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Meet Tajikistan’s embattled Islamists

Tajikistan is trying to persecute what was once Central Asia’s only legal Islamist party out of existence. But is this really about countering terrorism, or just cracking down on dissent in any form?

Uzbekistan’s new leader fails his first test

One year after the death of Islam Karimov, the continued use of forced labour in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields shows how slow the pace of change really is.

 

Farewell to Kyrgyzstan’s “island of democracy”

In the run-up to presidential elections on 15 October, Kyrgyzstan’s authorities are intensifying their attacks on journalists and independent media outlets. RU

 

In Uzbekistan, the World Bank is masking labour abuses

Uzbekistan has often used forced labour to bring in the cotton harvest. A new report shows that the World Bank’s continuing investment may only prolong the practice.

 


Tajikistan: so close, no matter how far

From humanitarian aid to desperate refugees, Tajikistan and Europe are more closely connected than you might think. How will international organisations react as Emomali Rahmon’s regime entrenches itself further? RU

The long echo of Tajikistan’s civil war

This year marks 20 years since the signing of peace accords in Tajikistan. But the price of peace has cost the country its democratic freedoms. Русский

Another Kyrgyz journalist accused of being an “enemy of the people”

Ulugbek Babakulov raised the problem of Kyrgyz nationalism online. And now, he’s being smeared publicly. 

On shaky ground: Russia’s FSB vs migrant radicalisation

Scrambling to address the growing threat of Islamist terrorism from Central Asia, Russia’s security apparatus is forced to depend on questionable foreign intelligence services.

A day watching Turkmen television

In Turkmenistan, people will do anything to avoid watching their tightly-controlled state media. This journalist spent a day glued to the screen to find out why.

How can we explain radicalisation among Central Asia’s migrants?

Central Asia isn’t to blame for “exporting terrorism”, but the stigmatising experience of migration could be. Русский, Ўзбекча

“Inciters, deceivers, slaves”: Kyrgyzstan’s president takes aim at the press

New moves against opposition politicians and the press are meant to scare the last bastion of Kyrgyzstan’s civil society into submission. Русский

 

Почему в Кыргызстане ждут нового наступления на свободу слова

Предвыборная политическая борьба в Бишкеке привела к беспрецедентному давлению на независимые масс-медиа. В итоге, защита демократии лежит сейчас бременем на журналистах. English

Наблюдение на выборах в Средней Азии: безнадежное дело?

До тех пор пока авторитарные государства Средней Азии не начнут всерьез относиться к данным ими международным обязательствам, наблюдатели на выборах не смогут выполнять свою работу. Что можно сделать в этой ситуации? English

Is election observing in Central Asia a lost cause?

Until Central Asia’s autocracies take their numerous commitments to democracy seriously, election observers can’t do their jobs. What can be done? Русский

 

In Kyrgyzstan, it’s revolution, revanche, repeat all over again

Kyrgyzstan’s presidential campaign has started off with the arrest of a main contender for the post. Omurbek Tekebayev’s fate shows the country remains far from democratic. Русский

Listening to Russia’s female migrants

How a new multilingual magazine in St Petersburg is giving a voice to female migrants from Central Asia.

“What kind of terrorist am I?”

Even in exile, dissidents from Tajikistan live in fear for their lives. Activist Shabnam Khudoydodova shares her story.

The long arm of the despot

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Tajikistan’s government doesnt hesitate to go after its critics abroad. Intimidation, beatings and murder — this is Central Asias authoritarianism without borders.

 

“Two million soms and we’ll let you go”

If you push hard enough you can get justice — even in Uzbekistan.

 

Unmasking Central Asia's neoliberal judges

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Despite claims of impartiality, judges in Central Asia often incorporate neoliberal economic and moral values into their judgements on illegal settlements.

 

Kyrgyzstan's elections: a gentleman's agreement

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With Kyrgyzstan’s political parties agreeing to overlook each other’s misdemeanours and the public afraid to speak out, bribery and corruption will continue to be endemic. на русском языке

Islamic State in Kyrgyzstan: a real or imagined threat?

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In July, Bishkek claimed to successfully foil an IS plot in the country. But is IS even in Kyrgyzstan?

 

The Sochi Syndrome

Grandiose urban development projects and international mega-events are ideal opportunities for authoritarian leaders to flaunt their power – and provide their associates with lucrative construction contracts.

In Osh, the flames have died down, but not the discontent

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In 2010, the Osh region in southern Kyrgyzstan was riven by ethnic violence in the aftermath of revolution. And still nobody wants to talk about it.

 

The ‘Switzerland of Central Asia’ is not looking very Swiss

Daniele Rumolo.jpgKyrgyzstan, the ‘Switzerland of Central Asia’, has been moving closer to Russia, with perhaps predictable results.

 

Kyrgyzstan joins the Customs Union, and business finds itself in stand-by mode

For this state of small traders, entry into the Customs Union will bring both headaches and opportunities.

 

Kyrgyzstan's conservatives hold their anti-LGBT rally

Against a background of possible legislation against 'foreign agents' and 'gay propaganda', Sunday's anti-LGBT rally in Bishkek does not bode well for the small Central Asian state.


Kyrgyzstan’s unfinished business

Moving on does not – indeed, definitely should not – mean sweeping past abuses under the rug, nor ignoring the blatant lack of justice for those abuses.

Kyrgyz LBGT attacked on International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

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Ahead of elections this autumn, the political drama around LGBT rights in Kyrgyzstan hots up.

 

The devil is in the details: seizing Kyrgyzstan's press

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Ahead of parliamentary elections in the autumn, one of Kyrgyzstan's largest independent media holdings is under threat, and power elites prepare for what comes next.

 

Book review: Hamid Ismailov ‘The Underground’

Cover_Ismailov_TheUnderground.pngIn The Underground, like his mixed-race hero, Hamid Ismailov is looking, above and below ground, for the answer to the question: what is 'Russianness'?

 

The irreplaceables in Central Asia

924055_0.jpgIn Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, the authorities don’t even have to stuff the ballot boxes, their presidents have done everything they can to appear irreplaceable.

Kazakhstan's reluctant leader

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Why does a president-for-life call snap elections?

 

Why Russia watchers should listen to Glenn Greenwald

Elites throughout the former Soviet Union are cracking down on dissent. But before Russia watchers start criticising the region’s repressive governments, they should first engage with the criticism, which has long been levelled at them.

When Russia sneezes, Central Asia catches a cold

Simon_opt022 crop 65x80.jpgRussia’s financial crisis has produced a contagious effect in Central Asia, where cheap oil is exacerbating the poor economic outlook.

 

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