Kyrgyzstan to Nationalize High-Profile Goldmine

Officially, the mine accounts for 10 percent of GDP, and employs thousands of locals. Unofficially, its total impact on the official economy is 30 percent, and its impact on the shadow economy is even higher.

Tajikistan Flirts with and Breaks Up with Democracy

Rakhmon is a despot who has done most of the damage he can do; Tajiks assume Bobonazarova could be as bad or worse, and without the bad stuff already done.

Karimov’s Family Feud

Lola’s backhanded dismissal of her older sister’s prospects is therefore both a profound familial sin and a sign that Karimov, while very likely suffering from some sort of psychosis, is not completely insane.

Kazakhstan Decides to Defeat Bubonic Plague Once and for All

Outbreaks of plague have become all too common over the last year in the Central Asian parts of the former Soviet Union. At last, one of those nations is determined to be a source of the solution, rather than a target of the problem. According to National Geographic — one of the few Western outlets […]

Only the UN Could Accept at Face Value Uzbekistan’s Word on Anything

This decision smacks of the sort of constant engagement that treats aspiring democracies as pariahs for the occasional failure and provides cover to totalitarians, on the theory that they’ll be a little less totalitarian.

Kazakhstan Finally Sees Kashagan Oil Field Come On-Line

This is a hopeful sign for energy security in the region, as the increase in nearby oil reserves makes reliance on Middle Eastern states almost as unnecessary as it is undesirable.

Turkmenistan Steps Farther Into Darkness

A largely informal geopolitical alliance is again slowly cohering around a series of shared principles — basically that the Western model of development must be left behind for one more inclined to support “national aspirations.”

Black Death Returns to Central Asia

The Central Asian republics’ future depends in large part on their ability to reconstruct their civil society as much as to distribute broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Money Laundering in the Former Soviet Union

The net result is a perception that the law exists for the powerful, and in such places, what is left of civil society can never truly compete with the government and therefore grow.

Turkmenistan’s Prison Cell Phone Ban Is Not The Problem

This misses the forest for the trees. Turkmenistan is basically the seventh layer of Hell. The best thing you can say about it is that there is currently no genocide in progress there.