Soviet Union

#1Pic1Day: Peninggalan Jalur Sutra | Remnants of the Silk Road (Kyrgyzstan, 2006)

Remnants of the Silk Road (Kyrgyzstan, 2006) Kyrgyzstan was passed by the Silk Road, the medieval trading routes connecting China and Europe. Unlike its neighbor Uzbekistan, which was blessed by ancient cities and grandeur historical architectural heritages, Kyrgyzstan was the place of nomadic tribes and has not so much of that kind of heritages. One among few the country still has is the Minaret of Burana, remnants from the old city of Balasagun from the 9th century. This minaret was originally 45 meter high, but destroyed by an earthquake, only 25 meter left. Peninggalan Jalur Sutra (Kirgizstan, 2006) Kirgizstan juga termasuk daerah perlintasan Jalur Sutra, jalur perdagangan yang menghubungkan China dengan Eropa di Abad Pertengahan. Tidak seperti negara tetangganya, Uzbekistan yang dipenuhi kota-kota dengan bangunan megah peninggalan Jalur Sutra, Kirgizstan yang tempat tinggalnya bangsa nomaden tidak memiliki banyak peninggalan megah dari zaman itu. Salah satu yang masih berdiri hingga hari ini adalah Menara Burana, peninggalan dari kota kuno Balasagun pada abad ke-9. Menara ini semula tingginya 45 meter, tetapi hancur karena gempa dan tersisa hanya 25 meter.   [...]

February 25, 2014 // 1 Comment

#1Pic1Day: Lenin di Balik Terali | Lenin Behind Bars (Kyrgyzstan, 2006)

Lenin Behind Bars (Kyrgyzstan, 2006) Since the fall of Soviet Union followed by the independence of the new republics in Central Asia, symbols of communism had been deliberately erased along with the wave of nationalism and awareness of being independent nations. The statues of Lenin in many cities were smacked down and replaced; the Russian-style street names were replaced with those of local heroes or local concepts. Kyrgyzstan was among the countries with strong Russian influence. The Lenin Street in Osh was politely moved to another street, and while not common, Toktogul still has Lenin statue, hidden behind bars in a lonely park. Lenin di Balik Terali (Kirgizstan, 2006) Sejak runtuhnya Uni Soviet dan merdekanya republik-republik baru di Asia Tengah, simbol-simbol komunisme dihapus dengan sengaja seiring dengan bangkitnya nasionalisme dan kesadaran sebagai negeri merdeka. Patung-patung Lenin dirobohkan, nama-nama jalan yang berbau Rusia diganti nama-nama lokal. Kirgizstan dan Kazakhstan adalah dua negara yang cukup kental pengaruh Rusianya. Jalan Lenin di Osh hanya dipindah lokasinya, dan patung Lenin di dusun Toktogul ini dipinggirkan ke balik terali di taman. [...]

February 24, 2014 // 0 Comments

#1Pic1Day: Menggapai Harapan | Grabbing Hopes (GBAO, Tajikistan, 2006)

Grabbing Hopes (GBAO, Tajikistan, 2006) School children from an elementary school in Langar are happily exercising in the school garden. Despite the isolation and economic backwardness of the GBAO province, education is always on top priority of local governments. The literacy rate is almost 100% and little primary schools are available in main villages. Menggapai Harapan (GBAO, Tajikistan, 2006) Murid-murid sekolah dari sebuah SD di Langar, GBAO, Tajjikistan, sedang bermain di halaman sekolah. Walaupun provinsi GBAO terisolasi total dan tertinggal secara ekonomi, pendidikan selalu menjadi prioritas pemerintah daerah. Tingkat melek huruf hampir mencapai 100 persen, dan bangunan sekolah dasar tersedia di desa-desa yang terjauh sekali [...]

