New Silk Roads and the Changing Socio-Economic Geographies of Mongolia and Kazakhstan
Alexander Diener Associate Professor, The University of Kansas, Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science
Both Kazaks and Mongols are former nomadic peoples; both came to modern nationhood under socialist systems; and both state territories are landlocked steppe-lands sharing long borders with Russia and China. The collapse of the Soviet system and emergence of Eurasian networks of industry, manufacturing, and commerce have compelled the governments of Kazakhstan and Mongolia to rethink their respective economic geographies. Employing capital from natural resource exploitation, axial development strategies are currently deployed to counter economic geographic (il)logics born of the socialist era. This lecture suggests that infrastructure development in both Kazakhstan and Mongolia represents a microcosm of connectivity enhancement projects across Eurasia or “New Silk Roads.”
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