19 april 2015

Central Asia news

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.

Turkey chooses a special path toward “domestic security”

Turkey chooses a special path toward “domestic security”

09.04.2015 23:41 msk Human Rights Politics Turkey, Republic of

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a bill on domestic security into law on April 3, which significantly expands powers of the police. Those of our readers who closely watched how the Turkish president pushed the bill down the MPs’ throats might be under an impression that heated debates and discussions took place. After all, there were fistfights in the parliament; televised debates with the participation of opposition parties, who were against the bill unanimously; a 5,000-strong rally of lawyers in Ankara; harsh criticism by the majority of leading Turkish journalists; and even a global protest launched by Freedom House and Human Rights Watch.

Uzbek rights advocate complains to OSCE over presidential election

Uzbek rights advocate complains to OSCE over presidential election

03.04.2015 09:44 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

Shukhrat Rustamov, a Tashkent-based human rights activist, administered a self-styled “monitoring” of voting during the recent presidential elections in Uzbekistan on March 29. He has personally counted the number of voters that came to Polling Station No. 492 in Tashkent throughout the entire elections day. Mr Rustamov believes it was necessary to complain about the documented violations and lodge them not only with government arms, but also with head of the OSCE mission in Uzbekistan.

Elections 2015: Fear and indifference in Tashkent

Elections 2015: Fear and indifference in Tashkent

31.03.2015 12:09 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

“Everyone is voting for Karimov, our entire family,” says a clean-cut and round-faced storeowner in Tashkent’s Labzak district. “Another person will be thinking about himself for the next 20 years. But he [Karimov] does not think about himself, thinks about his people only.” The storeowner rearranges things on the counter and hides his cell phone in the pocket – just in case. “In our neighbourhood, in each household there are two cars—there is no more room in backyards, so they leave their cars on the street. And nobody will hijack those cars. Because they are afraid.” A visit to polling stations in Tashkent instantly refutes stereotype about Uzbeks’s indifference to politics. Voters flock incessantly to polling stations despite a chilling wind and an unexpected snowfall in Tashkent.

Pulat Ahunov: Headsprings of Uzbek autocracy

Pulat Ahunov: Headsprings of Uzbek autocracy

28.03.2015 22:09 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Religious life Russia Uzbekistan

Pulat Ahunov is an oppositionist from Uzbekistan, who is chairman of the Sweden-based Association Central Asia and the founder of the Foundation for Combatting Corruption in Uzbekistan. Mr. Ahunov shares his memories of meetings with Islam Karimov in late 1980s to mid-1990s.

Pre-electoral faceoff with death: The end of the Karimov era in Uzbekistan

Pre-electoral faceoff with death: The end of the Karimov era in Uzbekistan

10.03.2015 09:46 msk Analytics Politics Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan will hold next presidential elections on March 29. The incumbent president, Islam Karimov, will be running for the fourth time in row even if one would not count the two times he remained in office, having extended his term at two referenda. Most probably Karimov will win again. That said, this time around the victory will not come so easily as before, because he now faces a truly formidable opponent—his own frail health, which has already managed to knock him out of the electoral campaign and public life for about a month.

Murder in Istanbul: Political terror effective in CIS

Murder in Istanbul: Political terror effective in CIS

08.03.2015 11:28 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Central Asia Russia Tajikistan Turkey, Republic of

The killing of Tajik oppositionist Umarali Kuvvatov in Istanbul, Turkey, appears to be an extreme end of political terror against the opponents of the ruling regime in Tajikistan. Obviously Dushanbe will scramble to steer clear of the murder, claiming the late Mr. Kuvvatov’s death does not benefit the authorities there because it would actually be to its detriment. They have an example in Moscow to follow in this regard—the Kremlin made a similar statement after the late Mr. Nemtsov’s assassination a week ago.

Islam Karimov—President for life?

Islam Karimov—President for life?

17.02.2015 12:38 msk Analytics Politics Uzbekistan

Will the population of Uzbekistan again vote for Islam Karimov, who is again nominated for presidency in an apparent and brazen violation of the Constitution? Having analyzed the current situation in the country and the local population’s attitudes, a Tashkent-based observer arrives at the following conclusion: Yes, candidate Karimov will enjoy the electorates’ support again despite rampant corruption, lack of natural gas and electricity in homes, high unemployment, miserable salaries and pensions. Because Karimov’s stay in power is beneficial for quite a large part of the population.

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.”

