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Qishloq Ovozi

Many experts agree that the Kremlin's influence has long been felt in Kyrgyz elections. (file photo)

With Kyrgyzstan scheduled to hold its presidential vote on October 15, this week's Majlis looks at the unavoidable Russian influence on Kyrgyzstan's elections.

Russia is being accused of meddling in elections in the United States and in European countries, but the hand of the Kremlin has been felt in Kyrgyzstan's elections for some time now.

Muhammad Tahir, RFE/RL's media relations manager, moderated a discussion on Russia's role in Kyrgyzstan's previous elections and how candidates for the country's presidency are currently posturing themselves with Russia in mind.

Former Kyrgyz member of parliament Ravshan Jeenbekov participated in the talk from Bishkek. Taking part from the United States was Erica Marat, one of the leading authorities on Central Asia, who is currently teaching at the National Defense University's College of International Security Affairs. And I've been watching Kyrgyzstan's elections for a couple of decades now, so I had something to say also.

Majlis Podcast: Russia's Influence On Kyrgyzstan's Elections
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Tajik Interior Minister Ramazon Rahimzoda

The topic of this week’s Majlis session was the Tajik government’s recent moves to put pressure on the relatives of opposition leaders who have fled Tajikistan.

This started after the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (HNIT) organized a conference in Dortmund, Germany, on July 9 with other opposition groups that have been banned in Tajikistan.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee released a report on the harassment that ensued on July 18.

On July 21, Tajik Interior Minister Ramazon Rahimzoda denied the accusations made in the report.

Muhammad Tahir, RFE/RL's media relations manager, moderated a discussion on the HRW report.

Participating from Europe (we are not going to say exactly where), HNIT representative Mahmudjon Faizrahmon joined the discussion. From Bishkek, Majlis friend Steve Swerdlow, HRW’s chief researcher for Central Asia, took part in the discussion. From Canada, where she is currently enjoying a vacation, Helene Thibault, noted author of works on Tajikistan and professor at Nazarbaev University in Astana, Kazakhstan, participated in the talk. I pitched in a few comments also.

Majlis Podcast: A New Wave Of Repression In Tajikistan
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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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Majlis Podcast: The EU's Central Asia Strategy For Future Cooperation
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