Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Week Ahead: September 22-28

September 22: Iranian President Hassan Rohani travels to the United States to attend the UN General Assembly in New York.

The Week Ahead is a detailed listing of key events of the coming week affecting RFE/RL's broadcast region.
Now on Twitter! Daily updates at @The_Week_Ahead.

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MONDAY, September 22:
Belarus/U.S.: The first U.S.-Belarus Investment Forum begins in New York.
GeorgiaMilitary service personnel from Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia participate in the Eternity-2014 exercises in Tbilisi.
IranIranian President Hassan Rohani travels to the United States to attend the UN General Assembly session in New York.
Moldova: World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Laura Tuck visits Chisinau
UN: New York hosts the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (to September 23).

OSCE: Warsaw hosts an OSCE The Human Dimension Implementation meeting (to October 3).
U.S./Ukraine: Wilson Center in Washington hosts a discussion titled "The Ukraine Crisis: The View from Odessa."

U.S./Russia: Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington hosts a discussion titled "Russia's Role in Asian Energy Markets."
U.S./PONARS: Leading scholars and experts from North America and post-Soviet Eurasian countries attend the PONARS Eurasia Annual Conference 2014 in Washington.
TUESDAY, September 23:
Romania: The South East Europe Media Organization (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), holds a conference on press freedom, the influence of politics on media, and corruption in Bucharest.

Ukraine: European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee in Brussels hosts a discussion on the situation in Ukraine.

EU: European Parliament presents in Brussels the nominees for this year's Sakharov Prize.
UN: New York hosts the UN Climate Summit 2014
WEDNESDAY, September 24:
Azerbaijan: Baku hosts the TEFI-Community international television festival (to September 27).
Belarus/MoldovaChisinau hosts Belarus-Moldova business forum (to September 25).

Belarus/Moldova: Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka visits Chisinau (to September 25).

EU: European Parliament's International Trade Committee holds a debate on the association agreements with Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova in Brussels.

Ukraine: Kyiv hosts a Eurasia Forum for Media Development meeting (to September 26).
UN: The UN General Debate opens in New York (to September 30).
U.S./Ukraine: International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in Washington hosts a discussion titled "Energy Security and the Ukraine Crisis."
THURSDAY, September 25:
FRIDAY, September 26:
SUNDAY, September 28:
Turkmenistan: Ashgabat hosts a constituent assembly of the Agrarian Party.

Tags:calendar of events, radio free europe, radio liberty

Photogallery Karimova Pictured Under 'House Arrest'


Several photographs showing Uzbek President Islam Karimov's once-powerful daughter during her alleged house arrest have been released to the media.

The images show Gulnara Karimova, an erstwhile globe-trotting fashionista now facing what she calls politically motivated corruption charges, apparently being hassled by camouflaged security officers outside her home.

Dressed casually in a sweatshirt and slippers, the photographs show her in what appears to be a tense standoff with the three men in blue fatigues.

The images were distributed to the media September 16 by the 42-year-old's Britain-based spokesman, Locksley Ryan, who said in an e-mailed statement that Karimova and her daughter are in "urgent need of medical attention."

"To add to this, those keeping her and her daughter prisoner have decided to inflict a program of systematic starvation, preventing any food from reaching them," Ryan said.

Karimova, 42, was a wealthy businesswoman living mainly in Europe until a corruption scandal last year led to setbacks that included the closure of her businesses, the arrest of friends and associates, and her alleged confinement in a Tashkent house.

On September 8, a woman identified as "G. Karimova" was identified by the Uzbek Prosecutor-General's Office as a suspect in a graft case.

Ryan said Karimova "is being held for purely political reasons" and linked her detention to the planned presidential elections in Uzbekistan early next year.

"During this campaign, the backing Gulnara continues to receive appears to pose a threat to those who have surrounded her father and who are keen to cling on to the unhealthy influence this affords them," Ryan said, adding that Karimova "has no interest whatsoever in the politics of today's Uzbekistan."

