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Central Asia Mini-Library

Table of Contents

 Study Abroad
in Eurasia!


(click to jump to a section)

  1. Books on Central Asia



Color Code:   Red links are to sites only in Russian. 
                     Gray links have English available.


1. News           report an error           back to top

a.  General Central Asian Sources

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is a source of news and information focusing largely on Central Asia and the Balkans. Its stated goal is to promote democratic values and institutions by disseminating factual information and ideas. But the geographical focus has moved south and east, away from Eastern Europe and toward Central Asia.

Azattyk Unalgysy is RFE/RL's Kyrgyz service site that deals specifically with Kyrgyz issues and affairs, all in the Kyrgyz language of course.

The Institute for War and Peace Reporting has goals similar to those of RFE/RL. IWPR both trains journalists and reports on news in Afghanistan, the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia.

The Times of Central Asia was founded in Bishkek by Italian businessman Giorgio Fiacconi. As an the owner of an independent source of news, Fiacconi has had his share of run-ins with Kyrgyz security forces, including a 2005 arrest by the financial police for embezzlement. Times reporters cover issues in all the major cities of Central Asia, including: Almaty, Astana, Ashgabat, Bishkek, Dushanbe and Tashkent.

Asia Times Online, headquartered in Hong Kong, offers an Asian perspective on news across Eurasia. Its news articles can sometimes read like commentaries, but the site is still worthwhile for English-language content posted by non-Westerners.

PIK TV is a Russian-language television news channel operated by the Georgian government. They focus on issues surrounding the Caucasus, though they also cover Russia-wide, Georgia-wide, and world issues as well.

Voxpopuli is a collection of photo-reports from Kazakhstan geared to showing the country through the eyes of a younger generation.

b.  Kyrgyz-Specific News Sources is a free site with relatively good search and archive features. The translated articles are posted from machine translations, and they lag behind the regularly updated Russian-language news, but locals in Kyrgyzstan who follow news about the political opposition there most often use this portal. is the website of Internews Kyrgyz Republic, which has supported independent media in the Kyrgyz Republic since 1995. News is published in Russian, English and Kyrgyz. is by far the most professional news agency in Kyrgyzstan and also provides excellent coverage of the rest of Central Asia. However, that quality product requires a subscription for English-translated articles (which costs about 36 USD per month). AKIpress news can be read for free in Russian at or - This Russian news site specializes in reporting on Central Asian countries of the former Soviet Union. The name Ferghana comes from the populous region of Central Asia that is split by the modern borders of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. News is provided in Russian, English or Uzbek. However, some of the additional features such as forum or gallery are not available in English. is the site of the Kyrgyz National Information Agency with updates about events in the Commonwealth of Independent States and China.

2. Some Basics of Politics and Economy           report an error           back to top

Renaissance Capital offers easy to understand, interactive maps and charts describing the political systems and geography of various Central Asian countries including Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, GeorgiaUzbekistanArmenia, and Azerbaijan.

The Eurasia Center offers a very informative and up-to-date website with information about Central Asia and Russia. has extensive information on the current status and the recent history of Central Asian military forces as well as their energy interdependence.

Official Government Sites also generally have information on political structures and processes within each country. See the sites for Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, TurkmenistanArmenia, and Azerbaijan.

Central Banks generally have considerable information about the economic standing of the country and government they serve. See the websites for the banks of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

Stock markets and securities exchanges are also important indicators of the economic health of a country. Their websites also often have specific information on large companies operating in that economy. See the stock exchanges in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Turkmenistan also has a State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange

State Statistics Agencies are also widely prevalent in most countries and are often ready sources of official data on population, poverty, production, and more. See the agencies for Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. How good are these official stats? The World Bank gives ratings how well they are gathered and compiled.

Turkmenistan does not appear in most of the above lists due to impositions on Internet use imposed by the previous president there (thus there are no websites for most of these categories). However, this Central Asian country has massive energy reserves, the world's fifth fastest growing GDP, and a highly strategic military position. It also has a new, more liberal president. We hope to provide more info on this country here soon.

Wikipedia offers highly informative entries on the history, economy, government and more for Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan.

Human Rights are also important if a county's citizens are to feel secure enough to freely save, spend, and invest in their country. Human Rights Watch provides (often negatively slanted) reports for Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan.

The US State Department maintains generally up-to-date pages with information about all of the above topics for Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan.

