The Resurgence of Central Asia: Islam or Nationalism?
The Resurgence of Central Asia is Ahmed Rashid’s seminal study of the states that emerged in the aftermath of the breakup of the Soviet Union: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. All have Muslim majorities and ancient histories but are otherwise very different. Rashid’s book, now with a new introduction by the author examining some of the crucial political developments since its first publication in 1994, provides entrée to this little-known but geopolitically important region. Rashid gives a history of each country, including its incorporation into Tsarist Russia, to the present day, provides basic socioeconomic information, and explains the diverse political situations. He focuses primarily on the underlying issues confronting these societies: the legacy of Soviet rule, ethnic tensions, the position of women, the future of Islam, the question of nuclear proliferation, and the fundamental choices over economic strategy, political system, and external orientation that lie ahead.