12 december 2017
Central Asia news
It is difficult to catch up with Nargis Abdullaeva—she has a lot of work and trips to make around the country. Abdullaeva is a theatre and film actress, an acting teacher and director living in Russia. A few years ago she was the leading actress at the famous Tashkent theatre “Ilkhom.” As a girl, Abdullaeva was forced to radically change her life and come to Moscow, where she faced all sorts of problems faced by migrants, but she achieved her goal and returned to the acting profession. How did all of this happen to her? Read the next report published under a joint project of Fergana News and Deutsche Welle entitled, "Migrant in Russia. Habitat.” The report is dedicated to immigrants from Central Asia, who live and work in Russia.
On the eve of the centenary of the October Revolution, the Central Asian Analytical Network (CAAN) is returning to the question surrounding the administrative and territorial demarcation of Central Asia. In a conversation with the political scientist Raffael Sattarov, well-known Russian historian, ethnologist and anthropologist, Sergei Abashin, will shed light on some dark corners of the region’s Soviet period and reflect upon current questions that define the relationship between Russia and the Central Asian countries, most prominently nationalism, labour migration and post-Soviet integration.
Election of the new head of Kyrgyzstan will be held on Sunday, 15 October. The closer the time of voting, the more bold statements the incumbent president allows himself. He managed to spoil relations not only with his former colleagues. Speaking on 7 October, at the ceremony of awarding teachers, a little too passionate amid election, Almazbek Atambayev "hit" the head of neighboring Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, having managed to insult not only the leader but the country and the government together.
As Fergana previously reported, Interpol supposedly removed the names of the Uzbek opposition leader Muhammad Salih and his younger brother Maksud Bekzhan from its wanted list. Salih himself had talked about this to a BBC journalist. Fergana’s Editor-in-chief editor Daniil Kislov spoke to the poli-tician himself to get his own comment.
Fergana Editor-in-Chief Daniil Kislov interviewed the IRPT leader over the Internet. Mr. Kabiri spoke about his current status, and how the IRPT was a legal organisation and became “terrorist” overnight and why many of his supporters have not left Tajikistan even though they were aware of impending arrests. The interlocutor also spoke of the exiled Tajik opposition’s plans.
“Chinese and Uzbek archaeologists rewrite the history of an ancient city.” China’s Xinhua news agency carried a report under this title on January 11, 2017, which cites a forum on archaeology of the Academy of Public Sciences of China. According to the report, a group of archaeologists from China and Uzbekistan has made a significant discovery while excavating the ruins of the ancient town of Mingtepa (which the report erroneously calls Minggepa) in the southeast of the Fergana Valley. The news was instantaneously reposted by almost every single website in Uzbekistan.
A plane Russian citizen Yekaterian Sajneva was in landed in Uzbekistan on November 27. Ms Sajneva is a journalist for the Moskovskiy Komsomolets newspaper, who has been in Uzbekistan several times. But this time Yekaterina was travelling in Uzbekistan for personal reasons. She was detained on the third day of her visit and deported several hours thereafter back to Russia “for violating the rules of sojourn.” Yekaterina told the details of how everything unfolded in an interview with Fergana Chief Editor Daniil Kislov.
Fergana learnt from its own sources that the NATO liaison office to Central Asia will no longer be active starting next year. The liaison office is currently based in Tashkent, but coordinate the alliance’s activities and cooperation with all the countries in the region. What has caused the decision? We contacted Rosaria Puglisi, head of the liaison office, who has kindly agreed to respond to this and other questions.
“Welcome!”, reads a sign at the entrance to a university in Tashkent. “To what?” one may ask, “to a world of bribes, lies and hypocrisy?” The results of the August 1st nationwide entrance exams to all universities in Uzbekistan will be announced in the next few days. Despite the countless measures taken to prevent cheating (complete shutdown of text messaging services in the country, armies of policemen and professors patrolling the exam rooms, etc.), prospective students rely not on their smarts, but on cheat sheets and the help of their resourceful intermediaries who have everything “under full control”. “Ferghana”, managed to speak to one of the parents who did everything to make sure his child gets accepted to a university with a full scholarship. The following account is with regard to a university located in one of the provinces of Uzbekistan. The names of the people in this account have not been disclosed upon their request.
A public discussion to address the issue of where the Uzbek funds frozen in Swiss banks could be directed, took place in Washington, DC, on April 20. Sanjar Umarov, a former entrepreneur and Prisoner of Conscience, participated in the Washington discussion about the possible allocation of forfeited funds. Our news agency followed up with Sanjar Umarov in more detail about his claims and what his vision is regarding further confiscation and distribution of said monies.
Taalatbek Masadykov, the former political director of the UN Special Political Mission to Afghanistan in 2002-2014, has had a conversation with Central Asia expert Arkadiy Dubnov to discuss the current events in Afghanistan and whether Taliban or IS could or should be negotiated with. They also discussed the parties interested in the continuation of war in Afghanistan; the current and past Afghan presidents; IS’s funding sources; the Pashtos and the ethnic composition of Afghanistan; and threats Central Asia is facing currently.
The Swedish publishing house “Gun” has issued the first collection of uncensored modern Turkmen prose and poetry in twenty years. There are twelve authors, two of whom published their writings solely in the Russian language whereas the rest are in both Russian and Turkmen. The collection entitled “By the ravine… Behind the houses in the back” was edited for publication by the literary association “Turkmen dany atar!” (“The Turkmen dawn will come!”). Farid Tukhbatullin, the head of the Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights and editor-in-chief of the website “Chronicles of Turkmenistan”, is one of the project leaders.
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?
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.