arts and culture

Azerbaijan’s Model Soldier: Pinup, Writer and Fighter

An elite trooper competing in beauty pageants and posing for risqué photoshoots...

Turkmenistan: Fear and Loathing in Ashgabat

When the opportunity arose to travel to Turkmenistan and cover the 5th Asian...

Acclaimed Filmmaker’s Trip to Georgia Postponed After South Ossetia Controversy

Serbian film director and musician Emir Kusturica’s upcoming concert in Tbilisi has...

Azerbaijan: Pioneering Theater Gives Stage to Actors with Disabilities

“Do not be ashamed of your own body. Do not be shy...

Uzbekistan: Once-Prosecuted Photographer Gets Tashkent Exhibition

In 2009, prosecutors in Uzbekistan filed a criminal case against renowned photographer...

In Azerbaijan, Power and Poetry Mix

While Azerbaijan’s government has a reputation as being a petro-autocracy, behind the...

Georgia: Government Offering Subsidies to Foreign Filmmakers

Officials in Georgia hope to turn the country into a global hub...

Uzbekistan: Moscow Show Brings Avant-Garde Collection to Wider Audience

Art lovers making the trip to the remote town of Nukus in...

Kyrgyz American Foundation Kicks Off with a Concert

The Kyrgyz American Foundation is staging a concert in New York on...

Uzbekistan: Moneymaking Entertainment Watchdog Downsized

Any musician or singer in Uzbekistan hoping to make a living on...

Kazakhstan: Reimagining the Past Through Art

Imperious khans and assorted dignitaries gaze into the distance. Meanwhile, fierce battles...

Uzbekistan: Performers Told to Cut It Out With the Raunchy Stuff

While a mood of permissiveness has descended over some sections of Uzbekistan’s...

Father Frost Kills Santa in Georgia

Murdered in an online video and framed for an armed robbery, Santa Claus had...

All-Woman Brewery Brings Craft Beer to Kyrgyzstan

Tucked away in an unlikely spot, wedged between a domino club popular...

At the Movies: Azerbaijan’s ‘Ali and Nino’ Depicts Sugar-Sweet Caucasus

A screen adaptation of the South Caucasus’ famous love story, Ali and Nino, promoted...

Uzbekistan: Karimov Daughter, Wife Set Up Foundation

The late president of Uzbekistan’s wife and youngest daughter, Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, have...

Jubilation, Caution, Concern as Russia Reacts to 'Great American Revolution'

MOSCOW -- As the news of Donald Trump's upset victory in the...

Ukraine: Young Entrepreneurs Taking Matters into Their Own Hands

While the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine and the broader Russia-West standoff...

Kazakhstan: Film Director’s Standoff With Minister Ends in Arrest

A standoff between a filmmaker and a minister in Kazakhstan has culminated...

Kazakhstan: Culture Minister Faces Sexual Harassment Accusations

Kazakhstan’s Culture Minister caused a diplomatic row with Kyrgyzstan earlier this year...

Uzbekistan: Blacklisted Performers Set to Return to Limelight

In a possible sign that a cultural thaw is unfolding in Uzbekistan,...

Contemporary Art from Former Soviet Union Finds Collectors

In the early 1990s, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, art...

Istanbul Airport Terror: Attack on a Bridge between Worlds

The June 28 terrorist attack on Istanbul’s Atatürk International Airport meant an...

Uzbekistan: Pop Stars Under Scrutiny for Producing Immoral, Unpatriotic Material

Lola Yuldasheva’s image appears in a mirror, her hand running sensuously along...

Kazakhstan: Football Star’s Big Bucks Salary Sparks Row

A member of parliament in Kazakhstan has struck a populist note by...

Kazakhstan: Movie-Crushing Stunt Opens Communist Election Campaign

Kazakhstan’s pro-government communist party has kicked off its parliamentary election campaign with...

