It has been a chastening few months for gas-rich Turkmenistan. Two long-standing energy buyers have indicated they will stop purchasing the country’s natural gas, potentially leaving Ashgabat dependent on Chinese demand.
A full-blown political crisis is erupting in Georgia. The tumult is raising questions about foreign and defense policies in a nation that, up until now, has ardently aspired to joint NATO and the European Union.
Azerbaijan’s efforts to use its energy wealth to win friends and influence opinion in the United States and European Union are well documented. Far less attention has been paid to Baku’s suspected efforts aimed at co-opting rights advocates inside Azerbaijan.
Fears of militant Islam are nothing new in Kyrgyzstan. Over the past decade and a half, Kyrgyz media have warned about a progression of Islamic bogeymen posing a dire threat to the region – including the Taliban, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Now, there is supposedly a new threat that radiates from distant lands.
Earlier in October, Azerbaijani news media reported the death of a professional Azerbaijani wrestler, Rashad Bakhshaliyev, who was killed in Syria while fighting for the Islamic State. The news, which came as a surprise to many in Azerbaijan, underscores an emerging security threat for Azerbaijan.
A money-laundering scandal is casting Moldova’s judiciary in an unfavorable light and is raising concerns about the government’s commitment to reforms needed to keep European Union integration on track.
In early 2013, shortly after the Russian Duma approved a bill outlawing what Russian officials described as "homosexual propaganda," I spent several weeks in Bishkek interviewing local LGBT and human rights activists. The aim was to discern how Kyrgyzstan had emerged as a bright spot for LGBT activism in a region well-known for intolerance of homosexuality and gender variance.
Almost a century ago, amid the civil warfare that erupted following the collapse of the tsarist empire, a Ukrainian army led by Nestor Makhno marched under the banner, “anarchy is the mother of order.” These days, as a conflict simmers in eastern Ukraine, some Ukrainian entrepreneurs are embracing a far different motto: military necessity is the mother of market invention.
Minovar Ruzieva, 38, was an English teacher in Osh until last summer. The mother of four now sells Chinese clothes at a local bazaar. Like many other teachers in Kyrgyzstan, she could not survive on her “scant salary,” so she took unskilled work to make ends meet.
The steep decline in global oil prices is stoking angst in Kazakhstan. Experts and officials alike say the government has ample resources to grapple with fiscal surprises. The real question is whether the political will exists for the government to take necessary measures.