Article Archive for Year 2005
Adil Soz reports that two staff member of the “Altyn Gasyr” newspaper have been severely assaulted. Kazhymurat Abilkaliyev, assistant editor, was attacked by four unidentified men distributing copies of his paper. A volunteer named Azamat Dospanov was rammed by another car while driving the paper’s own. The Kazakh police seem a bit cumbersome:
The Atyrau Internal Affairs Department (police department) has not yet started investigation in both incidents, despite the formal report filed by Dospanov.
Some days ago, six papers were banned from publishing, report IFEX and CPJ:
Six newspapers that have covered an opposition candidate’s presidential campaign were prevented on Monday from publishing their current editions, according to local and international press reports. Managers at the private printing company Vremya-Print in the financial capital of Almaty refused to explain why they would not publish Epokha, Svoboda Slova, Zhuma-taims, Apta.kz, Azat, and Soz.
The Kazakh Central Election Commission issued a ruling on 30 September certifying the eligibility of 11 presidential candidates. The most prominent of these candidates include incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbaev; Zharmakhan Tuyakbai, the leader of the opposition “For a Just Kazakhstan” bloc; parliamentarians Ualikhan Kaisarov and Erasyl Abylkasymov; businessman Salim Oten; lawyer Mekemtas Tleulesov; and Alikhan Baimenov, the leader of the Ak Zhol party (RFE-RL 10/3).
Despite the host of approved candidates, incumbent Nursultan Nazarbayev seems perfectly positioned to secure a third, seven-year term in December. Kazakhstan, like other nations in Central Asia, has a history of rigged elections, but some observers say that Nazarbayev’s popularity seems sufficiently strong at this stage and he could easily win a free-and-fair vote (Eurasianet).
Nursultan Nazarbaev met on September 30 with visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried in Astana. The U.S. official, on his first official visit to the region, arrived in Kazakhstan from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and discussed bilateral economic and security cooperation with the Kazakh president. Although Washington remains concerned over the preparations for Kazakhstan’s December presidential election, in which Nazarbaev is seeking a further presidential term, the visit is intended to strengthen bilateral ties in the wake of the forced withdrawal of U.S. troops from the coalition air base in neighboring Uzbekistan (RFE-RL 10/3).
Several developments have occurred this week in what is the rocky and sometimes unpredictable saga of the large gas deposits in Turkmenistan. Firstly, Pakistan’s DAWN newspaper group cited Russia’s ITAR-TASS stating that a representative from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has be quoted as suggesting that the delivery of gas from Turkmenistan’s Daulatabad field might not be possible through the 1,700-km trans-Afghanistan pipeline. The ADB has backed the 3.3 billion dollar project since 2002, and if they were to pull out it would bring even more trouble to a project that has consistently had difficulties in getting off the ground due to its scale and the political instability within Afghanistan. Analysts are suggesting that production forecasts are lower than expected, and it could be this that has placed doubt in the minds of those involved from the ADB.
On a brighter note the Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov has ordered the national oil and gas company Nafhohaz Ukrayiny to improve the dynamics of payments in goods for Turkmen gas. Also, Iran has decided it needs to import extra gas from Turkmenistan to meet its winter energy demands. Further information on this and other news stories can be found here.
News Central Asia is reporting that President Niyazov has dismissed the governor of Ahal. This latest purge occurred at an expanded session of the cabinet of ministers. The News Central Asia article makes important reference to some significant differences between this dismissal and other recent purges of middle to high ranking officials, most notably that it was the first time a top official has been accused publicly of dealing in, and being addicted too, narcotics. Full article available here
Welcome to the neweurasia blog homebase. While we’re still busy setting up our nascent project (mostly technical work), there is already activity on many of our country blogs
Rico over at http://turkmenistan.neweurasia.net has commenced posting last week. His two posts shed light on a recent dismissal from President Nyazov’s (or Turkmenbashi) cabinet and the state of the Turkmen gas production.
Joel and I have started working on this country blog yesterday. The posts have so far covered recent attacks on independent press as well as election-related news. Kazakhstan holds a presidential ballot in December.
Joel has posted a long entry on mid-term elections that showed a victory for the ruling coalition as a result. The other two posts cover news on Georgia’s territorial integrity.
Marianna continues her excellent coverage of events heating up in the run-up to the elections in November. There were rallies recently in Baku and a TV channel installed for political education is already blasted for its pro-government bias. Nathan from the Registan has a post on tensions in Azerbaijan here.
On a more technical note, please be advised that this blog’s and all country blogs’ layout will considerably change over the coming days. Also, the Uzbek and Kyrgyz versions should commence posting really soon. If you are interested in joining our editorial crew, please do get in touch with me at ben(at)thinking-east.net