With the Russian economy hitting the skids, it looks like Armenia wants to hedge its economic bets. Although Yerevan became a member of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union in January, a senior Armenian government official told EurasiaNet.org that the country is working to complete an updated version of an EU Association Agreement that Armenian officials put on hold back in 2013.
A fierce discussion broke out recently in a post office in Mândra, a village in central Moldova. The impromptu debate centered on the question of whether Russia deserves blame for the ongoing war in neighboring Ukraine.
February can be a spooky month for anyone with a pocketful of tenge. Kazakhstan’s embattled currency has been devalued twice in the last six years, both times in February. With plenty of indications the tenge is overvalued again, would-be investors are putting decisions on ice, distressed banks are reluctant to issue credit, and private citizens are hoarding dollars.
The late January visit to Armenia by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif got little media attention, but it could have significant ramifications for geopolitics in Eurasia. Specifically, the trip could help Russia gain a trade outlet that softens the blow of Western sanctions.
American taxpayers spent hundreds of thousands of dollars refurbishing a women’s shelter outside Kyrgyzstan’s capital less than five years ago. Though the Central Asian country is desperately short of such crisis centers, the shelter never functioned and, a member of parliament now says, was improperly privatized instead.
The rape of a two-year-old Bishkek boy earlier in January is fueling a nationwide debate: should Kyrgyzstan reintroduce capital punishment for such heinous crimes? While passions rage in parliament and the media, rights activists say Kyrgyzstan’s corrupt and unaccountable courts should not be trusted on matters of life and death.
When it comes to authoritarian Uzbekistan’s dismal human rights record, the Obama administration says “strategic patience” should characterize its relationship with Tashkent. But the premise of strategic patience in Uzbekistan’s case is flawed because Tashkent plays by a different set of rules.
Among the multiple personas adopted by Gulnara Karimova, the disgraced daughter of Uzbekistan’s dictator, was #1 football fan. Accordingly, her political demise stirred speculation about whether Uzbekistan would continue to play the role of a regional football power.