I hold an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge and have grown fond of Central Asia over the last couple of years. Which is why founded neweurasia, a blog network about the five former Soviet countries of the region. Mostly irrelevant ramblings can be found on my personal blog.
Latest posts by Ben Paarmann from August, 2007
Having lived and worked in Azerbaijan, Carpetblogger is not surprised by the news that a newly-built highrise collapsed in the capital Baku due to poor building standards.
Scraps of Moscow links to an IWPR article about the impact of labour migration on the healthcare system in Kyrgyzstan, and finds many similarities to problems elsewhere in the developing world.
Christine Quirk received a reader's comment to one of her earlier posts (GV reported) about the imaginary threat of radical political Islam in Azerbaijan. The commentator is a well-known Azeri Imam, who thanks the blogger for bringing up important issues. In turn, Quirk lists those players who benefit from the...
Plenty of trade-related news from Tajikistan – and Bonnie Boyd has them all.
At Steady State, rindi is amused about conflicting reports of a mysterious object falling from the sky in the breakaway province of Abkhazia. Was it a Russian or a Georgian airplane? Or a US spy drone? Or even a “cosmic object”?
Although 11 hostages still remain in the hands of their kidnappers, Carl Robichaud speculates why the Taliban agreed to release the Korean missionary workers who have been held hostage for over a month.
Péter Marton, writing on his My State Failure Blog, has the latest updates from the unruly Afghan province Uruzgan.
At Registan.net, Nathan Hamm thinks that Uzbekistan's president Islam Karimov will stay in power beyond his constitutional term.
American filmmaker Joseph Spaid tells readers about his film Kiran over Mongolia over at neweurasia. The documentary portrays a young Mongolized Kazakh youth from the urban capital who is taken into an apprenticeship by a true Kazakh eagle master.
Although the Korean hostages are likely to come free after more than a month in custody in Afghanistan, OneFreeKorea is unhappy with the deal struck with the Taliban. In the blogger's opinion, this will “stamp “kidnap me” in fluorescent letters in every Republic of Korea passport”.
From Afghanistan, Sanjar reports that he and his colleagues have launched a petition demanding the removal of the current Minister for Information and Culture. Rumours have it that a successor has already been chosen, and Sanjar voices his discontent over President Karzai's choice.
Onnik Krikorian posts the latest developments in the run-up to next year's presidential elections in Armenia. This week's news include the growing rumours that a successful ex-politician might enter the scene to compete against the ruling Republican Party.
Konchog Norbu posts pictures that prove that the Gobi desert is not an utterly barren and lifeless place.
John Musarra retells his ordeal of trying to get a haircut in downtown Dushanbe. Tajikistan's summers are hot, dusty and difficult to cope with. The barbershop John chose, however, proved equally difficult to cope with.
Jamiyat doesn't find much else than sarcasm in a recently published opinion poll that says, above all, that the president of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, is doing an astonishingly good job.
Bonnie Boyd has a comprehensive background post on the current crisis involving the Kazakh government and the international consortium developing the country's biggest oil field, Kashagan.
Afghanistanica disarms the widely held belief that there are Chechen Jihadis on the ground in Afghanistan.
A US-funded bridge connecting Afghanistan's north with Tajikistan was officially opened last weekend. Both Mohammad Fahim Khairy and Vadim at neweurasia offer their mostly jubilant commentary.
You kind of always wanted to visit the ubiquitous amusement parks in Central Asia and the Caucasus, but just never dared to go inside, right? Joshua Kucera takes you on a photo tour.
Christine Quirk looks at how clans shape political behaviour and in how far they make it difficult to enfranchise groups who might have different viewpoints or are far down on the clan power structure.
Onnik Krikorian notes that the recent fist fights between Armenian basketball teams from around the world show that divisions and animosity exists between different Armenian groups.