• KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 2

Story of a Statue: Turkmenistan Shapes National Identity

The giant bronze statue of a robed man holding a book stands on the southern outskirts of Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat, and is visible from many parts of the city. Including the granite base, it is more than 80 meters high. The sculptor says the rising sun illuminates the structure at dawn, giving it a hallowed aura. Diplomats and other dignitaries recently assembled for the inauguration of the statue of Magtymguly Pyragy, a revered poet and philosopher who serves today as a state-sponsored symbol of national and cultural identity. Some carried bouquets of flowers as they walked up the steps toward the looming monolith. Later, there were fireworks, a multi-colored light show and a drone display in the sky that formed the image of a quill pen. Led by President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, the ceremony on May 17 marked the 300th anniversary of the official birthday of Pyragy, who is little known outside Central Asia but is vital to a campaign of national cohesion in a country whose brand of personalized state control often seems opaque and eccentric to observers. Pyragy was born in the 18th century in what is today Iran, and is associated with Sufi spiritualism. He wrote about love, family and morality, and also laced his poetry with yearning for Turkmen solidarity at a time of conflict and fragmentation. Today, his image adorns postage stamps and banknotes in Turkmenistan. A theater carries his name. A symphony. A street. A university. People put his verse to songs at festivals. His lines form aphorisms in Turkmen, a Turkic language spoken in parts of Central Asia. Turkmenistan is of interest to foreign powers for its deep energy reserves, but this year its diplomats made an intense push in world capitals to get people interested in something else about the country: Magtymguly Pyragy. They promoted events about the poet in cities including Washington, Paris, Beijing and Seoul. The message was, as the state news agency put it, that Pyragy´s work is “an invaluable asset of all mankind.” Indeed, the park where the giant Pyragy statue stands in Ashgabat also contains much, much smaller statues of writers from other parts of the world, including William Shakespeare, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Rabindranath Tagore. One commentator has even compared Pyragy to German philosopher Immanuel Kant, saying they were born around the same time and had similar ideas. Russian granite was transported in nearly 100 railway cars to Ashgabat for construction of the new Pyragy statue, according to contractor Alexander Petrov. The statue is among the more grandiose monuments in a capital studded with them. Sculptor Saragt Babayev noted that the statue shows Pyragy in a turban, in contrast to an older image of the poet that shows him wearing a peaked Astrakhan hat, which was made of sheep fur and had no religious significance. That image dates to the time when Turkmenistan was part of the Soviet Union and Moscow was cracking down on expressions of Islamic piety. “During the time when the...

The Art of Words: Writer Andrei Orlov Discusses the Development of Kazakhstan’s Literary Industry

Andrei Orlov is an acclaimed writer who has actively influenced the development of Kazakhstan’s literature through the creation of a community of writers and the organization of cultural events. In this interview, he offers his perspective of how the art of the written word shapes a nation’s cultural heritage and stimulates the development of its literary scene.   How do you view the contemporary Kazakhstani literary scene? What changes and trends have been noticeable in recent years? I've been in the industry for seven years and have witnessed a lot of changes.  Many authors have finally realized that their craft is not limited to printed books and are slowly moving online and exploring specialized digital products. The stereotypical view that samizdat is bad has almost been erased. Conservative writers are still of the opinion that if they want to publish, they should only do so under the auspices of a publishing house. But in our country where supply does not meet demand, samizdat offers an excellent means of embarking on your creative path. I know many authors who have self-published and then, after the first or even third book, received offers from publishing houses. Literature is changing in general. More and more people are writing about things they really care about and understand. For example, over the last 3-4 years, business literature has significantly increased; something I consider a great achievement for the country.   What are the main challenges facing Kazakhstani writers today? The challenge is not to die! But jesting aside, there are many difficulties faced by contemporary authors. As I said, there are now far fewer publishing houses in the country, which means that authors must do everything themselves: writing, editing, design, illustration, layout, presentation, promotion. Some tasks are obviously passed to specialists, but these are all issues which many authors are ill-equipped to resolve. We also want our books to provide income or at least, recoup costs. Unfortunately, that rarely happens especially the first-time round. And here we come back to the problem about which I talk non-stop: a writer must treat his project (book) like a business. Otherwise, things are hard. People in Kazakhstan are still unused to reading their writers. It was a similar case with music, when earlier on, there was prejudice against domestic music producers. But once they proved their quality and, in a sense, turned the whole market upside down, listeners began to engage. The same thing should happen with literature.   Does the Kazakhstani writing environment reflect contemporary social, cultural and political changes in the country? No, rather than yes. Few authors write on such topics. They are a hundred percent afraid to write about politics. Only a few can afford to do so. I recently published a collection of poetry and under the auspices of our club, organized a contest and selected works.  A series of poems on a political theme was submitted. Devoid of any harsh criticism, it was more akin to satire. Our editors, however, were afraid...

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