Stories about Central Asia & Caucasus from August, 2012
Following Hungary's release of an Azerbaijani army officer convicted of murdering an Armenian soldier, Armenia has severed diplomatic ties with the Central European country.
…[Turkmenistan's] young generation literally has got nothing to do. Which is why they love Hip Hop… But the government should not censor Hip Hop… for its own long-term survival. NewEurasia.net's Khan explains how the growing popularity of hip-hop in Turkmenistan benefits the authorities.
…[D]espite being generally underdeveloped as a state, I am the freest of all other countries that were also born in 1991! Blogger Ilya Karimdjanov offers a ‘Monologue of Kyrgyzstan‘ [ru] which celebrates its independence today.
August is the month of melons in Turkmenistan where expansive steppe lands yield some of the tastiest crop known to mankind. Turkmen Melon Day, celebrated since 1994, is one of the favourite public holidays in the country.
A photo uploaded on Facebook suggests that Janysh Bakiyev, the brother of the former Kyrgyzstani president ousted by 2010 protests, lives in Minsk. This has sparked an extradition request, the withdrawal of an ambassador and the storming of an embassy.
In a rare display of political openness, the mayor of the country's capital Dushanbe met with some 400 Facebook users and responded to their criticisms. The meeting was broadcast live online.
This September, Russia is planning to hold 'Caucasus-2012' with forces from the breakaway Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. With 8,000 troops, as well as heavy machinery, artillery, navy, and air force, this will be Russia’s largest exercise this year. Is this too close for comfort for Georgians?
'Its a shame that the sane, handsome and enterprising premier of #freekg Babanov is on his way out.' The 42-year-old Prime Minister has been accused of accepting an expensive British thoroughbred racehorse as a bribe, from a Turkish company, to secure a controversial US military airbase contract.
A group of Kazakhstani photographers have recently toured the mountainous region of Altai in in the country's east, known for its picturesque alpine scenery. Photos made during the trip can be accessed on YVision blog: here, here, and here.
China’s growing economic presence in Kyrgyzstan continues to be a topic for heated discussion in Kyrgyz society. In the country’s regions, this discourse is reflected in acrimonious standoffs between Chinese companies and locals, confrontations the mainstream media often fails to report on.
Perhaps the most surprising thing to emerge out of the media saturated Pussy Riot trials other than the trial itself, was the attendance and subsequent arrest of the former Chessmaster of Caucasian descent, Gary Kasparov, at the reading of the verdict on August 17, which saw the three women accused of illegally performing a "punk prayer" in a church receive a two year prison term.
"What kind of an idiot could kill the person at a moment when even a minor altercation may lead to a new civil war in Tajikistan?" The protest began after a former opposition commander was killed in his home this morning.
“A Pussy Riot of our own” is how Kazakhstani netizens are referring to the judicial drama involving three opposition leaders accused of active participation in the Zhanaozen oil-strike that turned violent in December 2011. The trials of Vladimir Kozlov, Aizhanat Aminov and Serik Sapargaly started on August 16, and are expected to end within the next two weeks. Kazakh netizens do not believe that the three defendants will get a fair trial.
Baku Views, a blog on economic commentary and opinion from Azerbaijan reflects on a recent NY Times column by Paul Krugman on Europe's dependence on Russian energy, noting that with its gas pipelines projects, Azerbaijan could be an alternative, reliable energy partner. In its opening notes, the blog also compares...
During construction to one of Tbilisi's main streets, parts of a 5th century fortress used to defend the city were unearthed. The Young Georgians has a series of photos of the remarkable discovery, which appears on Georgian cartographer Vakkshuti's map of the capital from 1735.
Life in the Caucasus, a blog by Peace Corps volunteer John, posts reflections on Armenia as his service comes to an end after two years. The blog summarizes a few key points and opinions on how Armenia's potential is often clouded by the country acting as its own worst enemy,...
On video blog bloggingheads.tv, Joshua Foust of Registan.net speaks to a Turkmen dissident living in exile about the political situation in Turkmenistan.
This post is part of our special coverage of the London 2012 Olympics. The three South Caucasus countries have been participating independently in the Olympics since 1996, and they each followed up their records in Beijing this summer in London to walk away with gold, silver and bronze in the...
The 2012 Summer Olympics offered mixed successes for Central Asian states. While the Games proved nothing short of triumph for team Kazakhstan, the success of athletes from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan was more moderate. And for Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, the Olympics were largely a disappointment.
"In a year filled with suicide bombings, school poisonings and kidnappings, the bronze for Afghanistan was more than gold." The country celebrates its one and only Olympic winner - Bronze medalist and Taekwondo fighter Rohullah Nikpai.