The 66th issue of NZ is a thematic one, devoted to Central Asia. The way this region is presented in the issue gives the room for discussion on a wide range of matters - from nation building to the relation to the Asian provinces in their former metropolis, Russia. Accordingly, the 66th issue consists of several thematic sections.
However, we have to start with distressing news: NZ columnist, the well-known economist and remarkable poet Evgeny Saburov died on June 20, 2009. For six years he contributed to his column Humanitarian Economics and its last issue is the obituary written by Ilya Kukulin.
This NZ issue - right after the editorial introduction - starts with a theoretical article of the well-known German-American historian of culture and philosopher Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht under the title “Is and Should There Be Anything Irreducible About «Nationhood» Today?”. This text is followed by the Alexander Kustarev’s column Political Unconscious where the author in its own way interprets the specified problem (“On Countries and Nations”).
The following section continues the topic of “nation building”: sociologist Laura Adams argues on applicability of the “postcolonial theory” to the Central Asia region; Sergey Abashin (thanks to whose help, the majority of materials for this NZ issue has been collected) considers peculiarities of memory of the imperial past in Uzbekistan; political analyst Slavomir Horák reviews discussions of the Tajik and Uzbek historians on such a sensitive subject for opponents, as the “history of Tajikistan”; and finally ethnologist Victor Shnirelman offers an essay on “Aryan idea” in Central Asia. The following Comparative Studies section presents the vivid material for the cross-country analysis - Alek D. Epstein research “Between the Walls: An Attempt of a Collective Portrait of the Israeli Nation”.
Our next section is devoted to the “state building” in the Central Asia region. There are three articles considering various aspects of the specified problem. The first one (written by Adeeb Khalid) is about campaigns “against terrorism”, as a part of the state policy; the second one (by Sergey Markedonov) presents the analysis of “the Caucasian direction” of the Kazakhstan’s foreign policy (this article is adjoined by Ochil Zakhidov’s text “On Geopolitical Priorities of Modern Tajikistan” in the Culture of Politics section); and the third one (by Alexander Kazantsev) is a review of how the Kipling’s metaphor of the “Great Game” is used with regard to the “great policy” in Central Asia (there is also a review on Kazantsev’s monograph prepared by Irina Busygina). This rubric is adjoined by the description of the possible ways of modernization for the regional transition economies - on the sample of Kazakhstan (Sergey Afontsev in the Case Study section)
The “state building” in Central Asia is followed by the development of its “culture” - the next section is focused on this matter. Gulnara Abikeeva tells us about the role of cinema in Central Asia, and Boris Chukhnovich presents the propagandistic and ideological role of monumental sculpture and painting. Related to this block is experience of interpretation of some art and media events in the “West”, connected with the so-called “East” in the way of the well-known concept of “Orientalism” (Kyrill Kobrin in Events and Comments). And Ilya Kalinin in his Daily Political Economy presents the column “On Photo and Orienlalism”.
The Central Asia social and economic problems are the key issues of the next sections. They deal with the problems of economic migration from Central Asian agricultural regions to Russia (an article by anthropologist Madeleine Reeves), with “ethicality” as a component of “daily occurrence” in some areas of Kazakhstan (Igor Savin), with various aspects of relations between the former Central Asia republics and Russia. Thus, Evgeny Abdullaev tells us about the destiny of Russian language in Uzbekistan, and Natalia Kosmarskaya analyzes the concept of “diaspora” with reference to the present realities of the former USSR. Alexey Levinson in his Sociological Lyrics comments Russian society attitude to the labor migrants; the same topic but in a slightly different aspect is raised by Svetlana Lolaeva and Andrey Ryabov in the Morals and Mores section.
This NZ issue ends with traditional rubrics: New Books and Intellectual Journals’ Review (Vyacheslav Morozov and Dmitry Golynko-Volfson). We recommend you to pay attention on Alexander Klinsky review of Elena Osokina research devoted the Soviet “Torgsyn” - the book is published in the well-known series “History of Stalinism”.