Kazakhstan: Domestic homicide provokes another pogrom against ethnic group

Kazakhstan: Domestic homicide provokes another pogrom against ethnic group

11.02.2015 01:24 msk Analytics Human Rights Central Asia Kazakhstan Tajikistan

In the evening of February 5, disturbances took place in the village of Bostandyk in Saryagash District of South Kazakhstan Region. Over a dozen of vehicles were destroyed, while several houses were looted and burned during the disorder. Fortunately, as the saying goes, no victims or casualties are were reported. The news about the events broke only the next morning. The rumour has it an aggressive crowd of several tens of people that organized the pogrom was eyeing the property belonging to third-generation ethnic Tajiks living in the villages of Bostandyk and Yntymak. However, a brief press release circulated by the Internal Affairs Department (IAD) mentioned nothing about the ethnicity of those who wreaked havoc.

The West and the modern “Islamisms”: Who is behind the conflict designing?

The West and the modern “Islamisms”: Who is behind the conflict designing?

04.02.2015 01:00 msk Analytics Politics Religious life Central Asia

We are continuing to discuss the question of Islam and Islamophobia—a discussion which began quite a long time ago, but which became louder following the cruel terrorist attack which took place in the centre of Paris. In an article written specially for Ferghana and which we are offering our readers here, the orientalist Bahodir Sidikov argues that Islamophobia is artificially encouraged by and in the West and that it is instrumentalized as a ‘bogey for domestic purposes’, as a stabilizer and catalyser of national development.

US military vehicles: Expensive gift for Uzbek President or non-disposable “garbage”?

US military vehicles: Expensive gift for Uzbek President or non-disposable “garbage”?

29.01.2015 17:51 msk Analytics Politics Religious life Interview Central Asia Afghanistan Uzbekistan

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central Asia Daniel Rosenblum told the Voice of America that over 300 modern military machines would be granted to Uzbekistan in the next few months. According to the representative of the Department of State, Washington is certain that Uzbekistan is in need of these defensive armoured vehicles to combat terrorism and drug trafficking. “They are intended to protect personnel, crews and passengers in areas that there might be explosive devices, mines, so on,” Deputy Assistant Secretary Rosenblum says. He further clarifies that these particular vehicles “are not coming from Afghanistan” as was previously expected, but “are coming from other places.” Obviously the fact in question raises at least two questions: 1) How would these vehicles benefit (or harm) Uzbekistan and the region? 2) Does this fact mean that Washington is thus expressing its unequivocal support of Islam Karimov ahead of the presidential elections in March?

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.

Washington practices “strategic patience” toward Uzbekistan despite rampant rights violations

Washington practices “strategic patience” toward Uzbekistan despite rampant rights violations

16.01.2015 21:30 msk Human Rights Politics Uzbekistan

Speaking during a show on National Public Radio, Nisha Biswal, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Central Asia, said despite serious problems in the field of human rights in Uzbekistan, the US is prepared to practice “strategic patience” towards this country. While Human Rights Watch's Mr. Swerdlow agrees that Uzbekistan is an important ally, he says a country that's “ruled by fear and human rights abuses will be an unstable ally in the future.”

Uzbeks returning from Norway tortured, bashed on TV and convicted for extremism

Uzbeks returning from Norway tortured, bashed on TV and convicted for extremism

26.12.2014 15:00 msk Analytics Human Rights Migration Central Asia Uzbekistan

Two days ago, several more innocent people were convicted for alleged anti-state activities and religious extremism in Uzbekistan. It is a very sad recurring event in this Central Asian country. Human rights activists almost daily toll the bells on torture in pretrial detention facilities and unfair courts. However, this particular case is no routine. The only “crime” the convicts in question committed was obtaining asylum in Norway. Some have only lived and worked there for some time.

Other news

Media headlines

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

Eurasianet Central Asian States Still Cagey Bookkeepers, Says Washington, 16.01.2015

The Guardian How much do you know about ‘the Stans’ of central Asia? – quiz, 15.01.2015

HRW Tajikistan: Human Rights Lawyer Imprisoned, 14.01.2015

BBC Islamic State 'recruiting Afghan fighters', 13.01.2015

Eurasianet Uzbekistan: March Presidential Vote to Be One-Horse Race?, 12.01.2015

Foreign Policy "Islamic State": Women and Children for Sale, 11.01.2015

Bloomberg Kyrzbekistan Isn't Funny, 10.01.2015

Al Jazeera Torture and death for Uzbek Muslims in jail, 07.01.2015