Friday 6 May 2005
May 05, 2005
Kyrgyz Supreme Court Standoff Continues
Kyrgyz Interim President Bakiev (file photo) Bishkek, 5 May 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Demonstrators who have occupied the Supreme Court building and are calling for the removal of Supreme Court head Kurmanbek Osmonov announced on 4 May that they want parliament to make a decision on their demands by 12 May, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.
May 04, 2005
Kyrgyzstan: Follow The Money -- The Akaev Investigation
High-level corruption within the government was one reason protesters wanted President Akaev to leave office Back in the 1970s, two young American journalists got a bit of simple advice from an inside source in the administration of President Richard Nixon: "Follow the money." They did, and the resulting scandal toppled the president. Thirty years later and a world away, Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev fled as a throng of enraged demonstrators ransacked his office. Now, the resulting scandal is throwing light on some of the financial dealings that contributed to the protestors' rage. But even as the postrevolutionary furor in Kyrgyzstan proves that nowhere is the dictum "follow the money" more relevant than in post-Communist kleptocracies, it is also highlighting the immense difficulties that beset the would-be cleansers of corruption's Aegean stables.
May 03, 2005
Central Asia: Influence of Internet Grows (Part 2)
Today is the UN-declared World Press Freedom Day, an annual observance meant to highlight the importance of a free press for civil societies. In the second-part of a two-part series, RFE/RL looks at press freedom in Central Asia. There, governments have often resorted to "hidden" forms of censorship -- such as restricting news organizations' access to printing houses or broadcast frequencies -- to keep dissenting voices from being heard. But journalists and activists are finding new ways to get their messages heard, including by turning to the Internet. The Internet is still far from being a mass medium in Central Asia but it is becoming an increasingly influential forum for exchanging news and opinions.
May 03, 2005
Central Asia: Media Watchdogs Say Media Far From Free (Part 1)
Uzbek President Islam Karimov Today is the UN-declared World Press Freedom Day, an annual observance meant to highlight the importance of a free press for civil societies. In the first-part of a two-part series, we look at press freedom in Central Asia. The international media-rights group Reporters Sans Frontieres this week listed Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan among the top oppressors of media freedoms last year. Fellow media-watchdog Freedom House went a step further in its annual report, characterizing those two countries as the "worst of the worst" and labeling the remaining Central Asian states as "not free." Kyrgyzstan, however, appears to be using the momentum of its recent revolution to turn things around.
May 02, 2005
Russia: FSB Hoping To Put Revolution On Hold?
Does the Russian government think the Internet could organize a "colored" revolution in Russia? Dmitrii Frolov, a top Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) official, told legislators in Russia this week that the service considers it necessary to increase its control over the Internet on the grounds that it is winning "an ever larger audience and becoming a serious player on the information field capable of shaping public opinion." Frolov also called for the mandatory registration of mobile phones with Internet access. While the FSB's calls for greater regulation of the Internet is hardly new, its appeals had previously been based on the need to stem the spread of pornography and information about how to build bombs and other explosives, according to gazeta.ru on 28 April.
April 29, 2005
World: Was Soviet Collapse Last Century's Worst Geopolitical Catastrophe?
Putin (in file photo) called the USSR's breakup the "biggest geopolitical catastrophe of the century" In his state-of-the-nation address on 25 April, Russian President Vladimir Putin surprised the West by calling the Soviet Union's collapse the "biggest geopolitical catastrophe of the century." His declaration, however, has caused little stir at home. Political analysts view the Russian president's comments as simply an attempt to lift his declining popularity rating among the elderly.
April 29, 2005
Kyrgyz Prosecutors Open Probe Into 2002 Protest Deaths
29 April 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyzstan's acting prosecutor-general, Azimbek Beknazarov, told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service on 28 April that a criminal case has been opened over the shooting deaths of six demonstrators in Aksy Province in 2002.
April 28, 2005
Kyrgyzstan: New Constitutional Body Debates Sweeping Reforms
Kyrgyzstan's new Constitutional Council today held its first meeting to discuss constitutional reforms expected to be implemented before presidential elections scheduled for 10 July. Proponents of amending the constitution say the reforms will give more authority to parliament and prevent the president from gaining absolute power. But analysts say it won't be easy to forge a balanced political system in a country traditionally divided among clans and regions.
April 27, 2005
Interim Kyrgyz President On Constitutional Reform
Interim President Kurmanbek Bakiev Bishkek, 27 April 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Interim President Kurmanbek Bakiev said today in an exclusive interview with RFE/RL that he supports constitutional reform in Kyrgyzstan, but added that he believes the branches of power need more authority if such reforms are to be implemented.