Editor’s note: neweurasia’s Annasoltan, our chief blogger for Turkmenistan, has been interviewed by France24 for an article on Turkmenbashi’s legacy. She explores the deep-seated metaphysical effects of a regime that is nothing short of Stalinist. It’s a bit strange to be on the receiving end of an interview since I’m usually the one asking all the questions. It’s also a bit sad that the West can’t seem to get over its fascination with Niyazov. But then, so much of my own work here on neweurasia has been in the shadow of this man, so I suppose it’s understandable. The quote…
This is not an easy movie to see. Nevertheless, watching this movie is to understand what it means to be human. The movie is about Sashenka Pozner (played by Dalen Shintemirov) who is about 8 or 9 and on a train to Kazakhstan to live in exile with his grandfather while his parents serve hard labor time in Siberia for crimes against the state. What this almost certainly means is that they were arrested because they were Jews. His grandfather dies on the train, and Sashenka escapes from the train to survive in the vast steppes with the help of…
On Wednesday February 3, Kazakhstan’s Secretary of State and Foreign Minister, Kanat Saudabayev spoke to a group of journalists and foreign policy community specialists at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. (transcript in English and MP3 in Russian here). This talk comes on the wings of Kazakhstan chairing the OSCE this year. Saudabayev is in Washington for several weeks talking up Kazakhstan’s achievements in his capacity as OSCE chairman (RUS).
It’s been a busy year for barcamping and journalism training in Central Asia. neweurasia’s Aravanski gives a brief on 2009’s accomplishments — and presents a video of Kyrgyz barcampers unleashed upon the streets of Dushanbe. Look out!
Turkmenistan may be second only to North Korea in its self-imposed isolation, but this hasn’t stopped the global phenomenon of “urban culture”, especially in the form of Hip Hop, from arriving there, writes neweurasia’s Annasoltan. “[T]he rigidities of Turkmen media culture are precisely why Hip Hop is suddenly popular: Turkmenistan’s youth are finding refuge in their own subculture and seeking new forms of expression.”
Turkmen rap songs are gaining speedy popularity among the Turkmen youth. New rap websites are popping up left and right. “Palestine”, a song about Palestinian children killed by Israeli security forces by Zumerchas of the rap group Darkroom Posse, has been rapidly making the rounds among listeners. Darkroom Posse has toured in Turkey and includes rappers from Turkmenistan, Russia, Canada, and the United States.
During one of the roundtables at the UN summit, Tajikistan’s president, Emomali Rahmon, pontificated on the importance of constructing hydropower plants. It would have been better to have simply shut up and show Radio Ozodi’s “Migrant Express” documentary, writes neweurasia’s Botur. Perhaps then Rahmon’s fellow national leaders could see what life is actually like for Tajikistan’s poor.
neweurasia’s Vicki, a blogger in America, has whipped up a dish of Uzbek Zharkop, “which sounded like zharkoye, so didn’t intimidate me with its difficulty, like plov usually does.” Another tasty entry in our on-going “Central Asia’s Top Chef” contest.
YouTube videos purporting to be evidence of election rigging in Kyrgyzstan are part of a large flurry of activity on the internet over the election results. neweurasia’s Tolkun Umaraliev and Registan.net’s Joshua Froust comment on the affair.
Mass ethnic riots have taken place in Chinese Xinjiang Uighur Autonomour Region (XUAR). 156 people have been killed and 1080 wounded in Urumqi during massacre. Hundreds of vehicles and stores were burnt, and dozens of dwelling houses damaged. The government accuses foreign terrorists of inflicting the riots, and nearly 1,500 people have been already arrested. All communications and access to XUAR are blocked.
Russian President Dimitry Medvedev speaks. Sorry about the lopsided video, I didn’t realize it when I was filming! Below are photos from the Council of Heads of States, which involved only SCO member countries, and the enormous, historical meeting between both member and observer countries. Again, sorry for the lousy quality!