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.

No such thing as a “succession war” as Uzbekistan enters the post-Karimov era

by Mathieu BOULEGUE

For the first time since its independence, Uzbekistan is experiencing the tremors of managed political transition. On September 2 at 9 pm local time, President Islam Karimov officially died in the intensive care unit in Tashkent, where he had been treated since August 27 after suffering a brain hemorrhage and subsequent stroke. Conflicting reports stated […]

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Kazakhstan at odds with homegrown terrorism

by Mathieu BOULEGUE

  In June, Kazakhstan fell victim to homegrown terrorism. On June 5, a group of about 20 unknown armed assailants stormed two gun supply shops and a National Guard base in Aktobe (Northwestern Kazakhstan) in a vaguely coordinated assault that initially left 4 gunmen, a police officer, and 2 civilians killed. The gunmen started with […]

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Pipeline politics to return to the fore in the Caucasus and Central Asia

by Max Hess

The future of European gas resources may run through the South Caucasus. 2016 is likely to be a pivotal year in determining the extent of the region’s importance in gas transit, as well as the role of Central Asian states, and potentially even Iran, in supplying these routes. Geopolitical concerns, the development of regional divides, […]

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Russian Strategy – WTF?

by Nathan Barrick

Is Russian Strategy warlike – true or false? Russia’s strategic deployment and bombing campaign in Syria appears to have surprised and shocked many observers, including Russia watchers.  It shouldn’t have. The uproar is all about Russian aggression and expansionism.  Pundits decry Putin’s alleged attempt to re-create the Soviet Union.  The descriptors of Putin and Russia […]

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New Report for USAID — “Central Asian Involvement in the Conflict in Syria and Iraq: Drivers and Responses”

by Noah Tucker
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This spring USAID and MSI International commissioned me to write a long-form policy paper on the Central Asian recruiting to the Syrian conflict. Though it took a couple of months to make sure it was approved for public release, I’m happy to finally be able to share it. This report is the culmination of around […]

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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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