Mehmet Savasir was 24 when he learned he was dying. His treatment for what a local doctor had assumed was tuberculosis wasn't working. The pain in his lungs was getting worse, he found breathing increasingly difficult, and he had lost 20 kilograms in two months.
When the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe finally decided to designate Kazakhstan as the chair of the group in 2010, the general hope in Vienna was that the responsibility would encourage Astana to liberalize its political system.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation of Europe (OSCE) is expected to face a democratization test in February, when Tajikistan holds parliamentary elections. It's already a safe bet that the governing People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan will retain its hammerlock on the legislature.
Prominent human rights advocates want the United States to consider invoking the Jackson-Vanik amendment against Turkmenistan over Ashgabat's refusal to let hundreds of young scholars leave the country to pursue their studies.
A governing party politician's proposal to postpone Azerbaijan's 2010 parliamentary elections "until the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is resolved" has met with both support and censure from President Ilham Aliyev's Yeni Azerbaijan Party.
Radik Kutluev is now a pale and lean 31-year-old man living in Kyrgyzstan's southern capital of Osh. Before his body failed him, he aimed for a career as an accountant. Muscular dystrophy derailed that dream.
"When I was 15, I started having problems with my legs, and a year later I could not walk at all. Since then I can only move in a wheelchair" Kutluev explained.
Kazakhstan, Georgia and Azerbaijan all showed significant decreases in corruption over the past year, according to a recently published worldwide survey by a Berlin-based watchdog group. The survey also showed that Armenia's rating declined, and the rest of the Central Asian states remained near the bottom of the rankings.
Kyrgyzstan, the first Central Asian country to suspend the death penalty, is now considering bringing it back.
After more than a decade since the death penalty was suspended, an attempt by a parliamentary committee last week to add Kyrgyzstan's name to a UN protocol aimed at ending capital punishment met strong resistance.
Many international and domestic observers worry that the recent convictions of two youth activist-bloggers in Azerbaijan are sounding the death knell for the democratization process in the South Caucasus country.
They have built roads and hospitals; schools and factories. And now, with the recent opening of Yerevan’s $35 million Cafesjian Center for the Arts, members of Armenia’s deep-pocketed Diaspora has moved into modern art.