Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kyrgyz Fast Food

On days when I have to work all day and do not have time to go home for lunch I have taken to eating at Shumkar, a chain of cafeterias here in Bishkek. It has the advantage of being fast and cheap. I usually get their manti, a smoked duck salad, and compot. I have taken to calling the place McManti since their manti is the equivalent of a Big Mac in the US, tasty and filling, but very high in fat. On days when I tire of manti I get their plov. It is not quite the Golden Arches, but it is close enough on most days.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A relatively unexplored aspect of Soviet deportations

One overlooked commonality between the various whole nationalities deported by the Stalin regime is the difficulty the Soviet government had in asserting economic control over them. In different ways the Russian-Germans, Chechens, and others managed in part to do an end run around central control over their economic affairs during the 1920s and 1930s. I have not done a whole lot of empirical research on this yet, but I think it is another motivating factor in the mass deportations.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cold Front

It has gotten very cold  in Bishkek. This week we had a snowstorm. The snow has all melted, but it is still quite chilly for October.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


So far I have gotten over 21,000 words or 72 pages double spaced written on the new book manuscript. I hope to be able to finish a complete draft before the year is over. Currently I am averaging about two pages a day.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Russian-Germans in Kyrgyzstan

Thursday I visited the Volksrat der Deutschen der Kyrgysischen Republik as part of my research for my book on the history of the Russian-Germans in Central Asia. The people there were very friendly and helpful. They let me use their library and agreed to assist me in finding people to interview about life during Soviet times. According to their figures there are still around 11,000 Russian-Germans left in Kyrgyzstan. But, they have become very dispersed. The isolated and compact settlements that previously existed in places like Nikolaipohl (now Leninpohl) in Talas Oblast have largely dissipated due to emigration. Despite these losses, the community is very well organized and has a number of regional centers throughout Kyrgyzstan.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Working on a new book

I have been working on a new book recently. It is a history of the Russian-Germans in Central Asia. I have 54 pages double spaced written so far. I still do not have a cool title for the work yet. If anybody has any suggestions please let me know.