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2011 | 39 | 71-82

Article title

NATIONAL IN FORM, AUTHORITARIAN IN CONTENT: STATE BUILDING IN CENTRAL ASIA (Narodowe w formie, autorytarne w tresci. Budowanie panstwa w Azji Centralnej)

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After the collapse of the Soviet Union the new states of Central Asia faced a challenging task of building a new country, its symbols, relations between institutional power and the sovereign and imaginary geopolitical landscape. The grass root processes of national awakening were coupled with the deliberate activities of the dominant political actors striving to shape them in a way conducive to their power claims. Thus the monuments of great ancestors and the billboards presenting the image of incumbent presidents became very common element of the symbolic landscape of Central Asia's new republics. The official speeches of the governing presidents have frequently referred to great historical figures, constructed historical analogies, praised the thousand years old traditions of the fatherland and adduced historical evidence testifying ancient roots of the countries. This article is focused on the mechanisms of ethnocentric reinterpretation of the past. For the newly constituted Republics of Central Asia either the evidence of the past power status and glorious moments or of the past tragedies have been equally strong legitimizing factors both internally and externally. No matter, whether invented or constructed, propagated national values have played a key role in justifying the power claims and international position of the new countries. Additionally, the paper's objective is to analyze how state structures and institutions implement national solutions and how the authoritarian logic of the state institutions performed its power under the guise of national forms.






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