An authoritative Central Asia-focused news website has defeated attempts to silence it in Kyrgyzstan: authorities have unblocked it. Yet under the prevailing interpretation of a parliamentary resolution, the website, Fergana News, still appears to be banned in the Central Asian nation.
Kyrgyzstan’s efforts to attract investors by auctioning off mining licenses, starting with the country’s second-largest gold deposit, have run into problems - both self-inflicted and beyond authorities’ control.
Few in Kyrgyzstan would be surprised to learn someone in the government is listening to their phone calls. Government prying is a widely acknowledged legacy of the Soviet era. Among rights activists, however, the concern is more technical: who, exactly, is listening?
Twenty-seven years of arduous and often risky work in state-run factories have bequeathed Olga Kovalenko, a 71-year-old former electrical engineer, a monthly pension of 5,020 soms, or just over $100. “It is enough to buy bread, and almost enough to butter it,” she jokes.
When nationalist MP Kamchybek Tashiev led his supporters over a fence surrounding parliament in early October, both foreign and local executives working in Kyrgyzstan’s mining industry braced for the worst. Throughout the year, the sector has been cloaked in uncertainty, with foreign investors confronting regulatory hassles and nationalization threats.
Democratization activists in Kyrgyzstan are worrying about a roll-back of basic freedoms after a Bishkek court prohibited a film festival from screening a Dutch documentary about homosexual Muslim men.
For a group of prospective North American parents whose attempts to adopt Kyrgyzstani children wound up on the wrong side of a 2009 moratorium on foreign adoptions, the last four years have been a harrowing education in the cut and thrust of Kyrgyz politics.
“I’ll be the first corpse,” says Sveta Filatova when asked about initiatives to terminate Kyrgyzstan’s methadone programs. A heroin addict for 10 years, Filatova has been taking the opioid substitute for three and says it’s changed her life, enabled her to reconnect with family, and hold a job.