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

In: Central Asian Affairs
Emil Nasritdinov American University in Central Asia, Bishkek

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Philipp Schröder Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institute for Asian and African Studies, Germany,

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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.

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