News Digest

Oct 25, 2020

Media Digest

Oct 25, 2020


Biweekly CAW Media Digest.
The Digest provides updates on
the most recent developments in Central Asia.
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October 12 - October 25
Kyrgyz Elections - Attempts to Consolidate
With chaos gripping the political infrastructure of Kyrgyzstan, the new parliament is adopting amendments to push back the general election. Public promises to crack down on corruption have resulted in temporary arrest for several notorious figures (who were also involved in contesting the elections), but other legislation may make complicate the reforming narrative.
Having risen to become the acting leader of Kyrgyzstan through the antics of his aggressive followers, Sadyr Japarov has promised a lot to constituents. The political situation remains tenuous and questions remain about the government's legitimacy and ability to deliver the changes articulated by protestors and rival opposition groups.
Tajikistan Election - Ossification
Incumbent Tajik leader Rahmon Emomali has won his fifth consecutive term in a closed election. Despite his current vise-like grip on power, RFE/RL traces his early circuitous path to power during the Tajik Civil War.
Interested in maintaining regional stability, Uzbek leaders remain sanguine about Kyrgyz unrest. With relations normalized following the death of former President Islam Karimov, both countries collaborate on trade, energy usage, and even illicit cross-border smuggling.
Uzbek journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev has been freed by the authorities, having been recently extradited back to Uzbekistan on dubious charges. This surprise decision comes after sustained pressure from Western leaders for the Mirziyoyev government to live up to the freedom of expression environment that it has been attempting to articulate.
A Central Asia Barometer 2-year study highlights growing discomfort with Chinese investment and outreach. Uzbek responders were initially much more favorable of Chinese FDI than Kazakhs or Kyrgyz, but even these numbers have been falling amidst fears about Chinese threats to national sovereignty.
Russian and Kazakh defense ministers recently signed a new bilateral military cooperation agreement. Kazakhstan had maintained extremely close political and defense ties with Russia, and the agreement replaced one that had been in place since 1994.
Kazakh police are adopting a more transparent front in attempts to combat drug networks. Amidst an increase in amateur synthetic drug production and usage, district police have been instructed to pursue preventative measures that will involve establishing closer relationships with community members.
A World Bank feature highlights the gains to be made from regional energy reform and cooperation. Reducing expenses could save $4.6 billion while helping ensure that Central Asia lives up to its potential as an energy hub and logistical powerhouse.

CAW Team