Iran to build a hydropower plant in Tajikistan

Iran has signed a trilateral agreement with Tajikistan and Afghanistan for the construction of Sangtuda-2 power plant in Tajikistan and the distribution of electricity from Tajikistan to Iran (via Afghanistan). The power plant is supposed to provide additional 1bln kWt/h of electricity generation capacity to Tajikistan and will mainly be financed by Iranian money (US$180 vs. US$40 by Tajik government). According to the terms of the agreement the profits of the power plant will go to the Iranian government for 12.5 years after which the ownership of the power plant will be transferred to the Tajik government. Sangtuda-2 is expected…

Vienna in Almaty

The construction industry in Kazakhstan is booming (although its success depends directly on the performance of the oil and gas sector) – and in order to create a buzz on Almaty’s and Astana’s property markets, very creative ideas are needed. So how about a ‘Vienna de luxe’, a multi-million dollar construction project to be realised in Almaty? An Austrian architect and construction office has secured a deal to build a big residential quarter, reports the Austrian state television ORF: “During the tender of the project we succeeded mostly against Turkish companies due to our specifically Viennese concept. Because the Kazakh…

An artist’s view

Through Google Video, you can access one of Swiss artist Da Vaz’s videos on Kazakhstan. This, well, unorthodox artist has been travelling through Kazakhstan and produced a 1.5-hour documentary witout ‘annoying’ commentary. It contains very interesting perspectives from throughout the country – some bleak, some rather funny – and is recommended viewing for all those who have a boring assignment to do and can afford to have a Google Video window open on the edge of the screen. The choice of music throughout the film ranges from traditional Kazakh music via Abba (!) to full-blown club tunes (some of which…

Building Relationships

French construction firm Bouygues has consolidated its position in the Turkmen market by securing new contracts for the reconstruction of the facade of the Turkmen state university and the building of the physics and mathematics faculty. Bouygues CEO Martin Bouygues discussed the projects with President Saparmurat Niyazov in a meeting on Friday. According to NewsCentralAsia, they also spoke about the possibility of the creation of a permanent site for the Khalk Maslahaty. The Khalk Maslahaty, or People’s Council, generally meets once a year, though often in different cities. In speaking about his aspirations for the institution’s site Niyazov called for…

HIV in Turkmenistan

A World Health Organisation report on health in Turkmenistan, published in 2000, stated that AIDS was not a problem in Turkmenistan. Up till 1997, only one case of HIV had been reported in the country. That notwithstanding, the government has insisted that it does take the problem seriously. During a Special Session of the UN General Assembly on HIV/AIDS in June 2001, Aksoltan Ataeva, head of the Turkmen delegation, pledged her country’s commitment to combating the disease, arguing that there could be no absolute barrier against it. In support of this, she cited a health initiative endorsed by President Saparmurat…

HIV/AIDS in Kazakhstan

Introduction The first case of HIV/AIDS in Kazakhstan was detected in 1987. Today, there are about 5,440 people reported to live with the virus, including about 313 with full-blown AIDS. Other data estimates the number of people infected as high as 16,500. This makes Kazakhstan the most severely affected Central Asian country. The spread of HIV/AIDS was until recently mostly limited to intravenous drug users. An ILO report from 2002 stated that: The most common HIV transmission route is parenteral, i.e. 87 per cent of all cases of virus transmission are through injecting drug use, with 6.4 per cent for…

HIV/Aids in Kyrgyzstan

Welcome to the first of what will hopefully be a series of New Eurasia country blogs universal posts. The idea is that all of the individual blogs will post on a particular topic – in this case on the HIV/AIDS situation – on the same day, collectively providing an overview of the given issue in the region. If you have ideas for a topic you’d like to see covered as a universal post, drop the New Eurasia team a line. Thinking about HIV/AIDS in Kyrgyzstan, several things become very clear very quickly: so far, registered cases of HIV/AIDs have been…

UN’s Helping Hand

Neighbouring Afghanistan inevitably means that Turkmenistan is a crucial conduit of illicit drugs towards Europe. It is therefore interesting to note that Turkmen border guards and custom officials are undergoing training sessions organised the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in conjunction the OSCE. In addition to offering coaching on border management, participants will also be instructed on techniques in searching trains and ships. Hands-on training will take place in ships in Kransovodsk sea port. In other United Nations related news the UN’s new Resident Representative in Turkmenistan Richard Young gave an interview to IRIN. He spoke about efforts…

HIV/AIDS in Uzbekistan

In 2005 UNAIDS reported that Uzbekistan had more than 5,600 officially recognised HIV cases (pdf). It said: “Among the Central Asian republics, Uzbekistan is experiencing the most dynamic epidemic. In 1999, just 28 HIV diagnoses were reported there; last year there were 2016 new HIV infections, bringing to more than 5600 the total number of HIV cases (EuroHIV, 2005). Injecting drug use is the driving force in this epidemic, which has its epicentre in the capital Tashkent and surrounding districts. Fuelling the epidemic is an overlap between injecting drug use and commercial sex. HIV prevalence of 10% was found among…

HIV/AIDS in Tajikistan

The problem of HIV/AIDS has been a relatively new one in Tajikistan. Closed borders have kept the country and its people isolated from HIV/AIDS during soviet rule. Such isolation has been a blessing, but it became a curse in recent years since it led to a knowledge vacuum that took its toll on the population after the country became independent. Of all Central Asian countries, Tajikistan shares the longest border with Afghanistan (one of the major producers of illegal drugs in the world). Since the use of IV drugs is the largest contributor to the spread of HIV/AIDS, it was…

Lupine Mayhem

Unlike the United States, where wolves are considered an endangered species and protected, Kyrgyzstan faces an exploding population of wolves that are becoming a menace. Experts suggest the wolf population has multiplied three- or fourfold in recent years [in Kyrgyzstan]. Attacks would normally be rare, restricted only to instances when a wolf is suffering from extreme hunger. But they are no longer a rarity. Some of the stories tell of savage assaults. Passing a field in the Chui region of Kyrgyzstan, a taxi driver, Bakyt Mailiev, said, “recently on this field, wolves threw themselves on two tractor drivers. One managed…

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