Kyrgyzstan must protect itself from Arab Islamists and gay-loving Americans; so say supporters of a sweeping draft law that could shutter many non-governmental organizations and, like a Russian bill adopted in 2012, label foreign-funded activists as “foreign agents.”
Turkey has professed itself the steadfast defender of the Crimean Tatars’ minority rights, but, so far, that mission has not interfered with its interest in trade with Russia, its largest export-import partner.
Artik Hadjiev is a middle-aged man with a gentle face and smiling eyes. Sitting in a Bishkek hotel lobby wearing a smart suit, he speaks quietly and eloquently about community building and collective aid. It is hard to believe that some could consider Hadjiev a threat to regional security.
It looks like Tajikistan is following a regional trend by drafting legislation that may sharply restrict the activities of foreign-funded non-governmental organizations. Activists say the bill threatens to hinder the operations of hundreds of organizations working on everything from human rights to public health.
A decade ago, it was just another down-at-heels vacation destination. But the Black Sea resort town of Sochi has been transformed by hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics. And now, it aims to become a Russian version of Monte Carlo.
Armenians are seething over Russia’s possible role in the shoot-down of an Armenian helicopter near the frontlines in Nagorno Karabakh. Feelings of betrayal are such that the popular mood is souring on Armenia’s pending membership in a Moscow-led trade bloc.
Nine months after Kyrgyzstan and its largest investor outlined restructuring terms for the country’s largest gold mine, negotiations are again sidetracked. With parliamentary elections less than a year away, some lawmakers are once more beating the nationalization drum.
In Ukraine, Russia is widely seen as a troublemaker intent on destabilizing the government in Kyiv. But when it comes to Nagorno-Karabakh, the longest current conflict in the Caucasus, the Kremlin is expected to act as a force for restraint.
When Azerbaijan served as chair of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, it scoffed at the spirit and purpose of the organization and moved vigorously to squash all forms of free speech at home. Now that Baku no longer holds the top spot, civil society activists are worrying about what Azerbaijani authorities will do next.