Business and Economics
Out of ten million migrants, there are 14 % Uzbeks, 10 % Kazakhs, 6,75 % Tajiks, 3,5 % Kyrgyz citizens, reported head of the Immigration control department of the FMS (Federal Migration Service) of Russia Alexander Zemskov.
Ukranians lead the list of migrants with 21,1 % shares.
Now in real numbers:
Uzbeks — 1,4 mln;
Kazakhs — 1 mln;
Tajiks — 675 thousands;
Kyrgyz — 350 thousands.
It should be emphasized that these are the numbers for this year’s newcommers only, exluding large Central Asian diaspora representatives already residing in Russia.
These numbers differ a lot from what official statistics lie when ideologically brainwashing people about sustainabile development.
Of course, this represents the situation of how the people of Central Asia see their future in more successfull colors in Russia than in their own countries. In fact, this also applies to not only a physical labor migration subjects.
Following on my theme from earlier last week, while in Bishkek this past summer, I was really interested in the signs of global youth corporate culture spreading into Kyrgyzstan. Probably the clearest example is the artist and start-up collective called The Loft (loft.kg), which serves simultaneously as business cluster, exhibit space and art studio.
Some of these photos were taken at different times of day. And again, apologies for the terrible quality.
Translator’s note: This post is based upon Mashrab’s original from Russian. It is not a literal translation.
Only a few weeks ago, the National information Agency (UzA) — the country’s main propaganda engine — declared the implementation of a new high-speed train:
“The chair of the national railway stock company ‘Uzbekiston Temir Yullari’ Achilbai Ramatov and others have recently stated that the large-scale reforms led by President Islam Karimov were bringing fruitful results. The national leader pays great attention to the development of transport and communications infrastructure. A high-speed train system ‘Afrosiyob’ was built within tight deadlines to connect Tashkent and Samarkand. This is the result of all-time care and attention by the state leadership and of our country’s economic advancement.
“The communication and alarm systems of the high-speed electric train were modernized, safety zones were established with concrete barriers and metal bars, and pedestrian crossings were constructed to ensure traffic safety. Additionally, Tashkent and Samarkand railway stations were renovated to improve safety and comfort of the passengers. Prior to the organization of the Afrosiyob train, a large-scale work was held to modernize the rail infrastructure along the Tashkent-Samarkand route. Rail the length of 600 km was rehabilitated, and 68 km of new railways were laid. A new double-track section with a length of over 35.3 km was built between Yangiyer and Dashtobod, as well as a 142-meter-long tunnel and four bridges with a total length of 400 meters.”
And then along came author Inomjon Sarymsakov, who recently took a ride on the train from Tashkent to Samarkand and has written an article in the Uzbekistan-based newspaper “News of Uzbekistan” that quite boldly contradicts the sunny proclamation from UzA:
Uzbekistan is still in the mood of the 20th anniversary of the “most sacred and greatest” holiday of all times — Independence Day celebrated on September 1, 2011.
In return to official propaganda videos on the happiest people on Earth — Uzbekistanis, Uzbek dissidents protest, organize new civic platforms, call the Canadian government to re-evaluate relations with Uzbekistan. These facts do not threaten the ideological situation in the country, at all.
Below is the set of pictures taken in Tashkent and some other parts of Uzbekistan: Only in authoritarian countries such as Uzbekistan one can see shops selling sports stuff and tickets and fabulous restaurants being enermously happy with the fact that there’s no Center/Moscow anymore dictating, against Uzbek businessmen’s will.
In fact, these organizations had been forced by local authorities — expenditures on any propaganda banners/ads/flyers are covered by businessmen themselves, not from the local budget.
This is how it works: Businessmen do not seem 100% happy with that, but happy to realize that a few times a year expenditures of a couple hundred U.S. dollars can keep corupted officials away for some time from their business. Read the full story »
In Uzbekistan, photography – and other forms of media relations and human rights activities – are carefully watched and monitored by the state.
On September 15th, Gulshan Karayeva and Nodir Ahatov – members of an unregistered Uzbekistan’s Human Rights society – were held by authorities for 10 hours for their act of photographing injustice, for “… taking pictures of schoolchildren picking cotton in the southern Kashkadarya region.”
The Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Uzbek Service quotes activist Karayeva saying:
“We saw the fourth-graders picking the cotton as we were monitoring allegations of child labor in our region.”
“[The students] pick cotton from the early morning till the afternoon and then they are supposed to go to school afterward.”
A lot of my acquaintances in Kyrgyzstan are under the assumption that their country is totally obscure in the West. To the contrary, they are fairly well-known — for political upheaval and intense poverty. Images of mobs surging against the White House as Svoboda looked on and rotting, almost post-apocalyptic infrastructure are typically the first things that come to a Westerner’s mind, well, usually with a culpak or two thrown in.
Of course, like any country, Kyrgyzstan has several realities, often overlapping, sometimes contradictory, sometimes merging. A lot of Western specialists, and for that matter, a lot of Kyrgyzstan’s own intelligentsia, tend to identify the most unstable, tragic and savage realities of the country with its totality, often at the expense of some really cool or interesting other aspects.
