Central Asia Monitor 1.18

by Central Asia Monitor on 10/26/2012 · 2 comments

Kyrgyzstan to reopen investigation into ethnic Uzbek journalist’s murder

Kyrgyzstan has launched a new investigation into the murder of ethnically Uzbek independent journalist Alisher Saipov, according to RFE/RL. Saipov was shot dead in the southern city of Osh exactly 5 years ago. Many believe he was killed as a result of his journalistic work, which covered political repression and the Andijan massacre in neighboring Uzbekistan and had gained significant popularity in the region. In 2010, the Osh City Court sentenced Abdulgafar Rasulov to 20 years in prison for the crime. However, it was later discovered that Rasulov had been in a different location at the time of the killing. Saipov’s father has repeatedly protested the sentence, arguing the real killer is still at large. In April 2012, the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan decided to review the case, canceled the earlier decision of the court, and referred the case back to Osh City Court for a new trial. (RFE/RL 25 Oct, Fergana Information Agency 24 Oct) — MK

More Children Found Harvesting Cotton in Uzbekistan

Elena Urlaeva and other human rights activists claim to have discovered more cases of children engaged in the cotton harvest. This latest case, following earlier discover in Bukhara, involved 11-12 year old students from school no. 70 in Yakkabag, Kashkadarya. Additionally, they found that students from high schools and colleges aged 16 and older were still in the fields despite promises from the Ministry of Education to return all older students to classes by 20 October. In spite of a stronger decree against the use of children in this year’s cotton harvest, human rights activists have managed to uncover numerous cases of young children being forced to participate in the harvest. (UzNews 24 Oct) — NH

Police in GBAO Sacked for Ties with “Criminals”

Two police officers were fired in Tajikistan’s Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Province (GBAO) this week for reportedly maintaining ties with “criminal elements” in the provinces capital, Khorog. At the same internal review meeting, five other police officers were fired for “negligence” on the job, and several others were reprimanded. AsiaPlus implied that the criminal connections of the police officers were part of a larger trend, as two police officers from the region were arrested in Kyrgyzstan this week for narcotrafficking. GBAO was the site of this summers violence in which dozens of people died in clashes between government forces and local opposition commanders. Border officers and police working in border regions of Tajikistan have frequently been implicated in the drug trade, both in GBAO and elsewhere in Tajikistan. (AsiaPlus, 24 October) –AL

Kyrgyzstan Seeks to Improve Ethnic Relations in Military

Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Defense issued a press release outlining regulations to improve ethnic relations in the military. The new rules respond to President Atambaev’s call for government agencies to intensify efforts to promote inter-ethnic harmony. The regulations outline the responsibilities of military leaders and units in promoting good ethnic relations among their ranks, and the document is intended to serve as a guide for unit commanders to prevent hazing and rivalries based on ethnicity. (AKIpress, 24 Oct) — NH

Kazakhstan Refuses to Lift Ban on Imports of Animal Products from Kyrgyzstan Without Approval from Russia and Belarus

Gulzhan Nurtazina, the Deputy Chair of Veterinary Control in Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Agriculture, said that Kazakhstan can only lift the ban on the import of animal products from Kyrgyzstan with the approval of Russia and Belarus. The ban was put in place on 3 October because Kyrgyzstan lacks a system for identifying and tracking movements of livestock. Nurtazina said that a solution is being worked on as a part of negotiations over Kyrgzystan’s accession to the Customs Union linking Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Russia. (IA Kazakh Grain 24 Oct) — NH

In Kyrgyzstan, experts predict increase glacial melting

Experts predict that accelerated melting could cut the size of glaciers in Kyrgyzstan by half, creating an acute water shortage in Central Asia. Approximately 45 percent of Central Asia’s glaciers are located in Kyrgyzstan, where glaciers and snowfall cover 4 percent of the country. However, a recent national report suggests that the amount of glacier mass has decreased by nearly 20 percent over the past several decades. Local glaciologist Rasul Usubaliev places the blame on climate change, arguing that if the trend continues, 70 percent of the country’s glaciers may melt by 2050–2075. He also notes that a lack of state funding for science has crippled monitoring of glaciers. Environmentalist Emil Shukurov stresses that the current situation is “exacerbated by the complete absence of environmental thinking in the government.” Additionally, he argues, land privatization and livestock grazing practices have lead to increased dustiness, further harming the glaciers. (Deutsch Welle 25 Oct) — MK

