Central Asia

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.

Opinion: Kazakhstan’s "Yurts of Invincibility" are more than just a humanitarian initiative for Ukraine

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.

patrickn97 Tue, 01/24/2023 - 09:56 Kazakhstan tightens entrance rules for citizens of EEU countries, including Russia

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.

patrickn97 Wed, 01/18/2023 - 13:25

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Putin discusses with CSTO leaders in Yerevan the future of the alliance
President Vladimir Putin of Russia travelled to the Armenian capital Yerevan on Wednesday for a meeting of the heads of state and government of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO). At Yerevan airport Putin was welcomed by Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan, with who he held discussions soon  after on the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh.  Apart from Putin and Pashinyan also attending the summit are the leaders of the other four CSTO members,   Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan. Relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the situation in Afghanistan and Ukraine dominated the talks. A report on the Kremlin website said that a number of documents were agreed. At the end of the meeting the chairmanship of the CSTO for the next year passed on from Armenia to Belarus.
dennis2020 Thu, 11/24/2022 - 02:01
EU comments on Kazakh Presidential Elections

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.

dennis2020 Tue, 11/22/2022 - 06:59
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has been re-elected as president of Kazakhstan by a landslide vote

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).

dennis2020 Mon, 11/21/2022 - 10:16
Kazakhstan votes to elect president
Voting is taking place on Sunday (20 November) in Kazakhstan, Central Asia's largest republic. The elections are considered important since they mark the end of the era of rule of Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan's long-time president who served from 1991 to 2019. Nazarbayev is often credited with being “the father of the nation” helping to forge a Kazakh national identity, but whose rule has increasingly been identified as one riddled with nepotism, corruption and stagnation. Even after Nazarbayev decided to resign, he maintained control over several key leverages of power, and his successor, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, governed in the shadow of his predecessor. In January, Tokayev was faced by what appears to have been an attempted palace coup to unseat him, Having quashed the uprising Tokayev decided to accelerate the process of reforms that he had already started to cautiously implement. Nazarbayev has been side-lined and constitutional reforms initiated under which, a president can only serve for one, seven-year term.     Long-time observers of Central Asia feel that the election marks an important turning point for Kazakhstan and Central Asia. political editor said in a comment that "there is little doubt that the incumbent president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev will win the election. Yet people in Kazakhstan have started to understand that things are changing; that their president does not intend to serve for life, and diversity of opinions are good. A very modest start, and one that is considered far less than enough for some. But a start it is, and that needs to be recognised too."
dennis2020 Sun, 11/20/2022 - 07:04
European Union’s new 6.8 million euros project to boost sustainable energy in Central Asia

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. 

Maximiliaan va… Fri, 11/18/2022 - 17:56
Opinion: a Central Asian Cultural Revival is on the Horizon

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.

patrickn97 Fri, 11/11/2022 - 09:13
EU and Kazakhstan strengthen their strategic partnership with the signing of agreement on raw materials
The European Union (EU) and Kazakhstan have strengthen their strategic partnership by signing an agreement on raw materials, batteries and renewable hydrogen on Monday (7 November) at a ceremony on the margins of the 27th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27), which kicked off in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The agreement focuses on the development of a secure and sustainable supply of raw materials and refined materials, renewable hydrogen and battery value chains, and contributes to the green and digital transformation, reported the press service of the European Commission.  Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov, who is representing Kazakhstan at the COP27, said that the document will create conditions for the establishment of financial and technological cooperation between Kazakhstan and EU industrial alliances. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen noted the partnership will build a cleaner foundation for both economies.
dennis2020 Wed, 11/09/2022 - 07:46
Monday Commentary: Why Central Asia matters
Very often, Central Asia is referred to as Russia’s back yard, even though today the region feels more like China’s front garden. But whilst the two “inseparable” friends, compete for influence and resources, the five Central Asian countries have set on a course to integrate themselves in global processes, break out of their geographic - and more importantly their geo-political constraints - and deliver better for their people. In this week's Monday Commentary on, Dennis Sammut says that the Central Asian states have been reaching out to the EU and the US, whilst domestically some of them have embarked on deep reforms considered all but unimaginable until recently. The visit of European Council president Charles Michel to the region on 27-28 October marked a high point in a new phase in the relationship between the EU and Central Asia. In Kazakhstan, Michel not only met the Kazakh leadership, but also held a summit with the five Central Asian leaders in Astana, before travelling to Uzbekistan. For both the Central Asians and for the EU this is a watershed moment, and the beginning of a long journey. Europe’s approach to Central Asia needs to be respectful, both to the five countries themselves, and to their existing partners. Arrogance, even of the intellectual kind will simply backfire. But respect does not mean meekness. As a heavyweight in international relations, even if for the moment its economic weight dwarfs its political weight, the EU needs to approach Central Asia neither as a supplicant, nor as a benefactor, but simply as a reliable partner. Furthermore, this partnership needs to be diverse, multi-tiered and nuanced. It must take in relations with citizens, where Europe has much to offer both in terms of being a model, but also in terms of what it can share in areas such as education, innovation, youth welfare, women’s rights and diversity.
dennis2020 Mon, 10/31/2022 - 07:35
Michel in Tashkent to cement EU-Uzbekistan ties

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.

dennis2020 Sat, 10/29/2022 - 09:36