There was considerable speculation before her fortunes took a turn that she might be groomed to succeed her father, who has dominated Uzbekistan for 23 years.

Karimova said in recordings obtained by the BBC last month that she and her daughter are being treated "worse than dogs."

Gastronomy Vs. Politics: Crimean Tatars Boycott Elections With Pies

Boycotting Election, Crimean Tatars Make Pies Insteadi
September 15, 2014
As Crimea held local and regional elections on September 14, many Crimean Tatars boycotted the vote -- the first election since Russia annexed the peninsula. In the town of Bakhchysarai, some residents, like Gulzara, highlighted the boycott by making a traditional Crimean Tatar dish, chebureki, instead of going to the polls. (RFE/RL)
Mustafa Chaush

As local and regional elections unfolded across Crimea on September 14, the smell of fried meat pies filled the streets in the city of Bakhchysarai.

Crimean Tatars, an indigenous population of the peninsula, have actively boycotted the vote -- the first local elections since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March.

In Bakhchysarai, an ancient city that once served as the capital of the Crimean khanate, some Crimean Tatars chose to snub the vote by demonstratively staying home and cooking a traditional Crimean Tatar dish: meat pies known as "chebureki."

"What elections?" scoffs Gulzara, a Crimean Tatar living in Bakhchysarai, as she molds the half-moon-shaped pasties. "Everything has long been decided for us."

The initiative, dubbed "Chebureki Instead Of Elections," aimed to peacefully reject the legitimacy of Crimea's new Moscow-backed authorities while upholding Crimean Tatar culture. 

Gulzara says the protest was a success.

"It was great," she says. "I had plenty of guests, people who also didn't take part in the election."

Residents of the Black Sea peninsula were voting to select lawmakers for the parliaments of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, and for local city council members.

Lawmakers will then elect governors for Crimea and Sevastopol.

A preliminary count gave the ruling United Russia party a strong lead with more than 70 percent of votes, trailed by the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia with just over 8 percent of the ballots.

In Sevastopol, which voted separately, United Russia had captured 59 percent of the vote with half the ballots counted.

Critics, however, reject the vote as both illegitimate and flawed.

A leading independent Russian election watchdog, Golos, said its observers were prevented from entering several polling stations in Crimea.

  • At a polling station in Simferopol, Russia's double-headed eagle has replaced the Ukrainian emblem.
  • Irregularities were reported soon after the polling stations opened.
  • A man casts his ballot in Simferopol.
  • Turnout was reportedly lower than during the independence referendum that paved the way for Russia's takeover in March.
  • A voter studies the ballot. Many residents of Crimea, voting in a Russian election for the first time, are unfamiliar with Russian political parties.
  • A quiet moment at a polling station
  • Election officials reported voter turnout at 60 percent.
  • Police, self-defense groups, election observers, and officials of the Emergency Ministry were all on watch at polling stations.

The election took place against the backdrop of increasing pressure on Crimean Tatars, who are facing raids on their homes, religious institutions, businesses and schools.

"Such actions are clearly disproportionate and create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation," Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner, said on September 12 following a visit to Crimea. 

Muižnieks said it was "essential to create a sense of security not only for Crimean Tatars but also for ethnic Ukrainians and those who have expressed critical views of recent political developments."

The Week Ahead: September 15-21

September 16: The European Union and Ukrainian parliaments are scheduled to ratify the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

The Week Ahead is a detailed listing of key events of the coming week affecting RFE/RL's broadcast region.
Now on Twitter! Daily updates at @The_Week_Ahead.

Follow Me on Pinterest

MONDAY, September 15:
EUEuropean Parliament plenary session opens in Strasbourg (to September 18).
EU/Russia: The EU commissioner responsible for agriculture Dacian Ciolos address the European Parliament plenary session on the impact of the Russian food ban on the EU agricultural market.
Iran/TurkmenistanIranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan visits Ashgabat to discuss bilateral, regional, and international issues with Turkmen officials. 

