Archive of Casey Michel

Casey Michel is a former Peace Corps Kazakhstan Volunteer and current graduate student at Columbia University's Harriman Institute, focused on Russian, East Europe, and Eurasian affairs. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, Sports Illustrated, and Talking Points Memo, among others. You can follow him on Twitter at @cjcmichel.

Casey has written 25 articles at Registan.


A Wealth of Blame for Zhanaozen

by Casey_Michel

Last October, Zhanar Saktaganova was strolling a sidewalk in Zhanaozen, Kazakhstan. It was dark, late. Zhanar, only 29, had just come from sitting with the nearby oil workers, the ones striking for the previous five months, and, after a stopover in a nearby shop, was leaving with her friend. As two walked out of the magazin, Zhanar [...]

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Religious Repression and a Sudden Crack

by Casey_Michel

I know writings on Xinjiang aren’t exactly Registan’s raison d’etre — we’re all about post-Soviet space, y’all — but I thought I’d be remiss to not toss a link up to a bit of post-hijack analysis. I hoped to shine some light on Uyghurs via The Tuqay, and I trust our intelligent audience will be [...]

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‘The First Political Trial in Kazakhstan’

by Casey_Michel

Ten months later, the events of Zhanaozen still cloud the politics of Kazakhstan. There’s been, for better and often worse, little respite for the Nazarbayev regime — little let-up from dissident circles, little staunch in the demands from international councils for a proper examination of the events surrounding the riots of Kazakhstan’s 20th anniversary. Despite [...]

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A Meeting of Minds

by Casey_Michel

I attempted, over at the Central Eurasia Standard, to read the tea-leaves of Nazarbayev’s recent (and first) visit to Bishkek. I trust you guys’ll let me know if it was anywhere near adequate: … Kazakhstan, meanwhile, is a swelling economic power — some economists stake Astana with the third-fastest-growing economy over the past decade, behind only Qatar and China [...]

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A Hardening, a Blurring, and a Slow Sink

by Casey_Michel

Now that all the Pussy Riot-ing’s settled — and now that women’s rights orgs have been rerouted to more legitimate, more pressing issues — it may be worth a step back to frame all of the claims that have been knocked back and forth over the past few weeks. None of this squabbling exists in [...]

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A Position to Envy

by Casey_Michel
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There aren’t many who’d cop to envying Tajikistan. Dam enthusiasts, perhaps. Those who follow the remnants of Farsi’s linguistic tendrils, or anyone who enjoys their dictators with eyebrows like Vlad Țepeș. The tally’s few. Most know Tajikistan simply as a nation as hollowed and diffuse as anything this side of the North Caucuses, and surmise there’s little [...]

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Xinjiang’s Crutch

by Casey_Michel

Bin Laden’s goons used box-cutters. The Black Panthers opted for an attache case. Uighurs, meanwhile, are content dealing with … crutches? So dictate the latest reports floating out of Xinjiang, offering an odd, somewhat facile account of broken crutches and a hijacking gone awry: Chinese news organizations have quoted police officers and witnesses as saying [...]

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The Warming of the Caspian Cold War

by Casey_Michel
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The Caspian Sea first crept into the world’s cognizance sometime in 1873. Utilizing machinery constructed in nearby Bibi-Heybat Bay, jutting to the south of Baku, oil workers installed the world’s first offshore and machine-drilled wells, setting their engineering skills on the viscous black gold roiling underneath the Absheron peninsula. Gas-lit lamps and foreign nationals soon [...]

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All Those Fashionable Distractions

by Casey_Michel
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I tried to get to my taxi A man in a tracksuit attacks me He said that he saw it before me And wants to get things a bit gory -Kaiser Chiefs I have a jacket in my closet. It’s got powder blue sleeves, with yellow and navy piping wrapped around both the wrists and [...]

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Small World, After All

by Casey_Michel
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An interesting, if bizarre, refrain one hears over in Central Asia is that the post-Soviet space was remarkably untouched during the 2008-09 economic crisis that rocked the rest of the developed world. Due to its distance, its diversity, and its diligence, Central Asia remained an unscathed bastion of economic prowess, testament to the ruling and [...]

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