How the years have flown by: I only found out now that Dr. Shirin Akiner passed away in 2019. Shirin was a lecturer in Central Asian studies at SOAS. Fresh off the boat from Berlin to start my undergraduate degree in the UK twenty years ago, I chose her class as an elective in my first year.
Courtesy of my friend Chris, I found this old blog post of mine dating back to 2005. In it I discuss Eurasianism, an ill-defined school of thought in post-Soviet Russian social science. Amid events in the Ukraine it feels strangely up-to-date today. I repost in full after the jump.
Zenkov Cathedral – Almaty/Kazakhstan (2005)
The violence in the Ukraine leaves me with an incredibly numb feeling in my stomach. To some older folks it may appear like a flashback from the time when the Soviet Union disintegrated amid strife in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Yet this also seems like a slow-motion train crash people feared but never really thought possible. In this it reminded me of another event in the post-Soviet space.
Painted tanks near the Great Patriotic War Memorial, Kiev
The New York Times ran an article about Kazakhstan’s rail network the other day. It made me think both of the country that I have had the pleasure of visiting frequently and a growing interest in the interdisciplinary world of spatial economics. Some hopefully related thoughts after the jump.
Kazakhstan rail wagon – in Kazan, Russia, by Flickr user Mikhail Shcherbakov (creative commons)