Dec 19-23: New gov’t, blackouts and human rights

With the presidential elections “fever” over and the president inaugurated, it is now time in Kyrgyzstan to appoint a new government.  The incumbent president, Almazbek Atambayev, ascended to presidency from the post of the prime minister of Kyrgyzstan and triggered the government reshuffling. On Monday, 19 December 2011, then candidate Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov initiated decreasing the number of ministries. He argued doing so would save some 1bn soms (about 22m USD), and decrease the salary burden on budget by firing over 3,000 state employees. A wise move indeed; however, there is room for further “shrinking”. For instance, the ministry…

Minors in worship places in Tajikistan: nothing really changed?

After Tajik President Emomali Rahmon signed into law a bill “On the responsibility of parents for their children’s upbringing and education” in August, 2011, citizens of the poorest country in Central Asia have mixed feelings — it’s good to make sure their kids will be prevented from going to places where future extremists and fundamentalists are raised. On the other hand, why does the government puts all the religious organizations in one melting pot as if they are going to ‘share’ their negative practices with each other? To remind, the bill that bans minors from attending religious places of worship,…

Uzbek newspaper ‘breaks’ the news about riots in Kazakhstan

Uzbek Novosti Uzbekistana (News of Uzbekistan) newspaper has published an article, entitled “Arab Wind Over the Kazakh Steppe” (issue #51 of December 23, 2011). Author mentions about 15 people killed in riots, as well as emphasizes that use of force “will make the wound deeper.” Experts, some of whom see Ablyazov’s hand in this, and of course through Respublika nespaper, Kanal+ TV channel and Svoboda Slova (Freedom of Speech). Moreover, the cheesy “how-were-rally-participants-able-to-sustain-for-seven-months?” argument was also used to emphasize Ablyazov’s and Rakhat Aliyev’s participation. To make this short, experts agree with the fact that Kazakhstan is on the threshold of…

Uzbek tabloid suggests ways to avoid censorship

Almost apolitical and owned by a group totaly loyal to President Karimov and his daughter, the most tabloid of all the Uzbek tabloids and most lovable by housewifes and celebrity news followers, Darakchi magazine gives directions of how to access banned websites without keeping visitors’ records, e.g. their IP numbers. Even though this short note is given in the end of the magazine, that is either something editor had not noticed and, relying on his staffers who know nithing but copy-pasting articles from other media, approved it for publication, or the responsible person did not find it as threatening national…

Uzbekistan has a Human Rights-oriented government? Duh!..

Apart from expensive and useless receptions and seminars on human rights theory for high school and university students and older generations, i.e. former Communists who did not know about human rights during Soviet times, the government of Uzbekistan is not really interested in spreading more information on human rights with its own people who do not attend schools and are not invited to fancy events like the one organized by the National Human Rights Center directed by irreplaceable Akmal Saidov, with participation of international guests. Moreover, nobody in the government dares to even think about discussing real human rights situation…

Central Asians Frustrated by Border Checks

Political tensions, trade rules and simple corruption make travel between Central Asian states a complex and unpleasant business. By Almaz Rysaliev, Askar Aktalov, Inga Sikorskaya, Dina Tokbaeva, Timur Toktonaliev, Lola Olimova - Central Asia Twenty years after the newly-independent states of Central Asia began marking off their borders, residents say they avoid travel to neighbouring countries whenever they can, as the experience is so stressful and unpleasant. IWPR asked people in various countries to describe what the journeys they make involve. Across the region, common themes emerged – massive bureaucracy, obstructive behaviour, extortion and harassment by frontier officials. The atmosphere at crossing-points is tense at the best of…

Kim Jong-il and Václav Havel’s deaths: to leave as an inglorious dictator or as a respectable person

Today’s news about North Korean ruthless dictator Kim Jong-il’s death, who actually died on Saturday, December 17, came along with news about a death of another world-known political figure, Václav Havel. Both had their own ways to leading positions in the government — North Korean blue-blooded Kim, son of then leader of North Korea’s Kim Il-sung, and future “Dear Leader” and “Generalissimo”, got into his seat due to his father’s will. Václav Havel, born to a well-known and wealthy entrepreneurial and intellectual family, dedicated himself to the democratization of Czechoslovakia, an active participant of the Prague Spring.

Masterpieces. Banned. Hidden.; Art documentary comes to Tajikistan

“I found these paintings, rolled up under the beds of old widows, buried in family trash. These were forbidden works by artists who stayed true to their vision, at a terrible cost.” – “The Desert of Forbidden Art” A piece of documentary art, about forbidden art, has come to Central Asia – again. The 80-minute long documentary of Amanda Pope and Tchavdar Georgiev (writers, producers and directors), “The Desert of Forbidden Art”, was screened on Friday December 9th, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at the BACTRIA Cultural Center (ak. Rajabovih 15 Street) in Tajikistan’s capital city Dusanbe. “The Desert of Forbidden…

365 & 24/7: Uzbeks in exhile protest and keep Uzbek diplomats ‘busy’

Seems like Uzbek diplomats oversees do not enjoy their holidays. One of the most recent spoiled holidays for Uzbek authorities and foreign service officers was a protest infront of the Uzbek Consulate General in Istanbul on September 1, 2011, which is celebrated as Independence Day in Uzbeistan. The protest, which was organized by People’s Movement of Uzbekistan (PMU), gathered some fifty human rights activists to express their negative attitude towards gross human rights violations and totalitarian political regime. This time PMU activists made Uzbek Consulate staffers stay in their offices and hide behind curtains, take pictures and videotape the disagreement…

The Aral Sea Disaster: Told By People Of Karakalpakstan, Yet Facing A Denial

“The water that serveth all that country is drawn by ditches out of the River Oxus, into the great destruction of the said river, for which it cause it falleth not into the Caspian Sea as it hath done in times past, and in short time all that land is like to be destroyed, and to become a wilderness for want of water, when the river of Oxus shall fail.” Anthony Jenkinson, 1558 Sometimes I think that people of Uzbekistan with a 28 million population know less about one of the greatest catastrophe in their own country than people worldwide.…

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