A two-day international Conference “The Russian Factor in Central Asian Culture” was organized as part of the University Grants Commission-sponsored project, entitled “Central Asia and its Neighbourhoods”, by the Academy of International Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, on February 28 and 29, 2012 with the cooperation and support of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, Indian Council for Social Science Research, Russian Centre of Science and Culture, SUN Group and the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in India.
Prominent diplomats, eminent academics, scholars, writers, critics, editors, ethno-musicologists, art critics and film scholars from Eurasia and India took part in the two-day deliberations. Notable among the participants were Ambassador Mr. T.C.A. Rangachari, Mr. Ajay Bisaria, Joint Secretary, M.E.A., Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to India H.E. Mrs. Irina Orolbaeva, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Prof. S.M. Rashid, , Prof. R. Kumar, Prof. Madhavan Palat, Prof. Abhai Maurya, Dr. Ranjana Saxena, and others.
Russia and Central Asia share the same Eurasian landmass and have had centuries-long interactions. The nature of these interactions has changed with the course of history. The Tsarist, Soviet and post-Soviet interactions have left a deep imprint on the Eurasian region. It was against this background that an international conference of such magnitude was organized to focus in detail on Central Asia and its relations with its most important neighbour, Russia. The conference proposed to examine the cultural, political and social effects of this exchange. Over the two days, the participants, eminent personalities in the field of history and international relations, analysed political discourses, social practices and cultural representations from Russia and Central Asia. In the process, the conference covered four major phases in the timeline of relations between Russia and Central Asia: pre-colonial encounters, colonial encounter, Soviet experience (post-October Revolution, during World War II, and post-War periods), and the post-Soviet period. Large historical events such as exile, evacuation, the Great Game, enlightenment project, etc., left their footprint on the cultural life of the people of Eurasia. The conference, in all, examined all these various aspects of the interaction in close-up.