Georgia's Young Ministers and Younger Democracy was written by former SRAS student Seth Bridge after serving an internship in Tblisi and gives an overview of Georgian politics.

a.  More about Kyrgyz Politics

Who's Who in Kyrgyz Politics Kyrgyz politics is fast-paced, with demonstrations every couple months and firings of important officials all part of routine political maneuvering in the country. Trying to keep names and faces straight can be a challenge - this resource will help. the official site of Kyrgyzstan’s executive branch and has links to various government organizations, presidential propaganda, news reports, and press information. Someone seems to have forgotten to update the English-language news section in quite some time, but the Russian reporting is current.

Zhogorku Kenesh is the Kyrgyz Parliament and has its own Internet page, though the English-language portion is still being developed. Constitutional documents, photographs and other information are all available here.

Security Forces Sweep Bishkek Clean and Kyrgyzstan's Latest Revolution are two articles written by former SRAS student Michael Coffey during his stay in Kyrgyzstan in 2006-2007.

3. Foreign Aid           report an error           back to top

 Study Abroad
in Eurasia!


Foreign Aid is a vital component of the economy for some Central Asian States, and a source of political acrimony for some. And for some, it's both. The list below highlights some of the major (usually government-connected) donors and information sources about them. Most of these sites also have considerable information about the economies of specific Central Asian countries. Note as well that aid is coming from both Asian and Western sources. Why is this? is the Kyrgyz nexus of governments, businesses, the public, and others that participate in foreign aid and development assistance. It helps these agencies and individuals coordinate the nearly two billion USD currently circulating among projects there.

World Bank is a partner institution of the UN that gives loans, grants, technical assistance and advice to developing countries. Its website also gives an amazing amount of information about the economies of various countries including Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan.

EU Commission Delegations are special structures set up to coordinate EU diplomacy and aid to various states. They also have considerable information about EU relations with particular states. There are delegations to Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan. A delegation to the new government of Kyrgyzstan has apparently not been formed yet.

USAID coordinates most of the foreign aid given by America to other nations. See their pages specifically devoted to projects in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan.

Japan International Cooperation Agency is essentially Japan's version of USAID. They have ongoing projects in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan."

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development funnels money from European and other sources to build infrastructure and give loans to former communist nations such as Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan.

Asian Development Bank funnels money from Asia and other sources to developing Asian countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan.

4. Journals and News Analysis           report an error           back to top

Central Asian Survey is published four times a year by academic publisher Taylor & Francis. This peer reviewed, multi-disciplinary journal includes articles on the history, politics, cultures, religions and economies of Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as Chinese Xinjiang, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey.

Toronto Studies in Central and Inner Asia is sporadically published, with each issue covering a different topic and each available for order at a reasonable price.

Central Asian Places
Click for more information on locations in Central Asia.

Click for more information on 
travel and study locations in
Central Asia!

The China and Eurasia Forum (CEF) Quarterly is another publication connected with Johns Hopkins and Uppsala University. This online journal tends to focus on Sino-Central Asian, Sino-Russian, and Sino-Caucasian relations.

Problems of Post-Communism is published by M.E. Sharpe and, as the name suggests, addresses the ongoing transitions in Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Issued six times a year it covers everything from the conflict in Chechnya to economic reform in Russia and U.S. basing in Central Asia, all in peer-reviewed submissions.

Central Asia and the Caucasus - Journal of Social and Political Studies comes out six times yearly and is produced by the Institute for Central Asian and Caucasian Studies in Sweden and the Institute of Strategic Studies of the Caucasus in the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The Journal of Conflict Transformation is an independent online publication that provides a forum for scholars, practitioners, policy analysts, starting researchers and bloggers to analyze as well as discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and issues related to it.

Vestnik - The Journal of Russian and Asian Studies is run by the School of Russian and Asian Studies and publishes the best in student research on all subjects related to Russia and the former Soviet Union. Submissions are open to all students and are continuous.

5. Blogs           report an error           back to top

Study in

Click for more information on studying in Kyrgyzstan

Click for more information on
in Kyrgyzstan!

Blogs have become a fount of knowledge, especially for information about out of the way places and arcana. The following blogs are generally run by individuals on the ground that speak the language, understand the culture, and write about their own experiences.

The Sons of Hedin Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enhancing global awareness of Greater Central Asia that posts regular news to their site, in part through a partnership with the American University of Central Asia.

NewEurasia is a network of blogs written by aid agency employees, students, analysts, embassy personnel and other individuals living in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Their ability to speak and write in English, as well as their local language, adds significant value to this site. is run by several Americans who have lived and studied in Central Asia. Interestingly, the Registan was where Tamerlane stuck his victims' heads on spikes, as well as  where citizens gathered to hear proclamations. Presumably, the creators of are looking to create the town square atmosphere of the latter ideal.

