Lunch – by Dushanbe Pictures, Erik Petersson, 2006
With that fresh portion of Tajik plov on your plate, we bid you welcome to the latest roundup of the Central Asian and Caucasian blogosphere, brought to you bi-weekly by neweurasia. First off, apologies for the delay in presenting this week's edition – but end-of-term stress kept all of us busy. As usual, we take you through the eight countries alphabetically. Unfortunately, this week no entry from/on Azerbaijan made it into our roundup. If you're an Azeri blogger or blogging on Azerbaijan, be sure to send us your story.
It goes without saying that Onnik Krikorian's Oneworld blog provides the best gateway to the Armenian blogosphere thanks to the frequent roundups posted there. In the latest edition, Onnik summarises what has been a busy week in the English-speaking Armenian blogosphere. On the same blog, Nessuna rounds up the Armenian-language blogosphere.
Susan of SueAndNotU posts on a nice encounter on Tbilisi's biggest outdoor market Bazroba, where she made a new friend who sells electronic spare parts. Joel of neweurasia reports that four opposition parties united in order to challenge the government on a number of issues.
Erica over at The Durrty South of Siberia calls on people to donate American games to an organisation looking after physically-disabled children in the north of Kazakhstan. On neweurasia, Ben rounds up half a year of Kazakh election blogging that took the blog's contributors from attending conferences to engaging in heated debates. Michael Hancock writes about the naivete with which some Kazakh families treat junk mail in their mailboxes, and in how far evil-minded advertisers are exploiting the hard-working people. Stavros, involved in human rights issues in Kazakhstan, posts podcasts on a number of issues. Check out this one on how a marshrutka (minibus) gets you around Almaty, Kazakhstan's inofficial capital.
Edil Baisalov, President of the Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society in Kyrgyzstan, recently started his own blog. In one of his latest posts, he carries an extensive summary of a lecture given at the American University in Bishkek by Bakyt Beshimov about the foreign policy aims of Kyrgyzstan (Link in Russian). Kyrgyzstan Student Blog, a new bi-lingual blog featuring law students from Karakol and Bishkek is now up and running. In the blog's first post, Sandro is very critical of President Kurmanbek Bakiev. Amira of The Golden Road to Samarqand posted some impressions of everyday life in Bishkek. On neweurasia, Claire has several posts on commemorating the ‘Tulip Revolution’ that toppled Askar Akaev from power one year ago. Is the anniversary really a reason to celebrate? Read here, here, and here to get the full insight.
The five Christian Aid workers that travelled through Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have now made available very interesting video footage of their trip on their blog. The files are very large, but it's definitely worth to strain your internet connection, as exlusive videos on blogs on Central Asia are not very frequent delights. For more visuals, check neweurasia, where Tajik Boy has found a great online photo gallery on Tajikistan. On the same blog, James says that the International Monetary Fund has agreed to work closely together with Tajikistan on macroeconomic issues.
Turkmen blogger Karakum has addressed a theme regularly raised on another Turkmen blog, Paikhas, which is that of federalism in Turkmenistan. He offers his own perspective on the issue, and a lively discussion ensues in the comments section (Link in Russian). Nathan of The Registan says that last week has been busy for President Niyazov – he decreed that the authorities should get rid of ‘fools’ within their ranks and that each woman should be given $38 as a present on the National Spring Holiday in March. Carpetblogger says that “Turkmenbashi's” idea to plant a forest in the desert is more genius than anything else Donald Trump ever came up with. On a more serious note, neweurasia's Peter reports that two Radio Free Europe journalists had been detained. Nathan of The Registan found out, that they were released later under the condition never to work for the Prague-based news outlet again.
Dnevnik Zhurnalista-Lyubitelya has some interesting statistics on internet use in Uzbekistan. Apparently, there are 60% more Uzbek internet users now than 2004 (Link in Russian). Novoe Uzbekskoe Slovo has a story on the upcoming Silk and Spice Festival in Bukhara (Link in Russian). The World Bank has suspended funding for projects in Uzbekistan, reports James on neweurasia. The Bank fears that under the “present conditions” in Uzbekistan, resources won't be delivering tangible development results.
If you're based in New York, be sure to check out next week's (Tuesday) event at Miller Theatre at Columbia University ‘The Music of Central Asia’, as reported by Larry Tweed. Marianna of neweurasia wrote an article on the US government's approach to aid in the Caucasus and asks in how far the new MCA (Millenium Challenge Account) is really ‘new’. On the same blog, Neil rounds up issues relating to press freedom in Central Asia, and James summarised a lecture given by former World Bank country director Dennis de Tray.