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The hydraulic mission of the Soviet Union has transformed Central Asia’s Syr Darya River into a governable entity. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union the river system disintegrated and conflict arose over the operation of the main dam and reservoir of the river: the Toktogul. Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have widely different and diverging sanctioned discourses on how the dam should be operated and on the nature of the water itself. These discourses have had a significant impact on the hydro-politics of the river basin and the operation of the dam. The central argument of this paper is that both the decline of the Aral Sea, and the potential conflict between the states are driven by the same modernist governmentality of the river.

About the Author

Eelke Kraak

United Kingdom
D. Phil candidate, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom; South Parks Road, OX1 3QY


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