China may have been able to carve out quickly a large economic role for itself in Central Asia, but it will take a lot more than money for Beijing to solve some of its geopolitical dilemmas in the region, according to a report released today by the Brussels-based think tank International Crisis Group.
Issues of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) rights have been much in the news in the former Soviet Union over the past year. In Russia and Ukraine, proposed legislation criminalizing "homosexual propaganda," or just about any discussion of homosexuality in front of minors, threatens to roll back the boundaries of tolerance for the LGBT community.
Narcotics use is wreaking havoc in Russia, responsible for 30,000 annual deaths and 200 new HIV infections every day. But Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin is letting knee-jerk hostility toward the United States cloud its response to the drug-trafficking crisis.
Russia has made a sudden shift when it comes to combatting narcotics trafficking in Afghanistan. For years, Russian officials saw US involvement in Central Asia as a greater national security threat than Afghan drugs.
When it comes to democratization, the Caucasus and Central Asia are headed in different directions. Countries and territories in the Caucasus received better grades on political and civil rights over the past year, while Central Asia reinforced its reputation as one of the more repressive places in the world, according to an annual survey compiled by the watchdog group Freedom House.
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.
US officials are happy with a program that helps steer Pentagon contracts to local businesses in Central Asia. But Central Asian governments are grousing that they aren’t making enough of a profit off of the Afghan war.