Stories about Central Asia & Caucasus from May, 2013
Mardikornoma blog comments [tj] on the constitution of Tajikistan, suggesting that it has become more of a fairy tales book than the country's supreme law: As I skim through the pages of Tajikistan's Constitution, I cannot help thinking that this document must be from some other country.
As Turkmenistan celebrates a recent Guinness World Record award for the highest density of white marble buildings, Caravanistan writes about the “weird, sad, and revealing” world records held by other countries of Central Asia.
Turkmenistan already has a record-breaking president and ever-rising wheat harvests. But this is not enough for the oil-rich country. Don Croner reports that Turkmenistan's capital, Ashgabat, has recently been awarded a Guinness World Record for the world's highest density of white marble buildings.
On May 21, YouTube user Yevgeni Melnik shared this video of a group of four anonymous Georgian men doing an impromptu performance of traditional Georgian singing and dancing at Terminal F of Kiev Boryspil International Airport. The video has gone viral among Ukrainian Internet users: as of May 28, it...
As tensions surrounding elections slated for November continue to poison the political mood in Tajikistan, a video of President Emomali Rahmon singing and dancing at his son's wedding has gone viral, giving opposition figures yet another reason to criticize the excesses of the ruling family and the Tajik authorities yet another reason to block the video-sharing platform YouTube. The wedding took place in 2007, but the video was uploaded to YouTube on May 18, 2013.
Earlier today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov commented on his country's fifth place finish in this year's Eurovision Song Contest. At a press conference, Lavrov denounced supposed voting irregularities, claiming that Russia's points were "stolen," and called the anomaly "an outrageous act," promising Russian retaliation. Netizens were deeply amused.
Discussions surrounding potential membership of the Customs Union that currently comprises Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan are not new to Kyrgyzstan's public. Having come into effect in July of 2011 the union aims to bring member states into a common economic zone, establishing a tariff-free platform for regional trade.
Victory Day on May 9, marking the end of World War II, is a national holiday celebrated vibrantly in many former Soviet countries, including Kyrgyzstan. This year, Kyrgyzstani Internet users expressed their frustration that the country's "true heroes" are remembered only once a year, and that the holiday has now turned into an excuse to get drunk.
“Good news Pamiris,” writes [ru] Bektour Iskender, President of Kloop Media, a Kyrgyz news portal and blogging platform. “Wikipedia has provided permission to begin a version of the site in Shughni.” Shughni is one of the main languages spoken in Gorno Badakhshan province (GBAO), a remote, eastern part of Tajikistan...
In Turkmenistan, pop musicians tread a difficult path between carving out a distinctive image for themselves and ensuring they don't fall foul of the state.
“Never eat overripe, clammy, flabby, wormy or spoiled mushrooms,” writes Ian Claytor, translating advice from Kyrgyzstan's Department for Disease Prevention and Expertise in his blog, Postcard from Bishkek. With the mushroom picking season underway in the former Soviet state, the Ministry of Health have come up [ru] with guidelines to help pickers enjoy the pastime safely.
It is a pity that instead of the 'leninization' of the monument space we now have its 'somonization'. Every town erects a Somoni statue. How much more can we take? Why do we need so many identical monuments? Somoni might have been a heroic figure (which is impossible to ascertain now because the country's history is excessively ideologized and politicized), but we should not turn him into a new Lenin, a 'father' or 'grandfather' of the nation.
Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of the President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, is very active in social media, and her provocative Twitter posts and photos shared on Instagram often raise eyebrows among the mostly conservative audiences in Uzbekistan and other countries in the region. Blogger Ayana Seidimbek presents a collection of the most controversial posts and images the 'Uzbek princess' has shared in social media.
Migrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus are the usual victims of racist sentiment in Russia. Aware of deepening anti-migrant feelings, many of Moscow's politicians promote right-wing policies. But there is one politician that always goes a step further than the rest.
The Turkmen leader has recently fell off his horse after winning a race. The footage of the embarrassing incident had been made public by international media, and Turkmen dissidents are using the video as an opportunity to ridicule the president.
Noorjahan Akbar, 22, is an Afghan women's rights activist and a prolific blogger. She believes that there has been a lot of positive change for women's rights in Afghanistan over the last decade. She also believes that social media serve as an important avenue for Afghan women to highlight their plight.