Kazakhstan’s punks reflect global millennial sub-culture

It could have been Olympia.

Audio/Visual Postcard by Jessica Partnow, Sarah Stuteville and Alex Stonehill

Zombie Fest could have taken place in a sunny mountain meadow somewhere in the Northwest. It just so happened it was in Kazakhstan.

But that didn’t change the homebrew hairstyles and patched jean jackets, the unhinged, angsty music, or the enthusiastic welcome we got showing up as total strangers asking questions about music, life and politics.

It did mean it was harder to communicate across an English/Russian/Kazakh language barrier.

But when it comes to Screamo, I don’t think you’re supposed to be able to understand the words anyways.

Almaty Kazakhstan


Generation Putin: stories exploring politics and everyday life for Millennials in the former Soviet Union, is produced by the Common Language Project and comes from the Public Radio Exchange, with financial support from the Open Society Foundation.


Alex Stonehill

Alex is a cofounder and editor of The Seattle Globalist. He's a visual journalist whose work has been published by PBS, The Seattle Times, FRONTLINE/World and the Seattle Weekly.  Alex teaches journalism in the University of Washington's Department of Communication and recently directed the documentary film Barzan.
Alex Stonehill


  1. Punk rock existed in the Soviet Union, so it’s 30+ years later. Global culture isn’t really ubiquitous, although it may appear to be on the surface. It would be interesting to learn about how these kids use their agency in Kazakhstan to shape punk. Not to be too harsh, but saying “It could be in Olympia” is extremely superficial.

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