Western media may not be paying much attention now to Ukraine, but this does not mean that the conflict there has been frozen, much less settled. The ceasefire concluded in February 2015 has not held, and the frontline has seen incessant fighting. Moscow continues to undermine Kyiv and plans for far more aggressive measures in the future.
Kazakhstan’s government knew what it was getting when Yerlan Sagadiyev was appointed education minister in February 2016.
The US-educated 50 year old, an economist by training, has long been a crusader for the radical modernization of schools in Kazakhstan and, in particular, the need for all the nation’s children to learn English.
An hour into an interview, Eynulla Fatullayev pulls out a cigarette and – making sure the interviewer does not mind – lights up. Azerbaijan has laws prohibiting smoking in offices, but Fatullayev says with a laugh, “We’re journalists – the law isn’t for us.”
Azerbaijan’s diplomatic contacts with Pakistan have intensified over the past year, with a particular focus on military and energy cooperation. But it remains unclear to what degree this developing partnership is being driven by realism, and how much by romanticism.
Social tensions have been rising in Kazakhstan since December, but unlike recent flare-ups, this conflict is not simply about economic discontent. This time, the government is going after the best tools that workers have to peacefully and constructively address sources of discontent – independent trade unions.