Khojaly – A Tragic Artistic Inspiration

February 1992 saw the single worst atrocity committed during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Khojaly Massacre took the lives of 613 civilians. The death toll included 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly people.  Despite this tragedy, and many other instances of unimaginable brutality, Azerbaijan always looks for peaceful resolution of this unresolved conflict. This has […]


The Tariverdiev International Organ Competition is one of the world’s largest organ contests. For organists, it has the same significance in Russia as the Tchaikovsky competition does for pianists and violinists. Outstanding organists from a number of countries have been on the competition’s panel on several occasions, including Martin Haselböck, Michel Chapuis, Jean Guillou, Thierry […]

ART UNITES #35 summer 2020 text and photos by Pavel Podzorov The modern world is complex and diverse, it is full of opposing trends. Never before our earth has been subjected to such political and physical overloads. Never before has man taken from nature so many resources and never been so vulnerable to the power […]

The ‘Silk Road’ Exposed: Why it was never a single road, had little to do with silk, and rarely set about linking East with West

‘History is written by the victors’. So it is disappointing many commentators fail to follow this through and challenge the bias inherent in a ‘victorious’ narrative. The historiography of the ‘Silk Road’ is a significant case in point. Originating in Central Eurasia as small-scale tracks on the steppes, the route developed into the pre-industrial world’s […]

Animal Movies and Action Men Interview with Hollywood Celebrity Monty Cox

Cox is a veteran in the entertainment industry. He is an internationally recognized, award-winning, Exotic Animal Trainer, 2nd Unit Director, Stunt Co-ordinator, Actor and Stuntman. He grew up in a trailer court in Oakland, California and his father was a merchant marine so often at sea.  With little money to support the family, his mother […]


  OCA #35 SUMMER 2020 WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM interview prepared by Saniya Seilkhanova INTERVIEW: ALDONA GRUPAS Born in Riga, Latvia, to Lithuanian parents, Aldona Grupas later moved to Klaipėda in Lithuania, before resettling in the UK, where she embarked on a geriatric-nursing career. She has written books for Lithuanians who move to the UK to help them […]


THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NEW ICTM STUDY GROUP The ICTM Study Group on “Music of the Turkic-speaking world” was established in 2006 at the Music Department, SOAS, University of London. This Study Group is dedicated to the practice, documentation, preservation, and dissemination of traditional music and dance as found throughout the wide area of the […]


“Viking Extraordinaire”, Sölvi Fannar, doesn’t believe in following just one career path, in fact he has actively pursued several. He has acted in films, played music professionally, modelled, been a sports athlete, dabbled in poetry, and even spent time as a health professional. Recently, he is better known for his work in films, especially working […]

Original Family Owners to Finally Sell Unique 17-19th Century Turkic Collection

The tradition of private collecting has existed in Russia for centuries. Such donations and gifts helped to create the collections of many university cabinets and museums of the pre-Revolution Russian Empire. For example, the collection of the present-day National Library of the Republic of Tatarstan (Kazan) is based on the collection of Ivan Vtorov, a […]

A Celebration of Afghan Culture in London

On the 19th August, we saw a truly authentic reflection of vibrant Afghan culture. Singers and dancers brought the energy to Hounslow’s excitable residents whilst a range of international cuisines added to the festivities. A Taekwondo club, managed by two Afghan brothers, demonstrated the skill and discipline of their students, whilst fairground lights and Afghan […]

Animal Movies and Action Men

Interview with Hollywood Celebrity Monty Cox   Cox is a veteran in the entertainment industry. He is an internationally recognized, award-winning, Exotic Animal Trainer, 2nd Unit Director, Stunt Co-ordinator, Actor and Stuntman. Monty is first ECG member in Hollywod. He grew up in a trailer court in Oakland, California and his father was a merchant […]

Azat Akimbek: Art Collector, Antiques Expert and Philanthropist

Azat Akimbek is a distinguished expert in art and antiques and a well-known philanthropist in Kazakhstan. He is renowned for his unique collections of antiques from Central Asian, Caucasian and Russian heritage. Azat holds a special award ‘The Honorary Arts Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan’. In 2011, Akimbek was awarded the ‘Barys’ State Order […]

Warwick Central Asia Forum

By showcasing the cultural, political and economic dynamism of this rapidly-developing region, the Forum hopes to spark interest amongst novices to the region, whilst enhancing the knowledge of experts. Beyond the conference, it has been working to establish an online platform for publishing and sharing content regarding Central Asia, including articles, videos and podcasts. The […]

Sharaf Rashidov’s 100th birth anniversary: remembering the Uzbek statesman and a writer

This year marks the 100th anniversary since birth of Sharaf R. Rashidov, the first secretary of the Uzbek communist party (in office from 1959 until 1983). Rashidov was born on November the 6th 1917, the day before the Bolsheviks under Lenin seized power in Russia. His birthday seems symbolical as he would become the highest […]

AidEx: Coming Together to Achieve More

Open Central Asia interviews Nicholas Rutherford, founder of AidEx For this quarterly edition OCA met Nicholas Rutherford, the founder and event director of AidEx – the world’s leading platform in aid and development sector. It comprises a conference, exhibition and networking opportunities with high-profile aid and development professionals from around the world.  Today, AidEx is […]


