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Amazing video of Abadan blast
Written by , Saturday, 9 Jul, 2011 – 23:45 | One Comment

Ferghana.ru has uploaded an amazing video of the Abadan blast. At 0:31 there is an explosion, the shockwave of which appears to topple the cameraman.

Meanwhile, a report from RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service makes Ashgabat sound like a small war zone:

Heavy smoke was seen in Ashgabat and small fires were reported on a mountain behind the military base, which also has an air strip.

A Kazakh journalist strips naked for the truth
Written by , Wednesday, 8 Jun, 2011 – 11:05 | 4 Comments

Editor’s note: Guljan Yergaliyeva, former editor of Svoboda Slova, hard-hitting critic of Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and human rights advocate imprisoned in 2006 for supporting Altynbek Sarsenbayev — is now stripping on YouTube, reports neweurasia’s Tomyris. “It has always felt claustrophobic wherever I’ve worked – radio, TV, press,” Yergaliyeva says. “The only thing left is the Internet.”

Bearing it all to tell the truth. Shedding layers to get to the surface. Holding back nothing so nothing can be held back. Western advocates for PETA (People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals) strip down to spread the message that they’d rather go naked than wear animal fur – so, why can’t a Central Asian journalist in search for unembellished and undecorated media truths do the same?

Former editor of Svoboda Slova, hard-hitting critic of Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev and human rights advocate imprisoned in 2006 for supporting Altynbek Sarsenbayev – Guljan Yergaliyeva is now stripping on YouTube.

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First Central Asian SICamp held in Kyrgyzstan
Written by , Wednesday, 1 Jun, 2011 – 14:25 | No Comment

Translator’s note: The first Social Innovation Camp in Central Asia was held in Issyk-Kul on May 27-29, 2011. During these 3 days over 80 participants generated ideas of creative web-projects and simultaneously ran them. Here is a special reportage from the venue. Translated from sergey’s post (RUS).

Watch the video or read the transcript below.

Aibek Baratov (SICAMP CA 2011 Coordinator):

The main goal of SICAMP CA is to bring together young people and active people of different age groups in general from all across Central Asia. These are mainly representatives of four Central Asian republics – Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Bringing young people together is initially based on the ideas of the projects they have submitted for consideration.

Beishen Dayirbekov (SICAMP CA 2011 Coordinator):

All of the projects have shown interesting models, including original design from the technical point of view and also for their commercial application. I sat with each team for about half an hour; it was nice to see dynamic discussions in each of them. We have eight projects: (1) stopping blackmailing in schools, (2) recycling project, (3) project on individual rights as a foundation for individual freedom, (4) “Internet-radio”, (5) “Aching together” project, (6) KG news via SMS, (7) “Dobro” (Integrity) by our Tajik team, and (8) “Ketsin SMS”, which was later renamed as “Kelsin SMS”.

Neweurasia: What are future plans in the light of this event?

Dayirbekov: We, as coordinators, participants, jury, are also learning at the moment, we don’t know what comes next; it will depend on the teams. For example, Internet-radio team has an interesting project and tomorrow they will have their first broadcast. They are going to take interviews and display the results before the jury. So each team has definitely something interesting to show.

Neweurasia: What would you like to wish to all the SICAMP participants?

Dayirbekov:Not to stop doing what they are doing.

Neweurasia: What results do you expect?

Lira Samykbaeva (Information Program Coordinator at the Soros Foundation Kyrgyzstan):

It is a good question. Similar big events are usually expected to finish with some kind of grand social project, which would of course be socially important. We believe that most successful projects will be supported by our fund, and there is also a chance that they would attract other sponsors in future.

