The History of Perestroika in Central Asia (social transformation in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia, 1982-1991)
Dr. Irina Morozova
Dr. Tolganai Umbetalieva (Kazakhstan)
Dr. Gulnara Aitpaeva (Kyrgyzstan)
Prof. Jigjidijn Boldbaatar (Mongolia)
Dr. Elena Zimovina (Kazakhstan/Russia)
Dr. Andrei Chebotarev (Kazakhstan)
Munkhsaruul Enkhbaatar (Mongolia)
Ainura Turgangazieva (Kyrgyzstan)
Saltanat Orazbekova (Kazakhstan)
The project investigates the adaptive strategies of social groups in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia during perestroika in a broader socio-cultural context and seeks to explain how the newly introduced ideological trends and cultural ideas impacted on social groups and personalities. The project follows a genuinely comparative approach and aims to distinguish the similarities, differences and specifics of patterns of social consolidation in the three societies. The study begins chronologically at the end of Brezhnev's era in 1982 and Tsedenbal's long rule in Mongolia in 1984 and continues up to the dissolution of the USSR and CMEA in 1991. The project is carried out by an international research team that includes senior and junior researchers from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia; the senior scholars supervise selected doctoral students, who write their PhD theses in the framework of the project at their home institutions.
Re-conceptualisation of the current debates on late socialism and its deconstruction has become the premises of the research that deals, above all, with historical memory and production of knowledge on contemporary history. The perestroika discourses on the "rotten socialist planned economy" and the "command-administrative system of governance" were first shaped by the liberal wing of nomenklatura and intelligentsia and then reproduced by various groups of the population via public debates and everyday talks. The formation of new inequalities happened against the debate on economic backwardness of socialist countries.
Among the rural and nomadic population of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia the newly introduced system of leasing of cattle (arenda, Rus.) brought the division between the more and less successful families, which, above all, increased migration of the rural population into the cities. The information about the outside world was penetrating the three Republics unequally. For instance, while in the provinces of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan the smuggled Western videos shacked the belief in communist eschatology and socialist values at the beginning of the 1980s, to the Mongolian countryside the Western popular culture came only in the 1990s.
Each country team recorded 60 oral histories and developed the interviewing methods and approaches to the oral data. This data is interpreted in combination with the data from the archives, periodicals and media, literature and literature criticism, statistics and open sources. Dr. Umbetalieva researched the so-called December events in Almaty in 1986 and the development of political science in the Republic during perestroika. Prof. Boldbaatar researched the complex interplay within the Central Committee of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party and his book on the topic is currently in print. Dr. Aitpaeva focused on the prehistory of traditional practices' restoration, which started at late perestroika with the political and public activities of various individuals, searching for the alternative means for power. Ms. Turgangazieva discovered the elitist construction of perestroika discourses in Kyrgyzstani periodicals and the societal response to them. Mr. Enkhbaatar underlined the social grounds of perestroika movement in Mongolia, while Ms. Orazbekova dealt with the change in values and religious identity in Kazakhstan. Dr. Morozova studied the production of social knowledge on perestroika via the debates on economic development, tracing the rise of new inequalities and drawing comparison of the social transformation in the three Republics.
The Project members' international co-operation, particularly with the scholars and research institutions in the U.S.A., the Netherlands, Japan and South Korea, resulted in the organisation of the International Workshop "The Legacies of Perestroika Discourses in Knowledge Production on Central Asia" held in Ulaanbaatar on 24-25 August 2012. The Workshop Proceedings will be published.
Project advisory board:
- Prof. Jacques Legrand, President of INALCO (Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientalist), Paris
- Prof. Dr. Matthias Middell, Director of the Centre for Advanced Studies, University of Leipzig
- Prof. Dr. Hans-Henning SchrĂ¶der, Head of Research Division Russian Federation/CIS, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Berlin
- Prof. Dr. Petra Stykow, Geschwister-Scholl-Institut fĂĽr Politikwissenschaft, UniversitĂ¤t MĂĽnchen
- Prof. Dr. Peter van der Veer, Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, GĂ¶ttingen
Forthcoming Events:International Conference: The History of Perestroika in Central Asia
30 May - 1 June 2013, Bishkek
Past Events:The legacy of perestroika discourses in knowledge production on Central Asia
24-25 August 2012, Ulaanbaatar
The History of Perestroika in Central Asia
26/28 September 2011
4/5 Oktober 2011, Berlin
last update : 02 May 2013