Memories of Perestroika in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia

Memories of Perestroika in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia

April 27, 2012

April 27, 2012

Dr. Irina Morozova, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany

Dr. Gulnara Aitpaeva, Aigine Cultural Research Center, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Ainura Turgangazieva, Aigine Cultural Research Center, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Abstract: Contrary to the well-known curse “may you live in a time of change,” the dismantling of socialism in late 1980s and early 1990s had been persistently presented to the former citizens of the socialist countries as a positive change. The newly acquired freedoms of speech/expression, faith and movement have often been referred to as the key achievements justifying the fall of the socialist state and economy. “For me it was a real escape; I do not know what might have happened to my life if perestroika and glasnost started later,” a former minister in Kyrgyzstan reflects upon his life of a young man during the last years of the Soviet Union. While such principally positive attitudes to the fall of socialism are typical for the current-day politicians, some other parts of population, especially in rural areas, keep nostalgic feelings about the Soviet Union, preferring not to revive the memories about the harsh times of the late Soviet period. This poses a challenge of the falsely reproduced memories and historical amnesia for a researcher studying the systemic changes in the late 1980s – beginning 1990s.

The discussion featured the initial findings of the field research that investigated the ways how perestroika times and the fall of socialism are remembered and discussed among various social groups in contemporary Kyrgyzstan.

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