Central Asia Breaks History’s Chains

Open Society Foundations
Nargis Kessenova

Generally, when discussions turn to the politics of Central Asia, one hears of authoritarian stagnationimmutable institutions, and unmovable structures. The region is considered to be burdened by the weight of a history defined by subjugation from its Great Power neighbors abroad and repression from its domestic rulers at home. A frequent assumption is that if change is to come to Central Asia, it will come from the outside; indigenous civil society is rarely mentioned. This narrative is not fashioned out of whole cloth, but it still ignores the very real on-the-ground progress being made every day by activists in Central Asia. No one would deny that open society in Central Asia is facing an uphill climb—but we must not discount those who are working to make it a reality.



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