2 september 2015

Central Asia news

Kyrgyz power-wielders stage drills in Uzbek-majority neighbourhood in South, fail to notify residents

Kyrgyz power-wielders stage drills in Uzbek-majority neighbourhood in South, fail to notify residents

06.06.2015 01:02 msk Ferghana Valley Human Rights Politics Kyrgyzstan

Power-wielding bodies of Kyrgyzstan staged anti-terror exercises in the southern city of Osh. According to official information, the Anti-terror Centre under the National Security State Committee (GKNB) held the drills on June 5 in cooperation with the OSCE Centre in Bishkek and regional subdivisions of the ministries of internal affairs, defence, emergencies, healthcare, border services and local self-governances bodies. According to the officials, the Osh-Anti-terror-2015 military exercises were aimed at “Organising and holding rapid-response and search activities and anti-terror operations to identify and eliminate terror threats as well as examining the interaction among power-wielding bodies at the regional level in Osh City and Osh Region in the conditions of terror threat.”

“Revolution foreboding” and mass detention of foreigners in Kyrgyz south

“Revolution foreboding” and mass detention of foreigners in Kyrgyz south

18.05.2015 09:40 msk Ferghana Valley Human Rights Religious life Kyrgyzstan

Over the last two weeks, the city of Osh in the south of Kyrgyzstan has been plagued by rumours about an imminent “revolution” or an “interethnic conflict.” Nobody knows who is disseminating them and what goals the initiators of this fear campaign are pursuing.

Ivar Dale: Denial’s bloody anniversary

Ivar Dale: Denial’s bloody anniversary

13.05.2015 23:03 msk Ferghana Valley Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

Wednesday 13 May marks ten years since the massacre in Andizhan. Uzbek authorities claim that this is “a closed topic”. Totalitarian regimes decide a lot, but not this. The case is not closed until the victims’ families say so. Ten years have passed since an otherwise pleasant spring day in 2005. Those who have visited the Ferghana Valley around this time of year know exactly what sort of time it is – the thermometer has barely tipped 30, the markets are being filled up with fruits and vegs from the fields and even the smallest towns are abuzz with activity before sunrise. On such a day ten years ago, Uzbek police forces and military surrounded several thousand demonstrators in Andizhan, in the very east of the most populous country in Central Asia – and opened fire. Several hundred men, women and children died. Some say more than a thousand. Witness accounts from survivors who made it across the border to neighboring Kyrgyzstan had journalists and aid workers disturbed to the bone. Across the entire region, this 13 May remains a symbol of how badly things can go when one man gradually takes control of more than 30 million people and chooses to murder those who will not do or think as he pleases...

Ten Years after Uzbekistan’s Massacre, the Tragedy Continues to Unfold

Ten Years after Uzbekistan’s Massacre, the Tragedy Continues to Unfold

13.05.2015 20:50 msk Analytics Ferghana Valley Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

May 13 marks the 10th anniversary of one of the bloodiest events in the history of modern Uzbekistan. On that day in 2005, thousands of Uzbek citizens took to Babur Square in the city of Andijan in protest. The demonstration was a reaction to the three-month trial of 23 entrepreneurs from the Andijan suburb of Bogi-Shamol who practiced the moderate teaching of self-taught theologian Akram Yuldashev. As part of their religious practice, the businessmen donated to various nonreligious charitable projects—including nurseries, orphanages, and sports activities—that went against the system of corruption that reigned, and still reigns, in Uzbekistan. During the course of their trial, the community rallied respectfully in support of the entrepreneurs.

Rashod Kamalov: A respected imam or “chief Islamist” in Kyrgyzstan?

Rashod Kamalov: A respected imam or “chief Islamist” in Kyrgyzstan?

13.02.2015 14:31 msk Analytics Ferghana Valley Human Rights Religious life Central Asia Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan

Rashod Kamolov, a relatively young but very popular and respected imam, was arrested in Southern Kyrgyzstan. Mr. Kamolov is the son of a local influential theologian, who was assassinated by secret services during former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s term in office eight years ago. The current Kyrgyz authorities claim that they collected solid evidences that Mr. Rashod Kamalov recruited and sent people to participate in the civil war in Syria, by making such propaganda that allegedly made his parish think like “zombies.” Meanwhile, Mr. Kamalov’s lawyers maintain their client’s innocence and police actions’ illegality. It is difficult to make sense in this story, but one thing is certain: Law-enforcement and judicial bodies continue completely forgetting about human rights and respect for appropriate procedures in their chase for success in “combating extremism.”

