Weak links in Russia’s petroleum-refinery network and the Kremlin’s power play in Ukraine are shortchanging Central Asian petrol markets, importers complain. With alternatives expensive or unfeasible, and regional refining capacity severely limited, local energy executives are ruing Moscow’s traditional sway over the region’s petrol supply.
When Rusudan, a 47-year-old woman from Georgia’s western city of Zugdidi, decided to move her son from a public school to a private school seven years ago, it was not a light-hearted decision. Like many of her generation, she favors public education. Yet, despite nearly a decade of reforms, public schools in Georgia are falling short.
Many parents in Tajikistan view the start of the school year with a bit of trepidation: while students wrestle with their lessons, adults must reach for their wallets. An increasing number are willing to spend sizable sums to get their kids into Russian-language classes.
The United States and European Union appear to be taking a stronger stance against Azerbaijan over Baku's poor rights record. Recent US and EU criticism is bolstering the resolve of local critics of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's administration, even though there are no immediate signs that Western leaders and institutions will follow up on their words with actions.
While the cease-fire between Ukraine and pro-Russian and Russian fighters holds steady, another fight is poised to begin over Russian gas for Ukraine. And, this time, it’s a fight that, by default, involves Ukraine’s small, pro-Western neighbor, Moldova, too.
It’s no secret that Turkmenistan, a modern-day hermit khanate with one of the most repressive governments on earth, has an abundance of political prisoners. But until now, few details were known about how enemies of the state spent their time behind bars.
With the Russian economy starting to creak under the weight of Western economic sanctions imposed over the Ukraine crisis, a question is being posed in Kazakhstan: will the Kremlin’s aggressive geopolitical agenda cause Astana excessive economic pain?
When Rasulov Bakhtier arrived in Abkhazia in 2012 as a migrant laborer, he had no idea he would be prohibited from returning to his native Uzbekistan via Russia. As a result, Bakhtier, a construction worker and father of two, now finds himself among hundreds of “guest captives” in the separatist enclave.