31 may 2016

Central Asia news

Kazakhstan: Land Protesters Face Police Rampage

Kazakhstan: Land Protesters Face Police Rampage

25.05.2016 12:04 msk Human Rights Business Politics China Kazakhstan

Street protests, against plans to step up land privatisation, were broken up by police in many of Kazakhstan’s largest cities on Saturday. The demonstrations were organised by informal on-line networks, rather than by any of the recognised opposition groups. Here are key points from a report by Andrei Grishin (Almaty).

Washington and Sanjar Umarov want to shed light on Uzbek Kleptocracy money

Washington and Sanjar Umarov want to shed light on Uzbek Kleptocracy money

27.04.2016 02:27 msk Analytics Business Politics Interview Uzbekistan

A public discussion to address the issue of where the Uzbek funds frozen in Swiss banks could be directed, took place in Washington, DC, on April 20. Sanjar Umarov, a former entrepreneur and Prisoner of Conscience, participated in the Washington discussion about the possible allocation of forfeited funds. Our news agency followed up with Sanjar Umarov in more detail about his claims and what his vision is regarding further confiscation and distribution of said monies.

Uzbek expert criticizes World Bank over monitoring of forced labour

Uzbek expert criticizes World Bank over monitoring of forced labour

09.12.2015 19:06 msk Analytics Human Rights Business Politics Cotton Uzbekistan

In late November, the International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the World Bank published the monitoring results of the use of child and forced labour during the cotton harvest in 2015 in Uzbekistan. The experts of the ILO, as the report says, «could not find conclusive evidence which can prove child or forced labour was used during the cotton harvest season in 2015 in Uzbekistan».

Uzbekistan: Cotton slaves picked sells well, as usual…

Uzbekistan: Cotton slaves picked sells well, as usual…

22.10.2015 13:31 msk Human Rights Business Cotton Uzbekistan

According to many employees of state-funded institutions, who have been forcefully sent to cotton fields in Uzbekistan, they manually collected the entire harvest of cotton this year. They report seeing not even one cotton-picking machine throughout the whole period of their work on the fields. Meanwhile, the official mass media are tirelessly reporting on grandiose achievements in the Uzbek economy’s cotton sector. But are falling short to mention these achievements have been secured thanks to almost free-of-charge slave labour.

Uzbek currency drops to 5k per dollar on “black market”

Uzbek currency drops to 5k per dollar on “black market”

15.10.2015 10:51 msk Analytics Business Politics Uzbekistan

Another important “threshold” has been passed in the Uzbek currency market: the US dollar now trades at over 5,000 soums. Illegal currency converters on the market are purchasing the US dollar at 4,950 soums and selling at 5,030. Thus, the value of the Uzbek national currency dropped 45.7% since the beginning of this year.

Kyrgyzstan breaking free from dependence on the Uzbek gas, unless hindered

Kyrgyzstan breaking free from dependence on the Uzbek gas, unless hindered

06.10.2015 23:01 msk Business Kyrgyzstan Russia Uzbekistan

During its entire quarter-century independence period, Kyrgyzstan constantly had to hold challenging negotiations with Uzbekistan on the conditions of supply and delivery of natural gas by the latter. This gas cabbala may soon come to its end: Gazprom’s engineers are completing the blueprints of the North-South gas pipeline that will connect the northern and southern parts of Kyrgyzstan.

Uzbekistan: Hey, World Bank, attention here!

Uzbekistan: Hey, World Bank, attention here!

29.09.2015 01:32 msk Analytics Human Rights Business Politics Uzbekistan

According to information Fergana obtained from several sources, thousands of residents of the city of Angren in Tashkent Region are engaged in this year’s cotton-picking campaign. The area is of particular interest because its one of the sites the World Bank has financed a project. One of the conditions for obtaining a credit from WB was the prohibition of using forced labour in this very area. Simply put, the Uzbek government is grossly violating the conditions of an agreement with a foreign donor. Observers are under the impression that the World Bank leadership is simply failing to notice this screaming violation. Our correspondents on the ground contributed to the following article.

Uzbekistan: “We are slaves, indeed!” A photojournalist’s cotton-picking stint (+photos, video)

Uzbekistan: “We are slaves, indeed!” A photojournalist’s cotton-picking stint (+photos, video)

23.09.2015 13:39 msk Human Rights Business Politics Cotton Uzbekistan

The authorities of Uzbekistan relentlessly try to convince that doctors, educators and their students volunteer to travel and contribute to agriculture activities every autumn. Yet, critics of the incumbent authorities continuously maintain forced labour and extortion are rampant on the part of state officials; the conditions of living and food are slavish; diseases and traumas are ubiquitous, while death, too, occurs among the cotton-pickers that have been pulled out of civilised life and thrown onto the “cotton front”. But who is right? In order to get to the root of the problem and experience a personal encounter, photojournalist Timur Karpov travelled to a cotton field from his native Tashkent.

