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Book Launch—Have the Mountains Fallen? Two Journeys of Loss and Redemption in the Cold War

  • When
  • April 17, 2018
    6:00–11:30 a.m. (EDT)
  • Where
  • Open Society Foundations–Washington, D.C.
    1730 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 7th Floor
    Washington, DC 20006
    United States of America
  • Speakers
  • Alex Johnson, Jeffrey B. Lilley, Muhammad Tahir, and Venera Djumataeva

Please join us for a discussion with Jeffrey B. Lilley, author of Have the Mountains Fallen? Two Journeys of Loss and Redemption in the Cold War, and representatives of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, as they discuss the book's implications for modern Central Asia. 

After surviving the blitzkrieg of World War II and escaping from Nazi prison camps, Soviet soldier Azamat Altay fled to the West. He was charged as a traitor in his homeland in Soviet Central Asia. Chingiz Aitmatov became a hero of Soviet Kyrgyzstan, propelled by family loss to write novels about the everyday lives of his fellow citizens.

Altay became a voice of democracy on Radio Liberty, broadcasting back into his shuttered homeland, while Aitmatov rose through the ranks of Soviet society. Yet just as they seemed to be pulled apart by the divisions of the Cold War, they found their lives intersecting in compelling ways, joined by a common mission to save their people. Through narratives of loss, love, and longing for a homeland forever changed, a clearer picture emerges of the struggle for freedom inside the Soviet Union during the Cold War.


  • Alex Johnson


    Until February 2019, Alex T. Johnson was the senior policy advisor for Europe and Eurasia at the Open Society Foundations in Washington, D.C.

  • Jeffrey B. Lilley


    Jeffrey B. Lilley currently leads a British-funded parliamentary support program in Kyrgyzstan. He is the coauthor of China Hands: Nine Decades of Adventure, Espionage and Diplomacy.

  • Muhammad Tahir


    Muhammad Tahir is Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's media relations manager for Asian affairs in Washington, D.C., and is host of its weekly Central Asia and South Asia podcasts, Majlis and Gandhara.

  • Venera Djumataeva


    Venera Djumataeva is the director of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Kyrgyz Service.

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