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Dark Shadows: Inside the Secret World of Kazakhstan

by Joanna Lillis - £12.99  Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2022)
paperback    ISBN 13: 9780755626694 | ISBN 10: 0755626699

Dark Shadows is a compelling portrait of Kazakhstan, a country that is little known in the West. Strategically located in the heart of Central Asia, sandwiched between Vladimir Putin's Russia, its former colonial ruler, and Xi Jinping's China, this vast oil-rich state is carving out its place in the world as it contends with its own complex past and present. Journalist Joanna Lillis paints a vibrant picture of this emerging nation through vivid reportage based on 17 years of on-the-ground coverage, and travels across the length and breadth of this enigmatic country that lies along the ancient Silk Road and at the geopolitical and cultural crossroads where East meets West.
 
Featuring tales of murder and abduction, intrigue and betrayal, extortion and corruption, this book explores how a president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, transformed himself into a potentate and the economically-struggling state he inherited at the fall of the USSR into a swaggering 21st-century monocracy. A colourful cast of characters brings the politics to life: from strutting oligarchs to sleeping villagers, from principled politicians to striking oilmen, from crusading journalists to courageous campaigners. This new edition features two additional chapters covering the aftermath of Nazarbayev's fall from power in 2019; the Chinese government's repressions against the Kazakhs of Xinjiang as part of its crackdown on Muslim minorities; and an Afterword reflecting on the tumultuous events of January 2022 in Almaty.
 
Traversing dust-blown deserts and majestic mountains, taking in glitzy cities and dystopian landscapes, Dark Shadows conjures up Kazakhstan as a living, breathing place, full of extraordinary people living extraordinary lives.

(Price & availability last checked: May 2022)

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