Menu
astropay bozdurma paysafe bozdurma astropay kart bozdurma paysafe kart bozdurma

BISHKEK (TCA) — The Publisher’s note: Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Central Asia was the scene of intense geopolitical struggle and the Great Game between the British and Russian Empires, and later between the Soviet Union and the West, over Afghanistan and neighboring territories. Into the 21st century, Central Asia has become the area of a renewed geopolitical interest, dubbed the New Great Game, largely based on the region’s hydrocarbon and mineral wealth. On top of that, the region now is perhaps the most important node in the implementation of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative through which Beijing aims to get direct access to Western markets. Every week thousands of news appears in the world’s printed and online media and many of them may escape the attention of busy readers. At The Times of Central Asia, we strongly believe that more information can better contribute to peaceful development and better knowledge of this unique region. So we are presenting this Weekly Digest which compiles what other media have reported on Central Asia over the past week.

KAZAKHSTAN

Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev takes back control

The surprise move by the new President appears to confirm talk of a power struggle in Kazakhstan

Oct 21 — “Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s former president, has gained sweeping new powers over government appointments in a move that dilutes the powers of his successor, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, and may confirm rumors of a power struggle being waged between the two men. Under a presidential decree signed by Tokayev and dated October 9 but made public on October 21, Nazarbayev effectively gained a veto over who is appointed to most of the country’s most powerful decision-making positions.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/kazakhstan-nazarbayev-takes-back-control

The Nazarbaevs Go Wild As Kazakhstan Burns

There have been amazing stories about the Nazarbaev family's incredible wealth and extravagant lifestyles in and outside of Kazakhstan

Oct 22 — “Kazakhs could be excused in recent weeks for thinking they were stuck in a rerun of Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous -- or perhaps the rich and infamous. Kazakhstan's long-serving first president and still-in-control elder statesman, Nursultan Nazarbaev, and some of his relatives have been making the news in a way that will certainly not help the family's reputation.” READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/qishloq-ovozi-nazarbaevs-wild-kazakhstan-burns/30230218.html

Write Off of Loans in Kazakhstan: Amnesty or Dependency?

According to the National Bank, every third Kazakhstani owes two thousand dollars each to banks in average, while the general amount of consumer loans is over 10 billion dollars

Oct 22 — “Mother with many children residing in the village of Prigorodny near Nur-Sultan, Marina Zhatkanbaeva, cannot find her name on the list of persons subject to loan write-off for a few weeks in a row and cannot prove she has five children. “I have to take my child and prove that I should be on that list since nine am till late at night. At first, I found out I didn’t have two children and then I learned that I was unmarried. This is absurd!” READ MORE: https://cabar.asia/en/write-off-of-loans-in-kazakhstan-amnesty-or-dependency/

Kazakhstan can help ASEAN grow

Kazakhstan has strategic transit potential, with 70 percent of transit traffic between China and Europe passing through the country

Oct 24 — “IN 2017, Kazakhstan introduced its open sky policy for its aviation sector. It was introduced in the capital Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana) and over three years, Kazakhstan and foreign air carriers launched 19 new routes, which included Tokyo, Warsaw, Budapest and Helsinki. Kazakhstan’s carriers plan to launch flights to large cities, such as Shanghai (2020), Singapore (2020) and New York (2021). Kazakhstan has flight connections with 26 countries via 99 international routes (430 flights per week by 26 foreign and three Kazakh airlines).” READ MORE:  https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/10/532729/kazakhstan-can-help-asean-grow

KYRGYZSTAN

Number of Prisoners Charged with Extremism and Terrorism in Kyrgyzstan Triples in Five Years

Experts say new approaches are needed for deradicalisation of such prisoners, but Kyrgyzstan has neither money nor specialists for that

