Shirin Akiner (1942-2019)

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.

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Eurasianism 2005 and 2014

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.zhenkov

Zenkov Cathedral – Almaty/Kazakhstan (2005)

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Downside scenarios

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 

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Economies of vastness

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.

Kazansky Rail Terminal, train to Kazakhstan (Казанский Вокзал, поезд в Казахстан)

Kazakhstan rail wagon – in Kazan, Russia, by Flickr user Mikhail Shcherbakov (creative commons)

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