Pictures by David McArdle –
From the glitter of Astana to the post-Soviet concrete city of Karagandy, Kazakhstan is a country of contrasts. On the steppes that were once the transit point for goods between the orient and the west, football is now an important part of the nation-building process for a country that is still trying to define its post-Soviet heritage. This Soviet heritage can still be found in some of the country’s football stadiums. In contrast to the old Soviet stadiums stands the Arena of Astana, a symbol of the country’s economic progress, which is built on oil and gas.
– Text by Manuel Veth
David McArdle is a graduate of the University of St. Andrews and the University of Oxford in International Security Studies and Russian and East European Studies, respectively, and is originally from Greenock (Scotland). Having also lived in Belarus and Georgia, David’s other (non-footballing) passions include dive bars, obscure geography and Russian literature. You can find David on Facebook.