Video is also available @ YouTube (here)

Making Business in CA: You Never Know
Written by , Tuesday, 29 Mar, 2011 – 12:13 | No Comment

In connection to my previous post regarding making business in Kyrgyzstan, I would like to share this video that went viral via social networks and blogs.   It’s a commercial of one of the Russian companies that offer their assistance for western businesses to enter Russian market.  They position Russian market as “you never know” market, where rules are never set in stone.  I thought that if you replaced the word  ”Russia” with “Kyrgyzstan”, “Kazakhstan” or any other CA country name, the video would still be relevant.  Enjoy!

Turkmenistan’s hidden Islamists, part 4: new video of the 2008 shoot-out
Written by , Wednesday, 23 Mar, 2011 – 1:00 | 2 Comments

Abdulaziz, whom I interviewed earlier this month, has posted new videos of the 2008 shootout in Ashgabat and the body of Ajdar on his YouTube account.

The most important video is the one shown here, at the top of this post. According to Abdulaziz, this has been newly received and was filmed at the water plant during the shootout privately by a member of the state security service.

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Turkmenistan’s singers caught in a vicious circle
Written by , Wednesday, 2 Mar, 2011 – 18:12 | 4 Comments

Turkmen authorities have sentenced two popular young singers, Maksat Kakabayew, a.k.a. Maro, and Myrat Owezow, to prison sentences, the first to two years in prison, the second to two years in a labor colony. It appears that the pair of singers, and indeed, singers in general, have run afoul of official ideology and the government’s vision of morality.

Explaining why Kakabayew and Owezow were even on trial to begin with is difficult because they haven’t violated any crimes per se. The Chronicles of Turkmenistan has been covering their cases, but the information it’s collected (here and here) doesn’t cast much light on the situation.

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Watch Daulet Tukaev’s “Скажи”
Written by , Monday, 31 Jan, 2011 – 14:54 | One Comment

We recently ran an interview with a very promising young Kazakh film-maker, Daulet Tukaev. His film “Скажи” has been turning heads in Kazakhstan, and for good reason. There’s some lovely cinematography. Watch it!

Why was Hizb ut-Tahrir protest in Brussels the biggest?
Written by , Friday, 28 Jan, 2011 – 1:29 | 4 Comments

During Karimov’s recent visit to the European Union (EU) and NATO in Brussels, the protests by human rights activists in front of the European Commissions’ headquarters in the Berlaymont building were (relatively) well-covered by the media, who followed up on Karimov’s visit and on the situation in Uzbekistan in general. At the same time, yet completely ignored by the media, Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT) Europe held a demonstration right in front of the Uzbek embassy.

One thing that immediately caught the eye was that HuT’s demo clearly had a larger attendance than the human rights picket at the Berlaymont, where there seemed to be more press than demonstrators (compare the YouTube video above to the photographs below from an HuT Europe Flickr account). As far as I know, the demo at the Uzbek embassy is the first open manifestation of HuT in Brussels, or in Belgium in general. Last year, they launched a portal site in Dutch (http://www.hizb-ut-tahrir.nl/). Although I found no similar party portal in French yet, Al-Badil (‘the alternative’, in Arabic) (http://albadil.edaama.org/) reflects HuT’s world views and ideology.

So, how should we interpret this event?

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Rocking for progress in Kyrgyzstan
Written by , Wednesday, 24 Nov, 2010 – 16:19 | One Comment

I’ll let the song speak for itself. (KANYKEI – Kara Chan / КАНЫКЕЙ – Кара Чан)

Zoroastrianism in Tajikistan
Written by , Tuesday, 14 Sep, 2010 – 10:00 | 2 Comments

Re: Alpharabius’ comment to my boss Schwartz’s chapter on religion for Cyber-Chaikhana, here’s a rather patriotic YouTube video with this interesting remark by the user about Zoroastrianism in Tajikistan:

A Tajik can be an adherent of any religion such as Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, or he can be an Atheist or Agnostic. But regardless of his religious beliefs, his cultural Identity is Zoroastrian. Zoroastrianism is embedded in his culture and identity for thousands of years and good thought, good words and good deed is the pride of every Tajik.