Financial transfers from Russia to the South Caucasus country of Armenia have dipped by a staggering 56 percent over the past year, leaving the thousands of Armenian families who depend on Russian remittances struggling to make ends meet.
Kazakhstan has long sought to diversify its economy to make it less dependent on energy exports, a mission that has taken on increasing importance in this age of low oil prices. A state-of-the-art automobile production line situated on the steppes of northern Kazakhstan represents a potentially important step in this direction.
Power and wealth rule on the roads and sidewalks of Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek. The drivers of expensive cars tend to flout traffic and parking rules with impunity. But where police fail to enforce laws, a civic group is mounting a name-and-shame initiative to counter bad, sometimes dangerous habits.
Georgians have developed a taste for fast food during the fasting period of Lent. The trend has highlighted a cultural paradox in this South Caucasus state, where Orthodox Christianity forms perhaps the main pillar of national identity.
As President Almazbek Atambayev was trumpeting Kyrgyzstan’s democratization potential during a late March European tour, Kyrgyz state security agents were raiding a human rights organization best known for defending members of the embattled Uzbek minority in the southern city of Osh.
In his Mother’s Day speech last month, Tajikistan's President Emomali Rahmon criticized women who wear “foreign” clothing, especially the black veils associated with conservative Islam. Within days, officials began threatening shopkeepers who sell hijab, the Islamic head covering for women; a few days later state television reported that sex workers are using hijab to drive up their prices.
Three months into Armenia’s membership in the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union, the search for work in Russia, a longtime regional employment-hub, has become as much about finding ways around bans on Armenian migrants as about finding an actual job.