In mid-2010, when 20-year-old Sultan Temirzhan uulu left Kyrgyzstan to attend university in St. Petersburg, he was unprepared for the big city noise and the White Nights of summer. He was also unprepared for the discrimination.
Firuza Mirkhamidova was visiting family in her native Tashkent in October when she received an unexpected phone call. Her husband, Abdulvosi Latipov, had unexpectedly been released from jail in Volgograd, where they lived.
On a main thoroughfare in central Bishkek stands a rare type of building in Kyrgyzstan these days: a busy factory. Women hunched over long tables can be seen from the street working late into the evening in boxy rooms under the greenish glow of florescent lights.
State Capitalism is weighing down the Russian economy, and there is not much Russian President Vladimir Putin can do to prop up the system, a leading Western expert contends. The trend raises questions about Putin’s ability to maintain his Kung-fu grip on power.
The building that houses the Executive Committee of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure is in a walled compound in the center of the Uzbek capital, Tashkent. I had the good fortune to be among the few Americans invited to take a peek inside.
Authorities in Kyrgyzstan are trumpeting a set of strategic accords to be signed by Moscow and Bishkek this fall as the end to a period of fraught bilateral relations. But observers say the terms are still vague, suggesting mutual wariness as both sides again defer substantive decisions.
Folklore scholar David Hunt has assembled an anthology of stories that present a fascinating side of the Caucasus rarely encountered by diplomats or students of international relations. He also renders a great service with this collection, culled from 19th and 20th century Russian ethnographic archives and field interviews.
It may look like just a 27-year-old radar station in a remote stretch of northern Azerbaijan. But, in reality, Gabala is all about Baku’s desire to assert its own weight as a regional power – even against its onetime patron, Russia.