Kazakhstan: Astana Opera Hits Cultural High Notes

On a recent snowy winter’s evening in Kazakhstan’s capital, arts buffs flocked...

Uzbekistan: Parents Named and Shamed Over Militant Offspring

In its eagerness to counteract Islamic extremism, Uzbekistan has embraced a Cultural...

Kyrgyzstan: Foreigner’s Faux Pas Exposes Cultural Rift

The row about the British miner expelled from Kyrgyzstan after likening a...

Kazakhstan: President’s Daughter to Star In Historical Epic

The youngest daughter of Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev is set to play...

Turkmenistan's Latest Folly: Humongous Yurt

Turkmenistan is wrapping up construction on a mega-yurt designed for major public...

Turkmenistan: Homes Wrecked to Make Way for Sporting Venue

A report by Amnesty International accuses authorities in Turkmenistan of an unprecedented...

Swedish Peace Prize for Azerbaijan's First Lady?

An obscure Swedish organization has nominated Azerbaijan’s First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva for...

Kazakhstan: Statehood Celebrations Remind Citizens Who’s Boss

Kazakhstan held poetry jamborees, horse races, musical performances, wrestling competitions and even...

Uzbekistan: Museum Celebration Proceeds Under Veil of Gloom

It felt like an omen. As people filed out of the state...

Uzbekistan: Scandal Descends on Jewel of Avant-Garde Art

It was supposed to be a day of festivities at a world-famous...

Turkmenistan Narrows Options for Foreign Academics

Turkmenistan’s micro-managing leader is a stickler for the facts. Only as long...

Uzbekistan: Fashion Industry Flourishing in Post-Gulnara Era

Political intrigue in Uzbekistan may have removed first lady of glitz Gulnara...

Turkmen Leader Gets Giant Park as Birthday Gift

What birthday present do you get for the man who has everything?...

Turkey: Seeking New Cultural Balance

Turks’ growing fascination with the past, a phenomenon known as Ottomania, is...

Tajikistan Spending $100m on a Theater, but Where Are the Theatergoers?

Tajikistan is a donor-dependent state, but that does not stop President Emomali...

'Slowly, Change is Coming': Life for Women in the Post-Soviet World

From bride kidnapping to the gender pay gap, women in the 15...

Worried About Moscow, Belarus's Lukashenka Drifts Toward Brussels

Alyaksandr Lukashenka isn't known for waxing poetically about the Belarusian language. But...

How Plov, a Central Asian Staple, Became a Russian Favorite

Visit a Moscow market, or courtyard, or construction site, and it’s easy...

Georgia: Catching a New Wave of Cinema

Georgian cinema has the wind at its back once again after spending...

Kazakhstan Celebrates Statehood in Riposte to Russia

Last summer, before the fall of the ruble took the wind out...

Georgia: Confronting Domestic Violence

The issue of domestic violence is moving to the forefront of public...

Georgians Speak Out against Wife-Killings

English teacher Maka Tsivtsivadze was instructing a class in downtown Ilia State...

Uzbekistan’s Silver Screen Promotes "Traditional Values"

Abdurakhmon, an Uzbek shepherd in his early 20s, lives in Uzbekistan's remote...

Turkish Cinema under Political Pressure

From Cannes to Venice, Turkish filmmakers this year h...

Azerbaijan: Now Sending Cartoons and Fighters to Syria

Distractions like a full-on rebellion and raging jihad somehow did not prevent...

Bearded Lady Spurs Russia to Revive Soviet-Era Song Contest

Russia’s defeat to a bearded Austrian transvestite at the annual Eurovision song...

Russian Cultural Boycott Over Crimea Grows

As the European Union continues to mull possible sanctions on Russia, artists...

Turkmenistan to Build Another Expensive Thing It Doesn't Need

A commentary Turkmenistan appears poised to build the one white elephant it's...

Uzbek Dissident Claims Gulnara's Geneva Home Holds National Treasures

Uzbek first daughter Gulnara Karimova has never hidden her appreciation of art....

