With oil prices now barely above $31 per barrel, Azerbaijan’s energy-export economy is taking on lots of water. And what is worse, Baku’s lifeboat, the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan, appears to be in danger of foundering.
A prominent European think tank contends that the Russian economy may be entering into a death spiral, driven by a combination of factors, including low energy prices, government mismanagement, a collapse in the Russian ruble’s value and Western sanctions.
The row about the British miner expelled from Kyrgyzstan after likening a traditional local dish, chuchuk, to a horse’s penis has begun to subside. As the founder of news website Kloop.kg Bektour Iskender explains, however, the furor has exposed some rarely discussed tensions within Kyrgyz society.
In late December, an unsigned piece posted on a popular Russian-language blog, headlined “Companions in the Fight,” caused a stir on the Russian Internet by shedding light on a largely unexamined facet of the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s background.
From a sixth-floor window overlooking Bishkek’s “golden quarter” — a district touted as holding the city’s prime real estate — a panorama of slow-moving and stalled construction projects greets the eye.
Germany is ending its controversial military cooperation with Uzbekistan over the Termez airbase. Germany used the base for 13 years to transfer troops and equipment to Afghanistan, but this logistics hub is no longer necessary, according to the German military. Termez does not play a role in Germany’s plans, announced earlier in December, to extend its operations in Afghanistan.
A Kyrgyz in a Mongol warrior princess getup won the Turkvision song contest in the third iteration of the event that brings together Turkic peoples from across Eurasia in a musical celebration of a shared culture.