Kyrgyz on Kyrgyzstan

What defines being Kyrgyz? Defining something as broad as a nationality or ethnicity is always complicated. I decided to get a view specifically from young Kyrgyz women and interviewed Bigemai, 27 and Aiza, 22 for their thoughts. Bigemai grew up in Bishkek, the oldest of four siblings. She works professionally as a hairdresser and volunteers […]

New Year’s Eve: Student Observations

The New Year is, without doubt, the most important holiday on the Russian calendar. It equates if not outstrips the importance of Christmas in America, if to compare the two holidays in the two cultures. New Year in Russia is a time to be together with family and friends, for gift giving, major consumer spending, […]

Plov: A Central Asian Rice Staple

Plov (Плов) is a hearty dish made from deep fried meat and vegetables, over which rice is cooked. Plov is considered a national dish in many countries of Central Asia and the Near and Middle East ‒ Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan. It is generally popular over most of the area that the Soviet Union […]

Oromo: Kyrgyz Food with Vegetarian Options

For those obsessed with all things pumpkin — pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice-cream, pumpkin-spice lattes — oromo (оромо) is sure to please. Oromo is a rolled, layered, steamed pastry that comes with various fillings (pumpkin being common and our favorite). It evokes everything we love about pumpkin season back home in the States. This main dish […]

Guide to Religion in Russia

The following resource is meant to quickly but thoroughly overview the subject of religion in Russia. It includes statistics on membership, information on major organizations and institutions, and links to sites offering histories. Mention of religion in other FSU countries is made as well. Your suggestions and comments are always welcome! Contact the Author Table […]

Thanksgiving Dinner in Bishkek

Thanksgiving might be the most difficult holiday to miss as an American abroad. As far as Christmas and New Year’s go there’s a good chance you may get to go home in December to experience familiar holiday cheer. Or it’s likely that your host-country can provide a less-familiar, albeit still pleasant, Christmas and New Year […]

Lagman: Central Asian Noodles & Broth

Lagman (лагман) is a dish that is very common in Central Asia, China, and much of Russia. While the basic recipe has perhaps hundreds of local variations, this simple and filling dish always consists of noodles floating in broth or soaked in a savory sauce with vegetables and often features meat, spices, and various savory […]

Chak-chak: A Glorious and Celebratory Fried Honey Cake

Chak-chak (Чак-чак) (chak-chak) is a dessert food made from deep-fried dough drenched in a hot honey syrup and formed into a certain shape, most commonly a mound or pyramid. It is popular all over the former Soviet Union. In Russia, chak-chak is especially associated with the Tatar and Bashkortostan republics, where it is considered a […]

Victory Day: Student Observations

Victory Day is celebrated every May 9th in many countries across the former Soviet space. This public holiday gives often multiple days off and celebrates the end of The Great Patriotic War (which is WWII as experienced in the USSR). Estimates vary, but about 37 million Soviet people died in the war from causes ranging […]

Banyas in Bishkek – Cultural Experience

Banya (a washing house) has remained a part of the Russian culture since ancient times, carrying all sorts of traditionally obtained meanings including religious, symbolic and medicinal. The banya was officially endorsed by the Soviets as a health facility and its use spread throughout Eurasia. It remains popular for health and recreation throughout the post-Soviet […]

Central Asian Evening in Moscow

During our weekend trip to Moscow organized by SRAS our time was filled with tours and events. These appealed to a wide variety of interests and represented a wide variety of aspects related to modern Russian culture. One of the most interesting excursions took place over the course of an evening—beginning with a visit to […]

Kyrgyz on Kyrgyz Female Role Models

Editor’s note: Women’s rights suffered greatly in Kyrgyzstan after the fall of the USSR. Violent traditions such as “bride kidnapping,” where women are kidnapped and forced into marriages became common and even praised by some locals who (mistakenly) believed it to be an ancient national tradition. The spread of Islam, which is traditional in Kyrgyzstan, […]

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