Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev was once dubbed corruption’s “Person of the Year” by an organization of investigative journalists. But to many Azerbaijani citizens, he is seen as more trustworthy than the courts, recent survey data shows.
Walk into one of the ubiquitous Bishkek butcher shops advertising itself as “halal” and ask what the word means, and you are likely to receive a shrug and a gesture pointing to a certificate on the wall. In Kyrgyzstan, where the observance of Islamic customs appears to be spreading quickly, there’s little agreement about how to prepare meat in a religiously proper way.
After working as a respected journalist for 25 years in numerous capacities, including a stint as a columnist at one of Turkey’s largest newspapers, Serdar Akinan found himself in early 2013 at a career crossroads: would he continue working in the mainstream Turkish media or open up a pizza place?
Authorities in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are each struggling to claim the moral high ground after a January 11 border clash left security forces wounded on both sides. The challenge now is for officials in the two countries to keep populist impulses at bay, experts say.
The steel-and-glass Flame Towers symbolize how Azerbaijan’s oil wealth is rapidly transforming Baku’s skyline. But behind this façade of modernity, gender attitudes, specifically the way men interact with women in public, remain stuck in an anachronistic rut.
The Year of the Snake has been full of unpleasant surprises for Chinese living in Kyrgyzstan. Against a backdrop of rising economic nationalism and weak law enforcement, Chinese migrants complain they’re being targeted for robberies and extortion, especially by law-enforcement officers who are supposed to protect them.
A slow-motion ecological calamity is unfolding at Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan. An underground plume of refined oil products – the result of a spill back in the 1990s – is migrating toward the lake and, today, it’s only a few meters away from hitting water.
A mysterious mansion on the Catalan coast with an apparent Kazakhstani connection is spurring an environmental controversy. Local authorities are conducting a probe to determine whether graft was involved in the granting of permits to build the estate in an ecologically protected area.
The South Caucasus state of Georgia has a reputation for being a staunchly patriarchal society. But 21st century realities are starting to chip away at the country’s male-first pecking order, experts say.
Now that Latvia has joined the euro zone, legislators in Riga can return to the delicate issue of residency permits for foreign nationals. Lenient rules have allowed thousands of über-rich Russians, Chinese and Central Asians to use Latvia as a backdoor to Europe. Critics want to tighten legal loopholes, while defenders warn that too much tinkering could have economic consequences.