Stumbling Blocks and Stepping Stones

The Crossing From Soviet Domination to Self Rule in the Republics of Central Asia

by Christopher Kedzie

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Scholars and practitioners from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and the United States gathered at Columbia University in December 1993 to compare notes on the dramatic events of the recent past in republics of Central Asia. While there was little consensus relating to the prospects for the future of Central Asia, the exercise was a valuable undertaking in at least two respects. First, the lack of concordance among the participants suggested strongly that a diversity of fates await the five countries, the numerous demographic groupings, and the 50 million individuals involved. Second, the conference identified several of the most perilous aspects of transition. Potential trouble spots include the confirmation of identity, consolidation of sovereignty, and consonance among ethnic and other demographic groups. These findings are significant in their policy implications for the United States.

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