Reviews

The author endeavours to demonstrate that state ideologies have helped Tajik and Kyrgyz leaders to prevail during the turbulent 1990s over competing political forces. Whence Askar Akaev was authoring himself part of the new national ideology, Imomali Rahmon was cultivating the help of (a restricted) academic community. The present-day ideologists’ dept towards Soviet ethnography and towards the ideological construction of the 1930s (as for Tajik Aryanism in particular) is well identified. What the author has not noticed is that both Kyrgyz and Tajik presidents were largely resorting to mobilisation means and contents largely utilised in the mid-1950s in the wake of de-Stalinisation and embryonic rehabilitation (or reinvention) of national cultures. More recent imports have also been neglected ― as it is usually the case of the impact of the special Aryanism developed by the Islamic Republic of Iran upon Dushanbe’s academic circles. One of the explanations provided for Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev’s weak political longevity is his underestimation of the role played by state ideology, which only deepened the divide between the country’s northern and southern political élites. Bakiev’s ― and his business entourage’s ― ignorance are also reproached to have induced local civil society groups to a more active participation in the development of a national unification programme. In conclusion, the author does not forget to remark that if both Akaev and Rahmon have shown capable of strengthening their positions relative to competing political élites, neither was able to win wholehearted support for their ideas among the global society.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: II-7.4.D-658