5 july 2015

Central Asia news

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?

Sergey Abashin: “The Soviet Village: Between Colonialism and Modernism”

Sergey Abashin: “The Soviet Village: Between Colonialism and Modernism”

17.12.2014 00:33 msk Books Interview Central Asia Russia Tajikistan Uzbekistan

The latest research into Central Asia by Sergey Abashin, a professor at the European University in Sankt-Peterburg, has recently been published as a book. The study in question researches into the history of transformation of Central Asia between late 19th century and the collapse of the Soviet Union in early 1990s. The century-long episode of history is related via a description of life in a village that has undergone conquest, repressions, rapid economic growth and cultural modernization. The book (in Russian) includes many documents and oral narrations that shed light on the conquest of the region, the establishment of first colonial and later Soviet rule, the fight against basmachis, collectivization and cotton-based economy, medicine and Islam, mahalla-centric communities and marriage strategies. The author of the book uses theories of post-colonialism, cultural hybridity, the Soviet subjectivity to analyze the collected material. The tools employed help him explain the contradicting nature of public relations in the Russian Empire and the former USSR.

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.

Is Central Asia afraid of ISIS?

Is Central Asia afraid of ISIS?

12.11.2014 17:57 msk Analytics Politics Religious life Interview Central Asia Afghanistan China Iran Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Pakistan Russia Tajikistan Turkmenistan Turkey, Republic of Uzbekistan

Several weeks ago ISIS (also known as ISIL and Islamic State) forces reached Turkey’s borders, destroying all ‘infidels’ in their path, by which they mean both Christians and Muslims belonging to other branches of Islam. Support for ISIS has also extended beyond its region: Afghan and Pakistani members of the Taliban have already begun to swear allegiance to this new radical Islamist movement. Specialists in politics and international relations, regional specialists, politicians and informed observers were asked what they think about the subject.

That awkward moment! Gulnara Karimova has a new PR team

That awkward moment! Gulnara Karimova has a new PR team

23.09.2014 12:12 msk Human Rights Politics Interview Uzbekistan

Many Russian and European mass media circulated images depicting Gulnara Karimova rudely held by hands by people in fatigues. Ms. Karimova’s “official representative,” Locksley Ryan of Davidson Ryan Dore, provided the images in question. Obviously, this press release sheds no light whatsoever to the status quo Gulnara Karimova is in. If anything, it only stirred more questions. We decided to ask Jelena Kudelko of Davidson Ryan Dore as she was indicated as a contact person in the press release. Jelena asked to provide her with written questions and was quite quick to respond.

Who makes up with rate of the national currency of Uzbekistan?

Who makes up with rate of the national currency of Uzbekistan?

25.06.2014 20:22 msk Analytics Business Interview Uzbekistan

Interview with Shermamat Abdullozoda, who held senior positions in the Ministry of Finance and the Treasury of the Republic Of Uzbekistan

Shermamat Abdullozoda long held senior positions at the Ministry of Finance and the Treasury of the Republic of Uzbekistan. In 2004, fled the country with his family and now lives in the United States. Mr. Abdullazadeh told "Fergana" about how a rates of foreign exchange currencies (or rather, three rates) of the Uzbek currency, what kind of data used to compile the state budget of Uzbekistan and what is the mechanism of decision-making in the financial sector of the country. "I am out of the country for ten years, but I'm sure - nothing has changed. Things got worse, "- says Shermamat Abdullozoda.

Birdamlik at ten: The leader’s personality stronger than ideas

Birdamlik at ten: The leader’s personality stronger than ideas

09.06.2014 12:12 msk Analytics Business Politics Interview Uzbekistan

The Birdamlik political opposition movement hosted a convention in St. Louis, USA, late April, and stirred a fair amount interest in the movement. We have written many articles on the founder of the movement, Mr. Bakhodir Choriyev, and his ideas for a nonviolent regime change in Uzbekistan; we have also posted the platform of the movement and Mr. Choriyev statement on the launch of a “velvet” revolution in Uzbekistan on our website. All these publications drew sympathy and a few smiles, for such plans seemed unfeasible. After all, what kind of velvet revolution in Uzbekistan could one talk about? But Mr. Choriyev convened like-minded people and the supporters of the democratic movement from Russia, Kazakhstan, Europe, Canada and the USA to the city of St. Louis, where he currently resides. The topic of nonviolent [civil] resistance seems to be gaining traction, and we decided to get to know Mr. Choriyev better.

Uzbekistan: Anti-Gay Law Strikes Terror Into Gay People, but Enriches the Police (18+)

Uzbekistan: Anti-Gay Law Strikes Terror Into Gay People, but Enriches the Police (18+)

07.02.2014 17:15 msk Human Rights Interview Uzbekistan

The topic of homosexuality, along with domestic violence, is tabooed in the press and public discourse in Uzbekistan. Moreover, the Central Asian state is among the remaining few countries where same-sex intercourse is punishable by a harsh prison sentence. Our Tashkent-based correspondent reports on how this law is enforced, based on first-hand experiences of gay people to whom he spoke.

