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Qishloq Ovozi

The Khujand prison in northern Tajikistan.

On November 8, violence broke out at the Khujand prison in Tajikistan’s northern Sughd region.

Tajik authorities have been slow in revealing details about the prison riot but it now seems that dozens of people, mainly prisoners, were killed.

Adding to the confusion, the Islamic State militant group has claimed it had a role in the violence.

What happened at the Khujand prison and why?

RFE/RL's Media Relations Manager Muhammad Tahir moderated a discussion about the Khujand prison riot.

The participants in the discussion were:

  • Helene Thibault, a political-science lecturer at Nazarbaev University in Kazakhstan, who previously conducted extensive fieldwork in Tajikistan.
  • Irna Hofman, a rural sociologist at Lieden University in the Netherlands, who has also conducted fieldwork in Tajikistan.
  • Edward Lemon, a fellow at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security in Washington D.C.
  • Tohir Safarov from RFE/RL's Tajik Service.

Majlis Podcast: What Caused The Khujand Prison Violence?
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Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev

Every year, some of the best and brightest in the field of Central Asia studies gather for the Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS) conference. This year the University of Pittsburgh hosted the conference from October 24-28 and one of the people attending was RFE/RL's Media Relations Manager and Majlis podcast moderator Muhammad Tahir.

It was an excellent opportunity to try doing a Majlis podcast in front of an audience, who were given an opportunity to ask the panelists questions, and make comments themselves on how they view the evolving situation in Uzbekistan.

The topic was the changes in Uzbekistan: how believable are these changes and how far could they go?

Joining the talk was Jennifer Murtazashvili, associate professor and director of the International Development Program at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh; Navbahor Imamova, a journalist at RFE/RL’s sister organization Voice of America, where she works for the Uzbek Service and hosts the show called Amerika Ovozi, which can be seen on YouTube; and our longtime Majlis friend Luca Anceschi, professor of Central Asian Studies at Glasgow University. I was not at the CESS this year, but I joined the discussion via Skype.

Majlis Podcast: Is Uzbekistan Reforming Under Its New President?
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About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect some of the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change.

Bruce Pannier
Bruce Pannier

Content draws on the extensive knowledge and contacts of RFE/RL's Central Asian services but also allow scholars in the West, particularly younger scholars who will be tomorrow’s experts on the region, opportunities to share their views on the evolving situation at this Eurasian crossroad.

The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.

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