18 october 2018

Central Asia news

THE BIG PICTURE COLUMN by Toni Michel. Central Asia’s Self-Defeating Anti-Terrorism Efforts

THE BIG PICTURE COLUMN by Toni Michel. Central Asia’s Self-Defeating Anti-Terrorism Efforts

31.01.2018 17:59 msk Analytics Business Politics Religious life Central Asia Afghanistan Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

While strengthening border security can help prevent the Afghan conflict from spilling over into Central Asia, sustainable solutions to the out-of-control domestic radicalization processes in the region are much harder to find. And it is precisely here that Central Asia’s anti-terrorist measures are often counterproductive. In fact, the region’s political and economic makeup is further conducive to the rise of domestic extremism.

THE BIG PICTURE COLUMN by Toni Michel. The Myth of Clans in Central Asian Politics

THE BIG PICTURE COLUMN by Toni Michel. The Myth of Clans in Central Asian Politics

19.01.2018 15:38 msk Analytics Central Asia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

Political Science is usually quite good at figuring out the main power players and relevant structures in the political systems of most countries. Those of us who are interested in Central Asia, however, will encounter an utterly incredible mess in the analysis of the political processes in the region. Mostly, the confusion centers around the term “clan” – a term that is so overused that it has been deprived of any clear meaning. This has led to a certain mystification of Central Asian politics around such poorly defined structures with little regard for the differences between clans, tribes and regional elites. So, this week, let us look at what clans really are, what their role is and if they are so special after all.

Twilight of Democracy in Kyrgyzstan: How Much Do Journalists and Human Rights Defenders Owe Two Presidents?

16.01.2018 13:13 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Kyrgyzstan

Seven well-known Kyrgyz journalists and human rights activists must pay more than $1m in compensation to former President Atambayev and his successor Jeenbekov for insult and slander. Such an unprecedented amount is doubtlessly historic for Kyrgyz journalism and the country’s jurisprudence.

THE BIG PICTURE COLUMN by Toni Michel. The State of Democracy in Kyrgyzstan

THE BIG PICTURE COLUMN by Toni Michel. The State of Democracy in Kyrgyzstan

09.01.2018 22:06 msk Analytics Politics Central Asia Kyrgyzstan

Shortly before Kyrgyzstan’s Presidential elections in October 2017, the prominent American analyst Ian Bremmer interviewed President Almazbek Atambayev in a long article for TIME Magazine and introduced Kyrgyzstan as a “genuine democracy in a part of the world that doesn’t have any.” Atambayev himself got plenty of praise as well: he came to power six years ago, “inheriting a country with weak institutions dominated by kleptocrats. It still doesn’t have many resources, but it now has plenty of committed democrats, among them Atambayev. In fact, he’s preparing to step down after a single term as president, as laid out in the country’s constitution.”

Flamenco in Central Asia!

Flamenco in Central Asia!

29.10.2017 22:50 msk Analytics Central Asia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

Emotions, tirades, passion, sharp gestures, stomping, hot fever! I would add “flamenco”, but it is not Catalonia striving for independence from Madrid. Another week rich with symbolic events in Central Asia is over, yet the picture remains obscure. The leadership of this region is reluctant to express its real emotions and feelings, but decisions show who they truly are, paraphrasing a popular fiction writer.

Ten years ago our colleague Alisher Saipov fell victim to murder. Museum telling his story opens in Osh today

Ten years ago our colleague Alisher Saipov fell victim to murder. Museum telling his story opens in Osh today

25.10.2017 23:02 msk Human Rights Politics Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan

A museum dedicated to life and murder of a young and prominent journalist Alisher Saipov opens its doors in the southern capital of Kyrgyzstan, Osh city, where ten years ago, on 24 October, two bullets, the assassin shot at the journalist, stopped his independent voice. It is a separate room in the house where the family of Alisher collected his personal belongings. On the hanger hangs a suit in which the journalist was on the day of the murder. Here you can see the books that Alisher liked to read, his photographic equipment, university degrees, certificates, copies of the newspaper he published...

How farmers pay for grudge between presidents of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

How farmers pay for grudge between presidents of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

24.10.2017 23:58 msk Human Rights Business Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyz traders who tried to cross the border with Kazakhstan have been sustaining huge losses; the Kazakh government refuses to pass the produce - mostly vegetables and fruits - on and through its territory, explaining their neighbour and partner in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEA) has no means to certify its stocks according to the norms of the EEA, as well as trying to smuggle products from China into the EEA.

