Georgia has held transparent elections and it has pledged to create an independent court system and to honor media rights. But when it comes to government policy on illegal narcotics, the South Caucasus country is still not ready for European integration, experts contend.
The leaders of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus signed a potentially game-changing treaty in Astana on May 29, establishing a Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). If the union develops as envisioned, it could transform the geopolitical architecture of the post-Soviet region. But lots of hurdles still need to be cleared for that to happen.
It’s not unusual for politics and business to be family affairs in the former Soviet Union, especially in Central Asia. But President Emomali Rakhmon of Tajikistan – who has seven daughters and two sons – is taking nepotism to new heights. Rakhmon’s preference for placing relatives in positions of power is hurting the Tajik government’s capabilities, observers assert.
As Armenia prepares to join the Russia-led Customs Union, a surprise decision to erect a statue in the capital Yerevan in honor of the Soviet-era political leader Anastas Mikoian is raising hackles among intellectuals and rights activists.
In June 2013, when Botir told his parents that he was leaving his village in southern Kyrgyzstan for Turkey to find construction work, they were worried. The 30-year-old shopkeeper had only recently been released from prison after serving a short sentence on terrorism-related charges.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has consolidated authority to such an extent that any form of mass public protest in Moscow is practically inconceivable these days. However, room for dissent exists in other regions of Russia.