Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




When First Presidents Die: Understanding Political Change in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

Please join us for the inaugural Edward A. Allworth Memorial Lecture, given by Luca Anceschi (University of Glasgow).

The transfer of power is one of Central Asia’s most obscure, and secretly contested, political processes. The deaths of Saparmurat Niyazov (2006) and Islam Karimov (2016) cemented a series of practices that delineated the contours of a regional praxis for leadership change. But did new leaders endeavor to bring about political change in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan? Did the death of first presidents alter intra-élite dynamics within the two regimes, or influence the international dealings of these two states? Long-term Central Asia-watcher Luca Anceschi from the University of Glasgow will offer an alternative research agenda to make sense of political change in two of Central Asia’s most authoritarian political landscapes.

Luca Anceschi lectures in Central Asian Studies at the University of Glasgow, where he also co-edits Europe-Asia Studies, the world’s leading academic journal for the study of Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Educated in Napoli and Melbourne, Luca’s research agenda has focused on the politics and international relations of post-Soviet Central Asia. He is the author of Turkmenistan’s Foreign Policy: Positive Neutrality and the Consolidation of the Turkmen Regime (Routledge, 2009).


Inaugural Edward A. Allworth Memorial Lecture

The annual Edward A. Allworth Memorial Lectures were established to honor the memory of Professor Allworth (1920-2016), distinguished pioneer in the field of Central Asian Studies. Allworth, an alumnus of the Russian Institute and longtime faculty member at Columbia University, was founding director of both the Program on Soviet Nationality Problems (1970) and the Center for Central Asian Studies (1984). His many publications include eight books, among them his seminal Central Asia: A Century of Russian Rule (1967; third edition published as Central Asia: 130 Years of Russian Rule, 1994), and The Tatars of Crimea: Return to the Homeland (2d ed. 1989). He mentored dozens of accomplished scholars from around the world and introduced the rich culture and history of the region to countless more. The Central Eurasian Studies Society honored Allworth posthumously with its 2016 Lifetime Service to the Field Award.

We are delighted that Luca Anceschi has accepted our invitation to deliver the Inaugural Allworth Memorial Lecture.