Half of Everything or Facta, Non Verba

Half of Everything or Facta, Non Verba

23.10.2017 09:26 msk Editorial Business Politics Central Asia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan

Central Asia is surely East - culturally or geographically. But, how much politically? Legally speaking countries of the regions are not khanates or empires, but republics established by the Soviets. And, yes, being a part of communist Russia they used to be "East Europe". Newly sovereign leaders declared their adherence to international obligations, while despotism is still a dominating option of state ruling in the region. Probably, it is their totalitarian communist heritage that resists learning new tricks.

The administrative resource is not enough. The Central Election Commission of Kyrgyzstan told about «the most democratic elections»

The administrative resource is not enough. The Central Election Commission of Kyrgyzstan told about «the most democratic elections»

13.10.2017 09:08 msk Politics Kyrgyzstan

The situation around the presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan, scheduled for 15 October, continues to heat up. The national authorities themselves are afraid of possible unrest and external interference in the voting process, and the opposition expresses concerns by the flow of complaints about its principal candidate, Omurbek Babanov. Exclusively for Fergana, Elnura Alkanova talked to the member of the Central Election Commission of Kyrgyzstan (CEC) Gulnara Jurabayeva, who explained why rumours about the upcoming riots are groundless, what complaints on the candidates they received and why the power protégé lacks administrative resource to win.

Pre-election Kyrgyzstan: Double game of President Atambayev?

Pre-election Kyrgyzstan: Double game of President Atambayev?

13.10.2017 01:11 msk Analytics Interview Kyrgyzstan

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.

Opium for the President: Religion and Kyrgyzstan’s forthcoming elections

Opium for the President: Religion and Kyrgyzstan’s forthcoming elections

04.10.2017 08:12 msk Politics Religious life Kyrgyzstan

Religion has traditionally been a delicate topic for Kyrgyzstan. Even though the overwhelming majority of the Republic’s population identifies as Muslim, no presidential candidate has been in any hurry to touch upon the topic of religion in their election manifestos. Is the political elite ignoring the burning questions and challenges posed by the rise of religious extremism in Central Asia today?

Rotten method: Kyrgyzstan actively discusses the ethnicity of the presidential candidate?

Rotten method: Kyrgyzstan actively discusses the ethnicity of the presidential candidate?

27.09.2017 09:16 msk Analytics Human Rights Kyrgyzstan

If the presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan, scheduled on 15 October, would have conducted today the clear winner would be Omurbek Babanov. The charismatic, strong-willed and young politician, he has the advantage above all his competitors. And first of all far from the candidate from the party of power Sooronbay Jeenbekov. And it frightens someone. Babanov will become president if the elections are fair, about most independent observers cast huge doubts on including me. Therefore, the vilest method of denigrating a competitor is active - the ethnic.

Criminals and Officials in Kyrgyzstan: Who is Covering Whom?

Criminals and Officials in Kyrgyzstan: Who is Covering Whom?

15.09.2017 13:08 msk Analytics Politics Kyrgyzstan

“Krysha” (or “krisha”) in Russia means “roof” or “cover”. The term born in the 1990s when the rule of law was weak and racketeers protected vulnerable entrepreneurs from other gangsters for a fee or a share of its gain. Later, central or local government officials started "covering" business themselves. Historically, whenever crime bosses amass a particular influence in a society, they try to legalise themselves – through business by buying up shares in large firms under a false name, or through politics by standing for public office or holding positions in the bureaucracy. Same is in Kyrgyzstan.

Four years for journalist who opposes Islam in Kyrgyzstan

Four years for journalist who opposes Islam in Kyrgyzstan

13.09.2017 16:31 msk Human Rights Politics Religious life Kyrgyzstan

On 12 September, the District Court in Bishkek sentenced journalist Zulpukar Sapanov to four years in prison finding him guilty of "inciting inter-religious hostility". Sapanov wrote and published the "Kydyr sanjyrasy" (literal translation - "Genealogy of the forefather Kydyr") book in which the author merely noted that once in the ancient times the Kyrgyz were not Muslims.

Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan preferred to resolve border issue secretly

Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan preferred to resolve border issue secretly

06.09.2017 23:21 msk Ferghana Valley Politics Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan

On 5 September, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev arrived in Bishkek to sign the agreement on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border. Many experts, including the leadership of both republics, are considering the first visit of the Uzbek president to Kyrgyzstan in 17 years as a sign of warming of bilateral relations. The delimitation and demarcation of 80 percent of the border are on the agenda. Skeptics point out that the treaty was prepared hastily and it is still unclear what specific sections of the border are disputed.

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