Oct 21 — “After release from the maximum security penal colony next year, 28-year-old Azamat (not his real name) is dreaming of getting married and make leather souvenirs. He mastered the new trade for three and a half years in the penal colony No. 27 in the village of Moldovanovka, Chui region. In 2014, as soon as he was in the militant training camp in Syria, he received a gunshot wound. He was arrested at one of the hospitals in Turkey. After 10 months spent in a local prison, he was extradited to Kyrgyzstan. So, the resident of Vorontsovka village near Bishkek never had an opportunity to take part in battle actions.” READ MORE: https://cabar.asia/en/number-of-prisoners-charged-with-extremism-and-terrorism-in-kyrgyzstan-triples-in-five-years/

Kyrgyzstan: Political oddball’s stunts rile testy government

An eccentric Kyrgyz businessman is facing possible prosecution after declaring himself a god

Oct 23 — “An eccentric businessman who rose to fame in Kyrgyzstan for predicting the extinction of winter and calling Russian leader Vladimir Putin a biorobot is facing prosecution for declaring himself God. The authorities seem motivated in their hostility toward Arstan “Alai” Abdyldayev by a desire to discourage non-traditional faith movements. But in doing so, they risk coming off as intolerant and foolish by appearing to persecute a harmless oddball.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/kyrgyzstan-political-oddballs-stunts-rile-testy-government

Explainer: How did Kyrgyzstan’s ex-president fall so low?

Almazbek Atambayev, who faces astounding array of charges, is refusing to appear in court

Oct 24 — “Kyrgyzstan’s Supreme Court ruled on October 24 to endorse the legality of parliament’s June vote to strip former President Almazbek Atambayev of immunity from criminal prosecution. The petition to consider the question was put before the court by Atambayev’s remaining allies in the ranks of the Social-Democratic Party, or SDPK, which he helped found. This looked like a last throw of the dice for a man who has done more than most to engineer his own downfall.” READ MORE:  https://eurasianet.org/explainer-how-did-kyrgyzstans-ex-president-fall-so-low

TAJIKISTAN

U.S. Congressional Media Freedom Group Writes Letter Of Concern To Tajik President

Independent media often face restrictions and  harassment by Tajik authorities

Oct 18 — “A U.S. congressional group of lawmakers devoted to press freedom has expressed concern in a letter to Tajik President Emomali Rahmon over what they say are constant harassment and threats to journalists of the Tajik service of RFE/RL.” READ MORE:  https://www.rferl.org/a/u-s-congressional-media-freedom-group-writes-letter-of-concern-to-tajik-president/30222876.html

Police Reform in Tajikistan: What Should Be the Priority?

Tajik authorities expect the reform of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to strengthen the potential of the police in order to combat crime and ensure internal security. However, civil society expects these changes to also be a step forward in the fight against torture and ill-treatment

Oct 21 — “The problem of low competence of law enforcement agencies in Tajikistan is now acute. The situation is aggravated by the problems of drug trafficking, border security and the activities of criminal groups. The community hopes that law enforcement reform will help to solve security problems by increasing the competence of police officers. The government itself, which is trying to increase the image of law enforcement officials, also has considerable expectations. In this article, the author will try to analyze the current results of the reform, lasting for almost ten years.” READ MORE: https://cabar.asia/en/police-reform-in-tajikistan-what-should-be-the-priority/

Tajikistan: Another Chinese company gets tax exemptions

China continues to increase its economic influence on  Tajikistan

Oct 24 — “ A Chinese-owned engineering and mining company has been granted generous tax exemptions by Tajikistan’s government, becoming the second such Chinese investor to receive those terms over recent months. RFE/RL’s Tajik service, Radio Ozodi, reported on October 22 that TBEA will not have to pay levies on equipment and technology being imported to develop the Upper Kumarg and Eastern Duoba gold mines.” READ MORE:  https://eurasianet.org/tajikistan-another-chinese-company-gets-tax-exemptions

TURKMENISTAN

Passing the baton in Turkmenistan

The proposed constitutional amendment will reinforce Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow’s power and assure his multigenerational legacy