IraqFrance hosts an international conference aimed at combating the Islamic State (IS) militant group in Iraq.

Russia: Russia’s international food and drink trade show opens in Moscow.

UkraineMilitary exercises, called "Rapid Trident," involving some 1,300 personnel from 15 nations begin in western Ukraine (to September 26).

UN: International Day of Democracy.

U.S./Russia: Harvard's Institute of Politics hosts a conversation with the feminist protest art collective Pussy Riot.
World: The 2014 WebAward winners announced.
TUESDAY, September 16:
UN: The 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly begins in New York (to October 1).

Ukraine: The UN special rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs, Chaloka Beyani, visits Ukraine to gather first-hand information from internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country.
(to September 25).
WEDNESDAY, September 17:
EU: European Parliament plenary session is scheduled to discuss the situations in Iraq and Syria (to September 18).
Montenegro/Azerbaijan: Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic visits Baku (to September 20).
Poland:  The 75th anniversary of the invasion of Poland by the Soviet Union, sixteen days after Nazi Germany invaded the Polish state.
TurkmenistanInternational Telecoms & IT Conference opens in Ashgabad (to September 18).
Ukraine/CanadaUkrainian President Petro Poroshenko visits Ottawa, gives a speech at the Canadian Parliament.
THURSDAY, September 18:

United Kingdom: Scotland holds referendum on its independence.

EU/Azerbaijan: The European Parliament holds a debate on persecution of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan.
FRIDAY, September 19:
SUNDAY, September 21:

Tags:calendar of events, radio free europe, radio liberty

Images And Memories: Tell Us Your Ukraine Story

In September, our correspondent Daisy Sindelar will be traveling through Ukraine to talk to people about their old family photographs -- images of grandparents and great-grandparents, weddings, family homes, military service, formal portraits or casual moments. Anything that tells a story about your family and its unique roots.

The end result, we hope, will be a countrywide visual portrait of the complex history behind modern-day Ukraine, and the diverse range of people who consider it home. 

Participating in the project is simple: We will come to you, so neither you nor your photographs need to leave the house (or wherever you'd like to meet). 

Do you have photographs and memories you'd like to share with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty?

Please fill out this questionnaire so we know how to find you! (Feel free to answer in the language you're most comfortable with. All of the information you submit is private.) 

A Bosnian Man's Lonely Stand To Find The Bones Of His Son

"I will not leave this place without his bones unless they drive me off in a box," says Djemal Hasanovic.

Djemail Hasanovic, a well-dressed, middle-aged man with a determined expression, has set up a bed on the side of the road leading from Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, to Podravanje. A sign posted nearby declares he is on a hunger strike.

"This is the place where he died, my son, Dzevad Hasanovic," the man says. "I will not leave this place without his bones unless they drive me off in a box."

Dzevad Hasanovic was killed in the area during Bosnia's bloody war of the mid-1990s. Ten years ago, Djemail Hasanovic began working with the Institute for Missing People in a bid to recover and bury his son's remains.

Sadik Selimovic, an investigator with the institute, tells RFE/RL's Balkan Service that he worked with Hasanovic to follow up on reports about the locations of the bodies of his son and of several others killed in the area between 1993 and 1995.

"Today I found a bone. This made me glad, even if it is not one of my son's. I found a bone, which proves they can be found," says Djemail Hasanovic.
"Today I found a bone. This made me glad, even if it is not one of my son's. I found a bone, which proves they can be found," says Djemail Hasanovic.

"We were digging in four locations, but we had no success," Selimovic says. "We are continuing to study, but often our information is misleading or incomplete."

But Hasanovic is not satisfied.

"I'm frustrated," he says. "Today [September 9] I found a bone. This made me glad, even if it is not one of my son's. I'm glad I did it. I found a bone, which proves they can be found. I'm not an inspector, but I did it for my son."