Ex-Irish Deputy Premier: «Azimjan Askarov must be free»

Ex-Irish Deputy Premier: «Azimjan Askarov must be free»

11.12.2014 13:55 msk Ferghana Valley Human Rights Politics Interview Kyrgyzstan

Eamon Gilmore, the former deputy prime minister and the former minister for foreign affairs of Ireland, visited Аzimjan Askarov, a human rights activists imprisoned for life, at the proposal of Front Line Defenders on the eve of the International Human Rights Day. Mr. Askarov has told about his case to Mr. Gilmore in details; the latter has then discussed the matter with Kyrgyz officials. Upon completion of his trip to Kyrgyzstan, Mr. Gilmore is planning to not only meet representatives of the EU and the UN to raise the issue of unjust conviction of Mr. Askarov, but also send a letter to the Kyrgyz president with a request to assist in freeing the world-renowned rights advocate. Mr. Gilmore has kindly agreed to an exclusive interview with Fergana.

Slain journalist Alisher’s daughter Zulaykho: “My father was a journalist!”

26.10.2013 13:06 msk Ferghana Valley Human Rights Central Asia Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan


Alisher Saipov, a well-known journalist, was killed with three gunshots on this day six years ago. He would have turned 32 this September. Alisher was different from his colleagues thanks to his sharp words; he raised pressing issues in lives of not only Kyrgyzstan’s population, but also those in Uzbekistan. During the last year he lived, he was publishing the Uzbek-language newspaper called Siyosat (Politics), which earned fame instantaneously. A lot was written about Alisher after his assassination: some were infuriated by the killing, some rushed to accuse him of ungrounded misdoings. On this day, we decided to write about Alisher’s now 6-year-old daughter—Zulaykho.

Western fast food in Kyrgyz south: kitsch, affordable, tasty

Western fast food in Kyrgyz south: kitsch, affordable, tasty

19.08.2013 13:02 msk Ferghana Valley Business Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan

Kyrgyzstan’s southern capital, the city of Osh, is known for its national cuisine and cooks. Only in Osh one would eat the world-renowned baked samsa, pilaf, lagman and a variety of shish kabobs and mantys. While the locals are, of course, well aware of the local foods, tourists find Osh’s “sweet spots” in its cafes and restaurants. Shahid Tepa is a heavily Uzbek-populated neighborhood in Osh. Owners of two local cafes decided to diversity their menus and add “Western flavor” to their traditional pilaf and shish kabob.

New place, old problems: No water or electricity. Glimpsing at life of resettles in Osh (images)

New place, old problems: No water or electricity. Glimpsing at life of resettles in Osh (images)

13.08.2013 23:11 msk Ferghana Valley Human Rights Politics Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan

In April 2013, we wrote that ethnic Uzbek natives of Osh were forcibly moved from their homes to a suburban settlement of On Adyr (The Ten Hills). The houses that were preventing roads from expansion were destroyed and their owners were resettled. Fergana’s own correspondent Yekaterina Ivashchenko traveled to Osh again to see how their lives changed over the last several months. In order to reduce traffic on central streets, the Osh city hall launched the construction of new roads. Those roads, for some reason, had to be built on those areas where one-story houses are built, which are owned by ethnic Uzbeks (mahallas). Monuyev Street in Osh was one of such expanding roads, which resulted in the demolition of privately owned houses of Uzbeks. While the road construction is completed, half demolished houses are hastily covered with ad-hoc fences.

Islam Karimov and the Goldfish

Islam Karimov and the Goldfish

18.03.2013 09:59 msk Analytics Ferghana Valley Politics Central Asia Afghanistan Uzbekistan

Several Uzbek mass media outlets unexpectedly started beating the war bells over the last several days. Alert! The motherland is in danger! Russian and Central Asian mass media outlets echoed said concerns in reprinted articles with hints of dysphoria. This time around the chief alarmist is Ubaydullo Hakimov, supposedly a “former law enforcing agency officer” and “currently a security expert.” “An unidentified analyses department officer” at the Uzbek national security service sings along: “Hey, get up! We are facing an unexpected danger! Damned IMU shall attack us any minute from beyond the Pamir Mountains! As soon as snow on mountain slopes melts and mountain paths reveal themselves, the hordes of armed cap-a-pie militants will stream into the Fergana Valley!”

