19 june 2018
Central Asia news: Politics
It seems that nobody actually believes that free and fair elections will ever take place in Central Asia. On the other hand, it is still totally unclear, how the power change will happen in some of the authoritarian countries. Will Nazarbayev, Karimov and Rahmon, who have been ruling for twenty and more years, rule until their last days, like Niyazov-Turkmenbashi? Or will they prefer to choose a handover mechanism of their privatized post to a trusted person while they are still living, like the Yeltsin-Putin scenario of 1999?
The events that took place by the walls of the Kyrgyz White House yesterday cannot possibly called a «storming» or a violent effort to capture power. They can rather be called a «hurdle race» or, at most, «hooliganism with resistance to police workers». The third of October will never go into the history books, like the March or April dates of 2005 and 2010. It is best to see how the events unfolded on the video made by Bishkek journalists. The leader of the opposition party Ata Jurt Kambichek Tashiyev, who led the «attack» on the parliament building and presidential administration and his supporters (around twenty people) were unarmed. Meeting hardly any resistance, they went over the fence and were detained by the police and soldiers. Not a single OMON agent suffered. Tashiyev «damaged the third upper part of the hip» (to put it crudely, his behind), and some more people got light injuries. Incidentally, they all declined medical services afterwards.
The court case against Vladimir Kozlov, Serik Sapargali and Akjanat Aminov, which has been ongoing for more than 20 days in Aktau, can already be rightfully called Kazakhstan’s first big political court case. The accused are the leader of the opposition unregistered party Alta! and two social activists. Andrei Grishin, journalist from Kazakhstan International Bureau of Human Rights and the Rule of Law, writes for Fergana.ru.
Special security services of the CIS-member states acknowledge the presence of extremist organizations within the Central Asia. «We have to acknowledge the existence of illegal extremist organizations, active in the countries of Central Asia. Recent events in the north and south of Kazakhstan, as well as in the Rasht valley of Tajikistan have shown evidence of extremists’ intrusion from outside and creation of organized groups within the countries of Central Asia”, said Moldiyar Orozaliev, deputy chairman of the CIS Anti-Terrorism Center, during consultations between representatives of security services and practical units combating terrorisms and extremism in the CIS-member states within the Central Asian region, held in Bishkek on the 9th of December.
In 2011, for the first time in the history of independent Kyrgyzstan, presidency has been peacefully transferred from one president to another with inauguration of Almazbek Atambaev in Bishkek on the 1st of December. The two of his predecessors, Askar Akaev and Kurmanbek Bakiev were overthrown as a result of two revolutions in 2005 and 2010. Only Roza Otunbayeva (who was appointed as the transitional president in 2010) has been able to give up the power in a peaceful and voluntary way. Under the new Constitution, the new president has been elected for a single term of 6 years with no chance of re-election. The inauguration ceremony has been attended by the presidents Abdullah Gul (Turkey) and Mikheil Saakashvili (Georgia), along with prime-ministers of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Azerbaijan. China, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Belarus have also sent their high level delegations, led by speakers and vice-speakers of the national parliaments. Other guests of honor included representatives of CSTO, SCO, OSCE, EuraSEC, CIS executive committee, Council for cooperation of Turkic speaking countries, EC, etc. The ceremony budget has not exceeded 10 million som (or $217.000), less than half of what was spent for inauguration ceremony of Kurmanbek Bakiev in 2009.
The original causes of this story are vague. They say that Tajikistan’s special service was keen to lay hands on the very valuable Russian aircrafts that recently worked for the country’s ministry of defense. Planes are pretty good: they can fly when cold and when hot, and can easily land amid a cotton field. On the other hand, the authorities of that highland republic are pretty good at raider practices, as readily confessed by Tajikistan’s businessmen. There is an alternative version, saying that an unrighteous trial over the Russian pilots has been an act of vengeance for conviction of Rustam Khukumov over a drug possession charges (the man is a son to the director of Tajikistan’s railroad Amonullo Khukumov who, in his turn, happens to be the father in law for the president’s daughter…
At an October 22 briefing designed to tout the enhanced relationship between the United States and Uzbekistan ahead of the first visit to the Central Asian country by a U.S. secretary of state in seven years, a senior State Department official was asked whether this strategic partner was still boiling people alive. The fact that this question needed to be asked is a worrisome sign for U.S. moral authority. The Uzbek regime’s use of boiling and other torture techniques has been well documented, and it is hardly a “thing of the past,” as the State Department official asserted at the briefing. The State Department’s own human rights report on Uzbekistan for 2010 noted that “torture and abuse were common” and cited allegations involving a range of sadistic methods: “Guards routinely raped the prisoners with a club, subjected prisoners to enemas with red pepper solutions, and beat their heels until they bled.”
