Taxes are a hot topic of discussion these days for shoppers at Bishkek’s sprawling Azamat car market. The Kyrgyz government is expected to sharply raise import tariffs soon on vehicles to prepare for accession into the Russia-led Customs Union; shoppers fear the new regulations will double the price of the average car within a few years.
Big on mountains and romantic vistas, the South Caucasus country of Georgia this year has a starring role in two Indian films; an international prominence that many Georgian film professionals hope could advance the fortunes of their long-struggling industry.
Georgia’s democratization process is taking an ironic turn. Though eager to distance themselves from the Soviet era, a time when informants buttressed the Communist system, officials in Tbilisi are now turning average Georgians into tax-fraud snitches.
Central Asia has been famous for its bazaars for centuries, but in recent years they have undergone radical changes. Cheap Chinese goods have been flooding into Central Asia, as Beijing’s trade surges with its neighbors to the West.
There has always been a bit of showman in Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s governing style. Now the Georgian president is pushing for an all-out merger between entertainment and politics with the aim of promoting tourism to Georgia.
The existence of multiple exchange rates for foreign currency in Uzbekistan is stifling economic activity. The case of Sanobar, a former merchant, helps illustrate how government currency policies are putting the squeeze on budding entrepreneurs.