September 27, 2013 // 1 Comment

#1Pic1Day: Peninggalan KGB | KGB Legacy (GBAO, Tajikistan, 2006)

KGB Legacy (GBAO, Tajikistan, 2006) The Pamir border town of Murgab is among the host of Tajikistan’s last Lenin statues. The statue is located near the offices of the former KGB and the police militia. After the independence of Central Asian nations, anything Soviet-related was removed from sight. Lenin statues and street names were replaced by those of national heroes, and Cyrillic script replaced by Latin. Peninggalan KGB (GBAO, Tajikistan, 2006) Kota perbatasan Murghab di Pamir memiliki salah satu dari beberapa patung Lenin yang masih tersisa di Tajikistan. Patung itu terletak di dekat bekas kantor KGB dan kantor polisi. Setelah kemerdekaan negara-negara Asia Tengah, banyak peninggalan bekas Uni Soviet yang dihancurkan atau dipindahkan. Patung-patung Lenin dan nama jalan Lenin diganti dengan ikon pahlawan lokal (sekarang menjadi pahlawan nasional), dan huruf-huruf Sirilik di sejumlah negara telah diganti menjadi huruf [...]

September 26, 2013 // 0 Comments

Garis Batas – Perjalanan di Negeri-Negeri Asia Tengah (Borderlines)

My second published travel writing book, on journey to Central Asian countries (The “Stans”). Indonesian language. Borderlines – Journey to the Central Asian States Everyday, Afghan villagers stare to “a foreign country” which is just a river away. They look at passing cars, without even once experiencing sitting inside the vehicles. They look at Russian-style villas, while they live in dark mud and stone houses. They look at girls in tight jeans, while their own women are illiterate and have no freedom to travel. The country across the river seems magnificent—a magnificent fantasy. The same fantasy brings Agustinus Wibowo travel to the mysterious Central Asian states. Tajikistan. Kyrgyzstan. Kazakhstan. Uzbekistan. Turkmenistan. The “Stan brothers”. This journey will not only bring you step on snowy mountains, walk accross borderless steppes, adsorbing the greatness of traditions and the glowing Silk Road civilization, or having nostalgy with Soviet Union communism symbols, but also finding out the mystery of fate of human beings who are always being separated in the boxes of borderlines. Paperback, 528 pages Published April 14th 2011 by Gramedia Pustaka Utama ISBN13 9789792268843 primary language Indonesian original title Garis Batas: Perjalanan di Negeri-Negeri Asia Tengah url ————– Garis Batas: Perjalanan [...]

April 25, 2011 // 4 Comments

Shakhimardan – An Uzbek Island Surrounded by Kyrgyz Mountains

Shakhimardan, an Uzbek “island” surrounded by Kyrgyzstan As artificial as any other thing in Central Asia was the border lines between the countries. The nations created by the Soviet rulers now had to be provided their homeland. Stalin might say, land populated by most Uzbek should be Uzbekistan, those inhabited by mostly Mongoloid Kyrgyz then became Kazakhstan (the Kazakh was called as Kyrgyz) and Kyrgyzstan (of which people was called as Black Kyrgyz). But the matter was not simple in the Ferghana Valley. Ferghana Valley was always a boiling pot in Central Asia. The people were renowned as deeply religious Muslim, if not fundamentalist. It was more than necessary for the Russian to divide this huge mass with the highest population density all over Central Asia. Then, besides the division of ethnics (who were Uzbek, who were Kyrgyz, and who were Tajik), there was a clever intrigue by dividing the border lands to divide the people. Then, the identity in Ferghana Valley was not single ‘Islam’ anymore, but new artificial entities of Kyrgyz, Uzbek, and Tajik. But this was not something special if it was just borderlines. Borderlines created by Stalin were so complicated, zigzagging, and nobody understood the reason. [...]

April 7, 2007 // 1 Comment

Murghab – Life in Murghab

A morning greetings from Murghab Murgab (Murghab) was promising when it was built. It was a new Russian settlement built as frontier city of Pamir. The highway connecting the isolated mountains to the lowland towns was supposed to bring wealth to the nomadic community. Life had changed ever since. A town was built on the top of mountains. People were educated. Frontier military checkpoints were enforced. But how is life now, after Tajikistan gained independence from the USSR and civil war took place in the new country? The hope of the future had turned to be a bad fate. I had got a chance to know Gulnara, a 54 year old woman working as a primary school teacher in Murgab. Gulnara is the younger sister of Khalifa Yodgor from Langar. But the last time she saw him was 2 years ago. “It is too expensive to go there,” said her. Langar is not too far from Murgab. It is around 250 km only, but the public transport there is very rare and expensive. At present, Murghab-Langar cost 50 Somoni/pax. Gulnara’s salary is only 80 Somoni per month. She hardly manages to feed her family with that money, needless to say [...]