Steve Swerdlow: Czech President must cancel Islam Karimov’s visit to Prague

Steve Swerdlow: Czech President must cancel Islam Karimov’s visit to Prague

06.02.2014 23:13 msk Human Rights Politics Interview Uzbekistan

The president of Uzbekistan will pay a two-day visit to Prague on 21 Feb 2014. Human rights activists in Europe are preparing to greet Islam Karimov with protest rallies: Mutabar Tajibayeva, the head of the Fiery Hearts Club, promises that they will firmly demand Karimov free all political prisoners, cease tortures of detainees and inmates, allow an international inquiry into the Andijan events, ensure conditions for NGO activities, and guarantee the freedom of speech. Fergana interviewed Steve Swerdlow, a representative of Human Rights Watch, about President Karimov’s upcoming visit to Europe.

Nadejda Atayeva: Seven-year imprisonment sentence and property confiscation for human rights activism

Nadejda Atayeva: Seven-year imprisonment sentence and property confiscation for human rights activism

29.08.2013 08:45 msk Analytics Human Rights Business Politics Migration Interview Uzbekistan

On 22 Jul 2013, head of the France-based Human Rights in Central Asia Association announced on her Facebook page: “On 19 July 2013, the Tashkent City Criminal Court sentenced me, in absentia, to seven years in prison and to confiscate my property. The trial took place without my lawyer or myself. I was accused of embezzling entrusted property. The testimony of 69 witnesses, who had also been convicted and who had worked for my father, established my guilt. No expert’s conclusion on the amount of damages was made available. This decision of the Uzbek “justice” was preceded by online and e-mail threats, provocations and numerous extradition requests. Well, we live on!”

Floor given to Uzbek opposition: Failure and degradation or unification and progress?

Floor given to Uzbek opposition: Failure and degradation or unification and progress?

22.07.2013 00:56 msk Analytics Politics Interview Uzbekistan

One of the leaders of democratic opposition of Uzbekistan, Nigara Khidoyatova, urges the opponents of the Islam Karimov regime to unite around entrepreneurial Bakhodir Choriyev. Ms. Khidoyatova discussed her acquaintance with Mr. Choriyev, a former farmer and currently a US-based dissident, in her article “On the enlightening example of an outstanding individual,” which was posted on the Birlik opposition movement’s website.

Lawyer Nurbek Toktakunov: Kyrgyz ombudsman’s power is in lack of authority

Lawyer Nurbek Toktakunov: Kyrgyz ombudsman’s power is in lack of authority

02.07.2013 23:35 msk Human Rights Politics Interview Kyrgyzstan

On 27 Jun 2013, the parliament of Kyrgyzstan adopted a decision to relieve Tursunbek Akun from the post of ombudsman. A special commission identified violations of the ombudsman’s oath as the main human rights advocate. Nurbek Toktakunov, a well-known lawyer with significant experience, is among those competing for the vacant position. Fergana interviewed him on what an ideal ombudsman must be like and what would his first action be, should he be appointed ombudsman.

Islam Karimov: Far from reality

Islam Karimov: Far from reality

24.06.2013 23:35 msk Analytics Business Politics Migration Interview Russia Uzbekistan

Uzbek President Islam Karimov called the Uzbek labor migrants engaged in sweeping streets in Moscow “lazybones” and “street beggars.” Perhaps, President Karimov’s words were addressed for the local audience, for “local consumption” so to speak. The online media outlets in Uzbekistan appeared embarrassed for their leader’s harsh and strange claims having decided not to reprint his statements. The part about “lazybones” would not have made its way into the “foreign consumption” copy of the interview if not for vigilant foreign news agencies.

Catherine Fitzpatrick: Uzbek nation entitled to all rights as others, but not right to extremism

Catherine Fitzpatrick: Uzbek nation entitled to all rights as others, but not right to extremism

31.05.2013 00:26 msk Human Rights Politics Religious life Migration Interview Central Asia Uzbekistan

The US-based independent expert on Eurasia and Russian translator Catherine Ann Fitzpatrick answered Fergana editor-in-chief's questions. The interview was on the recent arrest of another former Uzbek citizen in the United States, Fazliddin Kurbanov. The expert is certain that there were most serious justifications for Kurbanov's arrest and there can be no excuse for terrorism and extremism. Catherine also believes that the several isolated incidences of arrests of Uzbek nationals is not a reason to speak of trends at all.

“The State, it is I” or An unsuccessful bid to meet Gulnara Karimova

“The State, it is I” or An unsuccessful bid to meet Gulnara Karimova

08.03.2013 21:03 msk Human Rights Politics Interview Uzbekistan

Ms. Mutabar Tadzhibayeva, a renown human rights activist, the founder and the leader of the Fiery Hearts human rights center, arrived in Geneva from Paris, where she resides, to participate in the discussion of a documentary on the Andijan tragedy of 2005. The airing of the documentary and its subsequent discussion were event-free. However, something strange happened afterwards. The following excerpt in the Swiss newspaper Le Temps sheds some light: “The Uzbek journalist Mutabar Tadzhibayeva, who was tortured in a Tashkent prison and currently lives in exile in Paris, was invited to a film festival on human rights in Geneva, to talk about the cruelties of the Islam Karimov regime. On Sunday, on her way out of Switzerland, Mr. Tadzhibayeva was summoned by the Geneva police station at the airport. The reason was a lawsuit lodged by the permanent mission of Uzbekistan at the UN HQ in Geneva; the Uzbek president’s daughter, Gulnara Karimova, is the head of mission. Because Ms. Tadzhibayeva does not speak French and the claims against her were not translated for her, she decided to leave Switzerland.”

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