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This article looks into the nature and dynamics of Soviet assistance to the Governorate of Sheng Shicai, a military de facto state that existed in Xinjiang between 1933 and 1944. Besides discussing how the various forms of Soviet aid shaped the policies of the Governorate, it also examines how Sheng Shicai used the aid to pursue his desire for inclusive patriotism and social modernization into practice. The article further shows how the ussr actively supported Sheng Shicai’s development policies in an urge to securitize its borderlands by abetting ideologically aligned state-building and social transformation there. Although it was done with entirely different actors, methods, and within very different political frameworks, the aid securitization and borderland control logic makes this episode a historical forerunner of the state-building and social development aid in international neo-protectorates today.

In: Central Asian Affairs

Based on field observations and an empirical survey on religion and identity that was conducted among the Slavic Orthodox population in the wider Baku area and in Ganja, this article examines the identity and social position of this community, now the country’s main Christian population group. While earlier research on the nominally Christian Slavic groups in the Caspian–Central Asian space tended to concentrate on ethnolinguistic and political issues, this research focuses on religious identification, religious practice, and the status of the Orthodox Church. Numbering just 1.5 percent of the population, the Orthodox Christian community in Azerbaijan is nearing extinction due to its aging membership. Nonetheless, Orthodox Christianity will keep a presence in the country and its society, although it could attract a more heterogeneous following.

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In: Central Asian Affairs