Dave Gullette, A postgraduate student, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge (Great Britain)

Raya Osmanalieva in her article, “Tribalism in Kyrgyz Society”, remarks: “Can the Kyrgyz people ultimately create their own viable, unitary state? Tribalism with both its negative and positive features will be present for many years. Will they be able to overcome the divisive effects of tribalism and avoid civil strife?”1 The notion of a stable state in Central Asia is a very important question today, as it has been since independence ten years ago. Although, I would question the idea of a “unitary” state, because despite the gloss some may put on it, every state is fraught with internal problems of varying degrees.2 However, are we actually getting any closer to creating solutions to any problems, particularly in Kyrgyzstan, by talking about tribalism?

What do we think of when we hear the word “tribalism”? I imagine that most of us would think of small clusters of yurts, inhabited by members of the same family, and grouped together by clan affiliation.3 These families work with one another, give help and assistance, live communally and share identity through patrimonial connections. However, this does not illustrate the multitude and magnitude of political and economic forces that play a part of the daily existence of people today.

My main concern here is to take a brief look at why and how these political and economic forces should be looked at in greater depth, and how the term “tribalism” is unhelpful in our understanding of these processes. To do this I will be focusing on Dzhenish Dzhunushaliev and Victor Ploskikh’s article: “Tribalism and Nation Building in Kyrgyzstan.”4 Firstly, I will briefly look at the concept of tribalism and what significance we give it when we use it. Secondly, I will look at the historicity of tribalism, especially in regard to what Dzhunushaliev and Ploskikh consider to be the pre-class era of Kyrgyz history (i.e. before Soviet domination). Next, I will discuss why tribalism is so forceful a concept and how it has endured the test of time. Finally, I will look at what problems stem from using and relying on this term.

Reification of Tribalism

In the on-going discussion over the social organization and structure in Kyrgyzstan and the future of the state one of the most important features is, in fact, the terms we use. Tribalism (uruuchuluk) is a loaded term. Erlend Hvoslef finds that tribalism is seen as a negative term by many Kyrgyz.5 It is a more serious issue, though, than how we phrase our discussions about Kyrgyz social organization. By looking at the literature that has been written on tribalism, especially in Kyrgyzstan, it appears that tribalism itself is one of the main causes for some of the state’s problems.

Pierre Bourdieu has a very particular view of the problematic nature of using abstract terminology. He notes: “Reifying abstractions … treats its constructions … as realities endowed with a social efficacy”.6 This is a very important notion that we must think about carefully. If we re-examine much of the literature that has been written about tribalism we begin to see that many authors regard it as having significant power within social, political, and economic spheres within the state. The term has been exalted to a point where it is the perpetrator of social dilemmas. The point I am making is that focusing attention on abstract notions of social networks will not cure any of the state’s problems.7 Instead, we should be looking at the political and economic spheres more closely, something which a reified concept as “tribalism” detracts our attention away from.

Nevertheless, tribalism and kinship are reoccurring themes within (anthropological) literature. One of the early topics of discussion within anthropology is kinship and kinship structures. The classic monograph by E.E. Evans-Pritchard is an example of this, especially when he investigates segmentary lineage systems.8 And even today, there are clinical studies of kinship structure.9 But once again, we are faced with two problems. Firstly, we are confronted with the difference of how kinship ties are meant to work and how they are actually acted out. And secondly, many times, political and economic considerations as to why societies have such kinship formations are often left out or not considered. This can lead to an obscured view of what is actually occurring in any given society and what the implications of it are. Therefore, by investing in a term like tribalism, we are either skirting the issue of actual political and economic processes or are missing them completely.

Historical Aspects of Tribalism

Many authors that write about tribalism describe it in a timeless manner. It is traditional. Traditional in what sense? Many authors argue against the notion of “tradition” altogether.10 However, in this instance, I think that Shirin Akiner suitably defines what “traditional” is in this context: “The term ‘traditional’ is used here as shorthand for ‘pre-Tsarist, un-Russified’ customs and institutions”.11 I would also add that this must be taken to include the many processes that went into creating this concept of “pre-Tsarist, un-Russified” history, instead of it being taken as an objective fact. Dzhunushaliev and Ploskikh give us a fuller account of the pre-Tsarist Kyrgyz lifestyle: “Many aspects of pre-class outlook and social relations were more humane and civilized than relations at a later period. They are not skewed by narrow class, clannish or nationalist interests. They include, among other things, some traditions and rules of collectivism; intra-communal democracy; collective (tribal, clannish) responsibility for the actions and fate of every member of this collective; and concern about reproduction and upbringing of the younger generation, able to work, to honor generally accepted social relations, and to provide mutual aid and assistance: for example, in arranging for a funeral or a wedding, in paying debts, fines, and so forth.”12

The notions of “class” and “collectivism” are very important, but will be addressed later. For now, we must continue to look at the historicity of tribalism.

