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Article Archive for Year 2010

Don’t worry, the Turkmenweb.com interview is on the way
Written by , Thursday, 2 Dec, 2010 – 16:28 | No Comment

As managing editor of the English site, I would like to personally assure our Turkmen readers that Annasoltan’s interview with Muhammed Mamedov of the company Turkmenweb.com shall be published later this month. It’s a very big interview and there’s only one of me to edit it, so please have patience with me! :-)

What’s the reason behind the MTS blackout?
Written by , Thursday, 2 Dec, 2010 – 15:14 | One Comment


MTS users in Turkmenistan reported today that their mobile phones are inoperative. Calls made to MTS centers have been unsuccessful. In general MTS cannot be reached for comment, nor has it posted any explanation on its website.

Read the full story »

Wedding Trouble Sheds Light on Visa Concerns in Central Asia
Written by , Thursday, 2 Dec, 2010 – 9:19 | No Comment

Translation of Avicenna’s post (RUS)

Neweurasia has been trying to verify rumors regarding how difficult it is for Uzbeks to obtain a visa to travel to Turkmenistan, and the month-long ordeal I went through in my unsuccessful attempt to attend a close friend’s wedding is the proof.

From the middle of October to the middle of November, I personally had to deal with many of the alleged problems faced by aspiring visitors to sunny Turkmenistan. Read the full story »

neweurasia @ OSCE — live from inside the Pyramid!
Written by , Wednesday, 1 Dec, 2010 – 14:08 | One Comment
The Pyramid of Peace in Astana, site of the OSCE summit. Photograph by Flickr user kersy83 (CC-usage).

The Pyramid of Peace in Astana, site of the OSCE summit. Photograph by Flickr user kersy83 (CC-usage).

The huge OSCE summit kicks off today in Astana, and neweurasia‘s there to cover it. We’ve got bloggers inside the Pyramid with forthcoming posts. Meanwhile, my colleague, Yelena Jetpysayeva, the managing editor for our Russian site, is Tweeting like a madwoman @ http://twitter.com/#!/mursya. You can also watch the event live via YourVision @ http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fyvision.kz%2Fcommunity%2F%25D0%2590%25D1%2581%25D1%2582%25D0%25B0%25D0%25BD%25D0%25B0%2F91373.html.

The Russian blogosphere looks like a Petri dish
Written by , Wednesday, 1 Dec, 2010 – 4:00 | No Comment

Harvard’s Berkman Center has produced this “map” of the Russian blogosphere (supplemented with a simplifying exegesis by RussianSphinx). It looks alot like a Petri dish under a micrscope, with the core of the infection around public affairs and “instrumental” (i.e., bloggers getting paid for their craft).

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Japanese iPods to use Kazakh rare earths
Written by , Tuesday, 30 Nov, 2010 – 22:15 | One Comment

295023450_9f84e58c3a_m-150x150Translation of Askhat’s post (KAZ, RUS)

The dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands has not passed Kazakhstan by. US magazine The Nation has published an article about Japanese firms’ plans to import rare earths, one of China’s precious exports, from Kazakhstan. Several joint ventures are currently being considered. Read the full story »

When in doubt, blame the Islamists
Written by , Tuesday, 30 Nov, 2010 – 17:05 | 6 Comments
Photograph by neweurasia's Mary Pole (CC-usage).

Photograph by neweurasia's Mary Pole (CC-usage).

Editor’s note: Yesterday’s in southern Kyrgyzstan and today’s bombing in Bishkek have once again raised the spectre of Islamism over Central Asia’s “island of democracy”. But is there any substance behind the “Islamism” label? neweurasia’s Mary Pole sees something much more sinister at work. “The context of oppression and intimidation of the ethnic Uzbek minority in Kyrgyzstan,” she writes, “and the frequent use of the word ‘Islamist’ and ‘terrorist’ in justifying arrests and detention in many of these cases [are] indicative of a concerning trend.”

(This post was filed before today’s bombing in Bishkek, but we think it applies to that incident, as well.)

Despite widespread panic, Monday’s gun battle in Osh was localised and is reported to be due to a state security raid to arrest Islamic Militants. The State National Security Services are eager to state that they have the situation under control and that they ‘will not allow any massacres and clashes.’ It’s a shame they didn’t feel the same way in June.

While they may not be allowing any violence on the same scale as the mass killing and destruction earlier this year, yesterday’s events are part of a concerning pattern of intimidation and detention of ethnic Uzbeks in which combating ‘terrorism’ and ‘radical Islam’ is being used as a guise for the abuse of human rights.

Read the full story »

Kazakhstan: Global Undergraduate Exchange Program
Written by , Monday, 29 Nov, 2010 – 23:47 | No Comment

Study Subject: Accounting,Agriculture, Anthropology,Biology, Business, Chemistry,Computer Science,Criminal Justice Etc.

Employer: U.S. Embassy, Kazakhstan

Level: Undergraduate

Scholarship Description: The U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan is pleased to announce that recruitment has begun for the 2010-2011 Global Undergraduate Exchange Program.

The Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Eurasia and Central Asia (Global UGRAD), a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State, provides opportunities for undergraduate students from Kazakhstan for one year of full-time, non-degree study in the United States.

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Did Bakiev’s government try to milk Manas Airbase money out of China?
Written by , Monday, 29 Nov, 2010 – 4:50 | 4 Comments

Remember all that hubub in 2009 about the possible closure of the Manas Airbase? Well, WikiLeaks reveals, so to speak, the Chinese view on the matter, albeit via American eyes.

Arguably, it appears the Kyrgyz officials were trying to slyly induce China into giving them additional cash — or, conversely, that there was some talk of a deal, which the Americans sniffed out and confronted the Chinese about. The Chinese Ambassador seems rather frank in this account, talking about unemployment and discontent in his country, as well as the resentment China felt over the fate of Guantanamo Bay’s Uighur prisoners (“imply[ing] that the Guantanamo situation had made China look for ways to hit back at the U.S.”)

Here’s the digital diplomatic cable in full text, with a link back to the WikiLeaks site:

Read the full story »

WikiLeaks data blitz begins, Turkmenistan has a surprising role
Written by , Monday, 29 Nov, 2010 – 4:00 | 5 Comments
An American soldiers talks with Turkmen students. Photograph from the Turkmen site of the American embassy in Ashgabat.

American children's author Ken Derby talks with Turkmen children. Photograph from the American embassy in Ashgabat.

The largest leak of sensitive government documents ever has begun. WikiLeaks has unveiled 250,000 of what is believed to be three million [Correction: The full set consists of 251,287 documents, comprising 261,276,536 words] digital diplomatic cables at the website http://cablegate.wikileaks.org. The release of the entire amount seems to have been delayed due to what the organization’s Twitterfeed calls a “massive” denial of service attack against WikiLeaks’ many servers. So, we’re going to have to sit tight for possibly a few more days for the total torrent.

Now, surprisingly, of the cables currently revealed, the American embassy in Ashgabat figures prominently. It appears this facility is a key location for American intelligence and diplomatic operations in Central Asia, and to some extent Iran. I have primarily numerical reasons for saying this (see: end of this post); as to the content of the material, it may be telling that it tends to be very geopolitical, especially in the direction of Iran, rather than Turkmenistan-specific.

So, there are four cables, three originating from this embassy and one sent to it, so far revealed. I’ve copied their salient points in this post, with links back so you can see the full texts.

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