News Digest

May 10, 2020

Media Digest

May 10, 2020


Bi-weekly CAW Media Digest.
The Digest provides updates on
the most recent developments in Central Asia.
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Two unrelated incidents involving shots being fired occurred on Central Asian borders, in a dispute on the southern Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border and a clash near an Uzbek enclave within Kyrgyzstan. Borders in Central Asia and particularly in the fertile Ferghana Valley remain bitterly divisive as a result of a Soviet divide-and-conquer policy and the inability of contemporary leaders to resolve contested territory.
The collapse of the Sardoba dam in Uzbekistan's Sirdaryo region led to heavy flooding, causing over 70,000 local inhabitants to be temporarily evacuated in Uzbekistan and 5,400 in Kazakhstan. Both countries seem to be cooperating in addressing the catastrophe.
How is the Eurasian Economic Union coping with the pandemic? Maximilian Hess' article in Eurasianet covers the already-beleaguered EAEU’s attempts to expedite medical and agricultural goods across the borders of the participating countries, as well as the flow of testing equipment and masks in and out of Russia.
Daughter of former President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Dariga Nazarbeyeva, has been dismissed from her position as chair of the Kazakh Senate. The Kazakh political system is incredibly opaque, and there are a variety of theories as to who the winners and losers of the re-shuffling may be.
The COVID-19 pandemic will lead to the loss of remittances from Central Asian and South Asian guest workers across the world, with Central Asia particularly dependent on the vicissitudes of the Russian economy. The future of Russian oil, the key element of the Russian economy, will play a hugely out-sized role on the economies of the whole region.
Tajik lawmakers recently banned the use of Russified surnames on identification, requiring that ethnic Tajiks use their more traditional names. Tajik President was an early adherent to this policy, having earlier officially changed his Russified name Imomali Sharipovich Rakhmonov to Emomali Rahmon in 2007.
Tajik Health Minister Nasim Olimzoda was fired as the country began to announce its first COVID-19 cases, with 15 coming on the first day (April 30th) and growing to around 300 and counting. There is no telling why the country decided to reverse its policy of admitting cases, but neighboring Turkmenistan has only doubled down during the same time-frame.

CAW Team