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‘The Stans’ in Transition

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‘The Stans’ refer to the five post-Soviet Central Asian republics — Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — with similar historical, political and cultural roots. ‘The Stans’ are protecting their cultural identity by proposing ethnic language policies — potentially banning the use of the Russian language. In Kyrgyzstan, there’s a proposal to make Kyrgyz the official language of diplomacy and in Tajikistan, there’s another to ban the use of Russian in public institutions and official documents. We’ll examine relationships with post-Soviet Russia, and how China and the United States are vying for ‘The Stans.’ This week, Chinese President Hu Jintao opened a new gas pipeline that extends from Turkmenistan to north-west China — the first without Russia’s Gazprom. Martin Savidge hosts William Fierman, a professor of Central Asian studies at Indiana University, and Nikolai Petrov, a scholar at The Carnegie Moscow Center.

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