGHBOURHOOD SISTERS by Gulsifat Shakhidi (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.

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

GULSIFAT SHAKHIDI

looking through a phoy pasted images of both behind each picture lies her close female friends; are challenged by both intain traditional famihe communal courtyard - may belong to Central fidelity, addiction, abuse, ed by Shakhidi that will

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

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hbourhood Sisters proendeavours to adjust to in the 1990s.

My Neighbourhood Sisters

LANGUAGE: ENG RRP: £24.95

GULSIFAT SHAKHIDI

НА КЕ ИИ ЯЗЫ

РС ВЕ ОМ + СК С РУ

LANGUAGES ENG / RUS RRP: £19.95

HARDBACK

ISBN:978-1-910886-35-9

01/01/2017 23:25:28

“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.

LANGUAGE: ENG

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

and trans-


HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS 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

RRP: £19.95 ENG HARDBACK

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history

HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS

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

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ISBN: 978-1910886380 RRP:£24.50


HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS

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!

PAPERBACK

RUSSIAN ISBN: 9781910886397

RRP:£9.95

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SERIES

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

Raushan

Burkitbayeva - Nukenova

KAZAT AKHMATOV

HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS

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

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

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

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


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

Take a trip along this remarkable historic trading route that once ran from Venice, through the Mediterranean, across Turkey and Iran, through the Caucasus and Caspian Sea, onwards via Central Asia and finally to China. This publications charts the history of the Silk Road with an engaging text that is accompanied by stunning photography showing the landscapes, architecture, people and traditions found along the route today. Be part of this epic journey now by pre-ordering and/or sponsoring this new publication. AVAILABLE ON PRE-ORDERS EMAIL: PUBLISHER@HERTFORDSHIREPRESS.COM

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

Nick

A Silk roAd Journey

Friendly SteppeS:

in 2006 during his eloped an insatiable An Oxford University stry in London, Nick ing Central Asia and travelled to all the is Editor-in-Chief of vides expert opinion t at home with his w lives, his favourite ains of Central Asia laughing and joking ghman accompanied

TRAVELOGUES THE SILK ROAD REVISITED by Nick Rowan

Rowan

ordinary adventure d’s most incredible ll recovering from misunderstood Iran; et domination; and tertwined with the recounts not only e route has had on

HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS

FRIENDLY STEPPES. A SILK ROAD JOURNEY by Nick Rowan (2012)

Friendly SteppeS: A Silk roAd Journey Nick Rowan

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

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

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

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HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS

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

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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

RRP:£12.50

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

RRP: £4.95

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

RRP: £12.50

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DISCOVERY GUIDES & TRAVEL COMPANIONS

HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS

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

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

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

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


back list

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

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

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

ДИЛЬДОРА ТУЛЯГАНОВА ПОДРАЖАЯ СУФИЯМ ISBN: 978-1910886830 RRP: £7.95

THE BOOK WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN WRITTEN BEFORE

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

MARSEL SALIMOV

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

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INTERNATIONA LP R

2016

RRP: £19.95

nitive-linguacultural methodology and the theory of intercultural communication”.

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.

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CONCEPTUALLY-GROUNDED COGNITIVE-LINGUAL BASICS OF FORMING A MULTILINGUAL

The professional and functional model of a modern translator has been proposed FOR HIGHER FOREIGN and the competence-based educational paradigm has been developed on the conceptually-grounded platform. LANGUAGE EDUCATION

S ES

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Reviewers: Alshanov R.A. – PhD, President of Turan University

The scientific and theoretical platform and methodology of the “cognitive-comSTRATEGIC GUIDELINES municative concept of translation studies” are presented on the basis of the “cog-

KUNANBAYEVA S.S.

CONCEPTUALLY-GROUNDED COGNITIVE-LINGUAL BASICS OF FORMING A MULTILINGUAL

KUNANBAYEVA S.S.

The book is recommended by the Academic Council of Kazakh Ablai Khan University of International Relations and World Languages (Protocol №3 dated 27 October 2015)

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.

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SALIMA KUNANBAYEVA

Kunanbayeva S.S.

Kunanbayeva S.S.

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

STRATEGIC GUIDELINES FOR HIGHER FOREIGN LANGUAGE EDUCATION

CAMBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL PRESS

RRP: £14.95 CAMBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL PRESS

ISBN: 978-0957480780 RRP: £19.95

ISBN: 978-1-910886-67-0 RRP: £19.50

CAMBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL PRESS

ISBN: 978-1-910886-99-1 RRP: £14.95

PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1910886267 RRP: £18.50

ORAZALY SABDEN

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

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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

ENGLISH

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

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CAMBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL PRESS

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

ISBN:978-1-910886-16-8

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

ISBN: 978-1910886076 RRP: £24.95

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

ENG

ISBN: 978-1910886878

RRP:£14.95

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

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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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CONTENTS 5

WELCOME WORD

38

POSTOIEV’S GREAT COMET JOURNEY: TASHKENT TO SÃO PAULO

6

EURASIANIASM — FROM LITHUANIA TO LONDON

42

IS IT IN OUR BLOOD? OR SWEAT?

THE COVID CRISIS IN CENTRAL ASIA COMPLIANCE, CAUTION AND DENIAL

46

ART UNITES

10

48

MUSIC WITHOUT BORDERS

14

CENTRAL ASIA 3.0: 2020 AND BEYOND 49

FASCINATING TOUR TO DAGESTAN!

18

ADVOCATING FOR MOUNTAIN COMMUNITIES THROUGH EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

50

VASILY KOREN - A NEW NAME OF GLORY FOR BELARUS

54

IN WHICH COUNTRY WOULD YOU RATHER GET MARRIED?

58

ARMENIA’S ANCIENT ZORATS KARER STONES

60

ECG INFORMATION

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HERTFORDSHIRE PRESS CATALOGUE

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CAMBRIDGE INTERMATIONAL PRESS CATALOGUE

22

INTERVIEW: IHOR KYZYM, AMBASSADOR OF UKRAINE TO BELARUS

26

AZERBAIJANIS AROUND THE WORLD CELEBRATE THEIR NATIONAL DAY ON MAY 28

28

DEFENDING WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN AFGHANISTAN

30

“WE SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE QUALITY”

34

FROM MASSACHUSETTS TO TASHKENT: A CAREER IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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OCA MAGAZINE #35  

Dear Reader, This is now our second issue, produced from the comforts of our own home, as the production team manage to work with seamless...

OCA MAGAZINE #35  

Dear Reader, This is now our second issue, produced from the comforts of our own home, as the production team manage to work with seamless...

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