This view of Kyrgyz society is precisely “skewed” in my perception. Dzhunushaliev and Ploskikh’s description of pre-Tsarist life does not even touch on history or even the Kyrgyz role in history. It is here that we must look critically at their quote.

The Mongol divisions moved through Central Asia in the fourteenth century. Since that time, the ruling elite have been able to trace their descendancy from Genghis Khan.13 The genealogical affirmation gives the ruling elite political legitimacy. Unfortunately, there is not enough space to discuss this impact of Mongol domination in the area, but there are a few things that can be touched upon briefly.

Peter Hopkirk describes the Mongols in a chilling manner: “You could smell them coming, it was said, even before you heard the thunder of their hooves. But by then, it was too late”.14 However, the aftereffect of the Mongols is more lasting than their empire. During the building of their empire, they implement a law in their conquered lands known as the Yasa (Yasaq, Jasaq), which still can be seen to a certain extent in parts of Central Asia today. A new kind of hierarchy is created in Central Asia at this time. It implements a military grouping of tribes. In Kyrgyzstan there are three groupings: the left wing (sol kanat), right wing (ong kanat), and center (ichkilik), which correspond to the three defensive wings in the law of the Yasa, of which Genghis Khan is at the top as supreme ruler. This organization of society can be seen also in Kazakhstan. This system changes somewhat with the emergence in the fifteenth century of the Kazakhstan Khanate. They are organized into zhuzes (literally: one hundred; but in popular usage means hordes or tribal unions): elder, middle, and younger.15 This development shows us that with the colonization of Central Asia by the Mongols, they impose a hierarchical, class-based system,16 which is more prevalent in the Kazakh case, on the social order.

The Kyrgyz remain under a number of different invading rulers, and finally fall under the Kokand Khanate (1710-1876). The Kyrgyz seek the help of the Russians in helping to overcome the Kokand Khanate and eventually come under Russian protection.17 One person particularly stands out during this period, Shabdan Jantaev, or as he is more commonly known, Shabdan Batir. In July 1863 the manap (chief) of the Saiak tribe attacks a Russian unit. Shabdan Batir rescues the Russians, and at the same time secures a position in the Russian army as captain. Shabdan Batir is a member of the Sarybagysh tribe. At this time the Sarybagysh and Bugu tribes (both from northern Kyrgyzstan) are vying for power. Although the Bugu tribe has made first contact with the Russians and obtains positions within the new colonial administration, Shabdan Batir proves to be too great a force. He manages to force Kurmanjan-datkha, the highly respected, elder woman leader of southern Kyrgyzstan, to end her struggle, and submit to the Russians.

This made a great impression on me, when I witnessed a very emotive stage performance of the life of Shabdan Batir in Bishkek. The apex was the scene when Kurmanjan-datkha (a strong, stoic, and more Islamic figure) met Shabdan Batir (determined and dressed in a Russian captain outfit), with enormous tension between the two, discussed her surrender and securing a majority of the modern day Kyrgyz political territory under Russian domination.

The historical importance of Shabdan Batir does not end there. If you walk from the Philharmonic to the Kyrgyz State National University in Bishkek, you will walk by a statue of Shabdan Batir which was erected a few years ago. It is this strong figure that President Askar Akaev traces his ancestry to, as he is also from the Sarybagysh tribe. It is also interesting to note that in 1991 President Akaev was awarded the title “Supreme Khan of the Kyrgyz” which, as Vladimir Khanin notes: “played a significant role in stabilizing [Akaev’s] power during the political crisis that followed the August putsch.”18

This is extremely important and where I wish to take issue with the notions of “class” and “collectivism.” At this point, Dzhunushaliev and Ploskikh say that this is a competition between different tribes and their ancestry (sanzhyra—“designed to substantiate and justify the existence of a given tribal community and the connection between its parts, sometimes rather remote in their origin”19). They say that this is a major problem in Kyrgyzstan, and this struggle for power has stayed in place, whereas Soviet notions of “class” never really took hold, despite seventy years of trying. We have already seen how class is created with the introduction of the Yasa. My argument here is that sanzhyra is part of a class system, one which people imbue with power so that they may gain social position if they can link themselves to a strong tribe or historical figure. To separate “class” from the sanzhyra omits negative political and social connotations that would nullify the genealogical legitimacy that some in power utilize. Thus, sanzhyra is linked with an identity building exercise that participates in the greater scheme of the ethnic makeup of a public representation of the state.

