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Voices from Central Asia and the Caucasus

Copyright by Hans Heiner Buhr, http://kaukasus.blogspot.com
“Snow in Tbilisi”, Hans Heiner Buhr

Welcome to the first roundup of the Central Asian and Caucasian blogosphere, brought to you bi-weekly by neweurasia. We'll take you alphabetically through the countries:

Armenia:
Onnik Krikorian does a great job writing the first-ever roundups from the Armenian blogosphere. Himself a blogger over at his Oneworld blog, he has the best insights into the local scene as he is based in Yerevan, Armenia's capital.

Georgia:
Extreme weather conditions have ground life in Tbilisi, Georgia's capital, to a halt. ‘Sueandnotu’ has her personal story about how difficult it can be to walk along the town's biggest promenade, Rustaveli, when everybody is throwing snowballs at you. ‘Kaukasus’, a blog run by a German based in Georgia, has amazing pictures of the snow chaos in Tbilisi. Jeremy over at neweurasia covers the recent gas shortages that occured when a gas pipeline from Russia got blown up by explosions – and their implications for already hard winter life in Georgia.

Kazakhstan:
Extreme winter conditions have made Betsy post about how people in Uralsk (northern Kazakhstan) cope with the low temperatures and the masses of snow. FYI: “You can’t tell the difference between –35 degrees and –45.” I hope that means Fahrenheit…

Kyrgyzstan:
Amira over at ‘The Golden Road to Samarqand’ wonders whether she could get more Kyrgyz students to blog. Speaking of students, ‘Mountains of Heaven’ writes about her experiences examining students on their English-language abilities. Many of her students spoke much better English when haggling about a better grade. For a complete rundown on recent events unfolding in the mountainous Central Asian republic, Claire's roundup is the place to get up-to-date about post-revolutionary intrigue and political soap-opera.

Tajikistan:
‘Dushanbe Pictures’ keeps up its great flow of photos from Tajikistan. Take a look at this post for a yummy Central Asian rice dish (is it a Tajik plov?). ‘Tajikistan Travels’ has been on a field visit to Bishkent, a city in southern Tajikistan, and interviewed local inhabitants. An interesting discussion unfolded when neweurasia's James reported on Islamic education in Tajik schools’ curriculum.

Turkmenistan:
Turkmen blogger, Karakum, wrote up the second half of a fascinating interview with a member of the Initiative Group, an organisation designed as an information platform for governments reforms to be undertaken in Turkmenistan. The interview is particularly revealing about the deficiencies of the Turkmen army in tackling the growing problem of drug-trafficking in the country. Recent pension cuts in Turkmenistan make ‘Fakten und Fiktionen’ wonder whether one might expect similar developments in Germany soon (read neweurasia for backgrounds on President Niyazov's latest controversial decision).

Uzbekistan:
‘Novoe Uzbeksoe Slovo’ (The New Uzbek Voice) has news about a regular train schedule between the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, and Andijon. The train will set off for Andijon in the late afternoon, stop off in Margilan, and then return to the capital two days later. The itinerary has not been possible so far because of the vicinity of the track to the Tajik border, but it seems arrangements have been made. Until her last post Tashkva, from Tashkent, was stuck in Dushanbe trying to get to get a flight back home via Khojand. She writes about her observations of the Tajik capital, which she describes as flash from the past. However, she is impressed by the friendliness and optimism of the local people.

Would you deem fur-lined underwear morally-objectionable? Uzbekistan's government certainly does, and neweurasia's Rumil is just puzzled about the whole story.

Culture:
To catch up with the latest cuts and styles as well as scratches and lyrics from the region: ‘Who knew Armenians could rap’ has some fresh news on Mihran, who won the hip-hop category at the recent Armenian Music Awards. The Registan has the latest details on the Uzbek hip-hop scene and links to some tasty snippets of hip-hop Uzbek style.

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