Rare photos of Kumtor mine and environs

“People would prefer to have gold or silver or platinum, some tangible asset that can preserve their wealth. So, while we’re sitting out in this isolated part of Central Asia and it seems unconnected to much of the rest of the world, this is obviously very central issue to what’s going on economically and financially right now in Europe and North America.” — Dr. Robert Moran, hydrologist/geologist

Energy Loss Reduction project receives more funding to scale up ongoing activities

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved additional financing of US$ 18 million for the Energy Loss Reduction Project in Tajikistan. The project assists in reducing the commercial losses in the electricity and gas sectors, and lays the foundation for the improvement of the financial viability of the electricity and gas utilities in a socially responsible manner, WOrld Bank’s press-service reports. The Energy Loss Reduction Project was initially approved in June 2005 and was funded by an International Development Association (IDA) credit and grant of US$ 19 million, and a US$ 8 million grant from the Government of…

Uzbek slavery in Kazakhstan

Translator’s Note: Translated from Jamil’s post (RUS). On March 14, 2011, Mukhiddin Khojimuradov suggested to his compatriots Khairulla and Sunatullo Yuldashevs from Chinaz region of Tashkent oblast that they move to Kazakhstan’s city of Turkestan, where they could earn decent money. When the four young men reached the place, the only job they were offered was at the car washing station; their employer refused to pay for their labor, reports the Initiative group of independent rights activists of Uzbekistan (IGIRAU). They never signed contracts and their passports had been taken away; they had effectively become slaves, who were constantly beaten…

Kumtor truck convoys in Barskayn + unhappy new hydrology report

The rather crappy photos above are of Kumtor tractor trailer convoys in the Issyk-Kul region of Kyrgyzstan. The close-up shows one convoy parked outside of Barksayn (Барскаун, a.k.a., Barskoon, Barkaun, etc.), the second shows a full convoy that had been blocked on the road in Barskayn for mechanical reasons (an engine overheated in the lead truck), and the third shows a convoy with a police escort in one of the hamlets that rest along the Lake’s South Shore, which is less populated than the more touristy North Shore. I remember the cops being rather dramatic: sirens wailing, driving way up…

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.…

World Bank launches new Country Partnership Strategy with Uzbekistan

On December 6, 2011, the World Bank Group’s Board of Directors approved a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Uzbekistan, providing the framework for World Bank Group assistance to Uzbekistan between 2012 and 2015, World Bank press-service reports. The new Strategy proposes a program linked to Uzbekistan’s development vision of reaching high middle-income status by mid-century. It was developed based on a broad dialogue with the Government of Uzbekistan and consultations with all development partners, including civil society organizations, academia, business communities, professional associations, and multilateral and bilateral donors. Through implementation of the CPS, the World Bank intends to help…

Officials vs. Corruption in Uzbekistan: Bees vs. Honey?

The same day Transparency International issued its annual Corruption Perceptions Index 2011 (CPI) that ranks countries/territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be, and where Uzbekistan is in a group of six most corrupted countries — Uzbek State Property Committee and Prosecutor General’s office hosted a seminar dedicated to UN’s Convention Against Corruption: realities and challenges of its implementation in Uzbekistan. OSCE, which is one of the main financial supporters of this sort of nominal events, was also represented by a guy, who talked about general situation with corruption in the world. One of the main…

Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are Central Asian “Leaders” in Global Corruption

Corruption in Post-Soviet Central Asia is something very familiar to people living in the region. Without bribing, one is destined to see their case be delayed for a long time, very often beyond time limits defined by laws. Be it application for a new passport, or registration at a new place of living, or even finding a day care for your kid — bribing is the easiest way to get it all done faster and without a hassle. Transparency International (TI) has released its annual Corruption Perceptions Index 2011 (CPI) that ranks countries/territories based on how corrupt their public sector…

KFC: Kentucky Fried Chicken? You betcha! Kokand Fried Chicken!

Alright, this is getting really funny — the more people express their opinion on Starbucks and KFC potentially coming to Uzbekistan the more we receive shots from neweurasia‘s friends. One of them, KFC Kokand style, called “Kokand Fried Chicken.” A reader from Kokand sent us this picture explaining that the product has been sold at bazaars in the central part of the ancient city of Kokand, Fergana region. It’s just a “package” of chicken: one can buy as much as they want — no weight limits :) To note, there’s no reference to Colonel Sanders as it is in Tashkent,…

Starbucks is ‘really’ coming. So is KFC!?

Since the day we have covered the “Starbucks-coming-soon-to-Uzbekistan?” issue, there has been a great interest by my friends wondering if that’s for real and when it would be opened. There was some coverage by other media outlet that covers Centarl Asia. In order to find out if the picture by an Uzbek user on Facebook was not photoshopped, I decided to visit the place located at Shevchenko street, downtown Tashkent. I was not surprised to see that coming-soon coffee shop nearby Perfectum mobile cellular company and Nobel Pharmsanoat pharmacy factory — well-known Starbucks logo made me feel like I will…

Üzbegisztán Magyarországon: “Köszönöm” for invitation?

Hungarian President Pal Schmitt is in Uzbekistan on a three-day visit: he arrived in Tashkent on November 6 with an official visit, accepting the invitation of Uzbek President Islam Karimov. According to official information, the Hungarian leader is expected to hold bilateral talks on the highest level during the visit, and sign a joint declaration outlining the prospects of Uzbek-Hungarian cooperation. A range of intergovernmental and interagency documents are anticipated to be inked to cover political, trade-economic, investment, scientific and technical aspects of bilateral interaction, Uzbek President’s press-service reports. As Uzbek MFA’s Jahon information agency reports, Hungary, during it’s Presidency…

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