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  • Dec 07 / 2015
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Romance and Patriarchy in the 21st Century: The Bride Abductions of Kazakhstan

Bride abduction

Bride abduction. Photo by Gazbubu Babayarova

Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has been actively pursuing the path of cultural revival on every level, from transforming the northern swamps into a modern capital with a yurt-shaped entertainment center to strengthening the role of the Kazakh language. Yet the inevitable challenge that accompanies such a revival, especially after roughly seventy years of the local culture being repressed by the Soviet Union, is how to reconcile traditionalism with modernity and eliminate the less welcome vestiges of the past.

One such issue is the questionably traditional bride abduction practice that has been on the rise since the 1960s. Just recently, on November 18, 2015, the 24KZ national news station reported that police were investigating a 28-year-old man in Charyn, a village in the south of Kazakhstan who admitted abducting a woman and bringing her to his house for the purpose of marriage. He claimed that there was no malice in his actions. The parents of the woman – a 21-year-old from the same village – had contacted the police, claiming that their daughter was held captive against her will.

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