17 december 2017
Central Asia news
Exactly ten years ago, the financial world first in Kazakhstan, and then in Italy, actively discussed a somewhat unusual transaction for those times. Strange, however, more likely for Kazakhstan - for the first time a big western company with a worldwide reputation acquired a private commercial bank in Kazakhstan. The Kazakh press optimistically referred this transaction to "Deal No. 1 for the entire banking sector of a young country," expressed confidence that it is "an indicator of the maturity of the Kazakh banking system and its attractiveness to the world market," and also promised a comfortable future to other local second-tier banks. After all, the precedent is created, and it is quite possible that, if desired, another buyer, as generous as the Italians, would appear. It seemed like an idyllic picture: create a bank and then sell it at a higher price to Western partners...
Russia and Turkey have finally agreed on the sale of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems by Russia to Turkey. Russian state corporation Rosteh’s General Director, Sergei Chemezov, said in early November, that the contract value for the delivery of S-400 "Triumf" anti-aircraft missile systems (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) to Turkey exceeds $ 2 billion. More precisely, Ankara will pay about $ 2.5 billion for the purchase of four S-400 battalions, two of which will be assembled in Turkey. The Russian anti-aircraft missile systems will be purchased for a loan of Russian money; a pledge has already been made. Deliveries of the S-400 systems to Turkey will begin within the next two years.
Kyrgyz traders who tried to cross the border with Kazakhstan have been sustaining huge losses; the Kazakh government refuses to pass the produce - mostly vegetables and fruits - on and through its territory, explaining their neighbour and partner in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEA) has no means to certify its stocks according to the norms of the EEA, as well as trying to smuggle products from China into the EEA.
Central Asia is surely East - culturally or geographically. But, how much politically? Legally speaking countries of the regions are not khanates or empires, but republics established by the Soviets. And, yes, being a part of communist Russia they used to be "East Europe". Newly sovereign leaders declared their adherence to international obligations, while despotism is still a dominating option of state ruling in the region. Probably, it is their totalitarian communist heritage that resists learning new tricks.
If you google “modern cotton slavery” phrase you would immediately understand what a country will be discussed. These words are tightly connected with Uzbekistan. Although, how much tightly? With the change of the head of state, the population of this country and civil society has had a weak hope of getting rid of the long-term cotton slavery. And while in autumn 2016 the situation in the cotton industry has not changed much, but human rights activists do not give up hope. Again and again, they try to draw the attention of the world community as a whole and of the World Bank which pursues its interests in this country, in particular, to this one of the major problems of Uzbekistan.
It has been exactly six months since the new head of Uzbekistan took office. Sadness from the death of the first and beloved leader of an independent country has not yet completely left the hearts of Uzbek people. But the expectations of a bright future under the tutelage of the new leader ease the burden of losing the old one. TV and in newspapers are saying only good things about Islam Karimov, while people, it happens, are swearing and cursing “the father of all Uzbeks” for the fall of the living standard, for stagnation and for the lawless tyranny of those who must monitor the enforcement of the law.
This April was full of spectacular action-packed detective series of dismissals and arrests of former high-ranking officials of the agency overseeing combating corruption with no precedents in modern history of Tajikistan. Many of them are relatives of high-ranking state officials. The editor-in-chief of the ‘Akhbor.com’ news website Mirzo Salimpur has prepared the material exclusively for Fergana telling what is behind the purge in the anti-corruption agency, and why this large-scale action in one of the most corrupt states of the world began right now.
There will be no economic growth and progress in Uzbekistan in the next ten years, since the new president Shavkat Mirziyoyev continues the path of his predecessor Islam Karimov ‘without political reforms,’ which the country needs as air. They must be carried out first; otherwise any other changes will be useless. It was stated by the Uzbek opposition people's democratic movement ‘Birdamlik’ (‘Solidarity’) leader Bakhodir Choriev.
In Kazakhstan, most of the media owners are hiding behind their formal founders. But, as they say, if the secret is known to three – then everyone knows this. Having talked with experts Fergana News Agency made its own list of the true owners of the Kazakh media.
Every year, the cattle breeders of the border regions of northern Tajikistan face the same problem with the onset of spring. They are puzzled by what pastures to drive out their livestock in the spring-summer period, so that their herds return to them in the same amount that they gave to the shepherds. The matter is that the territories allocated for pastures in these areas are limited, and local residents at their own risk are forced to trust grazing animals to Kyrgyz shepherds.
Gulyam and Sardor Umarov, natives of Uzbekistan, children of the formerly well-known opposition figure Sanjar Umarov, are currently engaged in large-scale technological projects in the U.S., while not forgetting their roots and developing business which is relevant with the interests of their homeland.
People everywhere are curious about how this or that person acquired a glut of wealth. In particular if some nouveau riche (and only this tells a lot) holds a high public office at the same time. There are countries where career growth correlates with financial – a newly rich having a cushy job. Fergana proposes to consider what potential candidates for President and their relatives acquired according to income statements.
In civilised states, the president’s health, whether mental or physical, is not considered a state secret. Everywhere, the press and the opposition are needed to keep madmen from coming to power. A sad example is the election of Donald Trump — a man who many, to put it mildly, don’t consider to be presidential material. And how could one not compare him with Kyrgyzstan’s president Almazbek Atambayev? Fergana News recalls some of Kyrgyzstan president's stranger chapters.
Things are going from bad to worse for Uzbekistan’s anticorruption whistleblower with a court ordering his confinement to a pretrial detention facility pending criminal hearings into corruption. Olim Sulaimanov, who came to prominence last year after posting a video online alleging he had been harassed for bribes by tax officials, appeared in Mirzo Ulugbek district court in Tashkent on February 15 following a surprise summons from investigators earlier this month.
The latest decree the Uzbek head of state directs the society toward “improving the place and role of self-governance by citizens in society, turn them into local bodies engaged in providing realistic assistance and cooperation to the people.” the decree also provides for renovating mahalla committee buildings and paying pension benefits to the committee leaderships in full and in a timely manner. The national council for coordinating mahallas is now granted the status of a legal entity in the form of an association of citizens assemblies. Prime Minister of Uzbekistan is appointed the head of the national council. His first deputy’s rank is elevated to the status of a minister, who will be in charge of household matters, medical and transpiration services; the chairman’s deputy’s rank is elevated to the status of a deputy minister.