Kazakhstan has lifted visa requirements for citizens of selected countries, a move designed to lure business travelers, and which is also expected to boost the tourism sector. But even without a need for visas, tourism experts believe that Kazakhstan will remain a hard sell for foreign visitors.
The strong showing of Euro-skeptic parties in May’s European Parliament elections raises questions about how easily Georgia can move from its recently signed EU Association Agreement toward its long-held goal of full-fledged EU membership.
Astana is rebooting a program to lure ethnic Kazakhs living abroad to move to Kazakhstan. Observers believe Astana’s revived interest in the program is motivated by a desire to limit Russia’s potential to meddle in Kazakhstani affairs.
His nom de guerre is Omar al-Shishani (Omar the Chechen), and he has gained a fearsome reputation as a commander in the dreaded terrorist jihadi group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. But al-Shishani is no Chechen. His birth name is Tarkhan Batirashvili, and he is a citizen of Georgia from the Pankisi Gorge, a remote corner of this South-Caucasus country.
Amid deteriorating relations with the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin is looking to diversify a Russian economy that is tightly linked to European markets. Fittingly, an old Soviet-era satellite state seems eager to lend a helping hand.
Judging by the long line outside the Russian Embassy in Tashkent one recent afternoon, new Russian legislation offering citizenship to Russian-speakers is prompting lots of individuals in Uzbekistan to ponder emigration. Some see a chance to escape economic woes; others, stymied by Uzbekistan’s own Byzantine bureaucracy, want to seize on an opportunity to obtain a proper passport.
What led Tajikistan’s security services to suspect a respected researcher of treason and arrest him last month? The answer can be found in recent developments in Tajikistan, and indeed across the former Soviet Union. Alexander Sodiqov’s June 16 arrest comes amid a spike in growing anti-Western rhetoric from Tajik officials.
Tajikistan’s Interior Ministry is cracking down on prostitution, detaining over 500 sex workers during the campaign’s first few days. Activists say detainees are being subjected to blackmailing threats and beatings while in custody.