Imam Rashot Kamalov, a popular Muslim preacher in southern Kyrgyzstan, faces over 10 years in prison for a sermon he gave last summer. Much of the case against him hinges on the words of a frequent witness for the state, a psychologist who speaks neither of the languages used in the sermon but claims a good feel for the “hidden meanings” of body language.
That corporate sponsorship and international sporting events go hand-in-hand is nothing new. But the extent to which many sponsors of the June 12-28 European Games have connections to the host nation, Azerbaijan, and specifically to friends and relatives of President Ilham Aliyev, is noteworthy.
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are the two Central Asian countries most in need of outside support to help prop up crumbling healthcare systems. Yet amid rising evidence that officials are stealing international aid, donors are increasingly wary of extending assistance.
Several unusual corruption cases in Tajikistan reveal that some kids have a rather unflattering idea about how government works. Minors are impersonating officials – including a member of the authoritarian president’s family – to solicit bribes or favors.
Thirty-eight-year-old Moldovan Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici has made a lot of reform promises. But after seeing hundreds of millions of dollars vanish in a banking scandal, Moldovan taxpayers’ patience is wearing thin.
Tajikistan is a donor-dependent state, but that does not stop President Emomali Rahmon’s administration from undertaking extravagant building projects. The latest case of grandiosity involves the construction of what the president’s website boasts will be Central Asia’s largest theater.
“Only two universities in Kyrgyzstan are worth entering,” says Emir, an 11th-grade student in Bishkek. The rest, he believes, do not value scholarship and instead see students as a means to make a profit.
Few Kazakhstanis were surprised when a top organizer of the 2011 Asian Winter Games, the biggest sporting spectacle the country has ever held, was jailed last October. Aidar Musin was found guilty of using $3 million in state funds earmarked for the event to buy himself luxury cars and prime real estate.