The Resilience of Tribalism?

In the previous section, we see a very hierarchicized, class bound view of Kyrgyz society. When the Mongols sweep through Central Asia Genghis Khan is the Supreme Khan. Then, the following khanates have someone who is recognized as khan, and today we have the president of the Kyrgyz Republic, as the Supreme Khan of the Kyrgyz. In the hierarchical ladder we also have manaps (chiefs, which originally used to be called azho, and later biy, before it changed to today’s term). And, there are also aksakals (literally, white beards, but are known as respected village—ail—elders). However, another tier has been inserted (or created on top on an existing position) of akim, a head of regional administration: “Circumventing parliament and the national bureaucracy in Bishkek, Akaev forged a de facto ruling alliance with the heads of administration, or akimy, of Kyrgyzstan’s six regions. The idea was to create an efficient and disciplined executive hierarchy, with the regional akimy linking the president to the leaders of local government. In this system, in which the president appointed the regional governors, who in turn appointed officials in towns and villages, executive leaders answered only to their administrative superior and not to local assemblies or the public.”20 [original italics.—D.G.]

What emerges from this is a clear patron-client relationship. This notion of patron-client relationships is important to our understanding of the resilience of tribalism.

Another is a continuation of the social network that existed before Russian colonialization. A good example of a modern version of a patron-client relationship is the small group of Kyrgyz in northern Afghanistan. Nazif Shahrani writes of Haji Rahman Qul, a Kyrgyz Khan. In 1978, four months after the Marxist coup in the country, Haji Rahman Qul and his group fled to Pakistan. The central theme of Shahrani’s paper is, why did the Kyrgyz leave if they were not threatened by the Afghans or the Soviets? The answer is that Haji Rahman Qul was considered a good leader, despite the “135 poor families” who completely depended on him, since he and a few others controlled most of the groups’ herds and kept those who were “herdless.”21 Later the same Kyrgyz relocated to a similar area in eastern Turkey that was selected by the Turkish government.22

But, during the Russian and Soviet occupation of Kyrgyzstan, how did these hierarchical social networks survive? Dzhunushaliev and Ploskikh believe that despite all attempts by Soviet officials to eradicate tribalism from Kyrgyzstan, they failed. Tribalism outlasted the Soviet domination of Kyrgyzstan and possibly benefited in the process. Not only that, but in respect to other societies, that have since dissolved, tribalism actually acts as a force in maintaining “the identity and integrity of the people”.23 Is tribalism so resilient? Could it actually resist all forms of Soviet engineered anti-tribalism acts through internal flexibility? Or is the Soviet system more like the hierarchical system that already existed?

I think that the answer lies in a similarity of the two systems. The system that the Soviet administration imposed on their territories is a hierarchy similar to that of the patron-client relationships. Akiner notes that in some of the regions during this time, which includes Kyrgyzstan, there are practically fiefdoms, monopolizing power and patronage.24 Nikolai Andreev puts it more succinctly, “…communism simply served as camouflage for a nearly feudal power structure in Kirghizstan. The rigid hierarchy characteristic of communist regimes fit very well with local customs and the local clan mentality. It conveniently preserved family and tribal hierarchies”.25 Even the collective farms (kolkhozes) are seen by some as fitting neatly into the hierarchical structure. Akiner remarks that: “In some cases the collective farms may well have perpetuated kin-based networks, retaining the old structures and merely relabelling them (e.g. the senior-most member of the group automatically becoming ‘Chairman of the Collective Farm’)”.26 And, Kadir Alimov discusses the avlod, “a big family, a tight union of several families”. He remarks how the avlod owned its own property and buildings. With the Soviet collectivization of Central Asia the avlod lost private ownership, but the ownership shifted to the kolkhoz instead of the land, therefore, creating a monopoly in a different manner.27

