On the southern bank of a tiny river lined with concertina wire, half a dozen empty freight trucks are idling, waiting to enter Kazakhstan. Ken-Bulun may look like a minor border crossing between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, but it is a doorway to a market of almost 165 million people – the new Moscow-led Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. And the truckers are growing impatient.
Kyrgyzstan’s president-to-be, Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev, and his political allies seem intent on calibrating the cash-strapped country’s foreign policy so that it aligns with Bishkek’s dire economic needs. This is likely to force Kyrgyz officials into a delicate balancing act in which they are challenged to keep the country’s two largest trading partners -- Russia and China – happy.
It may still be only on the drawing board, but Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s proposed Eurasian Union, an economic bloc of former Soviet republics, already is stirring concern in Armenia about the future of Yerevan’s independence from Moscow.
Since the Russo-Georgian war of August 2008 and the subsequent buildup of Russia’s military presence in the breakaway Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, ￼relations between Moscow and Tbilisi have remained mostly consistent .
When Uzbek émigrés created a new opposition group last May in Berlin called the Popular Movement of Uzbekistan (PMU), they hoped it would mark the start of a process that replicated the experiences in North Africa and the Middle East and bring Uzbek leader Islam Karimov’s 22-year rule to an end.
Dmitry Medvedev’s and Vladimir Putin’s apparently amicable decision to swap jobs is being touted by the Kremlin as a way to ensure Russia’s stability. Yet if Russia’s historical tradition is any guide, changing places is a move fraught with uncertainty.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s recent article for the Russian newspaper Izvestia discussing the creation of a new Eurasian Union continues to draw reactions from media and politicians. Originally written Oct. 3, the article emphasizes Putin’s proposal for the Eurasian Union, an economic grouping focusing on integration between Russia and former Soviet republics.
Hundreds of government-related computers in Central Asia and Russia have been the targets of malware attacks since August 2010. The sophisticated virus planted on some of those computers appears designed to mine sensitive diplomatic information and financial data.