August is flying by, two weeks worth of writing:
- Uzbekistan still hates Tajikistan’s Rogun dam project.
- Kyrgyzstan set a date for its parliamentary elections, the game is afoot.
- Kyrgyz and Tajik villagers clashed along the border over a road, a cemetery, and a canal.
- An Uzbek refugee on trial in Idaho on terrorism charges, he was convicted (the local media did a great job covering the trial).
- Berdy visited Bishkek.
- Civilian casualties at a record high in Afghanistan, and that was just through June.
- Tajik authorities warn the faithful against hajj scams.
- Kazakhstan walks back restrictions on visiting select border areas.
- Tajik opposition politician, Zaid Saidov, already sentenced to 26 years in jail given three more.
- Kazakh oil workers falling victim to low oil prices.
- Kyrgyzstan plans to use biometric registration for the October election.
- Uzbekistan (and Tajikistan) have enacted laws to strip citizenship from suspected terrorists.
- Uzbekistan Airways seems to have changed its mind about weighing passengers.
- Recommended reads here and here.
I also wrote one opinion piece about why all the news from Central Asia is weird, bad or ugly. When governments try to clamp down on bad news, they prevent good news from surfacing. All that’s left is ugly news. Local journalists are not able to do their jobs–reporting on how government policies are working, or not; what citizens like, or don’t; how people live their lives and fill their time–and the result is international outlets carry news without complexity: bad news (which government’s aren’t able to hide completely or in the case of extremism, actively promote to garner leniency and aid), ugly news (news about the ugly side of authoritarianism–human rights abuses), or weird news (about massive building projects, new statues, cults of personality, etc).