Every great power in the region is courting the landlocked little crossroads within an inch of its life.
There is a tragedy here, one that goes even beyond the thousand and one failures of governance that marks this as perhaps the very worst run of the former Soviet Republics.
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.
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.
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.
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 […]
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.
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.
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.”
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.