Stories under this heading cover Central Asia – a region of Asia, stretching from the Caspian Sea in the west to Mongolia in the east, from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north.
In early January 2023, amid the freezing temperatures and power blackouts of Bucha - the Kyiv suburb now infamous for it being the location of Russian massacres of Ukrainian civilians in early 2022 - there popped up a Kazakh yurt where residents were served free traditional Kazakh food and tea, could keep warm and could charge their electronic devices. Soon after, another yurt appeared in downtown Kyiv.
Kazakhstan has announced that they will tighten entrance rules for citizens of countries of the Eurasian Economic Union, including Russians.
A draft resolution adopted on 31 December, published on Tuesday (17 January), and which will become effective on 27 January will restrict citizens of countries of the Eurasian Economic Union to 90 days visa-free in Kazakhstan within any 180-day period.
The European Union has commented on the results of the 20 November presidential election in Kazakhstan.
In a statement it said:
We welcome their efficient preparation as well as wider political and socio-economic reforms initiated by President Tokayev after the tragic January events. The development of resilient democratic institutions and a strong civil society is key for Kazakhstan’s stability and development.
Incumbent President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has been re-elected by a landslide vote in early presidential elections held on 20 November. He won 81.31 percent of the vote, according to the preliminary data from the Central Election Commission (CEC) announced on Monday (21 November).
The European Union has launched a new project “Sustainable Energy Connectivity in Central Asia” (SECCA) ahead of the EU-Central Asia Connectivity Conference “Global Gateway for Sustainable Development” which opened on Thursday (18 November) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. National energy authorities and experts from the Central Asian countries (CA) and representatives of the EU attended the launch event.
The SECCA project, with a total budget of 6.8 million euros, aims to promote a more sustainable energy balance in CA in accordance with EU best practices.
Putin’s catastrophic full-scale invasion of Ukraine has created ripples throughout the post-Soviet space, not seen since the collapse of the Union itself in 1991. One region where change is in the air is Central Asia, where modest processes of reform and political and economic change had already started, but have, since February, considerably accelerated. The impact of this is likely to be felt right across society including in the cultural sphere.
European Council president, Charles Michel was in Tashkent on Friday (28 October) for talks with Uzbek president Mirziyoyev.
Once considered a parriah in the international system because of gross human rights abuses, Uzbekistan has in recent years adopted a trajectory for reform, and of opening up to the world. Good relations with the EU are now an important pillar of Uzbek foreign policy.
For the EU too relations with Uzbekistan are increasingly important given the Union's strategy towards Central Asia.