Abdurakhmon, an Uzbek shepherd in his early 20s, lives in Uzbekistan's remote mountains, far from any town. After long days tending his sheep, at night he is glued to an old Soviet-era television set he inherited from his father.
Football may soon provide a gauge of the extent by which reason governs political decision-making in Russia.
Anatoly Vorobiev, the general-secretary of the Russian Football Union, recently floated an idea in which Russia’s national football squad would play as a team in the Russian Premier League during the 2017-18 season.
Azerbaijan’s recent crackdown on institutions and individuals allegedly linked to the influential Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen may not have halted promotional work by Gülen-associated organizations in the United States for the Azerbaijani government.
Weak links in Russia’s petroleum-refinery network and the Kremlin’s power play in Ukraine are shortchanging Central Asian petrol markets, importers complain. With alternatives expensive or unfeasible, and regional refining capacity severely limited, local energy executives are ruing Moscow’s traditional sway over the region’s petrol supply.
When Rusudan, a 47-year-old woman from Georgia’s western city of Zugdidi, decided to move her son from a public school to a private school seven years ago, it was not a light-hearted decision. Like many of her generation, she favors public education. Yet, despite nearly a decade of reforms, public schools in Georgia are falling short.
Many parents in Tajikistan view the start of the school year with a bit of trepidation: while students wrestle with their lessons, adults must reach for their wallets. An increasing number are willing to spend sizable sums to get their kids into Russian-language classes.
The United States and European Union appear to be taking a stronger stance against Azerbaijan over Baku's poor rights record. Recent US and EU criticism is bolstering the resolve of local critics of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's administration, even though there are no immediate signs that Western leaders and institutions will follow up on their words with actions.
While the cease-fire between Ukraine and pro-Russian and Russian fighters holds steady, another fight is poised to begin over Russian gas for Ukraine. And, this time, it’s a fight that, by default, involves Ukraine’s small, pro-Western neighbor, Moldova, too.
It’s no secret that Turkmenistan, a modern-day hermit khanate with one of the most repressive governments on earth, has an abundance of political prisoners. But until now, few details were known about how enemies of the state spent their time behind bars.
With the Russian economy starting to creak under the weight of Western economic sanctions imposed over the Ukraine crisis, a question is being posed in Kazakhstan: will the Kremlin’s aggressive geopolitical agenda cause Astana excessive economic pain?