Authorities in Azerbaijan took steps December 5 to muzzle Khadija Ismayilova, an investigative journalist who is the country’s most vocal government critic. A Baku court granted a motion to hold Ismayilova in jail pending a criminal trial, while her Facebook page mysteriously went dark.
Pro-Western parties have retained a slim majority in the national legislature, but their hold on parliament may not last long unless substantive progress is made in tackling rampant corruption, observers predict.
The issue of domestic violence is moving to the forefront of public attention in Georgia after a series of killings of women at the hands of their respective spouses or ex-spouses made headlines in local mass media. While no quick fix exists for the spike in violence, observers believe that changing the way police respond to abuse complaints is a good place to start.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev thinks Kazakhstan can spend its way out of the economic doldrums. Experts, meanwhile, are divided about whether Nazarbayev’s plans represent a bold Roosevelt-style New Deal or a throwback to sluggish Soviet-style economics.
Kyrgyzstan must protect itself from Arab Islamists and gay-loving Americans; so say supporters of a sweeping draft law that could shutter many non-governmental organizations and, like a Russian bill adopted in 2012, label foreign-funded activists as “foreign agents.”
Turkey has professed itself the steadfast defender of the Crimean Tatars’ minority rights, but, so far, that mission has not interfered with its interest in trade with Russia, its largest export-import partner.
Artik Hadjiev is a middle-aged man with a gentle face and smiling eyes. Sitting in a Bishkek hotel lobby wearing a smart suit, he speaks quietly and eloquently about community building and collective aid. It is hard to believe that some could consider Hadjiev a threat to regional security.
It looks like Tajikistan is following a regional trend by drafting legislation that may sharply restrict the activities of foreign-funded non-governmental organizations. Activists say the bill threatens to hinder the operations of hundreds of organizations working on everything from human rights to public health.