Pushing for the Kyrgyz Language: Why It Fails

A number of potential candidates for the upcoming Presidential elections were not registered because they failed to pass the Kyrgyz language exam – one of the official requirements for the Presidency.  The law requires that they take this exam to show their ability to speak, write and understand the state language clearly.  This test was originally established by the former President Akayev to demonstrate his intentions to promote the language which was used very little during the Soviet times.  In reality, this was a political tool against his opponent in elections – Felix Kulov, who had very poor command of…

BarCamp 2011 (Kyrgyzstan edition)

BarCamp 2011 was certainly the topic of the past weekend among so called Internet activists of Kyrgyzstan and some countries of Central Asia.  People who usually do their communication through chats, skype calls, comments, tweets and likes gathered in Bishkek to talk in person and discuss latest developments in Web 2.0, open source software, applications and what not.  Official website of the event  says that more than 1100 people registered for the conference.  However, my estimates of real attendance is 500-600, which is also a good indicator for our region.  Here is my traditional photo story about the event.

Photos: National Testing in Kyrgyzstan

For the past ten years, around this time of the year, more than 30 thousand high school graduates participate in the National Testing – a set of written exams necessary to enroll in universities. Launched as a pilot project with the support of USAID, the National Testing proved to be an effective tool to choose the most capable students. On the 10th anniversary of the nationwide exams, let’s take a look how these exams are conducted.

Kyrgyzstan 2011: Nothing to Offer?

Recently, Bishkek hosted an “international” exhibition titled “Kyrgyzstan 2011”. As far as I understood, the exhibition was supposed to display goods produced by 75 Kyrgyzstani companies.  However, it turned into a temporary market in downtown Bishkek with lots of goods that have almost nothing to do with our country (except that it’s sold here). Anyways, see it for yourself below:

Dordoi Bazaar in Pictures

Starting from a small market in the outskirts of Bishkek, Dordoi has grown into a huge distribution center for chinese goods (mainly textile) almost for entire Central Asia and partially Russia.  Some estimate that around 100, 000 people are employed directly or indirectly in the market.  Today, it is surrounded by residential areas with its own mosque, cafes, shopping areas (food), parking lots etc.   (here is a google map link, if want to see the scale) But in this post, I will not discuss anything global.  We will take a walk through a small portion of the market, but…

Bishkek Mayor’s Unpopular Initiative is Freezed

I have already mentioned briefly about a rising scandal around one of the largest markets in almost downtown Bishkek – Osh bazaar (Google map link).  New mayor of Bishkek, Isa Omurkulov, set out to clean the market area, which has been populated by small kiosks with little control, and free some space for construction of car roads that would go through the market area.    It was planned to remove some 800 trading spots (kiosks, tables, booths), but it did not go as smooth as the mayor thought it would.

Making Business in CA: You Never Know

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!

Kyrgyzstan: Political Games Kill Businesses and Investment Climate

For the last several days, one of the largest cellular operators and taxpayers of Kyrgyzstan – MegaCom (Alfa Telecom) – has changed its CEO three times.  The company has fallen victim of the nationalization process that was launched immediately after the April revolution.  However, nationalization without clear national government led to the situation when all interested parties are trying to get a piece of the pie.  

Central Asia: Decay and Decline, ICG Report

“Yet without organised change from above, there is a growing risk of chaotic change from below.” International Crisis Group published a special report on Central Asia on February 4th.  The grim title speaks for itself: “Central Asia: Decay and Decline”. It is one of the few reports, which you read with great interest and upon finishing it think: “I don’t need a 42 page report to know this!”.  And that’s one of the critical indicators of a good work for me personally.  Indeed, the report is very comprehensive and gives very straight to the point evaluation of current situation in four…

A Secret Formula for Bishkek Mayor

Recently, mayor of Bishkek (capital of Kyrgyzstan) had a very Soviet style walk through in the area of Osh bazaar – very large downtown market.  He walked with a very serious face and criticized his staff for lack of control over illegal shops built on sidewalks, ordered to fix roads and clean up everything.  It was a good PR attempt (popularized by Bakiyev), which turned bad, since all journalists wrote about a man who tried to burn himself using fuel because mayor’s office wanted to remove his bakery.  Well, I know a secret formula for the mayor to raise the…

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