Oct 21 — “At the September 25 meeting of Turkmenistan’s Halk Maslahaty (People’s Council), the president-for-life Gurbanguly Berdimhammedow announced his aim to expand the legislature through a constitutional amendment. While this proposal will have impacts on how the executive and legislature function, for the 5 million people of Turkmenistan this development will mean more of the same presidential authoritarianism. The capital, Ashgabat, is whispering that the president plans to place his son Serdar in a leadership role, while he takes on the mantle of sage advisor, becoming the power behind the throne (rather than on it). In essence, Berdimuhamedow is securing hereditary succession for his son, while retaining power.” READ MORE: https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/passing-the-baton-in-turkmenistan/

Turkmenistan: What a bunch of crop

In its ‘Akhal-Teke: A Turkmenistan Bulletin’, Eurasianet reviews the main news and events in the Central Asian country for the previous week

Oct 22 — “In economic policymaking, Turkmenistan has bet the house on import-substitution. During a Cabinet meeting on October 18, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov noted with satisfaction that the growing private sector has not just helped “saturate the domestic market with high-quality agricultural products,” but that it is also powering the nation’s export potential.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/turkmenistan-what-a-bunch-of-crop

LGBT In Turkmenistan: Go To Jail Or Live A Lie

In Turkmenistan, where homosexuality is a crime and shunned by the country's conservative society, being gay means having to choose between living a lie or facing up to two years in prison and a lifetime of disgrace

Oct 22 — “To his friends and colleagues in Turkmenistan, Kamil is a successful cardiologist working at a prestigious clinic and an eligible bachelor from a well-connected family. Only a few people in his close family circle are aware of Kamil's real struggle: He is secretly gay.” READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/lgbt-in-turkmenistan-go-to-jail-or-live-a-lie/30230788.html

UZBEKISTAN

Turkey's role in the Turkic world: The case of Uzbekistan

Making use of a reformist agenda, Turkey can be a role model for the Turkic world in terms of development; Uzbekistan is a good case in point

Oct 17 — “The Uzbeks are the descendants of Celaladdin Harzemshah, who fought against the Mongols. Uzbekistan is a country with a rich historical significance; for example, Bukhara and Samarkand are two very important cities that have earned fame throughout Islamic history. It can be said that Uzbekistan and the Uzbeks have contributed significantly to Islamic civilization in many fields.” READ MORE:  https://www.dailysabah.com/op-ed/2019/10/17/turkeys-role-in-the-turkic-world-the-case-of-uzbekistan

Lawyers challenge UK imports of 'slavery-tainted' Uzbek cotton

Rights team argues preferential tariffs promote goods produced by hundreds of thousands of unpaid labourers in Uzbekistan cotton fields

Oct 21 — “The government is facing legal action to try and stop the importation of cotton harvested with state-sponsored forced labour from Uzbekistan into the UK. The Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights and the Global Legal Action Network (Glan), a team of human rights lawyers, are launching a judicial review of preferential tariffs applied to Uzbek cotton, arguing that it is promoting the importation of goods tainted with modern slavery.” READ MORE: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/oct/21/lawyers-challenge-uk-import-of-slavery-tainted-uzbek-cotton

Uzbekistan outlines path to banking sector reform

New plans to clean up Uzbekistan’s Soviet-style banking sector will see underperforming legacy loans transferred to state fund

Oct 23 — “Uzbek policymakers have announced plans to clean up the balance sheets of the country’s largest banks as part of a drive to restructure and privatize the state-dominated sector. Nearly 30 years after the end of the Soviet Union, publicly owned lenders still account for more than 80% of total banking assets in Uzbekistan.” READ MORE: https://www.euromoney.com/article/b1hpshl7w022z6/uzbekistan-outlines-path-to-banking-sector-reform

AFGHANISTAN

What a Withdrawal From Afghanistan Would Look Like

The United States has fought a relentless campaign against the Taliban, al Qaeda and the Islamic State, and many opponents of the effort can endure it no longer

