From Alexander the Great, to Chingis Khan, to Tamerlane, one tends to associate the importance of Central Asia with a romantic, dramatic past. Lying at the meeting-place of East and West, Central Asia was the location of spectacular economic, cultural and political achievements attained centuries ago. Agriculture was well advanced; trade was extensive; and great centres of education, art, architecture, poetry, religion and scientific thought developed and flourished. With the sixteenth century, however — as European merchants turned their attention towards the New World, and as oceans became a more important mode of transporting goods — Central Asia’s importance greatly declined. In the eyes of many, Central Asia remained stuck in its past, and slowly lost its glory, power and relevance as the rest of the world entered the modern age. For the past century, it seemed to lie not only on the geographical fringes of Russia and the USSR, but on the fringes of Russian and Soviet society as well. It was a living relic of a long-lost glory, for the most part ignoring, and ignored by the rest of the world.
KeywordsLabour Force Labour Surplus Labour Situation Soviet Government Central Asian Region
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Notes and References
- 1.Between 1970 and 1979 the Uzbeks grew at an average annual rate of 3.43 per cent; the Turkmen, 3.22 per cent, the Kirgiz, 3.07 per cent and the Tadzhiks, 3.45 per cent. Ethnic Russians grew at an average rate of 0.7 per cent per year, and the Slavic populations as a whole, at 0.62 per cent per year. See S. Rapawy and G. Baldwin, ‘Demographic Trends in the Soviet Union: 1950–2000’, The Soviet Economy in the 1980s; Problems and Prospects. Selected Papers submitted to the Joint Economic Committee, US Congress, 31 December 1982, Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1983, p. 279.Google Scholar
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