The Soviet collapse left about seventy million people, one in four former Soviet citizens, stranded outside of the borders of new states where the majority of their ethnic kins lived. To the surprise of many outside observers, the Central Asian region has escaped the conflicts in which many predicted it would descend in the early 1990s. At the same time it has not been violence-free, as the conflict between groups of Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in Osh, Kyrgyzstan in 2010, Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, the on-going war in the Donbass, and the clashes between Armenians and Azeris over Nagorno-Karabakh in the Spring of 2016 have shown.The book explores how, and to what extent, Central Asia's ethnic minorities have adjusted to being "at home abroad" nearly three decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It finds that minority groups have alternated between `exit' (from the political system), `loyalty' (participation in it and support for the leadership), and `voice' (contentious politics). In this book, the case of Uzbek minorities living outside of Uzbekistan serves as a vantage point to reflect on questions of cultural and political loyalties, contentious politics, and the relationship between identity and political action. Uzbeks represent the largest non-Russian minority group in Central Asia. They are compactly settled around Uzbekistan's borders, to this day still contested and often un-demarcated. The relations between Uzbekistan and its neighbours are overall poor, especially with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. For reasons of size, military strength or regional ambitions, the stability of Uzbekistan, and what lies around it, is seen as central to the stability of the whole Central Asian region. The book offers new empirical data and shows that there has been a gradual political, cultural, and economic disenfranchisement of Central Asia's minority groups in states that are ruled by a narrow circle of elites in weak - yet resilient - states, whose legitimacy is increasingly eroded and that in their attempts to boost such legitimacy and authority they promote ethnic nationalism. It will be of interest to an interdisciplinary audience, including academics working in the field of minority rights and ethnic politics in the post-Soviet space, contentious politics, identity formation and irredentism, separatism and diasporas.
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