The cultural fault line that seems to divide the West and many formerly Soviet states is perhaps most visible when it comes to differing attitudes on LGBT issues. But a culture clash is also flaring in the sartorial sphere. In Azerbaijan, for example, a public debate is brewing over whether it is appropriate for men to wear shorts.
Squeezed onto narrow benches in an airless courtroom in a provincial town in southern Kyrgyzstan, dozens of men from Imam Rashot Kamalov’s congregation looked bewildered as a disorderly hearing unfolded.
The overall atmosphere in Azerbaijan is grim when it comes to freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. Yet, the release from prison of Taleh Baghirov, a young, charismatic Shia Muslim cleric, goes against the general trend in Azerbaijan.
Russia may have the upper hand in the war in eastern Ukraine, but it is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the Ukrainian nation. As a result, the more Russian leader Vladimir Putin tries to pull strings, the more he weakens the cultural and historical ties that have long bound Russia and Ukraine.
The expected economic benefits of membership in the Eurasian Economic Union are not materializing for Armenia. One way Armenian leaders are apparently hoping to offset looming shortfalls is by privatizing the postal service.
Political intrigue in Uzbekistan may have removed first lady of glitz Gulnara Karimova from the fashion scene, but an abiding appetite for style in Tashkent is enabling the emergence of bold, young designers.
It was not too long ago that Gazprom, the state-controlled energy conglomerate, was one of the Kremlin’s most potent geopolitical weapons. But those days now seem like a distant memory: Gazprom is a financial shadow of its former self.
Stubbornly low oil prices and delays on a mammoth offshore project have prompted Kazakhstan’s national wealth fund to sell a 10 percent stake in the state energy company to the National Bank, the country’s top fiscal institution.