The Newsletter 70 Spring 2015

Recollecting Central Asia's Soviet past

Timur Dadabaev

This paper presents in brief a project that aims to collect, record and interpret personal experiences and memories of the Soviet past in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Interviews were held with elderly citizens in order to contribute to the understanding of the relationship between the official historiography of the Soviet era and people’s private lives and beliefs. The aim of our study is to contribute to academic knowledge with regards to how people remember their Soviet past. In addition, this study may also shed new light on the transformations of present-day Central Asia, from the perspective of personal memories. The way in which people in Central Asia reconcile with their Soviet past is to a great extent through a three-fold process of recollecting their everyday experiences, reflecting on their past from the perspective of their post-Soviet present, and re-imagining their own history.