For most Tajiks, Russia plays a huge role in their families’ well being: Tajikistan’s economy is deeply dependent on remittances sent from its labor migrants in Russia; Tajikistan imports 90 percent of its oil products from Russia; and twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia remains one of Tajikistan’s largest trade partners.
On September 26, politicians from both countries met in Dushanbe to discuss economic integration. Their roundtable came the week before a scheduled visit from the architect of post-Soviet reintegration himself, President Vladimir Putin. At a widely publicized roundtable, the two sides cheerfully discussed the idea of Tajikistan’s accession to the Moscow-led Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. It turns out the topic will be on Putin’s agenda – a touch of brotherly bonhomie among a set of thornier subjects – and apparently has Dushanbe’s full support.
"The admission of Tajikistan to the Customs Union will be a significant step towards economic integration with Russia and other Customs Union members," said a statement by Tajikistan’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, carried by Interfax. The ministry noted that membership would guarantee supplies of petrol and basic foodstuffs. (President Emomali Rakhmon had just urged his citizens to stockpile grain for the winter ahead.)
This summer, Vitaly Korolkov, 38, was homeless, HIV-positive, and a recovering heroin addict. He began methadone treatment the last time he got out of prison, three years ago, because, as he put it, “I just want to live, don’t know how much time I have left.”
The building that houses the Executive Committee of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure is in a walled compound in the center of the Uzbek capital, Tashkent. I had the good fortune to be among the few Americans invited to take a peek inside.
Just days ahead of the country’s October 1 parliamentary vote, televised images of the brutal treatment of detainees at Georgia’s Prison No. 8 are stoking one of the most serious political crises ever encountered by President Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration. The scandal has quickly scrambled assumptions about the upcoming election.
Officials in Washington believe that, in spite of irregularities during the run-up to Georgia's parliamentary elections, the vote will be competitive because the opposition has money to overcome obstacles erected by incumbent authorities, a US State Department official said.
For a group of prospective North American parents whose attempts to adopt Kyrgyzstani children wound up on the wrong side of a 2009 moratorium on foreign adoptions, the last four years have been a harrowing education in the cut and thrust of Kyrgyz politics.
Rooted in long-standing historical, religious and economic differences, Georgian animosity toward neighboring Turkey, Georgia’s fifth-largest investor, appears to be growing in the Black Sea region of Achara. Recently, politicians eager for votes in Georgia’s October 1 parliamentary elections have brought the sentiments to a steady boil.