Head of the Organising Committee
Sanna Turoma
sanna.turoma [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Coordinator
Kaarina Aitamurto
kaarina.aitamurto [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Secretary
Maarit Elo-Valente
maarit.elo-valente [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Intern
Miikka Piiroinen
miikka.piiroinen [at] helsinki.fi

Conference e-mail:
fcree-aleksconf [at] helsinki.fi

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki
phone +358-(0)50-3565 802

aleksanteri [at] helsinki.fi


Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Noora Khudoikulova (University of Helsinki, Finland)

Natalya Kosmarskaya (Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences)

Almagul Maimakova (Kazakh National University, Kazakhstan)

Leila Mirzoyeva & Aigul Zhumabekova (Demirel University, Kazakhstan)

Panel abstract: Russian Culture in the Central Asia: the Own or the Alien?

The idea of the Eurasian Union was nourished by Russian philosophers and politicians before and is now actively supported by Kazakhstan's leader Nursultan Nazarbaev, as well as by the Russian president Vladimir Putin. Kyrgyzstan joined the Union, and Tajikistan is awaited. In this perspective, it is important to understand what these countries share as common cultural and linguistic values, what makes these societies act as a bigger force: the common past or the collective present-day. Given the specificity of imperial contacts in Central Asia and the severe Russification of indigenes in the region, both titular elites and titular populations have retained, if not emotional, then at the very least, a steady pragmatic interest towards preserving what could be called the Russian linguistic and cultural space (Kosmarskaya, 2014).

Russian language and culture in the Central Asia continue being widely used as communicative tool, as a means of acquiring information and have a pronounced ideological influence. They function in education as integral part of mental culture of the respective societies. Russian remains the language of mutual understanding, of cooperation between peoples living on this large territory where most of the population is young due to the high birth rate. Russian-speaking identities in Central Asia are representatives of different nationalities, different cultures and social strata. As a means of international communication, Russian language adapts to the mirroring of the other ethnic realities; it experiences ever-growing influence of the local cultures and languages.

The material culture of multilingualism is object of a new research area (cf. Aronin, Ó Laoire 2012). In Tajikistan, the state language policy has been aiming at strengthening the role of Tajik language and at increasing its use in the public sphere. The Russian language, which became rooted in Tajikistan in the Soviet time, continues to be important for many Tajikistanis who work as labor migrants in Russia or have relatives who do so. The amount of Russian still used in announcements, advertising signs, labels and etiquettes is amazing.

Translation is often regarded as a linguistic and cultural policy tool. Russian language and culture performed the role of cultural bridge between source and target, European and Asian cultures, particularly in course of translating from English into Kazakh. Contemporary Kazakh translators choose the Russian versions of the English literary texts as a source both from language and cultural point of view.

Kyrgyzstan has launched a national revival campaign which, coupled with national socio-economic turmoil, provoked a massive out-migration of Russians and other Russian-speakers during the first post-Soviet decade. On the other hand, due to a combination of subjective and objective reasons, Kyrgyz are one of the most Russified ethnic groups in the FSU and the most Russified in Central Asia.

Are Russian language and culture really pluricentric? Are they the own or the alien? The terms non-autochthonous, non-organic, brought from outside were used to characterize the national or regional variants. Meanwhile the factor of communicative culture (playing an organizing role in communicative pragmatic norm) is the most important in forming of variants.