Sunday 1 May 2005
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 27, 2005
GUUAM: Ukraine Aspires To Leadership Role In Revitalized Organization
How much has GUUAM's face changed since this 2002 summit, which included (from left)Azerbaijan's Heidar Aliyev, Georgia's Eduard Shevardnadze, Ukraine's Leonid Kuchma, and Moldova's Vladimir Voronin? 27 April 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Following Viktor Yushchenko's election late last year as Ukrainian president and Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin's espousal of an unequivocally pro-Western foreign policy orientation, many observers anticipated that the long-awaited summit of the GUUAM alignment in Chisinau on 22 April would herald a new era in that body's activities.
April 25, 2005
Uzbekistan: Journalists Defend Jailed Colleague
25 April 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Friction between journalists and Uzbekistan's authorities is nothing new. But the recent arrest of Sobirjon Yoqubov (spelled "Yakubov" in many reports), a correspondent for the newspaper "Hurriyat," has sparked a reaction that goes beyond expressions of concern from international organizations. This time, some of the jailed journalist's colleagues in Uzbekistan have mobilized in his support.
April 23, 2005
World: OSCE Debates Its Election Monitoring
The OSCE -- Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe -- has come under sharp criticism from Russia on the criteria it uses and conclusions it reaches in monitoring elections. Russia charges that the process is politically weighted. Leaders of the organization have just completed a two-day review in Vienna. Debate was lively but few minds appear to have been changed about the way the OSCE decides whether elections are fair and democratic.
April 22, 2005
Uzbekistan: Islam Karimov Vs. The Clans
Is Karimov's regime on the brink of collapse? Recent reshuffles in mid-level government positions are being seen as a result of rivalries between different political clans in Uzbekistan. Speculation has been fuelled by reports and rumors about one clan’s representatives disappearing or fleeing the country. Many Uzbeks think that Islam Karimov’s regime is on the wane and the clans are fighting for the spoils of power.
April 22, 2005
East: GUUAM Summit In Chisinau Focuses On Separatism, Regional Cooperation
Ukraine's Yushchenko was active in Chisinau (file photo) The presidents of Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova gathered today in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau for a summit of the regional grouping GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova). It's the group's first gathering since "velvet revolutions" brought pro-Western leaders to office in Georgia and Ukraine, and Moldova shifted its foreign policy priorities toward the West. EU and NATO expansion have also altered the European political landscape. This evolving perspective laid the groundwork for today's gathering, which focused on separatism, regional cooperation, and promoting GUUAM's geopolitical profile.
April 21, 2005
Uzbekistan: Opposition Creates Coalition Of Democratic Forces
Uzbek oppositionists have created a new united front, the Coalition of Democratic Forces. The coalition, also named "Serquyosh Uzbekistonim" (My Sunny Uzbekistan), is a joint effort between the unregistered opposition Ozod Dehqonlar (Free Peasants) party, prominent opposition members, and human rights activists. As leaders launched the new group yesterday, they announced their program -- which includes some ambitious economic reforms.
April 21, 2005
East: GUUAM Summit Aims To Revitalize Regional Body
GUUAM -- the group comprising Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova -- was formed eight years ago with the aim of fostering regional cooperation outside the boundaries of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). But GUUAM's accomplishments were largely reduced to a series of signed agreements that never came to fruition. But now efforts are under way to revitalize the group. Leaders from four of the five member-states are gathering tomorrow in the Moldovan capital Chisinau in an attempt to breathe new life into a group that is increasingly turning away from Moscow and looking toward the West.
April 20, 2005
Central Asia: Kyrgyzstan's Neighbors Tighten Laws To Prevent Revolutions
Neighboring states don't want to see a repeat of Kyrgyzstan's protests in their own countries In the wake of last month's popular revolt in Kyrgyzstan, neighboring governments are taking measures to prevent the same thing from happening in their own countries. The abrupt ouster of Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev resonated throughout the region -- and no doubt raised anxiety among his fellow heads of state, all of whom have been in power since the early 1990s. Kyrgyzstan's neighbors have been quick to pass new laws in order to avert their own homegrown revolutions.
April 19, 2005
Uzbekistan: Trial Begins Of Muslims Accused Of 2004 Attacks
Scene of March blast in Tashkent (file photo) The trial of 20 men began yesterday at the Tashkent City Court on charges of extremism and terrorism. The charges are related to the 2004 attacks in Tashkent and Bukhara that left 47 people dead. They also relate to explosions in Tashkent in February 1999. Rights activists say the trial is the latest move in the Uzbek government’s campaign against peaceful Muslims.