22 february 2017
Central Asia news
Neo-patrimonial regimes have been established in Central Asian countries following the implosion of the Soviet Union. The new elites divided entire economies and “sweet-spot” government positions between “bosses” and their “vassals.” Meanwhile, the rest of the society, who are excluded from such networks, has no chances to secure good jobs, to peacefully and beneficially conduct business and remains impoverished. Such systems of management create fertile grounds for booming human trafficking and joining the ranks of IS, Kazakh political scientist Talgat Mamyrayymov says in the article he authored below.
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.
During its entire quarter-century independence period, Kyrgyzstan constantly had to hold challenging negotiations with Uzbekistan on the conditions of supply and delivery of natural gas by the latter. This gas cabbala may soon come to its end: Gazprom’s engineers are completing the blueprints of the North-South gas pipeline that will connect the northern and southern parts of Kyrgyzstan.
We discussed Russia’s “southward turn”, a much-discussed topic lately, with Vladimir Milov, a well-known Russian economist, politician and Demokraticheskiy Vybor Party Chairman. After all, the roads to “long monies” that are vital for any economy’s survival are closed in the Europe-bound directions. These “road” will likely remain inaccessible for a long time, and the world does not have too many other alternatives to offer. What benefits and risks does this southward repositioning has to offer? What are our southern neighbours’ perspectives in terms of cooperation with Russia? Do it entail benefits for them, including the Central Asian nations?..
The city of Nukus, Karakalpakstan, will host a centennial anniversary of late Igor Savitsky, the founder of the Karakalpak Museum of Arts on September 4. The event, however, could be marred with the presence of only half of the invitees: nearly all of the foreign diplomats accredited in Uzbekistan turned down the invitation to participate in the celebrations. While diplomats cite schedules and prior commitments, the well-known museum’s employees seem to know the real reason: the recent unexpected dismissal of Curator Marinika Babanazarova.
The director of the legendary Savitsky Art Museum in Nukus, Karakalpakstan, Marinika Babanazarova, was recently fired; no new director has been appointed yet. Ms Babanazarova’s colleagues and friends are collecting signatures and writing letters in protest to the government and president of Uzbekistan, demanding to resolve the problem and recall the order of her dismissal. Meanwhile, experts abroad are seriously concerned about the fate of a rich collection at the museum, which is now left exposed without that one person who has at the helms for 30 years and secured a globally renowned status for the museum.
The so-called Islamic State (IS) group is one of the major threats to peace and stability in the world today, having caused so much speculation around this abbreviation. We believe it is simply necessary to interview one of the leading Russian experts on the matters of the Arab world. Aleksandr Shumilin is director of the Middle East Conflicts Analysis Centre under the USA and Canada Institute. Mr Shumilin has spent many years in the Middle East. The Fergana news agency invited him to the Central Asia Television to ask several questions on the conception of IS, and this terrorist organisation’s founders, sources of financing and what the world can offer to resist and combat it.
Muhiddin Kabiri, the leader of the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), has inadvertently become the main newsmaker for Tajik and foreign mass media outlets. Mr Kabiri broke silence he kept for the last three weeks and made himself available for journalists. Muhiddin Kabiri agreed to speak with Fergana in an exclusive interview to discuss the criminal investigation launched against him, those in the Tajik government interested in having the IRPT closed, the reasons behind people continuing to join the party despite resistance and pressures, and many other aspects of life in Tajikistan.
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.
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.
On 23 Dec 2014, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev signed a document, which brought his country into the fold of the European Economic Union Treaty. Talks on the conditions of Kyrgyzstan’s joining the union lasted literally until the very last hour. A source in the Kyrgyz foreign ministry told Fergana about how this happened and what was achieved.
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.
On 31 October 2014, the Presnenskiy District Court in Moscow dismissed the complaint lodged by Tatyana Shikhmuradova, the wife of Boris Sikhmuradov who is imprisoned for life in Turkmenistan. Mrs. Shikhmuradova lodged a lawsuit against the foreign affairs ministry of Russia, which has applied no effort over the last 12 years to find out about her husband’s fate. The most shocking event for Mrs. Shikhmuradova at the court was the foreign ministry representative’s claim that Mr. Shikhmuradov is not a citizen of Russia.
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.
Carnegie Moscow Center presented the “Exploring the Prospects of Russian-Turkish Cooperation in a Turbulent Neighborhood” report compiled by the Carnegie Center and the Global Relations Forum (GRF) in Istanbul. The two organizations established a Working Group dedicated to exploring the potential for regional cooperation between Turkey and Russia under the leadership of Memduh Karakullukchu, vice chairman and president, Global Relations Forum (GRF), and Dmitri Trenin, director, Carnegie Moscow Center.
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