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.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave a speech last October in Rize, less than 100 miles from the Georgian border, to justify Turkey’s military actions in Syria and Iraq. During the address, he evoked the Ottoman Empire, arguing that Ankara’s interests coincide, at least emotionally, with those of the Golden Porte.
Today marks the centennial of the start of upheaval in Petrograd – events now known to history as the February Revolution – which forced Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate and paved the way for an experiment in Communism that lasted over 74 years.
During the Soviet era, Communist authorities propagated a rigid form of atheism, while persecuting believers to varying degrees in different eras. These days in Russia, the opposite is the case: the state is upholding strict Orthodox Christian doctrines, while using the judicial system to muzzle non-believers and religious dissenters.