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U.S. and Soviet Cultural Diplomacy, 1945–1990
In Cold War in Universities: U.S. and Soviet Cultural Diplomacy, 1945–1990 Natalia Tsvetkova recounts how the United States and the Soviet Union aspired to transform overseas academic institutions according to their political aims during the Cold War.
The book depicts how U.S. and Soviet attempts to impose certain values, disciplines, teaching models, structures, statutes, and personnel at universities in divided Germany, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, both Vietnams, and Cuba as well as Guatemala were foiled by sabotage, ignorance, and resistance on the part of the local academic elite, particularly professors.
Often at odds with local academic communities, U.S. and Soviet university policies endured unexpected frustrations as their efforts toward Americanization and Sovietization faced developmental setbacks, grassroots resistance, and even political fear.
Author: Anna Muś
In The Political Potential of Upper Silesian Ethnoregionalist Movement: A Study in Ethnic Identity and Political Behaviours of Upper Silesians Anna Muś offers a study on the phenomenon of ethnoregionalism in one of the regions in Poland. Since 1945, ethnopolitics in Poland have been based on the so-called assumption of the ethnic homogeneity of the Polish nation. Even the transformation of the political system to a fully democratic one in 1989 did not truly change it. However, over the last three decades, we can observe growing discontent in Upper Silesia and the politicisation of Silesian ethnicity. This is happening in a region with its own history of autonomy and culturally diversified society, where an ethnoregionalist political movement appeared already in 1989.
Z. Anthony Kruszewski in Wartime Europe and Postwar America
Author: Beata Halicka
Beata Halicka’s masterly narrated biography is the story of an extraordinary man and leading intellectual in the Polish-American community. Z. Anthony Kruszewski was first a Polish scout fighting in World War II against the Nazi occupiers, then a Prisoner of War/Displaced Person in Western Europe. He was stranded as a penniless immigrant in post-war America and eventually became a world-renowned academic.
Kruszewski’s almost incredible life stands out from his entire generation. His story is a microcosm of 20th-century history, covering various theatres and incorporating key events and individuals. Kruszewski walks a stage very few people have even stood on, both as an eye-witness at the centre of the Second World War, and later as vice-president of the Polish American Congress, and a professor and political scientist at world-class universities in the USA. Not only did he become a pioneer and a leading figure in Borderland Studies, but he is a borderlander in every sense of the word.
Author: Paul Hansbury

Abstract

After 2014 the relationship between Russia and its ally Belarus was strained. Russia was dissatisfied with Belarus’s foreign policy and sought to influence the latter’s international affairs. This article considers the extent of change and continuity in Belarus’s foreign policy, and thus whether Russia’s criticisms reflect consequential shifts, covering the period 2016–2019. The analysis begins with the removal of EU sanctions, which afforded Belarus new opportunities, and ends before the protest movement that emerged ahead of the election in 2020. The study considers three policy areas: international trade; diplomacy more broadly; and foreign policy concerns for prestige. The article argues that Belarus made appreciable policy changes in response to structural pressures in the period 2016–2019, but the parameters of these foreign policy shifts were necessarily highly constrained by domestic interest group competition which prevents Belarus distancing itself from Russia. It concludes with a brief reflection on how the 2020 election protests and repressions affect the dynamics described.

In: Journal of Belarusian Studies
Free access
In: Journal of Belarusian Studies
In: Central Asian Affairs

Abstract

This article reflects on how the concept of regionalism has been used to explain and interpret Central Asian politics since independence. It argues that regionalism, often a norm-laden analytical category based on Eurocentric assumptions, tends to paint the region as “failed” and regional states as incapable of institutionalizing multilateral relations. In its place, the article suggests the concept of order, which is more neutral and—through its focus on the operation of sovereignty, diplomacy, international law, authoritarianism, and great power management—is able to incorporate elements of both the conflict and cooperation that have marked the region’s politics since 1991.

Open Access
In: Central Asian Affairs

Abstract

This paper investigates how Chinese migrants are perceived by different groups in Kyrgyzstan—and in what domains local people turn to Sinophobia. To date, Kyrgyzstani political leaders have tended to be Sinophilic, whereas bazaar traders and ordinary citizens, fearing large inflows of Chinese migrants, are Sinophobic. The article paints a picture of Chinese migrants’ lives in Bishkek and their negative and positive experiences with local people. It concludes by demonstrating that lay people and radical nationalist groups alike deploy Sinophobic rhetoric in relation to China and Chinese immigrants living in Kyrgyzstan.

In: Central Asian Affairs
Author: Valerie Sartor

Abstract

This study provides an overview of how perceptions of the English language in Kazakhstan have altered over time due to political, economic, social and technological changes. The sociocultural framework includes language commodification and critical pedagogy concerning Indigenous languages; the methodological approach is narrative analysis combined with Bakhtin’s theory of dialogism. Three generational shifts were identified, each reflective of sociocultural changes that have occurred as Kazakhstan has transitioned from Soviet republic to modern Indigenous nation: from the Soviet Era/Soviet Man; to Independent Kazakhstan/Patriots and Outsiders; to Modern Kazakhstan/Young Cosmopolitans. The ongoing popularity of English may eventually threaten the Kazakh language.

In: Central Asian Affairs

Abstract

In this paper, we unpack the uchyot (“registration”) system using Foucault’s regime-based approach. Uchyot is a Soviet tool for controlling populations by requiring them to register personal information and then sharing this information with the relevant state institutions. This paper explores how uchyot is used to control drug users in Uzbekistan and Central Asian migrants in Russia. It argues that social and economic pressures, combined with strict policies, push unwanted citizens and migrants to engage in risky behaviors or into the shadows of informality and illegality.

In: Central Asian Affairs