News Digest

Apr 26, 2020

Media Digest

Apr 26, 2020


Biweekly CAW Media Digest.
The Digest provides updates on
the most recent developments in Central Asia.
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Kazinform highlighted the teleconference "Eurasian Integration is the historical initiative of Nursultan Nazarbayev," an event attended by 100 rectors of Eurasian universities. The title of the conference comes as a bit of a shock to Central Asia watchers, who are more used to a Kazakh leader who has historically been happy to undermine neighbors' political processes and jealously guard his country's economic relative preeminence in the region.
The Commonwealth of Independent States' Council of Interior Ministers released a joint statement marking the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. Council marked the occasion by choosing to look at the event as "The memory of victory in May of 1945 (that) still unites the peoples of the CIS member states. The date is more than a holiday. It is a moral and spiritual reference point for all post-war generations, checking their life course with it."
Anders Aslund makes the argument that the historically disastrous state of oil prices could potentially help with the transformation of Russia and other Eurasian states from autocratic states to more open, democratic ones. He points out that a loss of revenue could force countries to liberalize economies while also encouraging better governance.
The WHO is under additional pressure regarding its silence over Tajikistan's wildly implausible claims to being completely free of COVID-19 cases. Much like neighbor Turkmenistan, Tajikistan has continued to quietly shut down public services like schools and transportation while insisting that everything is fine.
Umida Hashimova's article examines recent criticism over the potential accession of Uzbekistan to the Eurasian Economic Union. With a legislative body that is widely regarded as a rubber-stamp despite the recent free elections, it is surprising to see a sudden wave of nuanced critiques of a move that has huge political ramifications for the country.
Rustam Emomali, son of current Tajik President Rahmon Emomali, has been confirmed speaker of Tajikistan's upper house of parliament. This election prepares him perfectly to assume power should his father, currently 67 years old, pass away or be incapacitated.
Uzbekistan, citing the 2012 abolition of the child-labor and its fight with COVID-19, is campaigning for the global ban on Uzbek-sourced cotton to be rescinded. Opponents of the ban say that lifting it will stimulate the economy and create jobs in a dire situation, while proponents highlight the halting nature of reforms and the continued use of unwilling labor as good reason to uphold the ban.

CAW Team