Uzbekistan: New Ferghana Railway Plan Tweaks Tajikistan

Uzbekistan: New Ferghana Railway Plan Tweaks Tajikistan

13.03.2013 21:31 msk Ferghana Valley Business Tajikistan Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan’s plan to build a new rail line linking Tashkent to the Fergana Valley would mean eliminating the current international route through Tajikistan, which has relied on roughly $25 million a year in transit fees. Following the break up of the Soviet Union, Tajikistan’s rail lines have become marginalized and underutilized, such as this abandoned track in Tajikistan's Sughd Province.

Uzbekistan: “You need to die to reach Sokh”

Uzbekistan: “You need to die to reach Sokh”

24.01.2013 09:55 msk Ferghana Valley Uzbekistan

The Kyrgyz-Uzbek border in the Fergana Valley remains closed and inaccessible on both sides. The status quo leaves citizens of respective countries a few choices to deal with it and resolve daily issues: buying food, trade, and observing religious rituals. Several visitors of the Fergana website and other voluntary informants told us about their life in blockade. It appears that despite tensions between Tashkent and Bishkek and the stalemate over the exact location of borderlines, local authorities, border guards, and businessmen are able to negotiate and compromise even in extreme situations. Apparently people learned how to live with each other and deal with day-to-day issues despite the conflicts at the highest echelons of power several hundred kilometers away…

Kyrgyzstan's Osh Mayor Myrzakmatov: The city savior and Man of Year?

Kyrgyzstan's Osh Mayor Myrzakmatov: The city savior and Man of Year?

10.01.2013 16:02 msk Ferghana Valley Kyrgyzstan

Is Melis Myrzakmatov really such a significant personality for Southern Kyrgyzstan? Is he really who he says he is? We talked to a native resident of Osh, who wished to remain anonymous, about this. He says Myrzakmatov is only pulling wool on people’s eyes and cares about his own personal benefit alone. “This is just another PR stunt. He has donned the crown of a restorer and is now walking around with it. It is sad to know that our mayor is just a conspicuous individual, and journalists are supporting that,” N. says.

Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan: Incident leads to hostage taking, mutual accusations

Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan: Incident leads to hostage taking, mutual accusations

09.01.2013 14:12 msk Ferghana Valley Kyrgyzstan

“At around 1800 hours on 5 January, some 50 Uzbek citizens approached the [Kyrgyz] Charbak border outpost. A road designates the borderline there, albeit it is jointly used [by both Uzbek and Kyrgyz citizens]. There were six or seven concrete [electricity] poles erected on the Uzbek territory (beyond the demarcated borderline). These people came and said the poles were erected in a wrong location. Additionally, there were holes dug [for new poles] and an informal leader [among the aforementioned Uzbek citizens] demanded they be filled up. “In the morning of 6 January, some 1,000 people came [from Uzbekistan] and were rather aggressive. Despite Kyrgyz border guards’ warning shots, they started pulling the poles down. A local [Kyrgyz] police officer was there, but they did not listen to him. Moreover, he was beaten up and his vehicle was totally damaged. Then the border guards (the Charbak outpost commander and a soldier) fired warning shots into the air. The crowd stepped back and the police officer was saved. The crowd then moved onto the village of Hushyar and tore down 10 new poles and 15 older ones, which were erected 15-20 years ago…”

Living in Osh: Cheremushki, tourists, mazaar, lepeshki and bazaar

Living in Osh: Cheremushki, tourists, mazaar, lepeshki and bazaar

16.03.2012 10:45 msk Ferghana Valley Kyrgyzstan

Early March 2012. Another trip to the city of Osh in the south of Kyrgyzstan. In the last two years I have visited this place quite often and every time I come across some new development in the Kyrgyz-Uzbeks relationship. Indeed, there is no saying that life in Osh is fully back on the normal track. One thing for sure - the life goes on. First thing to do in Osh is to visit the “Cheremushki”, a residential area that suffered most in the June 2010 events, In June 2011, citizens were worried that the city’s mayor did not want to have the houses rebuilt. A local woman told me that donors were ready to start the reconstruction and waited for a permission but “mayor Myrzakmatov would not issue such a permission, as he wants to compel Uzbeks away and use the free land anyway he wants”.

