Turkmenistan’s leader, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has tried to give the Central Asian country a modern gloss by touting the Internet’s ability to make life simpler. The initiative, however, has become the butt of jokes and derision among Ashgabat residents.
In Turkey, it is not just the cost and questionable necessity of massive government development projects that are giving citizens pause. It is also what critics charge is the undemocratic way the city of Istanbul is being transformed without local input.
Few in Kyrgyzstan would be surprised to learn someone in the government is listening to their phone calls. Government prying is a widely acknowledged legacy of the Soviet era. Among rights activists, however, the concern is more technical: who, exactly, is listening?
Bamyan Province is still a pocket of relative tranquility in Afghanistan. But things get dangerous for locals when they have to travel. All roads into and out of the province must run a Taliban gauntlet.
When his United National Movement lost control over Georgia’s parliament in early October, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili also lost the remote control for the country’s national television broadcasters. In a country that watches TV round-the-clock, that means drastic changes in news coverage.
Vazirbek Avazbekov rebuilt his house four times before government officials in Tajikistan decided to move his village from its avalanche- and flood-prone valley to Navruz, a dusty patch of desert more than 300 kilometers away.
In the underwear department of your favorite apparel store, it may seem like a simple choice – Fruit of the Loom or Hanes. But half a world away your decision could affect whether a child goes to school, or is marched off to cotton fields and put to work.