Uzbekistan: Cutting-Edge Theater Surviving in Tashkent

Sex and drugs are not often publicly discussed in Uzbekistan, where the...

From Yurts To Kimchi, Protecting The World's 'Intangible' Cultures

Seventy-year-old Kakesh Jumabai-Kyzy has spent her entire life working with felt....

More Russian Conspiracy Theories on U.S. In Central Asia... Or Are They?

In the wake of the U.S.'s announcement that it is moving its...

Uzbekistan: Gulnara TV Mysteriously Slips Off Air

Four television stations close to Gulnara Karimova, the Uzbek president’s eldest daughter,...

Turkmenistan International Relations

Delegation of Turkmenistan Attend 68th Session of UN General Assembly...

Turkmenistan Domestic Developments

Turkmen President Writes Book About His Childhood...

Mongolia: Contortionists Aim for UNESCO Recognition

For some, a contortionist is nothing more than a freak-show act, doing...

Turkey: Going One-on-One With the Cheesemakers of Kars

Food writer and blogger Katie Parla certainly leads an enviable life, splitting...

Kyrgyzstan: Nation-Building Efforts Reach the Silver Screen

Despite budget shortfalls and social unrest, Kyrgyz leaders are forging ahead with...

Turkey: Photographing the Grill Masters of Gaziantep

Photographer Dave Hagerman is the picture-taking half of the visually-arresting and wonderfully-written...

Turkey: Relations with Egypt Go from Bad to Bizarre

As discussed in a previous post, Turkey's vocal criticism of the recent...

The Big Chill: Critics Say Kremlin Waging A War On Ideas

It's not a great time to be a freethinker in Russia....

Tajikistan: Intelligentsia Feud Flares in Dushanbe

Official recognition as a member of the intelligentsia in present-day Tajikistan means...

Georgia: One Darn Thing after Another

Why are there Georgians? Donald Rayfield’s grim history makes one wonder how...

New Documents Suggest Fresh Evidence Of TeliaSonera Ties To Karimova

Documents leaked to Swedish investigative journalists and reviewed by RFE/RL appear to...

Kazakhstan: Theater with a Political Edge

A group of villagers is held in thrall by omnipotent rulers, who...

Kazakhstan: Making Culture Pay

Almaty’s arts scene has acquired an innovative new theater that aims to...

Turkmenistan International Relations

Foreign Ministries of Turkmenistan and Switzerland Hold Consultations in Ashgabat...

Uzbekistan: Swiss Confirm Laundering Probe After Reports of Googoosha Protest

The Swiss Attorney General’s Office has confirmed that a money-laundering investigation has...

Turkey: Ankara Seeks the Return of Looted Antiquities

Turkey's Ministry of Culture is playing hardball with some of the world’s...

Turkmenistan International Relations

Presidents of Turkmenistan and Tajikistan Hold Talks...

Berdymukhamedov Takes Turkmenistan to the Movies

It’s not every day that a new movie is made in Turkmenistan....

Uzbekistan: Googoosha Connected to Rare Tashkent Protest?

In Uzbekistan, where public protest is strictly controlled, reports have emerged of...

Kyrgyzstan Photos: Art Camp Taps Central Asian Traditions

More than 30 artists from across Central Asia and from as far...

Silly Dictator Story #7: 1,000 Weddings In Uzbekistan (Whether You Like It Or Not)

Gulnara Karimova is already a singer, composer, fashion designer, professor, diplomat, philanthropist,...

Turkmenistan Domestic Developments

Berdymukhamedov Reshuffles His Subordinates...

Ankara: Now About Art, Not Just Atatürk

Nearly 90 years after its transformation from provincial market town to capital...

Turkmenistan Domestic Developments

Fifth Volume of Berdymukhamedov’s Works Published...

Azerbaijan: In a Pop-Music World, Still Moved by Mugam

When it comes to Azerbaijan and music, Eurovision – and, now, Jennifer...