Roberts Report on Central Asia and Kazakhstan is the eponymous work of Dr. Sean R. Roberts, the Central Asian Affairs Fellow at Georgetown University. His occasional posts are backed by nearly 16 years of experience in the region, plus a fluency in Russian, Uyghur and Uzbek.

CaspianInfo is run by Gerald Frost, the head of the Caspian Information Centre in London which currently focuses on issues in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

The Oil and the Glory is a blog run by long-time foreign correspondent Steve LeVine and covers oil issues around the Caspian Sea. See also his YouTube piece on Turkmenistan.

 Kyrgyz Phrase Book
Click for more information of the "Great Game" of Central Asian international politics.

Click for SRAS's
practical, talking
Kyrgyz phrase

Eurasian Energy Analysis is a blog focused on oil and gas as well as their political connections.

KyrgyzReport is a somewhat fledgling news blog for Kyrgyzstan, but the content is up-to-date and comes from local Kyrgyz sources.

Tolkun Umaraliev is a student in Kyrgyzstan who runs his own blog and often talks about education. He also has links to other blogs about life in Central Asia.

Central Asian Voices is designed like a blog, and is directed by Dr. Martha Brill Olcott under the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. It has lots of info on Central Asian media.

Also - Blogs by Peace Corps volunteers pop up every year, but the pages generally only remain active for the duration of the volunteers' service abroad. Just type "Peace Corps blog Kyrgyzstan," into Google if you're interested.

6. Learning Central Asian Languages           report an error           back to top
Russian is still the lingua franca among major Central Asian cities, but learning the local language is helpful particularly for those who will traveling outside of major cities.

The Talking Kyrgyz Phrase Book is a project of the School of Russian and Asian Studies. It is a self-help tool for those hoping to pick up some practical Kyrgyz before traveling abroad.

CenAsiaNet has resources for people that want to learn Central Asian languages, including exercises and modules for Kazakh, Kyrgyz and Uzbek.

Pop-up Dictionary offers free English-Kyrgyz, English-Turkmen, English-Urdu, English-Ossetin, and English-Armenian dictionaries, others are available in Russia-target language as well.

KazakhAdoptiveFamilies has a lot of general information about Kazakhstan and a very large page about Kazakh language resources including textbooks, podcasts, and websites.

Darvazah is an online introduction to the Urdu alphabet, with audio and interactive components.

Peace Corp language learning texts are generally more than a decade old, but are free and very practically written. They are available in pdf for Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Turkmen, and Armenian. Find still more free information by searching on ERIC.

Learning Kyrgyz is a fairly dated site that offers mostly dead links. However, the lists of books and dictionaries are still likely helpful to language learners. has contact details for setting up language exchanges with speakers of everything from Russian to Kazakh to Urdu.

Learning Turkic Languages gives comparative tables for English, Turkish, Uzbek, and Turkmen words.

7. Central Asian Programs Based in the US           report an error           back to top
Several universities in the United States have programs dedicated to the Central Asian or Eurasian regions, their languages, political affairs and histories. In fact, it's a safe bet that most Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA) members will offer a program with a regional specialization in Central Asia or Eurasia. Below are several examples.

The Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS) is a private, non-political, non-profit, North America-based organization of scholars who are interested in the study of Central Eurasia, and its history, languages, cultures, and modern states and societies.

Research and Travel in Kyrgyzstan
Schawn Wheeler toured Kygyzstan with SRAS and focused on meeting locals.

Click for more information on traveling abroad in Kygyzstan.

The Center for the Languages of the Central Asian Region (CeLCAR) is run by Indiana University and promotes the teaching and learning of the languages and cultures of Central Asia. CeLCAR is developing resources for Pashto, Tajik, Uyghur, Uzbek, and Kazakh.

The Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies is large enough to host The Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS), a North America-based organization for scholars of Central Eurasia, and is hosted by Miami University (in Ohio).

Herbert J. Ellison Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies was recently founded at University of Washington.  In addition to links and resources, the site offers program information, recommended readings and topical publications.

Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus at Harvard University is offered through the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. Its website includes an expansive, but very outdated, Central Eurasian Studies World Wide list with links and resources.

European and Eurasian Studies program is hosted by George Washington University, a school known for its Cold War expertise. The program is co-located with the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (IERES), which launched a new Web site in 2007.

8. Central Asia Study Abroad Opportunities from SRAS     report an error       back to top
Of course, getting an education on Central Asia can involve reading and research, but studying, working or teaching at one of the academic institutions in the region can open up new worlds of exploration.

