The European Union is making a push to raise its profile in two trouble spots in the South Caucasus, Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Brussels insists its forays in the region are nothing more than routine diplomacy. But some observers believe the EU is hoping to push back against Russia’s troublemaking in Ukraine.
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.
With less than three months until Kyrgyzstan joins the Kremlin’s new economic bloc, the Eurasian Economic Union, confusion over the EEU’s rules is keeping small-scale Kyrgyzstani entrepreneurs guessing.
For thousands of Azerbaijanis like 58-year-old high-school teacher Nargiz, the Azerbaijani national currency’s precipitous plunge on February 21 wiped out more than their savings. It popped a bubble of belief that Azerbaijan was protected from the kind of financial instability that has shaken other Eurasian states.
Fifty-eight-year-old Veronica Zinici, a pensioner from the separatist territory of Transnistria, recently traveled to the Moldovan capital Chișinău to seek medical treatment. She also brought with her a tale of hardship.
Less than a month before elections to Tajikistan’s rubber-stamp parliament, members of the embattled opposition say the authoritarian-minded government is resorting to new tactics and old – sex tapes and arrests – to discredit them.