Sovietistan. A Journey Through Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadzhikistan and Uzbekistan
In her third documentary account, Erika Fatland takes the reader on a journey that is unknown to even the most seasoned globetrotter. The five former Soviet Republics’ Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan all became independent when the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991. How have these countries developed since then? With this in mind, Erika Fatland explores with her usual compassion and vast knowledge of these societies, their recent and ancient history, their culture and landscapes. She invites the reader to witness griping human encounters and interesting accounts of how the Soviet heritage has influenced these countries, where the governing rule varies between experiments in democracy to pure dictatorship – a few of them with a personal cult and mismanagement unlike any other.
In these countries, that used to be the furthest border of the Soviet Union, life follows another pace of time. Alexander the Great’s army brought with them the walnut from Arslanbob in Kyrgyzstan to Europe, and in the Yagnob Valley on the border of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan the population still speak Sogdian, the main language of the silk trail. In between the treasures of Samarkand and the bleakness of Soviet architecture, Erika Fatland moves with her openness towards the people and the landscapes around her. A rare and unforgettable travelogue.
‘Precise report from the Sovjet outskirts. Shrewd observations from a country where the absolute rulers take turns to rule. With an acute journalist eye, firm writing and not least a solid background in social anthropology, Erika Fatland has given us a number of astute books on complicated subjects.’Aftenposten
‘A road trip dotted with curious incidents, thought-provoking observations and absurd stories (…)’Magazine Reiselyst