Kyrgyz or Uzbek

by Nathan Hamm on 3/23/2005 · 2 comments

I’ve been asked a couple times if I know whether or not the protesters in Jalalabad and Osh are Kyrgyz, Uzbek, or both. I hadn’t heard anything to suggest they were one or the other (well, anything that was based on first-hand observation anyway). It can sometimes be difficult to tell who is what in Central Asia, at least in the way that we in the West might identify people. I knew plenty of people with mixed backgrounds who self-identify as entirely one ethnicity or another.

So, my handy guide to tell who’s who, at least for men, is by what kind of hat is worn. In the picture below, the fellow on the left is wearing an Uzbek hat. The taller one is a Kyrgyz hat.

It’s rough, and probably imprecise at time, but that kind of identification leads me to believe, from photos like the one below, that there are at least some Uzbeks involved in the protests.


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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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{ 1 comment }

Hulegu March 23, 2005 at 12:53 pm

I’ve noticed you’ve picked up on fashion before. Perhaps you should create a new category: ‘Central Asia – Fashion’. Hello Ducky!

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