From Frunze to Bishkek: Soviet Territorial Youth Formations and Their Decline in the 1990s and 2000s

in Central Asian Affairs
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This article presents an “alternative urban history” of Bishkek (Frunze). We describe the history of Soviet streets and of the everyday life of young people, whose narratives fit neither the Soviet nor the post-Soviet history textbooks. Yet, these stories are extremely important, rich, and unique. They reveal the complex dynamics of the social organization of urban territories in cities of Soviet origin. The research has shown that the territorial youth culture of Frunze had much in common with similar developments in cities all across the Soviet Union. At the same time, it developed its own particular features, complexities, and diversities due to specific local conditions. The study also provides insights into the power of territory. It reveals how identities, everyday practices, and the socialization of young people were embedded in the specific geographies of the Kyrgyz capital.

From Frunze to Bishkek: Soviet Territorial Youth Formations and Their Decline in the 1990s and 2000s

in Central Asian Affairs




Karbainov“’Eu, khunkhuz, kuda udesh’?! Edes’ bratva, i my umresh’!’ ‘ulichnye voiny’ v Ulan-Ude”; Philipp Schröder, “‘Urbanizing’ Bishkek: Interrelations of Boundaries, Migration, Group Size and Opportunity Structure,” Central Asian Survey29 no. 4 (2010): 453–467.


Karbainov“’Eu khunkhuz kuda udesh’?! Edes’ bratva i my umresh’!’ ‘ulichnye voiny’ v Ulan-Ude” 147.


M. Flynn and N. Kosmarskaya“Exploring ‘North’ and ‘South’ in Post-Soviet Bishkek: Discourses and Perceptions of Rural-Urban Migration,” Nationalities Papers40 no. 3 (2012): 453–471.


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    Map of youth raions of Frunze

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    Map of dvory in the central part

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    Different types of urban fabric: A) bounded block in the city center (rayon Zapad), B) parallel apartment buildings in the 8th microrayon (Yuzhnye vorota), and C) low-rise housing in the Uzbek ethnic neighborhood (Mahalla)

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    Boys of Botanika (shared by our respondents)

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    Rabochii Gorodok

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    Young man from Yuzhnye Vorota (shared by the respondents of Iamshikova and Chotonova)

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    Boys from Pribaikalie in the Leninskoe lake (shared by the respondents of Toktosunov and Alykulov)

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