However brief its renewed moment in the sun, it appears Russia may once again be called an empire — and all for a few billions of dollars.
Everyone — Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, possibly Timur himself — want a piece of the valley and have legitimate and highly contested claims to it.
It probably struck everyone involved as terribly clever, the problem is that someone left it to Kyrgyzstan’s government to execute it.
Every great power in the region is courting the landlocked little crossroads within an inch of its life.
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.
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.
When Kyrgyzstan settles its border disputes and Armenia enters a full shooting war with Azerbaijan, both with Russian-supplied arms and armor, the guardians of freedom and democracy will be dumbfounded.
To re-create the Russian Empire, Moscow needs several things, some of which it has, some of which it does not. It has willing allies and subjects to its East … but Russia needs the West as well, and is desperate to have it.
Tashkent has made an offer to settle the Sokh question once and for all. Satybaldiev’s government needs to reciprocate in good faith. We take the recent talks as a sign that it intends to do so.
The authorities now must make sure that a fair and open trial is conducted. Bishkek must leave no opportunity for Tashiev’s supporters to view him and his cohorts as victims of a politically motivated sham prosecution.