The Eurasian Creative Guild (London) is a public non-profit organization which serves to unite creative talents around the world. Between January and March, the representatives of the ECG visited; Almaty, Astana, Bishkek, Dublin, Edinburgh, Kiev, London, Minsk, Nicosia, Oslo, Paphos, and Paris. During these visits, members in each of these locations discussed the Guild’s projects; […]

Celebration Marks Quincentenary of Belarusian and Eastern European Book Printing

To mark the 500th anniversary of Francis Skaryna’s translation of the bible into Belarusian, on the 27th February 2017, the British Library in London hosted an event. Speakers included His Excellency Sergei Aleinik, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus in the UK, Professor Roman Motulsky, Director of the National Library of Belarus, and Dr Kristian […]

Turkey: Eurasia’s Three-Sided Jigsaw Piece

Geographically linked to three major surrounding regions, Europe, the Middle East and the Caucasus, Turkey is the three-sided piece of the Eurasian jigsaw puzzle. Having been at the heart of the Eastern Roman and Ottoman Empires, the country’s history is especially representative of this unique and composite identity.  Yusuf Akçura, a Russian-born Crimean Tatar intellectual […]

Azamat (Aza) Sydykov: Polyphony Rules the World

Kyrgyzstan may be better known for its welcoming people and spectacular nomadic mountain scenery if it is known at all, however there is no shortage of talent emerging from this small Central Asian country. Open Central Asia speaks to a young and upcoming talented musician from the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, to follow the story of […]

Spotlight on The Eurasian Creative Guild (London)

The Eurasian Creative Guild (London) is a public non-profit organisation, a new meeting place for creative talents. As an actual and virtual association, the Guild generates a framework within which creative people from across the board can come together and discuss their work. Indeed, the Guild has already enlisted dozens of significant cultural figures from […]

Poetry before Prose. Interview with the winner of the Arkadiy Bezrukov Prize at the Open Eurasian Book Forum and Literature Festival

OCA: Pavel, you graduated from the geography department of the Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University. Did your studies help in the writing of your story? Pavel Shumov: I was lucky, I chose to study in this field and it has organically become my life. Geography as a profession is impossible without expeditions, hiking, trips etc, where […]

Crimean Tatar Novelist Emerges from the Shadows Cengiz Dağcı

“The War was not our War! And this war of not ours had found us somewhere, somehow. It took us by its severe storm and threw us where we are right now!”  Cengiz Dağcı said and added, ‘Fifty years! Fifty years away from my homeland, it became a wound that never heals…That wound never healed, […]

Guildhall sparkles again to Kazakh Classic

On the 19th of November, a Kazakh Classic Concert was held at London’s prestigious Guildhall to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The event was held in association with the embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Great Britain, Kazakh Gala Limited and the Eurasian Group Companies. The concert […]

Festival-Contest “Ethno Art Fest” Dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of the Commonwealth of Independent States

On the Day of National Unity, 4th November 2016, the representative office of Rosstorudnichestvo in London hosted the International ethnographic festival-competition “Ethno Art Fest” organised by the “Ethnographic Art” section and the company «Ethno Art Fest». The event was dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Various events took place in […]

In the Memory of Kazat Akmatov 1941–2015

Born in 1941 in the Kyrgyz Republic under the Soviet Union, Akmatov has first-hand experience of extreme political reactions to his work which deemed anti-Russian and anti-communist, resulted in censorship. Determined to fight for basic human rights in oppressed countries, he was active in the establishment of the Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan and through his […]


OCA #22 SUMMER 2016 WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM Despite being far from their motherland, Kazakh students in the UK are among the first to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Thus, the alliance of Kazakhs abroad “KazAlliance” organised an annual spring ball at Warwick University, one of the top universities in the UK. […]


OCA #22 SUMMER 2016 WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM DRAWING PARALLELS BETWEEN JIHAD AND TERRORISM The role of a human’s life is central in the purest religion of Islam. God created male and female in the finest manner whether to their physical, moral or spiritual qualities (At-Tin 95 / 4-5). Human as the most wonderful creation of the Almighty […]


OCA #21  SPRING 2016  WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM INTERVIEW WITH ACTOR RASHID SHADAT Uzbek actor, Rashid Shadat talks to OCA’s Aleksandra Vlsasova about his life as an international actor. 2015 saw him involved in many well known films and television programs, including 24 (TV series), Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Now You See […]


OCA #21  SPRING 2016  WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM The Silk Road was a “highway”, which ancient China used to reach other realms in order to trade. Nomad and Mongol hordes rode and reached Europe. Central Asian Emperors developed a military and intellectual nest from where science, mathematics, philosophy and medicine “travelled” and enlightened the medieval world. Tribal warlords […]


OCA #21  SPRING 2015  WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM Text by Christopher Schwartz Photo: Umida Ahmedova It is no secret that at present there is growing discomfort with Western influence throughout Central Asia. One can encounter it from elite and everyman alike. From a Western perspective, it is easy and tempting to attribute the emerging difficulties to various cynical […]

Afghan Cultural Festival Invades London

On a crisp, sunny Sunday morning in the middle of a pleasant British summer, Afghan Association Paiwand opened the gates of its first ever independently-run Afghan Cultural Festival to scores of queuing families, anxious to get into Allianz Park before midday to witness the official opening of the Festival. Eight hours of musical performances, family […]