October 31, 2006 // 0 Comments

Murghab – The Dudkhoda’s Family

Boys of Murghab, in front of Tajik banner with the tricolor flag and coat-of-arms, of which important element is a snow mountain “Pamir will be better…. Pamir will be better….” – Dudkhoda My first impression of this 39 year old Tajik man was really not so good. this man tried to hug me and kiss me when I was sleeping next to him under the same blanket on the floor in the Kyrgyz restaurant in alichur packed by the Kyrgyz drivers. He also made me to pay his bills in the restaurant. But later I found that he had story worth to tell. He arranged for me a seat in the Kyrgyz truck, along with him, who returned to his home in Murghab. He was actually a passenger of the truck, not being able to pay the ride with money but offered the drivers a dinner in his hosue in Murghab. I came along with him, sitting along the way to Murghab (100 km) for free. Just near Murghab, there were two military checkpoint. The Kyrgyz drivers failed to do registration and they became easy target of the military man in the small dormitory. “Hey, brother, you should follow the [...]

October 29, 2006 // 0 Comments

Alichur – Kyrgyz Community

The steppe of Alichur Actually I planned to stay for some more days in Langar, but I have heard that the transport onward to Murghab would be very difficult to get. This was caused by the high oil price, so people couldnt afford anymore to travel, and instead of going to smaller and hopeless Murghab they opted to bigger Khorog. Suddenly, even when I was not prepared yet, there was a passenger jeep going to Murghab on 27th. The khalifa told me if I didnt take this car, the next transport might be a month after. I had no choice but to leave Langar. The road continued to east along the river bordering Afghanistan. Afghanistan on that side of the river had no more motorable road as it already entered the Big Pamir area. Sometimes caravans of Bactrian camels were visible along the dirt road on that side of the river, while we were travelling in a russian jeep. World differed more than a century in the two sides of the river, which was very shallow and narrow in winter. It should be very easy to cross the border illegally here. The camel caravan must be the Afghan (Pashtun) traders [...]

October 28, 2006 // 0 Comments

Tughoz – Aliboy Family Aliboy family

The Aliboy family His name is Tuloev Aliboy Jumakhanovich, an unemployed man who sometimes work as driver, 33 years old. He greeted me, “We, Ismailis, dont go for hajj in Mecca. We dont waste our money for hajj. But our leader says, providing shelter and food for poor traveller, the mosafers, that is our hajj pilgrimage.” That is the reason of the hospitality of the Ismailis. No matter that there is no even wheat to make bread, being hospitable to a guest is compulsory. Aliboy sheltered me in his traditional house. There were his old father, Jumakhan, 72 years old, the old mother, sisters, cousins, and children in his little house. People of the Pamir are said to have long ages, like Jumakhan’s grand father who lived until 120 years old of age. Maybe it was because of the pure water. Aliboy had no job, even though he had a car. Here we could observe how live reduced dramatically to its modest form since the breakaway of the USSR. From a car owner to be an unemployed whou couldnt sustain sufficient income for basic needs, life have never been easy afterwards. The situation in Tajikistan was much worsened by the [...]

October 24, 2006 // 0 Comments

Dushanbe – Tajikistan, First Impression

Just across the river border, even the grilled meat looks very different, despite of the same name, kabab. Oh, it also gets a Russian name here, sashlik. Before actually physically stepped on the country, I had heard, and seen Tajikistan when I was still in Afghanistan. It is the country idolized by many people in the Badakhshan province. It is the country of freedom, flourished by goods, electricity, and public services. It is the country where women can walk on the streets freely without fear of not covering properly. Now, I am in Tajikistan, seeing and experiencing what man of the northern rural Afghans dreaming about. But for me, Tajikistan is not about dream. According to a reference, the average salary of the people in the country was only 61.81 Somoni (US$ 19.93/month, 2005) and average pension was as low as 16.92 Somoni (US$ 5.23/month, 2005). Life cost is not cheap at all, at least in Dushanbe, compared to the low income statistics. Long distance transport was incredibly expensive, comparable to Afghanistan, as oil costs almost 1 US$ per litre. 93% of Tajikistan’s land is mountains, making it only 7% inhabited and potential for agriculture. It has distinctive four seasons [...]

October 8, 2006 // 0 Comments