Best Central Asia Blog 2007

Over the next month, TOL and neweurasia are accepting submissions for the Best Central Asia Blog Awards. There are several prizes to be won, and the overall winner will get to go to the next Global Voices conference in 2008. The announcement and submission page (in Russian) is now live at www.neweurasia.net/bestblog. Over the following weeks, we will try to spread the word about this competition in the Central Asian blogosphere, soliciting as many submissions as possible. The winners will be announced by the jury in mid-January. The translation of the announcement into English can be read after the jump.…

Russia wins

Recently, I was arguing that Tajik migrants have become a powerful tool in Russia’s hands against Tajikistan. Tajikistan would never get in direct conflict with Russia and labor migration would be one of the main reasons for that. The contradictions over construction of Rogun power station could easily become a strong reason for further constraints in relations between the two countries. The statement of President Rahmon this week (rus) during a meeting with Russian high official was a signal for Russia that Tajikistan does not want be its adversary. According to the Russian official, who gave interview after the meeting,…

What does Siemens have to do with the Ruhnama?

A very interesting press release issued by the FreedomForSale.org international human rights organization was republished by the Turkmen oppositionist website www.chrono-tm.org. The organization’s website tells us more about its activity: FreedomForSale website highlights grievances in human rights and free speech issues in different countries. At the same time the website describes, questions and monitors international corporations that seem to support or ignore violations of human rights and free speech. Our intention is to encourage discussion and have an impact on how different countries, companies, and individuals take on their responsibilities as humanity’s custodians. Turkmenistan was the first country to be…

Turkish interests in Turkmenistan

Turkish President Abdullah Gül ended his three-day official visit to Turkmenistan yesterday. Although no important documents were signed, the Turks proposed to the Turkmen side mutual cooperation in gas industry. As the gundogar.org website informs, quoting the Reuters News Agency: On his first official visit to Turkmenistan, Turkish President Abdullah Gül proposed to Ashgabat the reinstatement of the project of a gas pipeline running from Turkmenistan to Turkey via Iran [...] with annual capacity of 16 billion cubic metres of gas. Attractive as it may be, this proposal poses a problem for Ashgabat because of the strong opposition by the…

Attack of the Clones

Way back in 2005, one of the “black PR” tricks that were launched on anti-Akaev groups such as Kel-Kel was having their websites cloned to discredit the organisations. Seems like someone’s trying a similar trick on Edil Baisalov, as Mirsulzhan reports (RUS).  In addition to Edil’s real LiveJournal blog,  baisalov, there is now a very obvious fake LiveJournal online: edilbailsalov. Coming hot on the heels of the  scandal surrounding Edil over a photo of a ballot paper that he allegedly posted on his blog, it’s not difficult to think there might be a connection. Given how eloquent Edil’s posts usually…

Water exporting Tajikistan

Recently President Rahmon visited Japan. It was his first official visit to this country. He was attending the first Water summit which gathered forty six countries for discussion about water problems in the Asia-Pacific region. It seems like Tajikistan was considered as a strategically important country which has huge resources of water. Most of the countries in Asia-Pacific region have a lack of clean and affordable water and Tajikistan is one of the few, which have big water resources. I was surprised to see the figures below: At least 700 million people among Asia-Pacific’s 3.7 billion population, don’t have access…

Illicit Renaissance of Gambling

Yesterday Rauan on the Kazakh version of our blog wrote that while all casinos have been closed in the cities, people in rural areas play cards for money bets. Perhaps, it’s really incredible and crying phenomenon in the traditional villages. But in the cities, illicit gambling is full speed ahead – and sometimes not too illicitly. Ban on casinos was introduced on the Fool’s day, April 1, 2007, and has led to some changes in the city life. In Almaty the gambling machines have disappeared from food stores and kids, students and pensioners stopped spending their scarce money on them…

Kazakhstan: Do Kazakh Politics Coincide with OSCE Standards?

The main issue on the local blogosphere’s agenda are politics again – Kazakhstan with its controversial, more and more Soviet-alike political system and continuously poor human rights record, has won the top post in the Europe’s leading democracy promoting institution, OSCE. There are many speculations concerning the so-called “autocrats’ club of CIS countries”, in which its members allegedly exchange their experience and share practices – in treating media or conducting elections. Interestingly, b-ryskulov notes that during the televised hotline of President V. Putin several weeks ago, the Russian leader twice distinguished Kazakhstan specifically in a very praiseful context, utterly supporting…

Turkmen impressions: the older and the younger generation

One of the most striking things about Turkmenistan is the difference between the older and the younger generation. Unlike in Western countries, it is not so much the way they behave, dress or spend free time that distinguishes the young from the old ones. Naturally, such differences are visible, but not as much as for example in Russia or countries of Eastern Europe. The main difference between the middle-aged or older Turkmen and the younger generation is the way they perceive the world. While for the young people Turkmenistan is the entire world, for the older ones it is the…

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