One of these aspects has been the gradual entrance of what can be described as global youth corporate culture — informal office environments, where graffiti art adorns the walls, there’s a mixture of business savvy and punkish DIY ethics in the air, and co-workers often go out clubbing together after work. Business start-ups and artist collectives in this mold are starting to sprout across Bishkek, and it’s all got a very incipient Berlin vibe in my opinion.
Editor’s Note: With elections coming up and a dangerous strain of nationalism increasing in Kyrgyzstan, neweurasia’s Schwartz is getting some ugly Weimar vibes in Bishkek. “Just think a little bit about the meaning in the change of symbolism [in the city's square]: from Freedom to Warrior,” he writes.
Yesterday in the taxi ride to Bishkek’s center, the driver, upon learning that I’m American, asked me in point blank fashion: “When is America going to bomb Kyrgyzstan?” My shock was more than evident, and I tried to explain that, to the best of my knowledge, the United States actually considers Kyrgyzstan a “very good friend” in the region. The driver was unresponsive — that is, until I got out of the car and said, “Рахмат!” His eyes practically bulged, I imagine because he didn’t expect an “imperialist” to be even this little bit culturally attentive.
It was a surreal experience, but a good reminder of what’s been psychologically happening to a lot of the Kyrgyz since 2010. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, is it just me, or is Kyrgyzstan right now feeling unsettingly similar to the Weimar Republic during the dark days of the Great Depression?
Like many Westerners, Kyrgyz and minorities living in Kyrgyzstan, I’m concerned, even distressed, by the increasingly vitriolic — and, as the encounter with the taxi driver evidences, paranoid — variant of Kyrgyz nationalism that seems to be taking over media, political and civic discourse in this society. The decision to dismantle lovely old Ala-Too and replace her with Manas, and even the discussion to rename Bishkek itself “Manas”, is to me symbolic of the radical nationalist virus that’s spreading through the country.
Editor’s Note: Originally written by neweurasia’s Adam (RUS).
The newspaper “Kursiv” has recently published an interesting piece about running a hotel business in Almaty. It is known that already in March Hayatt, which used to administer “Rahat Palace”, has left, whereas Kempinski Bayterek and Radisson Blu have frozen their projects down for an unknown period of time. Noticeably, Park Inn and JW Marriott are planning to be opened in 2012-2013.
The upcoming 3-4 years may introduce another group of major hotel projects of “luxury” and “premium” class with over 348 rooms in total. Kempinski Bayterek and Radisson Blu projects have been suspended due to financial difficulties and the proposed time of their resumed work is unknown. The numbers about planned investments into the projects vary.
Park Inn and JW Marriott, however, are doing much better. They are planning to open in 2012 and 2013. One of the main reasons for their optimism is the degree of their readiness for exploitation. According to some experts, ‘accurate data on investments are absent, but approximate numbers are 200 – 250 million USD’.
Apart from the abovementioned businesses, some other major foreign companies such as Four Seasons and Hilton are now evaluating the capacities of the local market. This might create ‘extra-surplus’ in the “five-star” segment because in the last two years the Almaty hotel industry has mostly seen new projects of only ‘premium-class’.
Given that Almaty is becoming increasingly busy, there is also an increasingly unsatisfied demand for 3 and 4-star hotels. Spring and fall are the most active periods for holding exhibitions and international conferences. It is also the time when there is a lack of affordable hotel rooms. This, in turn, has made renting private housing popular.
Until 2007 Almaty’s hotel business was on a rise. In 2007 hotels were 50% full; from 2008 to 2009 the indexes rapidly decreased. The record of 60-70% was put during the Asian games. In 2010 the number of customers decreased for 1% compared to 2009. Hotel businesses in 2011 are expected to be moderately successful.
World Bank Group support to countries in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region totaled more than $9.3 billion in fiscal year 2011. This was double pre-crisis levels but, as planned, less than at the height of the crisis. The Bank continued to lend significant support this fiscal year to help countries sustain the nascent recovery in the region, while mitigating the impact of lingering effects of the crisis on the region’s most vulnerable, World Bank’s press-service reports.
“Countries in the region are continuing to face a challenging environment as they look to recover from the crisis. Growth resumed in Europe and Central Asia in 2010 and reached 4.5 percent, following sharp declines during the global crisis. Projections for 2011–13 are for slightly stronger performance, but remain below those for other regions.
For net importers, higher food and energy prices threaten to increase poverty, particularly in Armenia, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan, and the continued financial concerns in Western Europe provides added uncertainty. The World Bank remains committed to supporting the countries in the region as they continue to recover from the crisis and take the necessary steps to improve the lives of their citizens.”
Philippe Le Houérou, World Bank Vice President for the Europe and Central Asia Region.
Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Eileen Fisher, Nautica, Gear for Sports, The Jones Group, Liz Claiborne and Nike are among the first companies to sign a pledge boycotting the use of Uzbekistan-sourced cotton until the International Labor Organization determines that forced child labor is no longer an issue in the country, reports Women’s Wear Daily (WWD).
The nonprofit Responsible Sourcing Network expects to have lined up 70 companies representing hundreds of brands by New York Fashion Week in September.
To remind, in August, 2008 a coalition of the four trade associations representing the U.S. apparel and retail industries hand-delivered a letter addressed to Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov to Ambassador of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov in Washington, DC. The group urged the government of Uzbekistan to take decisive and immediate actions to end the use of forced child labor in its cotton fields. Read the full story »