Less than a month before elections to Tajikistan’s rubber-stamp parliament, members of the embattled opposition say the authoritarian-minded government is resorting to new tactics and old – sex tapes and arrests – to discredit them.
“Kazakhstan is a land of unity and accord,” reads the billboard looming over the highway to the southern village of Bostandyk, which was hit by ethnic clashes between the Kazakh and Tajik communities last week.
A group of men wearing felt kalpak hats raced into a karaoke club late one December night and lined up local women before a video camera. They accused them of prostitution while blaming Chinese men for abetting vice in Kyrgyzstan. Their video was meant to inflame public indignation.
With the Russian economy hitting the skids, it looks like Armenia wants to hedge its economic bets. Although Yerevan became a member of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union in January, a senior Armenian government official told EurasiaNet.org that the country is working to complete an updated version of an EU Association Agreement that Armenian officials put on hold back in 2013.
A fierce discussion broke out recently in a post office in Mândra, a village in central Moldova. The impromptu debate centered on the question of whether Russia deserves blame for the ongoing war in neighboring Ukraine.
February can be a spooky month for anyone with a pocketful of tenge. Kazakhstan’s embattled currency has been devalued twice in the last six years, both times in February. With plenty of indications the tenge is overvalued again, would-be investors are putting decisions on ice, distressed banks are reluctant to issue credit, and private citizens are hoarding dollars.
The late January visit to Armenia by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif got little media attention, but it could have significant ramifications for geopolitics in Eurasia. Specifically, the trip could help Russia gain a trade outlet that softens the blow of Western sanctions.
American taxpayers spent hundreds of thousands of dollars refurbishing a women’s shelter outside Kyrgyzstan’s capital less than five years ago. Though the Central Asian country is desperately short of such crisis centers, the shelter never functioned and, a member of parliament now says, was improperly privatized instead.