23 august 2017

Central Asia news

Is Uzbekistan opening? Tashkent will host OSCE Central Asia media conference

Is Uzbekistan opening? Tashkent will host OSCE Central Asia media conference

14.07.2017 22:21 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Central Asia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

The 19th Central Asia media conference named “Open Journalism in Central Asia” organised by the office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media will be held in Tashkent on 18-19 October 2017. It is expected that participants, “including journalists, representatives from governments, civil society organisations and academia from Central Asia and Mongolia along with international experts will discuss current challenges to media freedom in Central Asia and Mongolia” including “current trends in news media distribution and challenges related to the digital and increasingly mobile environment, and how to better safeguard media freedom whilst combatting hate speech,” as well as “the latest media freedom developments and best practices,” the OSCE website informs.

What Changes May Come? Editorial by Ernest Zhanaev

What Changes May Come? Editorial by Ernest Zhanaev

02.06.2017 11:53 msk Editorial Politics Central Asia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Russia Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

This May brought remarkable events, which will develop during summer vacations and will define how autumn will develop further. Surely, these are activities around presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan clearing and modifying political and media space for the pro-presidential candidate, or Uzbekistan summing its attempts to revive the economy through investment and improving its foreign image. How would Kazakhstan reconsider its economic policy and change its attitude towards rule of law to outrun its main economic rival - Uzbekistan? Whether xenophobia in Russia will die out. How Tajikistan and Turkmenistan will cope with doubts of its public about anti-corruption campaigns in both countries? These questions were raised in May and I will outline them for you.

Russia, Central Asia, migrants. Where and how extremism threatens?

Russia, Central Asia, migrants. Where and how extremism threatens?

25.05.2017 12:54 msk Analytics Politics Religious life Migration Central Asia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Russia Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

The recent terror act in the St. Petersburg metro on 3 April, in the organisation of which Russian special services suspect people from Central Asia, exacerbated issues related to migration processes from the countries of this region to Russia. Last week in Moscow, the Sakharov Center jointly with the Yegor Gaidar Foundation organised a discussion during which experts discussed whether there is any ground to say that it is among the migrants that recruitment of terrorists takes place, and if so, what causes migrants to join the ranks of radical Islamists, what role is played by large-scale corruption, typical of most Central Asian countries, and whether it is possible to oppose it.

Anticorruption campaign in Tajikistan or show?

Anticorruption campaign in Tajikistan or show?

19.05.2017 00:07 msk Analytics Business Politics Tajikistan

This April was full of spectacular action-packed detective series of dismissals and arrests of former high-ranking officials of the agency overseeing combating corruption with no precedents in modern history of Tajikistan. Many of them are relatives of high-ranking state officials. The editor-in-chief of the ‘Akhbor.com’ news website Mirzo Salimpur has prepared the material exclusively for Fergana telling what is behind the purge in the anti-corruption agency, and why this large-scale action in one of the most corrupt states of the world began right now.

Tajikistan: Time to privatise hills and meadows?

Tajikistan: Time to privatise hills and meadows?

15.05.2017 10:54 msk Business Politics Tajikistan

Every year, the cattle breeders of the border regions of northern Tajikistan face the same problem with the onset of spring. They are puzzled by what pastures to drive out their livestock in the spring-summer period, so that their herds return to them in the same amount that they gave to the shepherds. The matter is that the territories allocated for pastures in these areas are limited, and local residents at their own risk are forced to trust grazing animals to Kyrgyz shepherds.

Deteriorating situation in northern Afghanistan: told by local and commented by expert

Deteriorating situation in northern Afghanistan: told by local and commented by expert

10.05.2017 21:23 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Religious life Central Asia Afghanistan Russia Tajikistan

The anti-government forces took control of the Qalay-I-Zal district of the Afghan province of Kunduz, located on the border with Tajikistan, world media reported on 7 May. Heavy battles that began shortly after the Taliban had announced the ‘spring offensive’ are going on in the Zebak district, as well as in the vicinity of the city of Kunduz, which may soon again be in the hands of the armed opposition. As we have already reported, a state of emergency had been declared in the Ishkashim district of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast of the Republic of Tajikistan bordering with fighting scenes across the Panj River. Local residents are alarmed and frightened by the fact that Afghan militants have come close to the Tajik border. Moreover, it is not entirely clear who they are and what their goals are. According to the ‘Fergana’ source in one of the international organisations, among the militants fighting ‘beyond the river’ are also refugees from Tajikistan, who moved there because of persecution by the authorities. A number is known too: they can make from 200 up to 250 people.

WWII heroes: Tajikistan hindered by ‘Immortal Regiment’ - Dushanbe residents speak

WWII heroes: Tajikistan hindered by ‘Immortal Regiment’ - Dushanbe residents speak

05.05.2017 17:01 msk Analytics Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Russia Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

The ‘Immortal Regiment’ action, which relatives and descendants of those killed at the fronts of the Great Patriotic War had been planning to organise and hold on 9 May 2017 in Tajikistan, was prohibited. One of the official reasons is that ‘according to Islamic traditions, it is inadmissible to go out into the streets and avenues with portraits of the deceased.’ The other is a tense situation and clashes in neighbouring Afghanistan. Fergana correspondent spoke with Dushanbe residents, who call these arguments absurd and far-fetched accusing the authorities of double standards and hypocrisy. In fact, the government is simply afraid of any manifestations of civil activity, they believe.

