About us

The North Caspian Institute was founded on January 28, 2024 by Dor Shabashewitz and Davur Dordzhiev, researchers exiled from Astrakhan and Kalmykia, respectively. It is intended as a multilingual and multidisciplinary platform for enabling communication and collaboration between scholars, journalists and activists working on the North Caspian — Lower Volga region, a hotspot for ethnolinguistic diversity at the crossroads of Central Asia and Eastern Europe which remains largely understudied and overlooked even within the Eurasian area studies community.

Our primary focus is on Astrakhan and Kalmykia but we define the broader North Caspian as including Atyrau, Mangystau, North Dagestan, parts of Volgograd Oblast and Turkmenistan besides these two regions. By extension, we are also interested in discussions relevant to all of Central Asia, as well as all of the indigenous communities and other ethnic minorities currently living under Russian control.

We think that these regions and topics are of utmost strategic importance in this time of uncertainty created by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its political implications for ethnic activism and secessionism in Russia, new migration flows as well as changes in both foreign and domestic policies of Central Asia’s sovereign states.
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