An international experts’ meeting to take place in Dubai, the largest city of the United Arab Emirates on November 8-9, 2011: “Afghanistan in 2001-2011: towards sustainable state and society”. This event has been organized by: “Ariana” Afghan center (Almaty, Kazakhstan), “Politkontakt” Center for political technologies (Moscow, Russia), the Afghanistan and regional studies center (Dushanbe, Tajikistan)
On May 23-24, the newly formed People’s Movement of Uzbekistan opposition group, formed on the basis of the “May 13 Union,” had it first meeting in Berlin. The first day of the kurultai (traditional people’s gathering) congress was devoted to organizational issues, such as adoption of the movement’s charter and program. Renowned opposition figure Muhammad Salih, leader of Erk political group who was sentenced to 15 ½ years in jail in his home country, was named president of the assembly of founders.
Jalal-Abad provincial prosecutor’s office has concluded its criminal investigation against Uzbek community leaders in southern Kyrgyzstan; namely Kadyrzhan Batyrov, Inom Abdurasulov, Abdrakhman Abdullayev, Makhamatrasul Abakzhanov, Khalilzhan Khudayberdiyev and Khavlon Mirzakhodzhaev. The file has now been handed to the courts and the trial will be chaired by Sulaiman Attakulov starting from April 29 in Jalal-Abad city court. Batyrov is currently located overseas, it is believed in Ukraine. The remaining Uzbek leaders and “separatists” are also outside Kyrgyzstan. So it is that the trials will take place without the defendants present and the sentences will also be handed down in absentia.
When the Guardian’s Moscow correspondent Luke Harding was deported from Russia last month, his editor called it “a bad omen” for press freedoms, describing it as the first such case since the end of the cold war. Yet, as many observers have pointed out, Harding merely joined a long list of foreigners who have found themselves on the Kremlin’s bad side. An omen this was not - the ban system for journalists and human rights defenders in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is very much a thing of the present.
The Uzbek mass media outlets traditionally leave unattended mass protests, demonstrations, velvet and not velvet revolutions in various countries. Uzbek mass media let go unnoticed not only several “color” revolutions in far and away Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine, but also the two coups in neighboring Kyrgyzstan which ousted two presidents. Uzbek media did not believe in the existence of demonstrations in Tibet or Eastern Turkestan and uprisings in Burma violently suppressed by the ruling junta. And only private radio stations on FM waves shed some light on these events whereas several other newspapers provided a limited space in their World Affairs pages.
Permanent cultivation of paternalistic type of mind, exploitation of belief into holiness, special selectness, heroism and unreachable perfection of national leader, possessing unrivaled charisma, rapidly separate Kazakhstani people from genuine democracy, says Azhdar Kurtov, the chief editor of Problems of national strategy (Russian magazine). Today, Kazakh president is real "superpatron", sharing political favoritism to all others. In the opinion of expert, today’s Nazarbayev more and more looks like not the leader of democratic republic but Adolf Hitler in mid 1930s – President, Reichschancellor and the party leader at the same time.
New government of Kyrgyzstan just started working, but it is already being criticized. The problem is in the personalities, they do not inspire confidence. Some names personify the insult over weak belief in the prosperous future of the state. MK-Asia newspaper takes a closer look at new ministers.
The session on establishing Interesy Naroda (People’s interests), new political party, took place in Uzbekistan. The detailed political platform has not been designed yet; in the opinion of the founders, the priority is to start and gain the ideas later on. Most likely, the authorities will find a reason not to register it. However, the attempt to establish political party deserves attention because, considering absolutely stagnant political life in Uzbekistan, it is clear that people understand that many things go wrong in the republic and there is a will to change something.
The struggle of Kyrgyz clans’ leaders for individual rule in the republic is not only not ending, but also picking up the stream, says Sergey Arbenin, Bishkek-based observer of Ferghana.Ru. Today, this fight is legalized and protected by deputy’s mandate. Another revision of recently adopted Constitution, promised by at least two of tomorrow’s parliamentary parties, is only the cover for those who want the power – the preparation for final battle.
When President Obama met with his Kyrgyz counterpart at the White House recently, talks were about something far greater than the upcoming elections. While Kyrgyzstan embarks on a radical democratic path that could change the face of Central Asian politics, personal demons may still push it toward failure, ultimately strengthening authoritarian rule in the region.
Despite the abundance of political parties and mess in people’s minds the situation with upcoming elections in Kyrgyzstan is quite simple, says Sergey Arbenin, the Bishkek-based observer of Ferghana.Ru. Briefly outlining who is who, our expert makes the diagnosis on parliamentary marathon. In his opinion, the elections will take place in Kyrgyzstan, but there will be no choice. There will be total game, dedicated to election institutes and substitution of notions of parliament, electorate, civil society…In this unpromising article we start the cycle of round-up articles, directly dedicated to the elections in Kyrgyzstan.
On August 30 Uzbek President Islam Karimov visited Bukhara, where he solemnly presented Ancient and Eternal Bukhara monument, erected on his own initiative. 18-meter high embodiment of president’s creative idea is the massive plinth with the powered globe on top – magnified copy of the globe, located in Tashkent at the Independence square. The globe traditionally has only one object - the continent of Eurasia size shifted towards the equator and with recognizable lines. The Bukhara "globe of Uzbekistan" outranked the Tashkent globe – the vivid insubordination…
Uzbekistan: The employees of National Television and Radio Company sharply criticized the management