Uzbek-born American Entrepreneurs  Gulam and Sardor Umarov Expanding Use of Latest Technologies

Uzbek-born American Entrepreneurs Gulam and Sardor Umarov Expanding Use of Latest Technologies

21.04.2017 18:57 msk Business Central Asia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

Gulyam and Sardor Umarov, natives of Uzbekistan, children of the formerly well-known opposition figure Sanjar Umarov, are currently engaged in large-scale technological projects in the U.S., while not forgetting their roots and developing business which is relevant with the interests of their homeland.

Muhiddin Kabiri on Interpol, IRPT ban, General Nazarzoda and exiled opposition’s future

Muhiddin Kabiri on Interpol, IRPT ban, General Nazarzoda and exiled opposition’s future

17.04.2017 22:33 msk Analytics Human Rights Politics Religious life Interview Tajikistan

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.

Between a rock and a hard place in Tajikistan: husbands demand wives wear head covers, gov’t demands removing

Between a rock and a hard place in Tajikistan: husbands demand wives wear head covers, gov’t demands removing

02.03.2017 19:26 msk Human Rights Religious life Tajikistan

The situation around satr, a locally used term for hijab, or headscarf, is becoming ever more controversial in Tajikistan. Only a few years the Tajik society was rather tolerant toward satr with the male part of it encouraging women to wear Islamic attire. But lately, mostly thanks to the Tajik authorities’ efforts, the society has gradually started espousing suspicious attitudes toward this Islamic piece of clothing. In the imagination of Tajik authorities, men sporting beards or women wearing headscarves are initial steps toward radicalisation and extremism. Even though Article 26 of the country’s constitution reads that “each person has the right to independently determine her/his religious preference, to practice any religion alone or in association with others or to practice no religion, and to participate in the performance of religious cults, rituals and ceremonies”, wearing satr is not openly welcomed by the authorities; doing so triggers persecutions in certain cases. That said, even those human rights advocates who used to make bold statements about human rights violations are remaining silent.

Human trafficking and IS followers in Central Asia

Human trafficking and IS followers in Central Asia

31.01.2017 09:21 msk Human Rights Politics Migration Central Asia Afghanistan Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Russia Tajikistan Turkey, Republic of Uzbekistan

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.

Tajik-Afghan borders in photos: What lies on the other side of Panj River?

Tajik-Afghan borders in photos: What lies on the other side of Panj River?

20.01.2017 15:09 msk Analytics Politics Central Asia Afghanistan Tajikistan

Politicians and experts have long been expressing concerns regarding the situation on the Afghan side of the border near Tajikistan. The length of the border the two countries share is 1,344km, of which 920km are the Gorno-Badakhshan section while the remaining over 424km are the Khatlon Region of Tajikistan. The latter section is the one that causes most concern in terms of attempts to violate the state border from the Afghan side to contraband illicit drugs. The situation in the southern ends of Gorno-Badakhsan Autonomous Region, known by is Russian abbreviation, GBAO, is relative stable. However, according to experts, there is a risk that the situation could deteriorate.

High and Dry: Central Asia’s Failure to Avert the Impending Water Crisis

High and Dry: Central Asia’s Failure to Avert the Impending Water Crisis

18.01.2017 10:09 msk Analytics Business Politics Cotton Central Asia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

The Harvard International Review's January 2017 edition includes an academic article on problems with water supply in Central Asia. The article author Alisher Ilkhamov is a Research Associate at the Centre of Contemporary Central Asia & the Caucasus at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. According to Mr Ilkhamov, the worsening international relations in the region are the main source of water-related problems in post-Soviet Central Asia.

Radio Liberty: “We hope Tajik authorities understand their mistake and reinstate our journalists’ accreditation”

Radio Liberty: “We hope Tajik authorities understand their mistake and reinstate our journalists’ accreditation”

29.11.2016 09:36 msk Human Rights Tajikistan

Late last week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan revoked the accreditations of six journalists of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) based in Dushanbe. The exterior ministry provided no comments on the decision. However, the journalists’ accreditation was revoked after RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reported on a new appointment for Rukshona Rakhmonova, President Emomali Rakhmon’s daughter. RFE/RL Director of Communications Joanna Levison commented on the situation, on why did disagreeable journalist were “punished” and how the Dushanbe bureau is planning to continue its work in an interview with Fergana.

NATO Liaison Office in Tashkent to close, but alliance to continue cooperation in region

NATO Liaison Office in Tashkent to close, but alliance to continue cooperation in region

17.11.2016 17:52 msk Analytics Politics Interview Central Asia Afghanistan Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

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.

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