Starbucks in Uzbekistan: Expectations drawning in a lie?

I visited the Facebook page of Starbucks to satisfy my interest in how many people around the world follow the company. How surprised would you be to see a photo posted by an Uzbek user, who was wondering if Starbucks is really coming to Uzbekistan? Yeah, so would I. The ad on the building promises Starbucks coming soon. But how real is that? To be honest, if that’s true then this could be a significant event to mark the American businesses’ raising interest in investing in Uzbekistan’s economy. If not, then fans would just have a Déjà vu: couple years…

Making some cash on pilgrims? Why not?!

Due to the current departure of pilgrims from around the world, Uzbek “businessmen” (as well as “businesswomen”) of local “black” markets decided to increase their income by simply raising the USD per Uzbek soum (UZS) exchange rate while Uzbek Hajjis to-be do their last preparations, including the financial side of it. To get to know how “black” exchange market actors do their cynic — but business-and-no-sincerity-proven — operations one could just go to any bazaar where the above mentioned businessmen present. For future Hajjis (Hajji — a status given to those who travelled to holy places of Mekka and Medina…

Central Asian republics as exporters of labor, brain drain

According to Russia’s Interfax Financial Market edition, among ten million foreigners, who migrate to Russia since January, 2011, citizens of Central Asian republics make up to 35 % of them. Out of ten million migrants, there are 14 % Uzbeks, 10 % Kazakhs, 6,75 % Tajiks, 3,5 % Kyrgyz citizens, reported head of the Immigration control department of the FMS (Federal Migration Service) of Russia Alexander Zemskov. Ukranians lead the list of migrants with 21,1 % shares. Now in real numbers: Uzbeks — 1,4 mln; Kazakhs — 1 mln; Tajiks — 675 thousands; Kyrgyz — 350 thousands. It should be…

High-speed rail or high speed lie? The debate over the new Afrosiyob train

Translator’s note: This post is based upon Mashrab’s original from Russian. It is not a literal translation. Only a few weeks ago, the National information Agency (UzA) — the country’s main propaganda engine — declared the implementation of a new high-speed train: “The chair of the national railway stock company ‘Uzbekiston Temir Yullari’ Achilbai Ramatov and others have recently stated that the large-scale reforms led by President Islam Karimov were bringing fruitful results. The national leader pays great attention to the development of transport and communications infrastructure. A high-speed train system ‘Afrosiyob’ was built within tight deadlines to connect Tashkent…

Holiday mood and expenses on obligatory congratulations

Uzbekistan is still in the mood of the 20th anniversary of the “most sacred and greatest” holiday of all times — Independence Day celebrated on September 1, 2011. In return to official propaganda videos on the happiest people on Earth — Uzbekistanis, Uzbek dissidents protest, organize new civic platforms, call the Canadian government to re-evaluate relations with Uzbekistan. These facts do not threaten the ideological situation in the country, at all. Below is the set of pictures taken in Tashkent and some other parts of Uzbekistan: Only in authoritarian countries such as Uzbekistan one can see shops selling sports stuff…

Uzbek activists detained for photographing child labor

In Uzbekistan, photography – and other forms of media relations and human rights activities – are carefully watched and monitored by the state. On September 15th, Gulshan Karayeva and Nodir Ahatov – members of an unregistered Uzbekistan’s Human Rights society – were held by authorities for 10 hours for their act of photographing injustice, for “… taking pictures of schoolchildren picking cotton in the southern Kashkadarya region.” The Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Uzbek Service quotes activist Karayeva saying: “We saw the fourth-graders picking the cotton as we were monitoring allegations of child labor in our region.” “[The students] pick…

The Almaty “Five Stars”

Editor’s Note: Originally written by neweurasia’s Adam (RUS). The newspaper “Kursiv” has recently published an interesting piece about running a hotel business in Almaty. It is known that already in March Hayatt, which used to administer “Rahat Palace”, has left, whereas Kempinski Bayterek and Radisson Blu have frozen their projects down for an unknown period of time. Noticeably, Park Inn and JW Marriott are planning to be opened in 2012-2013. There are four internationally-ran hotels in Almaty at the moment – InterContinental, Royal Tulip, Rixos and HolidayInn with 935 rooms. Overall Almaty has 96 hotels with 5,170 rooms. The upcoming…

World Bank Group invests more than $9.3 billion in Europe and Central Asia region

World Bank Group support to countries in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region totaled more than $9.3 billion in fiscal year 2011. This was double pre-crisis levels but, as planned, less than at the height of the crisis. The Bank continued to lend significant support this fiscal year to help countries sustain the nascent recovery in the region, while mitigating the impact of lingering effects of the crisis on the region’s most vulnerable, World Bank’s press-service reports. “Countries in the region are continuing to face a challenging environment as they look to recover from the crisis. Growth resumed in…

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