Russia and Kazakhstan seem headed for a showdown over rocket launches at the Baikonur cosmodrome. Although Moscow and Astana are trying to downplay their differences, both sides seem ready to play hardball in what could be complicated and protracted negotiations.
Anyone who’s traveled in the vast open spaces of Central Asia has heard it, or seen it plastered on roadside monuments punctuating long stretches of highway: Ak Jol in Kazakh and Kyrgyz and Oq Yol in Uzbek. “White Road.” It means something like “safe journey” or “have a good trip.”
The anticorruption group Transparency International (TI) says high levels of bribery, abuse of power, and secret dealings continue to “ravage” societies around the world, despite a growing public outcry over corrupt governments.
When 18-year-old Fatima Musabayeva from southern Kazakhstan was offered a job at a Moscow supermarket, she jumped at the chance. Her mother had died when she was 10, and when her father passed away in 2006, Fatima and her 17-year-old sister were left to fend for themselves.
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.