Kyrgyz Summer Adventure from SRAS!Kyrgyz Summer Adventure is held each summer through the London School in Bishkek. Students are provided with intensive Kyrgyz and/or Russian language training for three weeks and then spend one week on horseback, touring the countryside and practicing the language.

Central Asian Studies is for adventurous students looking to understand a militarily and economically vital part of the world where Islam and Christianity, as well as Russian, Western, Chinese, and local interests mix and sometimes collide. You'll gain a wider, fuller, first-hand perspective on geopolitics and foreign relations for your future in government, business, or academia.

9. Literature, History and Culture           report an error           back to top

The SRAS Regions and Cities Pages give a general overview for some locations in Central Asia.

The Project on Islam in Eurasia seeks an undertanding of Islam in Central Asia, the Caucauses and Russia beyond what it might mean to the security of the region and more to what it means to the societies of the region.

Teaching Ramadan offers several resources for finding out more about the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Silk Road Seattle is an ongoing public education project exploring cultural interaction across Eurasia from the beginning of the Common Era (A. D.) to the Seventeenth Century.

KinoKultura produced a special issue on Central Asian film in 2004.

Silk Road Foundation hosts lots of articles and resources on the area.

TurkoTek is one the best sites available for those interested in carpets - a common art form in Central Asia. See also the blog called Deconstructing Central Asian Carpets and Textiles.

Cultural Shock: A Kyrgyz in the States was written by Kyrgyz student who studied in the US. The article details Kyrgyz traditions of family and compares them to those in the US

The epic of Manas is a foundational myth for the Kyrgyz people. In can be found in the original in a pdf document and in translation in html.

The Carrie Eurasia Collection hosts other literature and sources (often in Russian and Central Asian Languages). is an online store with lots of information about music and film from the Caucasus regions of Russia and Central Asia. (The site is noisy too, by the way). offers history and cultural issues surrounding the nation of Ossetia - apparently in favor of it achieving statehood.

The London School of Languages and Cultures offers lots of information about Kyrgyzstan on its site.

10. Travel           report an error           back to top
Travel around Kyrgyzstan can be daunting – at least initially – for Westerners, with little information available over the Web and few arrangements that can be pre-paid by credit card. However, getting into the country is easy for some citizens (with visa applications accepted upon arrival) and the low cost of taxis and other modes of transportation in the country.

Central Eurasian Studies Society
The CESS is an organization for those who study Central Asia.

Click for more information on the
largest organziation
of Central Eurasian Scholars.

Sheep Guts Won't Kill You was written by former SRAS student Schaun Wheeler and gives a wide overview of how to make the most of your travel to Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyz Concept is the premiere travel agency in Kyrgyzstan. If money is no object and you don't speak one of the local languages, head to one of their bureaus. Most agents speak excellent English, in addition to the local languages of Kyrgyz and Russian.

Malika Hotels are a western-managed chain in Uzbekistan.

Lonely Planet offers a handful of useful info on line as well additional web resources to their guide books. Experts and novices alike would be well-advised to carry with them a recent copy of Lonely Planet: Central Asia during their travels.

Nomad's Land offers an eco-friendly way to tour Central Asia and Kyrgyzstan. At the top of this outfit's ventures are trek's into the Tian Shan Mountains. Other activities offered include horseback riding, rafting, cycling and skiing.

Shepherd's Way Trekking bills itself as specifically "rustic" and specializing in horse trekking around the beautifully famous Lake Issyk Kul.

Egiz Travel Company has pricing and travel information at its site. It boasts a six-day excursion through Kyrgyzstan that starts in Bishkek and goes to the far end of Lake Issyk Kul and back.

Virtual Tourist is a user-modified site where individual travelers recount their own experiences. Read about their travels to  Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan.

11. More Information           report an error           back to top has lots more links for Central Asia - though not all are so well maintained as the ones found here.

The Central Asia Program aims to promote high-quality academic research on contemporary Central Asia, and to become an interface between academia and the policy community by providing a space for discussion that brings the policy, academic, diplomatic, and business communities together.

The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) seeks to encourage and support scholarly study of the South Caucasus states (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia) in all fields from the earliest times to the present. ARISC aims to provide an ongoing American scholarly presence in each country in order to facilitate research and establish and nurture ties between institutions and individuals.

SRAS thanks SRAS graduate Michael Coffey
for his invaluable contributions to beggining this page.

SRAS thanks SRAS Student Elizabeth Baggot
for updating this page in August, 2010.

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