Archive of Matthew Kupfer

Matthew Kupfer is a writer focusing on Russia and Central Asia. A graduate of Brandeis University, he is a student of the Russian language and an enthusiast for the politics, cultures, and histories of the post-Soviet region. In 2010, he was in Osh, Kyrgyzstan during the interethnic unrest and blogged about his experiences in the conflict zone. He has also published an essay on women's leadership in the future of Kyrgyzstan, studied Russian in St. Petersburg, carried out extensive research on the 2010 Osh unrest, and written articles for EurasiaNet.org. Currently working for a think tank, he writes in his own capacity. Follow him on Twitter at @Matthew_Kupfer.

Matthew has written 10 articles at Registan.


Tuva Looks To Mongolia for Investment in a Post-Crimea World

by Matthew Kupfer
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There are few places as obscure as the Russian Federation’s Republic of Tuva. Nestled deep in south Siberia along the border with Mongolia, Tuva is the only region of Asian Russia where the indigenous titular nationality makes up the majority of the population. Isolated, impoverished, and underdeveloped, it is one of the least “Russian” places [...]

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Rolling Stone’s Tsarnaev and Public Outrage

by Matthew Kupfer
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On August 20th, five days after the Boston Marathon bombing, I published a post on Registan, “Contextualizing Media Claims in Boston,” in which I criticized several questionable or inaccurate claims the media was making about alleged Boston bomber Dzhohar Tsarnaev and enjoined readers to look beyond stereotypes of the “Islamist-Jihadist ‘Other’” and take the opportunity [...]

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Talking Kyrgyzstan in Egypt

by Matthew Kupfer
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In a recent New York Times column, David Brooks summarized much of the debate on the military coup in Egypt that deposed President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood as falling into two schools of thought: “those who emphasize process and those who emphasize substance.” According to Brooks, those who emphasize process feel that Morsi’s [...]

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Contextualizing Media Claims in Boston

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Now that Dzhohar Tsarnaev has been captured, the long process of unraveling the mystery of the Boston Marathon bombing begins. Investigators, the press, and ordinary citizens will ask: Who were these young men? Why did they do what they did? What set them on this path? These are extremely difficult questions that give unclear, complex [...]

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The Accidental Nationalist: Son Pascal, Pop Music, Kazakh Language

by Matthew Kupfer
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When Son Pascal uploaded his music video “Englishman in Shymkent,” a comical adaptation of Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” to YouTube earlier this year, he must have known that he was going to be star. How could he not? Not only were the song and video brilliant, they also featured a long list of things [...]

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[UPDATE] Chinshanlo and Maneza are from China! So what?

by Matthew Kupfer
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On July 29 at the London Olympics, Zulfiya Chinshanlo lifted 131 kgs in “clean and jerk” women’s weightlifting, setting a new world record in the 53 kg category and winning a gold medal for Kazakhstan.  It was a major victory for Kazakhstan and its athletics program. Or was it? Soon Xinhua, the state-run Chinese news [...]

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Batken Disorder Highlights Persistent Border Problems

by Matthew Kupfer
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Though recent news from Kyrgyzstan has focused on the arrest of former Bishkek mayor and current MP Nariman Tyuleev on graft charges, something equally important took place in the remote south of the country: tensions have risen in Batken Province after three Kyrgyzstani citizens were arrested across the border in Tajikistan. You can’t make up [...]

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What Can An Internet Meme Tell Us About Kyrgyzstan?

by Matthew Kupfer
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In November 2011, Kyrgyzstan gained an unexpected new notoriety on the Russian-language internet (RuNet), after a video of a bizarre press conference in Bishkek went viral. Soon the video was lampooned on the popular Russian-language internet show, This is Horosho, a kind of Russian Tosh.0. The video featured Arstanbek Abdyldaev—a wealthy gas station magnate, obscure [...]

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For Whom The Bell Tolls In Osh?

by Matthew Kupfer
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Two years have passed since interethnic violence tore through southern Kyrgyzstan, pitting ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks against each other in street battles, and leaving 470 people dead, thousands injured, and hundreds of thousands displaced. Across the country, politicians attended memorial ceremonies on June 10th, dubbed “National Remembrance Day”. For example, Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov appeared [...]

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Kyrgyzstan’s Eternal Flame Ignites Media’s Mockery

by Matthew Kupfer
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Economic problems and energy shortages in Kyrgyzstan usually don’t pique the interest of the American press. As the saying goes, “if it bleeds, it leads”—and poor Kyrgyzstanis shivering in austere Soviet-era apartments after the heat is shut off don’t hold the audience’s interest for long. But yesterday something “extraordinary” happened in Bishkek: Kyrgyzstan’s eternal flame, [...]

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