Other news

Media headlines

Atlantic Council Euromaidan’s Shockwaves: An Exile in Ukraine Recalls Fleeing his Native Kyrgyzstan, 10.08.2015

News.com.au Secretive Turkmenistan’s Silk Road heritage kept under wraps , 23.07.2015

Newsweek The new Eastern Bloc: China, Russia and India are joining forces, 10.07.2015

Hurriyet Daily News Turkey ready to take ‘all measures’ to secure its borders: PM, 29.06.2015

OpenDemocracy The irreplaceables in Central Asia, 24.04.2015

HRW Turkmenistan: War on Satellite Dishes, 24.04.2015

VOA Taliban Announce Spring Offensive, 22.04.2015

Long War Journal Taliban admit to beheading Afghan soliders ‘in revenge’, 22.04.2015

The Diplomat Tajikistan: No Hajj, No Hijab, and Shave Your Beard, 18.04.2015

Eurasia Review Afghanistan: Ghani wants Pakistan's help in talks with Taliban, 18.04.2015

Eurasianet Kazakhstan and Russia Trading Punches in Import-Export Row, 17.04.2015

Foreign Affairs Afghanistan's Female Sons, 17.04.2015

BBC Afghanistan kidnap video: Hostage beheaded 'by Uzbek gunmen', 07.04.2015

The Nation Kurds accuse Erdogan of ‘constitutional dictatorship’, 07.04.2015

Pakistan Today Taliban publish Mullah Omar’s biography, 06.04.2015

The Guardian Human rights activists’ dismay as Uzbekistan autocrat clings to power, 05.04.2015

World Politics Review Uzbek President’s Re-election Masks Internal Rifts, External Shifts, 04.04.2015

Foreign Policy Uzbekistan’s president has jailed, tortured, and murdered his opponents at home. Now, he’s hiring hit men to track down and kill dissidents abroad, 03.04.2015

The Economist Elections in Central Asia - No choice, 01.04.2015

U.S. Dept of State An Enduring Vision for Central Asia, 01.04.2015

New Eastern Europe Welcome to Karimovstan, 01.04.2015

HRW Kyrgyzstan: Rights Lawyers’ Office, Home Searched, 31.03.2015

Khaama Press Afghan journalist beaten by police in Zabul, 31.03.2015

RFE/RL Uzbek Group In Afghanistan Pledge Allegiance To Islamic State, 31.03.2015

New York Times Uzbeks Vote on Expected 4th Term for Authoritarian Leader, 30.03.2015

The Guardian Islam Karimov set to reprise presidential role as Uzbekistan heads to the polls, 28.03.2015

International Business Times Uzbekistan elections: Why Islam Karimov is the unbeatable candidate, 28.03.2015

Diplomat Tough Outlook for Central Asian Economies, 26.03.2015

The National The long read: why Russia will see off China in Central Asia’s new great game, 26.03.2015

BBC Why Islam Karimov will win Uzbekistan's elections, 24.03.2015

OCCRP The Prodigal Daughter, 23.03.2015

New York Times Afghan First Vice President, an Ex-Warlord, Fumes on the Sidelines, 21.03.2015

Khaama Dozens of Uzbek fighters living with families in Faryab, 10.03.2015

BBC Five ways to stay in power in Central Asia, 10.03.2015

NHC NHC condemns murder of Tajik opposition leader, 09.03.2015

Al Jazeera Journalists decry lack of press freedom in Turkey, 09.03.2015

Forbes Islamic Extremism In Central Asia: Witch Hunt Or Genuine Threat?, 28.02.2015

Carnegie.Ru Why Did Nazarbayev Suddenly Call for Early Elections?, 26.02.2015

OSCE OSCE convenes first workshop in Central Asia on countering phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters, 26.02.2015

AP 3 nabbed in NY, Florida in plot to join Islamic State Group, 25.02.2015

openDemocracy Economic dystopia in Kyrgyzstan, 12.02.2015

Silk Road Reporters Tajikistan, frontline state against resurgent Taliban, 09.02.2015

Eurasianet Uzbekistan Bullish on Economy – But Do Numbers Add Up?, 03.02.2015

Long War Journal Pakistani Taliban emir for Bajaur joins Islamic State, 03.02.2015

WB Taking STEPs to Improve Employment Outcomes in Uzbekistan, 03.02.2015

Eurasianet Uzbekistan: With Gulnara on Sidelines, How Will Football Fare?, 29.01.2015

The Economist The Turkish prime minister rejects charges of being soft on the Islamic State and authoritarian at home, 24.01.2015

The Independent War on Isis: Flood of jihadi volunteers to Syria 'unstoppable', warns Turkish Prime Minister, 22.01.2015

The Guardian Russia’s rouble crisis poses threat to nine countries relying on remittances, 19.01.2015

The Diplomat ISIS Looks for Foothold in Central Asia, 19.01.2015

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