Historically, many authors argue that there was never a true feudal society in Central Asia. Ernest Gellner discusses the different views of Soviet scholars in a chapter entitled: “The Nomadism Debate.”28 If we look once again at Dzhunushaliev and Ploskikh’s view of pre-Russian Kyrgyz society, it may come from the Soviet scholars Gellner talks about, S.E. Tolybekov and G.E. Markov. Both scholars were anti-feudal, meaning that Central Asian nomads were not properly feudal. It could be seen that the Mongol-imposed social order on military divisions could infer some kind of basic feudal land rights. However, the land was communal, but as we have already seen, the animals were not. Furthermore, if the land was communal what would be the impetus for nomads to ally themselves with a regional power (or power figure) if the military organization and animal rights did not include some economic, political, and social class stratification in the general social realm? It is also interesting to note that in the period before Russian domination in Central Asia there was a class of slaves (kul). Few authors pick up on this fact. Therefore, in Central Asia, there may never have been, or even nothing that exists today as, a feudal system, but the relations that do exist mimic it very closely.

If we return to Dzhunushaliev and Ploskikh’s argument, it is difficult to understand how Kyrgyz society in pre-Russian society could have been non-hierarchical. Even in the notion of honor, a hierarchical relationship is created. There seems to be a very well developed concept of “class” in Kyrgyz society during pre-Russian times. Their use of “collectivism” also does not escape hierarchy. We must now ask a couple more questions. What emerges from this patron-client system? And, what is the real danger in using the term “tribalism”?

The Emergent Processes and Problems

What, indeed, does emerge from this hierarchical system? Shahrani says that there are “categorical loyalties” (i.e. affiliation, class, ancestry [sanzhyra]) and “acquired loyalties” (i.e. patron-client, bribes, alliances).29 However, I do not think that the manipulations of power can be so easily dissected. I believe, that there is a highly complex intermingling of the two categories, so that it not only creates what is seen, but what is not seen. To put it another way, class cannot be separated from alliances, ancestry cannot be separated from the patron-client relationship. Otherwise, to do so, would be to underestimate and neglect what actually happens.

But let us take this one step further. What if, as in Khanin’s view, we are looking at informal power structures: a neo-traditional, meaning a revival of what is thought to be how life was “traditionally” led; and a new, forced political and social structure. This leads him to argue that today there are political clans. The political clans turn into patron-client networks through direct personal relations or through more formal relations (e.g. business relationships, etc.). These new patron-client networks become very strong and powerful. The elites of this new social and political construct make themselves financially secure through a number of ways: virtual authoritarianism and favoritism; turning power into ownership (technocracy); privatization (the selling of shares); and through receiving foreign economic aid. In his conclusion, he remarks that there is a certain synthesis between “traditional” and new: “In other words, informal power structures are fully able to serve as a link between the ‘traditional’ and ‘contemporary’ social and political institutions and the means of their mutual adaptation”.30

The problems that this causes for Kyrgyzstan are devastating. But is this really tribalism? Many authors still use the notion of tribalism as the main cause for all of the state’s problems. Dzhunushaliev and Ploskikh question whether tribalism has a place in a multiethnic state. In fact, they argue that it could have serious consequences for the young state and could create problematic fault lines. We have also already heard Raya Osmanalieva’s remarks at the very beginning, which also point out the grave problems that lie ahead if tribalism is not somehow dealt with. But are these calls for ending the political, economic, and social subjugation that has occurred, or are they simply attacking an empty term? In many cases, such as Dzhunushaliev and Ploskikh’s argument, it is difficult to actually pin down a definite meaning which they ascribe to tribalism. Arriving at a definition seems more elusive than tracing the political and economic patron-client relationships. I believe that “tribalism” rests on an interesting mix of ideas and concepts that is at the same time both encouraging and problematic. An example of this can be found in the ten year anniversaries that have taken place in the Central Asian republics. They are all looking for ways to create a national identity, improve their respective economies, and show that they are real democracies.

The Osh 3000 conference held in October 2001 to celebrate the 3000 anniversary of the city of Osh in the south of Kyrgyzstan is another testament to this. At the conference, which was on the UNESCO calendar of international millennium events, the topic of discussion was ethnogenesis. This was a big event in Kyrgyzstan and brought academics and journalists from the West and Asia. But, this is just another of an array of nation building and legitimizing activities. As for the notion of ethnogenesis, this seems to be a particular preoccupation of newly independent states, especially in Central Asia, creating a public image of themselves according to what some believe their ethnic origins to be. Who is allowed to contribute at such conferences and what is actually said, needs to be looked at with a very critical eye. This investment of creating a public image of their ethnicity is something that many are interested in and willing to promote. It not only describes who they are, but separates them from their neighbors.

