Editor’s note: This is a mash-up of round-ups by Tokun Umaraliev (ENG) and Joshua Foust of Registan.net (ENG). neweurasia’s Kyrgyzstan coordinator, Elena Skochilo, has also been running her own survey about the election on her personal blog (RUS). She has also written about the official statistical results here on neweurasia (ENG, RUS).
Kyrgyz internet users have been very active in discussing the presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan. Members of popular internet forum Diesel created a thread yesterday on the elections, and today, it has more than 50 pages already!
Blive.kg, one of the video servers in Kyrgyz internet domain, has several videos showing the violations of election norms, including opening of polling stations before arrival of observers, ballot stuffingand carousel voting. As Blive is not accessible outside of Kyrgyzstan, I downloaded ‘norms violations videos’ from there and uploaded in YouTube. But the problem is that one cannot really prove that all these movies were taken during the 2009 presidential elections.
by: Tolkun Umaraliev
Translation of Adam’s post, photos by Flickr users Keirn and Remko Tanis (CC-usage), video by YouTube user 0ETAA0 (CC-usage).
Mass ethnic riots have taken place in Chinese Xinjiang Uighur Autonomour Region (XUAR). 156 people have been killed and 1080 wounded in Urumqi during massacre. Hundreds of vehicles and stores were burnt, and dozens of dwelling houses damaged. The government accuses foreign terrorists of inflicting the riots, and nearly 1,500 people have been already arrested. All communications and access to XUAR are blocked. Read the full story »
Russian President Dimitry Medvedev speaks. Sorry about the lopsided video, I didn’t realize it when I was filming!
Below are photos from the Council of Heads of States, which involved only SCO member countries, and the enormous, historical meeting between both member and observer countries. Again, sorry for the lousy quality!
This is a guest post from Registan.net
One of the strangest things about studying Central Asia is grappling with the severe inequalities. The big cities in a country like Kazakhstan are bastions of wealth sometimes difficult to comprehend.
For example, this is a photograph I took of the waterfront along the Ishim River in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, in July of 2003. Five years ago, apartments in those pastel towers were renting for $700 a month—in a country whose GDP per capita at the time was around $2,000.
That year, when I was in a cab in Almaty—the country’s enormous, beautiful city nestled up against the Tien Shan Mountain in the southeast—the Turk driving the car explained to me that there were such wonderful opportunities there that he and several of his friends had left Turkey for Kazakhstan because the pay was better. Things have only gotten worse since then, as oil (and, moreso now, uranium) money has flooded into the country, making its politics rather more Russian in character, if you get my drift.
But Kazakhstan is also home to truly shocking poverty. Venture a half-hour outside the limits of any noticeable city (”big” doesn’t apply to most of them) and you can find people still eking by on almost nothing—whether scraps from a failed collective farm, the toxic remains of a slowly draining overpolluted lake (the Aral Sea, sadly, is not alone), or even encroaching desertification in what was once Khrushchev’s vaunted “Virgin Lands.”
All of this is an introduction for a fascinating RFE/RL video of what life is still like in rural Kazakhstan. The reporter said the 21st century hadn’t reached this isolated village… but it sounds more like the 20th hadn’t either:
Earlier this year, the Norske Helsingforskomite (NHC) released a video about life in Turkmenistan under the Berdymukhammedov regime, detailing the ways in which, despite his vows of sweeping changes, the country remains as totalitarian as under the previous government of Turkmenbashi.
On assignment for the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, freelance journalist Simon Ostrovsky travelled to Turkmenistan to make this rare documentary on one of the world’s most inaccessible countries. Since the death of its eccentric first president 2 years ago, the resource-rich Central Asian republic has caught the attention of Western companies in the hydrocarbon sector. Yet its human rights record remains one of the worst in the world.
Perhaps most shocking of all is the discovery that the Ruhnama continues to be taught in schools, and that in many ways, the old personality cult of Turkmenbashi persists.
Click “Read the full story” or go to the videoshow in the bottom left corner below to see the video. Thanks to Ivar Dale for bringing this video to our attention! (He gets the award for Best Link on a Wednesday, Ever.)
Chris Schwarz is presenting neweurasia – Blogging Central Asia project at DemoCamp East West, New Media conference in Poznan, May 23-24, while mursya is taking video for the archive and history of the project.
Kazakhstan’s entry for Asiavision, Asia’s pop music contest.
I love this country!
In connection with the topic of CXW post I want to recall another one Saparov – Akysh – is a famous singer and composer, who also stayed in Turkmenistan despite the fact he was officially unable to perform.
Akysh Saparov who is very popular in the country is no longer seen on TV screens as, according to television officials, his songs promote a sort of nonconformist spirit and freethinking while the content of the songs is allegedly filled with thieves` jargon. Because of this, Saparov is called a Turkmen Vysotsky…