President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey are not the most popular leaders in the world today, but they are certainly popular with each other. Their mutual affinity is not just the result of personal chemistry, it also stems from a shared craving for unchecked power.
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.
I recently had the opportunity to spend an extended amount of time in Ukraine, speaking to members of the country’s political and intellectual elite. The most striking impression I came away with was the near-universal disappointment of my interlocutors in the performance of President Petro Poroshenko and his administration.
The results of Turkey’s June 7 parliamentary elections denied a majority to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party. It also diversified parliament’s demographic mix: the election of three ethnic Armenian deputies is being heralded as an important breakthrough for the country and its fraught relations with its Armenian minority.
The European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution on June 10 that assailed Russian aggression in Ukraine and appealed for European Union unity in the face of Kremlin policies aimed at dividing the continent.
Legislators in Georgia are amending laws designed to hinder Georgian citizens from joining militant groups fighting in Syria. Despite the recent step, some critics contend the government could do more to address the issue.
For years, Kyrgyz herders from Osh’s hilly outskirts would come down to Ozoda Salieva’s house and take her cow and several sheep, and, for a small fee, fatten them up in a summer pasture. Salieva, a 73-year-old pensioner, says it was a long-standing tradition.
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.