But is this creation of a national, or ethnic, identity necessarily beneficial? If social, political, and economic subjugation is included in this, under the guise of tribalism, which has negative overtones, but is to be included in the new state and ethic makeup due to their history as nomadic pastoralists, then the new identity is not only working against the outside world, because of misunderstanding and misrepresentation on behalf of those that propagate it, but also against the people that live in the state and are also victims of the identity that has been forged. The problems that ensue from this will be internal strife amongst subjugated groups (whether they be those of the newly created ethnic identity through a combination of factors, e.g. poverty, political Islam, water and electricity shortages; or the marginalized ethnic minorities in the country31).


I have tried to present here the problematic nature of not only the notion of “tribalism”, but the application of it as well. If we, those living in the Kyrgyz Republic and those of us living outside, continue to use abstract terms to cover or mask the political and economic realities that exist, the problems will continue to mount, and allow for the manipulation of groups of people. I do not see that “tribalism” can even be used as some sort of euphemistic shorthand to describe the hierarchical, patron-client relationships that exist, because of the necessity to explain the emergence of these relationships through history. If we broadly apply this term to different societies and groups, we still neglect the very different histories that have created the situations that each society or group finds themselves in. If we do this, then we are at a dangerous point, where the reality of the situation is lost in a myriad of identity building programs. The situation, as it stands in the Kyrgyz Republic, is on the verge of succumbing to this. How do you defeat tribalism? If it is seen as a reality, then the reality of the situation will be obscured. If attention is turned away from tribalism, which has no external force on the people or even meaning, then more attention will be turned toward the actual policies and laws that do have a direct influence on the lives of the people.

1 R. Osmanalieva, “Tribalism in Kyrgyz Society,” Central Asia Monitor, No. 5, 1999, p. 11.

2 See: State Sovereignty as Social Construct, ed. by Thomas J. Biersteker and Cynthia Weber, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996.

3 It is important to remember that the term “clan” is very often misused. Fundamentally, it refers to a group of people who trace their decent back to a distant ancestor, although the actual (patrimonial) links can be vague. See: Sh. Bastug, “Tribe, Confederation and State among Altaic Nomads of Asian Steppes,” in: Rethinking Central Asia, ed. by Korkut A. Ertürk, Ithaca Press, Reading, 1999, especially p. 80. See also: M. Atkin, “Thwarted Democratization in Tajikistan,” in: Conflict, Cleavage, and Change in Central Asia and the Caucasus, ed. by Karen Dawisha and Bruce Parrott, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 292. Atkin points out that although the term “clan” was applied to groupings in Tajikistan, these groupings were actually patron-client relationships which were linked to extended families. Likewise, “tribe” is often misused. In its most basic sense it refers to people who have a segmentary lineage form of descent, and a tribe is the largest grouping of segmentary lineages. A segmentary lineage is a grouping of people based on common genealogy.

4 See: D. Dzhunushaliev, V. Ploskikh, “Tribalism and Nation Building in Kyrgyzstan,” Central Asia and the Caucasus, No. 3, 2000, pp. 115-123.

5 Because of this, Hvoslef decides to use a different, more neutral term “rodoplemennaya struktura” or “plemennoi stroi”. See: Erlend Hvoslef, “Tribalism and Modernity in Kirgizia,” in: Ethnic Encounter and Culture Change, ed. by M’hammed Sabour and Knut S. Vikør, Nordic Society for Middle Eastern Studies, Bergen, 1997, p. 98. Nevertheless, these are Russian terms, and could be a hindrance when dealing with different shades of meaning between Russian and Kyrgyz and how this notion of tribalism is conceived.

6 P. Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice, Polity Press, Cambridge, 1990, p. 37.

7 We could also include other ambiguous terms here as well, but let us remain focused on the abstraction of “tribalism” for the moment.

8 See: E.E. Evans-Pritchard, The Nuer: A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Institutions of a Nilotic People, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1940.

