Stories about Central Asia & Caucasus from June, 2013
Being a Turkmen citizen is big on drawbacks and small on benefits, which is why many Turkmen citizens took advantage of a 1993 agreement between Turkmenistan and Russia that enabled them to hold passports belonging to both countries. But with the government releasing a new version of the country's main travel document, dual passport holders may be forced to choose their side.
An attack on the presidential palace in downtown Kabul on the morning of June 25 has terrified Afghans and cast a huge cloud over the future of negotiations between the government, the Taliban, and the United States. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Alex Ulko on NewEurasia.net explains where the “Orientalist flavour discernible in the works of many [Uzbek] artists” comes from. His well-informed comments about contemporary Uzbek photography are accompanied by beautiful photos (also here, here, here, here, here, and here).
On Registan.net Noah Tucker reports that the 71-year-old father of an Uzbek opposition politician has disappeared in police custody in Uzbekistan. The authorities intimidate the elderly man (as well as scores of his relatives) apparently because his son founded an opposition party that had been quite successful in mobilizing supporters...
Khujand [Sughd's capital] prepares to welcome the president again. Banners, posters, and fixed roads [are there] again. I can only be happy about the latter! I would love to see the president come to Khujand as often as possible - this would force the authorities to fix the roads. It is a pity, however, that only part of the city's roads are fixed - that part along which the president's cortege will travel. The rest of the roads have been neglected for years.
Blogger Dmitry Efremov writes [ru] about the negative attitudes that people with disabilities confront in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan: It is terrible to realize that some people among us disrespect persons with disabilities.
A suicide bomb explosion shook a western district of Kabul, Afghanistan on June 18, killing at least three and injuring more than twenty. The explosion took place shortly before the international coalition (ISAF) forces were due to officially transfer responsibility for security of the remaining districts of eastern and southern...
A Facebook-driven reaction to the government's attempt to ram through a pension reform without public discussion has given people approaching retirement age in Kazakhstan a rare voice. The republic's Social Affairs Minister was toppled after a gaffe at a public appearance made him an object of ridicule, while Kazakhstan's strongman president...
On the video from [his son's] wedding, Emomali Rahmon shows himself as a real, normal man - he has fun, dances with joy, and encourages everyone else to do the same. Don't all our men behave the same way at their sons' weddings?
After lengthy debates, the parliament in Kyrgyzstan has adopted legislation banning young women from travelling abroad without parental consent. On Registan.net, Alisher Abdug'oforov suggests that the new legislation not only violates the country's constitution, but is also unlikely to solve any problems it is designed to address.
The search for the next president of Afghanistan is underway. Last fall, Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) slated presidential elections for April 5, 2014. Voter registration started at the end of last month and will continue until two weeks before the day of the vote. Although a list of candidates is still yet to be finalized, some of the names expected on the ballot are already the source of intense discussion.
Following the lead of neighboring countries, Kyrgyzstan is debating banning the activities of Tablighi Jamaat, a controversial non-political movement which aims to bring Muslims towards a deeper embrace of Islamic religious practices. The issue of Tablighi Jamaat has divided political and religious leaders as well as ordinary people in the country.
For small, landlocked and little-known countries such as Kyrgyzstan, "self-branding" is a slow and difficult process. So, when stars from foreign countries arrive to shoot a video in your countryside, the hope is that the message they take home with them is the right one. But unfortunately, it doesn't always work out like that.
A week-long wave of regional unrest, ostensibly due to disagreements over the fate of a key gold mine, has sent Kyrgyzstan into a state of disorder that looks all too familiar for citizens of the republic.