WASHINGTON -- U.S. asylum applications from Russian nationals have jumped 15 percent for the second straight year, a rise that asylum seekers and attorneys attribute to Russians fleeing their homeland due to fears of persecution and antigay violence.
Each winter in Kyrgyzstan the energy situation seems to worsen; blackouts last longer, and officials seem less able to do anything to improve conditions. This year is expected to be particularly difficult.
Armenia has finalized its accession to the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union, an intended regional counterweight to the European Union. But while Armenian and Russian officials focus on future prosperity, some Armenian observers believe membership in the bloc could exacerbate Armenia’s security challenges.
The Georgian government is promising to review recent visa and immigration restrictions on foreigners amid concerns that the reforms may curtail foreign investment and encourage expats to leave the country.
In 1960, the Georgian poet Ioseb Noneshvili lauded teachers as role models and pillars of society who were endowed with the “light of knowledge.” But his patriotic vision collapsed with the Soviet Union: in today’s Georgia, becoming a teacher is no longer every “child’s wish.” This shift in attitude has potentially profound economic ramifications for the aspiring European Union member.
Turkmenistan, home of the Karakum Desert, is one of the most arid places on earth; it is also the globe's biggest water waster. But before other Central Asian states start tsk-tsking, a recently published report describes the entire region as a world "leader" in the inefficient use of water resources.
Abdurakhmon, an Uzbek shepherd in his early 20s, lives in Uzbekistan's remote mountains, far from any town. After long days tending his sheep, at night he is glued to an old Soviet-era television set he inherited from his father.