9 I am particularly thinking of Sharon Bastug’s work (see: Sh. Bastug, op. cit.).

10 See: The Invention of Tradition, ed. by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1983. Furthermore, some argue that words like “tribe” and “tribalism” were created for specific (often colonial) reasons. See: A. Mafeje, “The Ideology of ‘Tribalism,’” The Journal of Modern African Studies, No. 9 (2), 1971, pp. 253-261; H. Kuklick, The Savage Within: The Social History of British Anthropology, 1885-1945, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1991, especially pp. 216-241.

11 Sh. Akiner, “Social and Political Reorganization in Central Asia: Transition from Pre-Colonial to Post-Colonial Society,” in: Post-Soviet Central Asia, ed. by Touraj Atabaki and John O’Kane, Tauris Academic Studies, London and New York, 1998, p. 3.

12 See: D. Dzhunushaliev, V. Ploskikh, op. cit., p. 116.

13 See: Sh. Akiner, op. cit., pp. 3-4. The words of R.D. McChesney strike a similar note here as well: “Genealogy may be validated by a historical narrative, or chronology, which sets present realities in the context of a reified past. But it is less important that genealogy be authenticated by independent means than that it match people’s ideas of what is right and true” (R.D. McChesney, Central Asia: Foundations of Change, The Darwin Press, Princeton, NJ, 1996, p. 120).

14 P. Hopkirk, The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1990, p. 11.

15 See: N. Amrekulov, “Zhuzes and Kazakhstan’s Social and Political Development,” Central Asia and the Caucasus, No. 3, 2000, pp. 100-115; and also: Sh. Akiner, The Formation of Kazakh Identity: From Tribe to Nation-State, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, 1995.

16 When I use the word “class” I am using it to mean a class formation, one which is perceived by those in a certain class or thought to be outside it as a creation of labor exchange.

17 For a good account of Kyrgyz appeals for Russian help, see: V. Voropaeva, “Kyrgyzstan and Russia: Past and Present,” Central Asia and the Caucasus, No. 3, 2000, pp. 28-35.

18 V. Khanin, “Kyrgyzstan: Ethnic Pluralism and Political Conflicts,” Central Asia and the Caucasus, No. 3, 2000, pp. 123-130.

19 D. Dzhunushaliev, V. Ploskikh, op. cit., p. 118 (see also: R. Osmanalieva, op. cit.).

20 E. Huskey, “Kyrgyzstan: The Fate of Political Liberalization,” in: Conflict, Cleavage, and Change in Central Asia and the Caucasus, pp. 258-259. Since this was written, another oblast (region) has been created, Batken.

21 M. Nazif Shahrani, “The Kirghiz Khans: Styles and Substance of Traditional Local Leadership in Central Asia,” Central Asian Survey, No. 5 (3/4), 1986, pp. 225-271.

22 See: H.B. Paksoy, “Observations Among Kirghiz Refugees from the Pamirs of Afghanistan Settled in the Turkish Republic,” Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford, No. 16 (1), 1985. See also: [].

23 D. Dzhunushaliev, V. Ploskikh, op. cit., p. 117.

24 See: Sh. Akiner, “Social and Political Reorganization in Central Asia: Transition from Pre-Colonial to Post-Colonial Society,” p. 18.

25 N. Andreev, “Kirghizstan: Grappling with Democracy,” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, No. 50 (1), 1994, p. 53.

26 Sh. Akiner, “Social and Political Reorganization in Central Asia: Transition from Pre-Colonial to Post-Colonial Society,” p. 14. Dzhunushaliev and Ploskikh also mention some sort of manipulated relationships in the kolkhozes.

27 See: K. Alimov, “Are Central Asian Clans Still Playing a Political Role?” Central Asia Monitor, No. 4, 1994.

28 E. Gellner, State and Society in Soviet Thought, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1988. See also: D. Sneath, Changing Inner Mongolia: Pastoral Mongolian Society and the Chinese State, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000, especially pp. 24-25.

29 M. Nazif Shahrani, op. cit., p. 269.

30 V. Khanin, op. cit., p. 130.

31 Such groups include Russians, Uzbeks, Germans, and Poles. For a good sociological article on the feelings Russians have who live in Kyrgyzstan, see: N. Kosmarskaia, “‘Ethnic Russians in Central Asia’—A Sensitive Issue? Who Is Most Affected? (A Study Case of Kyrgyz Republic),” Central Asia and the Caucasus, No. 1, 2000.

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