“Russia’s southward turn”: Who benefits?

“Russia’s southward turn”: Who benefits?

18.09.2015 00:59 msk Analytics Business Politics Religious life Central Asia Afghanistan China Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Russia Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

We discussed Russia’s “southward turn”, a much-discussed topic lately, with Vladimir Milov, a well-known Russian economist, politician and Demokraticheskiy Vybor Party Chairman. After all, the roads to “long monies” that are vital for any economy’s survival are closed in the Europe-bound directions. These “road” will likely remain inaccessible for a long time, and the world does not have too many other alternatives to offer. What benefits and risks does this southward repositioning has to offer? What are our southern neighbours’ perspectives in terms of cooperation with Russia? Do it entail benefits for them, including the Central Asian nations?..

The Uzbek-German Forum: “Silk Noose on Uzbek Farmers’ Neck”

The Uzbek-German Forum: “Silk Noose on Uzbek Farmers’ Neck”

16.09.2015 12:14 msk Human Rights Business Uzbekistan

The Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights published “Silk Noose on Uzbek Farmers’ Neck,” which sheds light on 1) the use of forced labour in silk cocoon production in Uzbekistan and 2) centralised approach on the cocoon production and government monopoly, which impose production quotas on the farmers and forces the latter to sell the cocoons back to the state at lowered prices. In other words, the cocoon production is beset by same ills that befall cotton production: forced labour, the involvement of law-enforcement agencies and local governments, all the while state-dependent employees are forced into bribing their way out of compulsion.

Luggage packed, planes boarded—to Riga! A brief story of small and medium business in Uzbekistan

Luggage packed, planes boarded—to Riga! A brief story of small and medium business in Uzbekistan

28.04.2015 20:45 msk Human Rights Business Uzbekistan

The reality in Uzbekistan is that even launching a business starts with nearly insurmountable roadblocks and significant difficulties. For instance, a future businessman needs at least a month between the start of the registration process and an actual launch of the planned business. According to Fergana’s own sources in Tashkent, a business registration must take about 14 business days. However, each future company must acquire three permits and certificates, which take another 15-17 business days. In case an entrepreneur wishes to get involved in an activity that requires licencing, standardisation and certification, then obtaining one single licence will add another 17 business days on average to the registration process, while acquiring a confirmation of meeting a standard will add 10 more days and a certificate will require another six business days.

Crude Accountability: “Karachaganak:Children in Exchange for Oil”

23.04.2015 10:06 msk Human Rights Business Central Asia Kazakhstan


The film “Karachaganak:Children in Exchange for Oil” deals with tragedy that occurred in the Kazakh village of Berezovka on 28 November 2014. Emissions from the Karachaganak oil and gas condensate field have resulted in the mass poisoning children in the village. The situation in Berezovka is critical. The November tragedy has accelerated declining health among the children, who have felt the poisonous breath of Karachaganak for years. However, the authorities and the consortium “Karachaganak Petroleum Operating BV” prefer to keep silent about the untenable situation of the village’s inhabitants and refuse to relocate them to an environmentally save place. Help to save the children of Berezovka! Demand that KPO and the government of Kazakhstan relocate the village of Berezovka! Source: Crude Accountability web-site

The Uzbek Cotton: The Government’s Riches, the People’s Curse

The Uzbek Cotton: The Government’s Riches, the People’s Curse

15.04.2015 11:17 msk Human Rights Business Politics Cotton Uzbekistan

Children in Uzbekistan grow accustomed to thinking that cotton is the national treasure and the government needs help in harvesting this valuable commodity; otherwise there can be no salaries, pensions, and other social benefits. But the reality is completely different.

Uzbekistan: More gas for export, less for domestic consumption

Uzbekistan: More gas for export, less for domestic consumption

26.01.2015 00:31 msk Human Rights Business Central Asia China Uzbekistan

Obviously, no realistic country would build gas pipelines to leave them empty. Consequently, when the fourth branch of the Central Asia—China is filled with eastbound gas, Uzbek citizens and residents will get less fuel. The appetite of the energy-hungry economy of China is constantly growing. The appetite is being satisfied by energy pumped out of Central Asia, leaving its residents in cold every winter.

Kyrgyzstan in the European Economic Union despite all doubts

Kyrgyzstan in the European Economic Union despite all doubts

25.12.2014 13:40 msk Analytics Business Politics Central Asia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Russia

On 23 Dec 2014, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev signed a document, which brought his country into the fold of the European Economic Union Treaty. Talks on the conditions of Kyrgyzstan’s joining the union lasted literally until the very last hour. A source in the Kyrgyz foreign ministry told Fergana about how this happened and what was achieved.

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