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About John Heathershaw

John Heathershaw is Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Exeter and director of the Central Asian Political Exiles (CAPE) project. In 2015-16, he chaired the Central Eurasian Studies Society Taskforce on fieldwork safety.

Articles by John Heathershaw

This week’s front page editor

Claire Provost

Claire Provost is editor of 50.50 covering gender, sexuality and social justice.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The struggle for freedom of speech in Tajikistan: Khayrullo Mirsaidov and the question of international responsibility

The conviction of a well-known journalist once again raises the question of the international community’s attitude to repressive regimes – and how foreign aid and human rights have been decoupled.

The Skripal attack and the post-Soviet practice of extraterritorial security

Traditional methods of national security fail to address “extraterritorial security” and the context of global authoritarianism and kleptocracy in which it emerges.

Academic freedom in Tajikistan: critical engagement and solidarity

If academic solidarity and forms of critical engagement with Tajikistan are going to emerge, we must first recognise the primary problem comes from the regime. 

Academic freedom in Tajikistan endangered: what is to be done?

In Tajikistan, academic freedom is severly under threat. But how should the international academic community respond? 

How can we explain radicalisation among Central Asia’s migrants?

Central Asia isn’t to blame for “exporting terrorism”, but the stigmatising experience of migration could be. Русский, Ўзбекча

The ‘Muslim radicalisation of Central Asia’ is a dangerous myth

RIA:R Mangarasyan Tajikistan 96.jpg Security think-tanks and expert communities in the Western world are perpetuating the dangerous myth that Muslim radicalisation is rife in Central Asia.

Consequences of the detention of Alexander Sodiqov

My friend and colleague Alexander Sodiqov is being held in Tajikistan without charge, under suspicion of espionage and treason.

 

Dictators without borders

Central Asian dictators close down the space for domestic political opposition. But politics is still present, only it has moved offshore.

Central Asia: the discourse of danger

From policy reports and academic studies, to computer games and television mini-series, Central Asia is routinely portrayed as overwhelmingly dangerous. Does it matter that serious analyses dovetail with fictional accounts? John Heathershaw and Nick Megoran argue that it does, because it indicates a common Western geopolitical vision of Central Asia that distorts policy towards the region.

A recipe for radicalisation: the campaign against Islam in Tajikistan

A government campaign against Islamic education and political movements in Tajikistan, prompted by an armed conflict with ’mujaheds’ in the Rasht valley, risks creating the very militancy it aims to prevent, write Sophie Roche and John Heathershaw.

Tajikistan’s marginalised youth

Armed conflict has been raging for almost a month in the mountains of the Kamarob gorge between the forces of the Government of Tajikistan and local ‘mujohids’. This is the most serious political violence in Tajikistan for ten years. Here, in the second of a two-part article, Sophie Roche and John Heathershaw draw on ethnographic research and contacts with residents of the region to explain the nature of contemporary ‘Islamic radicalism’ in the area and the possible causes and dynamics of the current violence.

Conflict in Tajikistan – not really about radical Islam

For almost a month, an armed conflict has been raging in the mountains of the Kamarob gorge between the forces of the Government of Tajikistan and local ‘mujohids’. This is the most serious political violence in Tajikistan for ten years. Here, in the first of a two-part article, Sophie Roche and John Heathershaw draw on ethnographic research and contacts with residents of the region to explain the legacy of the civil war and the social and political contexts of this largely unreported conflict.

Beware of meddling in Kyrgyzstan!

Despite deep fissures in Kyrgyz society in the aftermath of the upheavals, external intervention would be counterproductive, advises John Heathershaw. Instead, foreign governments should concentrate their efforts on reducing the stakes of the conflict.

Kyrgyzstan: fractured, but not broken

Kyrgyzstan’s government has fallen, its provisional rulers are untested, and there is as yet no sign of a lasting political settlement. Yet that does not mean it will automatically follow the example of neighbour Tajikistan and descend into civil war, writes John Heathershaw
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