Oct 21 — “Over the past two years, a bipartisan consensus has emerged that the United States should leave Afghanistan. This summer, President Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that he wanted out. So did the Democratic presidential candidates. During a September debate, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren promised to bring troops home without any deal with the Taliban, and former Vice President Joe Biden was just as strident, declaring, “We don’t need those troops there. I would bring them home.” But advocates of the mission argue that a full withdrawal courts disaster, paving the way for terrorist groups to reestablish a safe haven in Afghanistan.” READ MORE:  https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/afghanistan/2019-10-21/what-withdrawal-afghanistan-would-look

The Shattered Afghan Dream of Peace

President Trump upended peace talks. Civilian casualties keep climbing. After eighteen years of war, Afghans are suffering more than ever

Oct 21 — “In 2008, when Zubair was seventeen years old, he left the refugee camp in Pakistan where he’d grown up, crossed into Afghanistan, and joined the war against the Americans. Although he and his family had fled the country during the Taliban regime, everyone Zubair knew seemed to agree that it was his religious duty to resist the foreign occupation of his homeland. One of his teachers arranged his enlistment in the Taliban. Zubair underwent a brief training program in Kunar Province, in northeastern Afghanistan, where his father had died during the war against the Soviet Union.” READ MORE:  https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/10/28/the-shattered-afghan-dream-of-peace

Islamic State Affiliate Seeks to Expand in Afghanistan

ISK’s influence and size in  Afghanistan have persevered if not grown, despite intense fighting with its Taliban rivals and efforts by the United States and its Afghan and NATO partners

Oct 23 — “Afghan intelligence officials reportedly captured a deputy leader of the Islamic State-Khorasan (the Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan, also referred to as ISK) near the city of Herat in September. Herat is more than 1,000 kilometers west of ISK’s stronghold in Nangarhar province, and much of Herat province and the surrounding region is contested by the Taliban. While details on the captured ISK leader remain vague, it is highly likely that his presence in Afghanistan’s west signals that the group is attempting to expand into Taliban-contested areas and draw defectors under the shadow of Taliban-U.S. negotiations.” READ MORE:  https://www.lawfareblog.com/islamic-state-affiliate-seeks-expand-afghanistan

WORLD

Societal Change Afoot in Central Asia

Younger generations of Central Asian citizens are demanding more from their governments, but their leaders continue to cling to a rapidly eroding status quo

Oct 18 — “Central Asia is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Its governments face legitimacy crises at a time when long-standing leaders are being replaced by little-known, untested ones. Social contracts, by which citizens traded political freedoms for improved economic conditions and stability, are collapsing under the weight of growing socioeconomic distress. Almost thirty years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Central Asian states still struggle to provide basic services—from essentials like clean water and quality healthcare to more complex social welfare programs, disaster response, and emergency management systems that can improve or even save lives.” READ MORE: https://carnegieendowment.org/2019/10/18/societal-change-afoot-in-central-asia-pub-80086

Is Afghanistan Still India’s “Achilles Heel” in Central Asia?

The growing geopolitical and geostrategic role of Central Asia has forced policymakers in Delhi to strive toward recalibrating India’s Central Asia policy

Oct 23 — “Afghanistan, the kryptonite in India’s Central Asia Policy, has started to stroll back onto the path of development after decades of economic stagnancy, plagued by the perennial impediments of insecurity, insurgency, and corruption. The establishment of new infrastructural connectivity since 2014, allowing the country to reach new regional and international markets, is promising, not only for the stature of Afghanistan but also for regional development. Afghanistan, contrary to the popular perception that it represents an “Achilles Heel,” will be playing a seminal role in Indian policies toward Central Asia going forward.” READ MORE:  https://www.geopoliticalmonitor.com/is-afghanistan-still-indias-achilles-heel-in-central-asia/

Nations

About Us

Social

Advanced Search


Newsletter

If you do not already have an account, click here