Saturday 1 January 2005
November 17, 2004
Central Asia: Russia Comes On Strong (Part 1)
October was a significant month for Russia in terms of its interests in Central Asia. In the years following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia was relegated to helping the region primarily on issues of security. Few considered Moscow to have the financial means to become a major investor in the region. But that has changed. Russian President Vladimir Putin's government now appears to be using the lure of money to bring its former Soviet republics back into its fold. In a two-part series, RFE/RL looks at Russia's recent moves in Central Asia.
November 15, 2004
Central Asia: Tajiks Begin Taking Over Guard Duties From Russians On Southern Border
Russian border guards in Tajikistan have started handing over duty on the Tajik-Afghan frontier to Tajik border guards. Though it is so far happening only along the mountainous eastern stretch of the border, the move marks the first time Tajik guards will be responsible for watching Tajikistan’s southern frontier since the country’s independence in 1991. But some question Tajikistan’s ability to take over from the Russian guards. That is because the frontier is one of the most difficult borders to guard in the CIS and past experience shows that a number of criminal groups operate along it.
November 11, 2004
Tajikistan: President's Remarks On Women And Mosques Draw Sharp Reactions
President Rakhmonov recently supported a ban on women attending mosque (file photo) Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov has backed an edict from the country's Muslim spiritual council that bans women from attending mosque. In an address to the nation on 6 November, Rakhmonov laid out his arguments for supporting the ban, but not everyone is certain of his motives.
November 09, 2004
East: EBRD Report Finds Former Soviet Oil Economies Booming
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) this week confirmed what many in Russia, Ukraine, and Central Asia had already suspected -- their economies are booming. In its annual Transition Report, released yesterday, the bank said higher oil and other commodity prices are fueling skyrocketing annual growth for many countries. In fact, the former Soviet Union is now the world's second-fastest-growing region in the world -- behind only China and neighboring countries in Asia. But the high prices won't last forever.
November 03, 2004
World: Sampling Of Reaction To U.S. Vote Shows Cautious Optimism
In opinion polls before the 2 November vote in the United States, citizens of countries from Canada to South Korea -- with the notable exceptions of Russia and Israel -- declared an overwhelming preference for Democratic Senator John Kerry to win the U.S. presidential election over Republican incumbent George W. Bush. But as the time neared for declaring an actual winner, international figures and people on the streets displayed a cautious optimism. RFE/RL collects a sampling of various opinions from Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and around the world.
October 27, 2004
Central Asia: French Scholar Highlights 'Women Of Authority'
In a recent book, "The Women of Authority in Contemporary Central Asia," French scholar Habiba Fathi asserts that Muslim women in Central Asia not only actively participate in religious life but often come to occupy positions of authority. Fathi's in-field study affirms women's considerable religious presence in Central Asia, particularly in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Last week, Fathi presented her findings at the New York-based Open Society Institute and spoke with RFE/RL.
October 20, 2004
Central Asia: Putin Visit Takes Russian-Tajik Relations To New Level
By Massoumeh Torfeh http://gdb.rferl.org/B3115D5F-A199-4214-8FBD-14BA89607526_w203.jpg Russian President Vladimir Putin has asserted in clear terms that Russia attaches a great deal of military importance to Central Asia, especially Tajikistan. In a landmark visit to the country this week, Putin opened a new military base in the Tajik capital and pledged Russia's membership in the Central Asian Cooperation Organization. He also promised more investment in the Tajik economy than had ever been envisioned.
October 17, 2004
Tajikistan: First Permanent Russian Military Base Opened
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov dedicated the first permanent Russian military base in Tajikistan today. Russian troops have been in Tajikistan for years, but the presidents have legally agreed on a new way to look at their presence.
October 13, 2004
East: UNICEF Report Highlights Plight Of Impoverished Children In Former Socialist Countries
A new report by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) states that millions of children in former Socialist countries are living in severe poverty. The study, released in Moscow today, suggests that although countries in the region are all experiencing economic growth, the benefits are not reaching the most defenseless segment of their populations. UNICEF says poverty is robbing children of their health, education opportunities, and hope for a better future.