In this new edition of his acclaimed book, Olivier Roy examines the political development of Central Asia, from the Russian conquests to the 'War on Terror' and beyond.During the anti-Gorbachev coup in August 1991, most communist leaders from Soviet Central Asia backed the plotters. Within weeks of the coup's collapse, these very same leaders - now transformed into ardent nationalists - proclaimed the independence of their nations, designed new flags, invented new slogans and discovered a new patriotism. How were these new nations built, without any traditional nationalist reference points?In "The New Central Asia", Olivier Roy argues that Soviet practice had always been to build on local institutions and promote a local elite. Thus Soviet administration - as opposed to Soviet policy making - was always surprisingly decentralized. With home-grown political leaders and administrative institutions, national identities in Central Asia emerged almost by stealth.
Roy's compelling analysis of the new Central Asian states - Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kirghizstan and including Azerbaijan - makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the geopolitics of Central Asia.