Central Asia News and Analysis Archive

Consisting of five Soviet successor states, Central Asia lies at the heart of the Eurasian landmass. Major trade routes running through the region bringing with them new ideas, religions, and peoples back and forth from Europe and Asia. During the Soviet period, Central Asia was essentially isolated from the rest of the world. Since independence, each of the region’s new governments have sought to re-engage the world in unique ways. Untapped natural resources like oil, gas, and precious metals as well as the region’s importance to international security as Afghanistan’s northern neighbors have attracted the attention of major powers and international organizations.

At Registan, Central Asia is our obsession. Registan.net was founded to shine a light on the region for western audiences and to add context to media reporting. In our nearly ten years of publishing news and analysis on the region, we have amassed an archive of thousands of items discussing the region’s people, cultures, religions, politics, and foreign policies. All of our contributors who cover Central Asia have lived or traveled extensively in the region and most speak one or more of the languages used in the region.

In addition to publishing a widely read and recognized weblog on Central Asia, Registan offers research, analysis, and training services tailored to your individual needs. For more information on how we can help you and your organization better understand the region.

US DoS’s recognition of Uzbek rights advocate makes Bishkek so unhappy that…

by Elmurad Kasym

In early March 2011, the U.S. Department of State awarded then-Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva with the International Women of Courage Award. “So what?” an interested reader might ask. “She earned it,” was perhaps the thought in her administration, which included Temir Sariyev—then the deputy premier and finances minister. However, when the U.S. DoS awarded Azimjan [...]

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An Exile in Ukraine Recalls Fleeing his Native Kyrgyzstan

by Matthew Kupfer
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In March 2014, as Russia’s “little green men” were quietly seizing the Crimean peninsula, a well known liberal activist from Kyrgyzstan, Ilya Lukash, left his homeland for Ukraine. He was fleeing harassment and threats of violence after Kyrgyz nationalists publicly pilloried him as a “gay activist” and burnt his portrait during an anti-Western protest. My [...]

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The Islamic Renaissance Party’s downfall and its consequences for Tajikistan’s stability

by Helene Thibault
The IRPT regional office in Khujand, Sughd province in 2011. The building was destroyed in 2014. Photo taken by author.

Tajikistan is the sole Central Asian country to have legalized a faith-based political party, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT). The IRPT is considered to be the main heir of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) that opposed government forces during the civil war (1992-1997). The June 1997 peace agreement devised the allocation of 30% [...]

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The coming crisis in Kyrgyzstan: a mixture of politics and gold

by Max Hess

Kyrgyzstan is due to hold legislative elections in October and, once again, all that everybody can think about is the gold. While Kyrgyzstan fails to crack the top 25 global gold producers, gold nevertheless accounts for roughly 40 per cent of export earnings and the gold industry is responsible for some 20 per cent of [...]

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SCO Electoral Missions and Legitimization of Undemocratic Elections: “I’m gonna guild my own democracy with electoral fraud and fellow dictators”

by Aijan Sharshenova
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[After being kicked out of a theme park] “I’m gonna go build my own theme park, with blackjack and hookers. In fact, forget the park!” -Bender, Futurama, 1999, season 1, ep.2 Working on a large piece of research is more of a burden than fun, and that is why any chance to have a laugh [...]

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Are Russian Military Exercises a Threat? How to Interpret Russia’s Military Maneuvers in 2015

by Nathan Barrick

In a 12 April interview, Estonia’s President Toomas Hendrik Ilves claimed insufficient NATO forces were located in Estonia to prevent a Russian invasion, which he said would be over in about four hours. A year ago, the press was afire with wild predictions on who Russia’s next target after Crimea would be – this Ukrainian [...]

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“Rumors of My Death”

by Nathan Barrick

Where is President Putin?  Will he show up on Monday the 16th to meet Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev in Saint Petersburg, or will that meeting be canceled too? Quite a bit of speculation abounds as to the whereabouts of Russia President Vladimir Putin.  The serious questions began to be posed after President Putin suddenly canceled [...]

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Russia: Egypt Enters Eurasian Union Orbit

by Peter Marzalik
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Even with crippling Western economic sanctions over its military involvement in Ukraine, Russia continues attempts to build more diplomatic clout on the international stage, with the latest launching Egypt into the orbit of the Kremlin-led Eurasian Union to the chagrin of the United States. During a recent two-day visit to Cairo, Russian President Vladimir Putin [...]

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It’s a Sea! 18 years after, the Caspian finally gets a legal status

by Mathieu BOULEGUE

Copyright RIA Novosti Against all odds, the 4th Caspian Summit that took place in Astrakhan on 29 September between the “Caspian Five” – the five littoral states of Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan – ended with rather positive advances and, for once, unexpected breakthroughs. As President Putin declared after the Summit, “we agreed on [...]

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Islamic Banking Reaches the Post-Soviet Space

by Luke Rodeheffer
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I recently wrote a brief for Global Risk Insights on how Islamic Banking is rapidly spreading across Central Asia and the Caucasus: The interest in Russia for the regulation of Islamic Banking reflects an even greater interest in the sector across the post-Soviet space. The Post-Soviet states of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan [...]

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