September 29, 2012
The Opacity of Central Asia
Ilan Greenberg, The National Interest
Central Asia has not been kind to predictions. In the 1970s and 1980s, Western scholars liked to talk about the rupture in the USSR’s Central Asia region between the “Soviet Man” and the “Islamic Man”—with the Soviet Man, perhaps galvanized by dormant nationalist feelings, coming out on top. In the mid-1990s, the popular—and wrong—bet on the economic rivalry between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan was on Uzbekistan’s future vitality. After the death of Turkmenistan’s uniquely bizarre president in 2006, his equally strange dentist took charge and managed to stay in charge, ratifying the predictions of very few.
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