Uzbekistan on June 28 announced that it has suspended its membership of the Moscow-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), saying the organization ignores Uzbekistan and does not consider its views. The CSTO is largely billed as an antiterrorism organization and it includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan.
Though adept at Internet censorship and all-around snooping into private lives, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s regime in Turkmenistan seems incapable of thwarting citizens’ desire to communicate. As a result, it appears that popular pressure is prompting Berdymukhamedov to invite the Russian telecom provider MTS back to Turkmenistan.
Four years ago, Farida Hajimova’s husband left Tajikistan to work in Russia. After a time, he stopped calling. Ultimately, he never returned. She was left at home in Dushanbe with two daughters and not a lot of options. Now she says she has no choice but to follow in her ex-husband's footsteps -- not to find him, but to find work herself.
In the post-Soviet age, Russia has relied on military muscle and energy dominance to help it achieve its foreign policy goals. Soft power, meanwhile, is something that has always been missing from Moscow’s diplomatic arsenal. But Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin’s resident macho man, now seems intent on putting a kinder, gentler face on Russia.
Economics, not politics is prompting Russia to get tough with Kyrgyzstan, a top Russian diplomat based in Bishkek tells EurasiaNet.org. At the same time, the diplomat blamed the Kyrgyz government for delays in a hydropower deal, asserting that officials in Bishkek were politicizing the issue.
In a development that could influence Kyrgyzstan’s willingness to prolong the lease of the Manas Transit Center outside Bishkek, a US Embassy official has confirmed that a joint Kyrgyz-Russian venture is now delivering the majority of fuel consumed at the base.
The Kremlin is getting cranky over Kyrgyzstan’s efforts to obtain aid without any diplomatic payback. To convey their displeasure, Russian officials are now delaying cooperation agreements and demanding an expanded share of a Kyrgyz military facility.
Orthodox Easter was celebrated on April 15 in Georgia. This year, Misha Tabatadze could not join in the traditional pilgrimage to visit the graves of loved ones. He could not light a candle in the cemetery where his daughter, Etuna, is buried, or place a brightly dyed red egg on her grave.
Now that Vladimir Putin has dispensed with the formalities of reclaiming presidential authority, Kremlinologists can focus on the more substantive question of how Russia’s paramount leader intends to define his third term. In particular, many are wondering how he will proceed with his pet project -- the creation of a Eurasian Union.