History of Kyrgyzstan

History of Kyrgyzstan (История Кыргызстана) is a series of cartoons telling the history of Kyrgyzstan. (I’m sure you didn’t see that one coming!) It was created in 2017. The series will ultimately consist of 20 several-minutes-long episodes, though to date (May 2017) only 11 have been released. The series’s creators have said that they are currently working on editing the rest of the episodes, and that they will be released as soon as possible. The project was financed by the Soros Fund, an international NGO.

Interestingly, the cartoon is narrated in Russian rather than Kyrgyz. While Russian is an official language of Kyrgyzstan and is very widely used, at least in urban areas, more patriotic/nationalistic projects often use Kyrgyz over Russian. Of course, the use of Russian makes the series available to a much wider audience.

The series is based on Osmonov’s (Осмонов) History of Kyrgyzstan: From Ancient Times to the Present Day (История Кыргызстана: с древнейших времен до наших дней). The cartoons start extremely early on, with the first recorded mentions of the Kyrgyz people. They will ultimately go up to Kyrgyzstan’s present day, though the most recent episode has only gotten as far as the invasion of the Russian Empire in the late 1800s.

The series was created by Dastan Modubashov (Дастан Модубашов in Russian) and Zhalil Mukanbetov (Жалиль Муканбетов in Russian), who are, according to Zanoza.kg, “Bishkek activists.” In an interview with Zanoza, Modubashov said that he and Mukanbetov “chose history [to make a series about] because it unites us all. Without the knowledge of history, there are no citizens. Studying this subject, a person learns to identify himself not only with his family but with his city and his entire country. We wanted to awake collective responsibility for current and future generations.”

 

Creators: Dastan Modubashov (Дастан Модубашов), Zhalil Mukanbetov (Жалиль Муканбетов)
Artists: Kalysbek Yusupov (Калысбек Юсупов), Beren Samidin Uulu (Берен Самидин уулу)

 

The YouTube channel with all the episodes.

 

The first episode:

 

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS’s Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.