Central Asia Explained

Image Source


Picture of the Panj River and Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan

Population and People

Table Created by Author

Central Asia was populated mainly by races that were admixtures of Europeans, Mongols, and Iranians. European-Mongol interbreeding had created Turks andTatars; Iranian-Mongol interbreeding Tajiks. The admixture of Turks and Mongols resulted in Kazakhs/Kyrgyzes, and that of Turks and Iranians in Uzbeks.

People from Around Central Asia Image Sources: 1, 2, 3


Table Created by Author


Timeline of Central Asia.
Silk Road and Registan Complex in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Image Credit: Britannica, Wikipedia

Tandoori cooking had traveled from Central Asia to the Indian subcontinent with the armies of Emperor Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire in the mid-sixteenth century. So, too, had the cooking of samosas.

[They] defined a nation as “a stable and historically developed community” based on four criteria: a common language, a united territory, a shared economic life, and a shared psychological outlook manifested in a common culture…. This led the policy makers in Moscow to exaggerate the differences between several Central Asian languages that were written in the Arabic script and rooted mainly in Turkic.

Both the troops and civilians of Tajikistan also performed well, with more than 50,000 of them winning awards and medals. It was in the military that Central Asian Muslims got their first taste of vodka and learned to drink it as Russians do — raising their glasses in a toast, and then emptying them wholesale in one gulp. Turkmenistan and all other Central Asian republics continue to celebrate May 9 as the Victory Day.

During the next four decades, 753 nuclear explosions would take place there — 27 in the atmosphere, 78 on the ground, and the rest underground. These tests left 300,000 square kilometers (115,800 square miles), inhabited by 2 million people, contaminated with radioactive material, resulting in many cases of birth defects and mental illness.

Misperceptions of Islam and its Influence

Sickened by the stench of scandals, many Uzbeks took to religion. Unemployed youths became ready recruits for extremist parties, which resorted to violence for political purposes.

Strategic Significance in Geo-Politics

The group, funded generously by the Saudi Arabia-based Ahle Sunna movement, used the same tactic to win important sites in Andijan, Kokand, and Margilan — as part of their plan to establish madrassas to teach 15,000 students.Wahhabi preachers remained silent on the subject of “military training” for their students. By striking roots in the Fergana Valley of Uzbekistan, Wahhabis were positioning themselves to spread quickly to the rest of the valley in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. worried about the Wahhabi movement as the government because the movement was sectarian, rabidly anti-Sufi and anti-Shiite, and received funds from Saudi Arabia.

Washington had listed five conditions for establishing diplomatic links with CIS members: acceptance of all U.S.-Soviet Union agreements, respect for human rights, a free market, democratic elections, and a functioning multi-party political system.




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