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PONARS Eurasia 16 Jan 2021
(Eurasianet) When Joe Biden becomes president of the United States on January 20, he will be surrounded by a foreign policy team with deep experience in the former Soviet Union. But it remains an open question whether Washington will again be able, or even willing, to wield significant influence in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Biden himself has long been one of Washington’s most prominent...
PONARS Eurasia 15 Jan 2021
(RFE/RL) When Vladimir Lenin stepped off a train at St. Petersburg's Finland Station in April 1917, he set in motion events that would transform Russia and ultimately divide the world into opposing camps. Winston Churchill would later compare the first Soviet leader to a "plague bacillus" -- a parasite that enters an organism at the very moment it can do most harm. "The signs in Russia are...
PONARS Eurasia 13 Jan 2021
(Meduza) Allegations that Twitter violated the First Amendment are misguided because the U.S. Constitution only bars state censorship, according to historian Ivan Kurilla. American culture, however, has long endured other means of restricting free speech, like the recent phenomena of “cancel culture” and “extreme political correctness.” Expression today has become tricky...
PONARS Eurasia 13 Jan 2021
(Washington Post) Three months after protesters in Kyrgyzstan stormed its main government building, the country's third uprising in 15 years, a convicted kidnapper solidified his grip on power there late Sunday, easily winning a snap presidential election. But he faces a raft of challenges. Populist Sadyr Japarov, 52, secured nearly 80 percent of the vote, according to Kyrgyzstan’s...
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Vladimir Gelman 13 Jan 2021
(Riddle) At the 2018 Gaidar Forum, an annual gathering of Russian experts and reformist officials, partticipants were asked to vote on their preferred methods of public control over the state. Digital platforms turned out to be the absolute leader, with 57% of votes. Representative democracy, meanwhile, gathered merely 11%. Such low support for democracy here partly reflects how...
Erica Marat 11 Jan 2021
(openDemocracy) Over a year ago, a series of articles by feminist scholars from Central Asia exposed the deep inequalities in knowledge production in Central Asian area studies. Academic discourse on the region has long been dominated by Western scholars who produce knowledge for Western audiences, while routinely ignoring rich contributions by their Central Asian counterparts. Local...
Edward Schatz 11 Jan 2021
(Stanford University Press) Negative views of the United States abound, but we know too little about how such views affect politics. Drawing on careful research on post-Soviet Central Asia, Edward Schatz argues that anti-Americanism is best seen not as a rising tide that swamps or as a conflagration that overwhelms. Rather, "America" is a symbolic resource that resides quietly in the mundane...
Edward Schatz 11 Jan 2021
(National Post) In October 1993, a weak and desperate president ordered a frontal assault on his legislature. Then Russia’s great democratic hero, Boris Yeltsin had become convinced that the country’s parliament — a holdover from the Soviet period — had become an insurmountable impediment to his agenda. It was a one-sided battle. When the dust from the tank-fire settled, some 147 people had...

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