Meet the Stans

Meet the Stans

2003, Society  -   15 Comments
Ratings: 7.93/10 from 41 users.

In this series, journalist Simon Reeve travels to Central Asia to "meet the Stans" - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

His journey provides viewers with a unique insight into these countries' culture and politics.

In Kazakhstan, Reeve discovers a poorly secured former biological weapons factories with a hundred types of plague stored there. He also finds a shrinking sea that is now home to camel farmers, and the region's best Beatles tribute band.

Kyrgyzstan is the only country in the world with both an American and a Russian military base. While there, Reeve meets a member of a banned radical Islamic group, and he visits one of the world's most highly radioactive sites.

In Uzbekistan, the most repressive of the "Stans", Reeve finds himself followed by the secret police as he travels across the country.

Sharing an 800-mile border with Afghanistan, which provides 90% of Europe's heroin, Tajikistan is one of the world's biggest drug trafficking routes.

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15 Comments / User Reviews

  1. DustUp

    Really enjoyed the salt and pepper static (video not available in your country).

    Regarding presidents photos: In most every Federal office across the land is a framed photo of the usa president. I think it is about 9in x 12in. When you walk into such an office it Smacks you right in the face, especially if you don't like their agenda. Haven't been into one of those offices in quite some time. I view such as waste of tax payers money since they have to replace that after every election and likely overpay by a large amount for those and to have delivered and someone put them up. A drop in the bucket of expenditures for sure but if ALL such unnecessary lard was cut out of EACH agency, especially the military, our dollar would buy a LOT more rather than being diluted. A strong defense doesn't require $500 hammers, etc.

    Propaganda? If a people are not free to say whatever they want and do whatever they want as long as it isn't harmful to others, then any pointing out of such differences isn't propaganda, it is simply pointing out such differences. Such isn't fully the case in the UK and USA either but those typically don't have jail terms or worse for voicing one's opinion or half the population of UK and the USA would be in jail.

  2. Willis

    This was really good. One of my all time favorite documentaries. Simon does a great job, too. Be sure to watch both parts (there is Meet the Stans Part 1 and 2).

  3. Myra Ibragimov

    Why you not come my country? Turkmenistan is greatest of Stans!

  4. Liz

    This documentary should not be listed under "Society" It is propaganda.

  5. Liz

    I thought this was going to be an interesting sociological/anthropological look at the "Stans" but it quickly turned into a ideological witch hunt. Simon, of course, is on the US/UK alliance side. When he remarked on the Presidents billboard I wondered what he makes of the Royal Family's pictures back home force-fed to the public daily/weekly by his media/broadcasting outlets. This is, of course, so the British public do not forget the Royals.

  6. Jane Tow

    46:50. Not cool

  7. Qumis

    Awesome documentary even if it's a decade old. I'm nearly finished a college course on the mongols and seeing how these lands turned out 800 years later is interesting.

    Funniest part was the dubbed Titanic by one man.

  8. disqus_I7vUdp3z0R

    Anti-Soviet propaganda with a cute face. He may be a 'likeable presenter' but appears as nothing more than a mouthpiece. Why is it "creepy" to have the Kazakh President's poster in a remote village? It's obviously ok according to Simon, to have the Queen's image printed on British currency. A country is "hospitable" (Krgyztan) if it allows the superpowers to use it as a doormat, and others that stand their ground, aren't? But hey, he has a good laugh with the locals, when he's not complaining about the cold, or the 'terrorists'.

    His guides were sharp, onto it. Would have been good to hear more from them instead.

  9. laalana

    Addressing rarely covered areas in the world, this documentary is really interesting! The presenter really seemed to have made an impressive effort to deliver the local perspectives.

  10. WiseGapist

    Lenin hip-flasks being sold on a US led coalition base in Kyrgyzstan^^ - I can't decide whether that's depressing or hilarious.

    'Our president always says the global war on terrorism is not gonna be short term thing'.. Yes, he does always say that doesn't he... Do you ever think about WHY he says it? Evidently not.^

    Excellent doc.

  11. Imightberiding

    Cheers from Canadistan!

    Well worth the watch even though this is a few years old. Simon Reeve is a very likeable journalist. I always enjoy the docs, films & projects he presents. You will likely recall him from TDF's most recent offering of his: Places That Don't Exist. It also was filmed a few years ago but well worth a look if you haven't seen it.

    If you enjoy this fellow, he has many other travel docs on the net that are equally worth searching for.

    1. pwndecaf

      Thanks for that info - I will definitely watch that one, too.

  12. pwndecaf

    Had the first two comments not been so positive, I probably wouldn't have watched this. They were both right - really interesting, with an engaging presenter and guides for each "Stan" that were equally engaging.

    Top notch!

  13. Rohyp Gnosis

    This ranks as one of the most enjoyable, and informative, 'travel documentaries' that I've ever had the pleasure to watch!

  14. Luyang Han

    Very interesting docs. Really enjoying.