Sunday 1 August 2004
July 22, 2004
Kyrgyzstan: Outspoken Ombudsman Possesses Unique Regional Voice
Central Asia is a region where few dare challenge the will of the presidents. Most officials follow their president's lead, and what attempts there are to find an official to act as a bridge, a mediator, between the people and the government are usually made to serve the interests of the authorities. But there is one man, the ombudsman in Kyrgyzstan, who routinely voices opinions that contradict the government's views.
July 21, 2004
Turkmenistan: Government Orders People Out Of Their Homes In Name Of 'Urban Renewal'
The Turkmen government is ordering people in the capital Ashgabat to vacate their homes on short notice. These victims of the city's plan to create space for new upscale building projects -- are not receiving new homes or any compensation for their loss. They are simply told to leave and to find a new place to live.
July 16, 2004
Western Press Review: Anglo-American Intelligence Failures, Uzbekistan's Human Rights Record, And A Wellspring Of Trouble In Turkmenistan
Prague, 16 July 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Among the topics at issue in some of the major dailies today are the release of two separate reports, in the United States and Britain, documenting intelligence failures in the run-up to war in Iraq; frozen aid and human rights in Uzbekistan; and Turkmenistan's "troubled waters." We also hear from the widow of Paul Klebnikov, the editor of the Russian edition of "Forbes" magazine, who was slain last week in Moscow.
July 15, 2004
Turkmenistan: Leaflets Calling For Overthrow Of Government Appear In Bazaars
Leaflets calling for the overthrow of the Turkmen government have appeared in bazaars in the capital Ashgabat. It remains unclear who is behind the leaflets, but it is a strange and potentially serious act of defiance in a country where the government is known for exercising strict control over society. RFE/RL looks at what's in the leaflets and what threat their distribution could have for the government of Saparmurat "Turkmenbashi" Niyazov.
July 13, 2004
Turkmenistan: Last Freely Available Outlet To Outside News Shuts Down
Turkmenistan on 11 July halted broadcasts of Russia's Mayak radio station -- the last Russian news outlet to reach the Central Asian country. For all practical purposes, Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov has now cut off his citizens from the outside world. Turkmen without access to a satellite dish or shortwave radio are now living in a total information vacuum. Officially, Ashgabat says the Mayak shutdown was prompted by technical reasons, but Russia seems unconvinced and has demanded an official explanation.
July 12, 2004
Analysis: Russia Coordinates New Broadside Against OSCE
At Moscow's instigation, the six CIS states that are members of the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization (Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan), together with Moldova, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, issued a statement in Vienna on 8 July harshly criticizing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and calling for a fundamental refocusing of its priorities and activities.
July 06, 2004
Analysis: Russian Ambassador Leaves Turkmenistan
Like many couples with a complicated history and considerable cause to quarrel, Turkmenistan and Russia prefer to stress the positive in public. For Turkmenistan, Russia is one of few countries to place a premium on engagement with an increasingly isolated partner best known for its mercurial leader's foibles and quirks. For Russia, a long-term contract to buy huge quantities of Turkmen gas allows Gazprom to maintain a high volume of lucrative exports to Europe at a time when the state-controlled gas monopolist faces declining yields from existing fields and lacks the billions of dollars needed to develop new production assets.
June 30, 2004
Turkmenistan: Hidden Resurgence Of Plague Threatens
Say the word "plague" and what immediately comes to many minds are three dreadful scourges of Black Death that killed nearly 200 million people in Europe and China in the fifth and sixth centuries, between the eighth and 14th centuries, and in the mid-19th century. Modern antibiotics have stripped the plague of much of its virulence, but it retains its dread.
June 28, 2004
Caspian: Influx Of Killer Jellyfish Threatens Fish Stocks
Ten years ago, a voracious species of plankton-eating jellyfish appeared in the Caspian Sea, posing a serious threat to already declining fish stocks. One potential solution might be introducing a second jellyfish species to prey on the first. But the Caspian's five littoral states have yet to reach an agreement on how best to handle the problem -- leaving the sea in danger of suffering irreversible damage in the meantime.
June 22, 2004
Central Asia: Drug Trafficking Has Devastating Social, Economic Impact (Part 2)
About one-quarter of Afghan heroin and opium destined for European markets is believed to be trafficked through the five Central Asian countries. The illicit trade is having a serious social and economic impact on the region, including the spread of HIV/AIDS. RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari reports in the second and final part of our series on drugs in Central Asia.
June 22, 2004
Central Asia: Drug Addiction Is On The Rise (Part 1)
Central Asia in recent years has become a major transit route for the transport of Afghan opium and heroin to Russia and the lucrative European markets. Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said during a recent trip to the region that at least 25 percent of the drugs produced in Afghanistan crosses through the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. The UN says those figures are accompanied by a worrying rise in drug use in the region. RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari reports in this first of a two-part series on drugs in Central Asia.
June 18, 2004
Central Asia: Uzbek Family Finds Itself Suddenly Straddling Turkmen Border
A joint Turkmen-Uzbek commission recently finished demarcating the two countries' northern border. The agreement clarifies what was previously a poorly marked area. But it may not satisfy all the residents of the border region. RFE/RL looks at one family that finds itself suddenly divided.