Hasanovic called Selimovic with his discovery and Selimovic hurried to the scene. 

"I came here because I was called. I am not against this family. I am on their side," he says.

Selimovic confirmed that Hasanovic had found human remains and applied to the prosecutor's office for permission to search the area.

When the go-ahead comes, Hasanovic will still be holding his vigil. And he will wait until a DNA analysis confirms his son has been found.

"I don't want just anyone's bones," he says. "I don't want to bury someone who is not my son."

It is estimated that more than 10,000 Bosnians remain missing from the 1992-95 war.

-- Sadik Salimovic, RFE/RL Balkan Service

Video New Film Lays Bare 'Pakistan's Hidden Shame'

Naeem, 13, says he first sold himself to a man in a Peshawar park when he was 8 years old. He subsequently relied on prostitution to feed his heroin habit.

The United Kingdom's sizable Pakistani community has been under fire recently as a result of shocking revelations of widespread child sex exploitation in the city of Rotherham by men with links to that South Asian country.

Now, a new documentary screened by Britain's Channel 4 last week has been shifting attention to the problem of child abuse in Pakistan itself, particularly the northwestern city of Peshawar, near the Afghan border.

"Pakistan's Hidden Shame" charts the plight of Peshawar's street children, most of whom are believed to have experienced sexual abuse at some stage in their lives.  

One of the film's central characters is a 13-year-old boy called Naeem, who says he first had sex with a man when he was 8 years old in order to buy some food after running away from an abusive older brother at home.

Living on the street, he subsequently succumbed to heroin addiction and regularly prostituted himself to feed his habit.

Naeem's situation is tragically common in a country racked by deprivation and all its concomitant dangers.

According to some estimates, there are 1.5 million street children living in Pakistan, whose poverty makes them particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation. A staggering 90 percent of them are thought to have been molested at some stage.

Many of the perpetrators of these crimes are bus and truck drivers whose long hours and low wages often give them the opportunity and incentive to pay these children a pittance for sex in stations and terminals around the city.

Most of the victims of this trade are young boys, a fact that director Mohammed Naqvi suggests has a lot to do with the "fierce patriarchal mindset that is pervasive in Peshawar, one in which women are viewed as receptacles of family honor to be safeguarded at home."

It's a view echoed in the film by Ejaz, a bus conductor who admits to having sex with around a dozen boys.

"A woman is a thing you keep at home," he says. "You can't take women out because people stare at them -- they're useless things; you have to show propriety and chasteness with them. You can take boys around anywhere with you and it isn't a big deal."

The topic is a familiar one to the film's producer, Jamie Doran, whose award-winning "The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan" laid bare a shocking sexual exploitation ring run by Afghan warlords.

"In Pakistan, you're having the abuse of young boys, largely because young girls aren't available..." he told CNN. "If you really delve into the reasons behind this, you will find in such societies the role of women is so meager their power is almost nonexistent and every survey in recent times has linked the lack of female power to pedophilia."

Somewhat surprisingly, Ejaz appears to view his behavior as quite normal in such a sexually repressed society, despite being aware that his actions are wrong.

"What can we do?" he says at one point. "We know it's totally against Islam. God doesn't like it. But we're helpless against our desire."

Sadly, it appears that homeless kids are also helpless against Ejaz's desire, because little is being done for the underage sex workers of Peshawar, where the local police force is more preoccupied with a Taliban insurgency than the safety of street children.

In fact, hot on the heels of the Rotherham sex scandal, Naqvi's film has been making bigger waves in Britain and other Western countries than it has in Pakistan, where there seems to be little appetite for a public debate on such a taboo subject.

Even though leading Pakistani politician Imran Khan has said the movie's revelations are "sad and shameful," no local TV network has broadcast the documentary yet, despite the fact that the screening rights were offered to them by the filmmakers free of charge.

WATCH: Trailer for 'Pakistan's Hidden Shame'


-- Coilin O'Connor

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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