Kazakhstan Denies Medalists to Compete for China

Kazakhstan’s Weightlifting Federation has denied claims that Zulfiya Chinshanlo and Maya Maneza, both of whom won gold medals competing for Kazakhstan at this summer’s Olympics in London, will compete for China. Media in China had reported that Zulfiya Chinshanlo had returned to China and intended both to become a Chinese national and to compete for the Chinese national weightlifting team. The head of Kazakhstan’s weightlifting federation said that both women had traveled to China to visit relatives. According to some Kazakh media reports, he added that the stories in the Chinese press are lies and intrigue. Following the women’s victories at the Olympics, controversy over their nationality erupted. Both Dungans, one was born in Kazakhstan and the other in Kyrgyzstan, though each had moved to China at a young age, later becoming citizens of Kazakhstan. Some Chinese media suggested the athletes were on loan to Kazakhstan. (SportsExpress, Nomad, and Kursiv 23 Oct) — NH

Chinese Media Report on Kazakh Culture Sparks Outcry

Media in Kazakhstan report that community leaders are urging calm in response to Chinese journalist’s story that some believe insults the dignity of the Kazakh people. According to reports in Kazakhstan, the journalist, Hu Hung Ba, allegedly wrote a story claiming that Kazakhs are so hospitable that they let guests sleep in the same room as their daughters and that new brides spend their first nights of marriage with the father of the groom. The story was removed after initial publication. Ethnic Kazakhs in Xinjiang reportedly plan to sue the journalist, and some Kazakh publications have called for the journalist to be punished for inciting ethnic hatred. Kazakhstan’s foreign ministry dismissed the story as the uninformed opinions of a single person and urged people to move on. A Kazakhstani expert on China echoed the foreign ministry’s position and warned that a public outcry could cause a “Streisand Effect,” drawing more attention to the negative story. (CA-NEWS, Today.kz, Rosbalt, 23 Oct) — NH

Kazakhstani MP Links Laughing Gas Use to Cult Membership

Victor Kiyanskii and several fellow Nur Otan deputies in Kazakhstan’s lower house of parliament requested that the country’s new Prime Minister investigate expanding the list of controlled recreational drugs. The MPs claim that cults are taking advantage of the the lack of control on hookahs, energy drinks, glue, nitrous oxide and other substances being used in clubs to push new drugs on young people. Kiyanskii points to local media reports claiming links between drug use and participation in terrorism and warns that action must be taken to prevent the emergence and spread of new drugs and to control the movement of precursors. Otherwise, he says, Kazakhstan will suffer chemical attacks from terrorists like the Aum Shinrikyo attack on Tokyo’s subway. (Tengri News 24 Oct) — NH

Kyrgyzstan’s Prime Minister “Motivates” the People

According to a very brief report from 24.kg, Kyrgyzstan’s Prime Minister, Jantoro Satylbaldiev urged residents of Jalal-Abad’s Chatkal district to take advantage of work opportunities. More specifically, he told them that the treasury is empty, and that while benefits will still be paid, residents would be better served to “Stop drinking vodka and start working!” rather than asking the government for assistance. He said that the livestock sector in the district is promising and provides opportunities for locals to improve their conditions. (24.kg 24 Oct) — NH

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Authored by Matthew Kupfer, Amanda Lanzillo, Noah Tucker, and Nathan Hamm, Central Asia Monitor is a new product covering current events in and pertinent to Central Asia. Unlike Registan.net, Central Asia Monitor contains a regular, current digest of reporting supplemented with expert analysis from over 100 Central Asian media outlets. This publication makes regional media accessible in quick-to-read, content and context rich format. This product is currently being previewed, free of charge, on Registan's blog, and will transition to a paid subscription newsletter.

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Alec Metz October 27, 2012 at 11:11 am

Did the Kazakhstani expert in the eighth story really use the term “Streisand effect”?

Nathan Hamm October 27, 2012 at 11:15 am

I kid you not. He actually used the term “Streisand Effect.” IIRC, that story was talking about the reaction to Borat from Kazakhstan and that they’ve learned they should just chill out about what other people say.

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