Region

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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Dozens dead or injured and tens of thousands displaced after clashes on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

Dozens dead or injured and tens of thousands displaced after clashes on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

Fighting on the border between the Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on Friday (16 September) killed at least 24 people, wounded dozens and prompted a mass evacuation. Both sides blamed each other for responsibility for the incidents. Kyrgyzstan’s Health Ministry said early Saturday that the bodies had been delivered to hospitals in the Batken region that borders Tajikistan. An additional 87 people were wounded, the ministry said. Clashes on the border that began earlier this week grew into large-scale fighting Friday involving tanks, artillery and rocket launchers. As part of the shelling, Tajik forces struck the regional capital, Batken, with rockets. Kyrgyzstan’s Emergencies Ministry said 136,000 people were evacuated from the area engulfed by the fighting. Kyrgyzstan's president, Sadyr Zhaparov, and his Tajik counterpart, president Emomali Rakhmon, were both in Samarkand in nearby Uzbekistan on Friday, participating in the Summit of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation, and are reported to have met on the margins of the main event.
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Xi sets the tone, and Putin answers questions

Xi sets the tone, and Putin answers questions

Chinese President Xi chose Central Asia for his first foray overseas after a long hiatus due to the Covid pandemic, travelling to Kazakhstan, and then onwards to Samarkand to attend the meeting of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) and have various bilateral meetings. Chinese protocol these days demand that all meetings with Xi are fully masked, and so attired delegations troded in to meet the Chinese leader: Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev was early in queue. There was Uzbekistan's president Miriyzoyev, who for good measure gave President Xi Uzbekistan's "Order of Friendship", and Belarus President Lukashenko. But most interest was focused on when Putin's turn came. Increasingly the Russian leader is starting to look like the junior partner in the relationship with Xi. Certainly the official language was all proper and correct, but there was something in the body language that showed Putin's awkwardness at the new situation.Putin said Russia will consolidate and deepen bilateral and multilateral communication and collaboration with China, and expand cooperation in key areas such as economy, trade and energy. “We highly value the balanced position of our Chinese friends when it comes to the Ukraine crisis,” Putin said in televised remarks to Xi. “We understand your questions and concern about this. During today’s meeting, we will, of course, explain our position.” "Questions and concern" - not exactly enthusiastic support then by China for Putin's adventure in Ukraine.
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Opinion: The role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation goes beyond managing Russia-China relations in Central Asia

Opinion: The role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation goes beyond managing Russia-China relations in Central Asia

"As the world comes closer to multi-polarity, the role of such organizations as SCO will grow further. Russia and China will seek to use them as a counterbalance to western dominated international political and economic organizations, such as G7, the EU, the World Bank and IMF", writes Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed. He argues that in the present context of emerging great power competition, the SCO started to be viewed less as a tool to manage Russia – China relations in Central Asia, or counter terrorist threats from Afghanistan, and more as a significant grouping of non-western powers in the emerging multipolar world.
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Kazakhstan works to expand co-operation with Gulf countries during Tokayev's visit to Saudi Arabia

Kazakhstan works to expand co-operation with Gulf countries during Tokayev's visit to Saudi Arabia

Kazakh president, Kassym Jomart Tokayev, on Sunday (24 July) concluded an official visit to Saudi Arabia during which he sought to strengthen relations with the Kingdom and other Gulf countries Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan will enhance mutual trade and investment in several sectors, according to a joint statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency at the end of the visit. This cooperation includes areas related to petrochemicals, renewable energy, mining, agriculture, tourism, transport and logistics. Other agreements cover information technology, digital transformation, financial services and space, SPA reported. During his visit President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev held wide-ranging talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The two countries signed several agreements and memoranda of cooperation in sports, media, medicine and finance. The also agreed to enhance cooperation in higher education, research and innovation.
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Opinion: Azerbaijan boosts ties with Central Asia as region adjusts to Ukraine crisis

Opinion: Azerbaijan boosts ties with Central Asia as region adjusts to Ukraine crisis

The fall-out from the Russian invasion of Ukraine has impacted all countries across the region. Azerbaijan and the Central Asian republics have stepped up their co-operation using multiple formats. "Amid the present security challenges in the region it is high time for Azerbaijan and the Central Asian countries to deepen bonds and ensure their security and prosperity, writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed for commonspace.eu
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Kazakh oil to continue flowing from Novorossiysk but the damage to Russian-Kazakh relations has been done

Kazakh oil to continue flowing from Novorossiysk but the damage to Russian-Kazakh relations has been done

On July 12, a Russian court in Southern Krasnodar upheld an appeal by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) after a previous ruling made last week by a district court ordered the oil transporter to cease operations due to ecological concerns. The initial decision led Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to look toward new routes for Kazakh energy exports. While the decision will suit Kazakhstan’s energy sector in the short-term, the persistent instability since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is likely to result in Kazakhstan seeking to free itself from Russian dependence for the export of its energy resources in the medium to long term. For the Kremlin, Nur-Sultan’s willingness to engage with Western countries is a cause for concern and could signal the weakening of Russian hegemony in Central Asia. Kazakh oil may be flowing again from Novorossiysk but the damage to Russian-Kazakh relations has been done.