With a Georgian church as a demure backdrop, a few unremarkable, tubby middle-aged men stare grimly into the camera. At first glance, this might seem a photo of devout pilgrims. But it is not. The beer-bellied men pictured are alleged Georgian crime-bosses, and they are busy doing what Georgian crime-bosses have learned to do since the collapse of the Soviet era -- adapt to change, and survive.
It's not often that a senior government minister in a European Union member state makes an overtly racist joke on live TV, still rarer that he keeps his job and indeed escapes any sort of censure after doing so.
The 19-year-old Azerbaijani man claims he awoke one morning in mid-August to the sound and feel of gasoline splashing on his body and his mother angrily screaming. Through a sleepy haze, he saw her burning a piece of paper. Suddenly, he alleged, his mother’s intentions became clear; he was about to be burned to death for being homosexual.
Driving south from Dushanbe, it seems there’s a Chinese investment story at every turn. But as cash pours in from Tajikistan’s powerful neighbor to the East, local concerns are building over Beijing’s opaque plans.
The booming rhythms and bass beats of electronic music go on for 24 hours a day in a small village on Georgia’s Black Sea coastline, and the reverberations are being felt across this South-Caucasus country.
Beibit Yerubayev stays up at night thinking about vaccinations and artificial insemination. The cowboy with an MBA says Kazakhstan’s beef industry was a mess when he entered it four years ago, plagued by small, disease-addled herds and no vaccines. “I had to smuggle them in every time I traveled,” he says.
Russia’s ambitions for territorial expansion these days are not limited to Crimea and eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin and Canada are maneuvering to gain control of potentially lucrative areas of the Arctic.
The Armenian government believes that Moscow’s August 7 ban on food imports from the West could offer its own weather-beaten agricultural sector a chance for a comeback. But some local analysts scoff at the notion.
Taxes are a hot topic of discussion these days for shoppers at Bishkek’s sprawling Azamat car market. The Kyrgyz government is expected to sharply raise import tariffs soon on vehicles to prepare for accession into the Russia-led Customs Union; shoppers fear the new regulations will double the price of the average car within a few years.