Kyrgyzstan’s fruits and nuts, Afghan tourists and the Kremlin crackdown

Did you have any idea that there were virtual ‘gardens of Eden’ in Kyrgyzstan? Well don’t get too attached, the Guardian and Washington Times warn, as climate change and unsustainable farming practices threaten the fertile regions and crops, and its been escalating since the end of the Soviet Union. These articles are short easy reads, and its interesting to see how global issues, such as climate change and unsustainable food practices, manifest in Central Asia.

Kyrgyzstan’s fruits, nuts cache in peril, Ruby Russell – The Washington Times: “Wild pistachios, plums, pears, apricots and a host of apple varieties make for a veritable garden of Eden that also encompasses the world’s largest walnut forests in Kyrgyzstan’s fertile Fergana Valley.”

Letter from Kyrgyzstan: oh nuts!, Chris Alexander – The Guardian: “The walnut trees vary enormously. There are younger trees planted in rows that have grown upright to dizzying heights, but it’s the old trees that I like best. Pot-bellied, gnarled, twisted, bloated, bulbous and scarred, these are trees you suspect of sentience: trees more akin to Narnia or Middle-earth, and the kind that with your back turned might open an eye or move a limb. I wonder how they’ll be tonight if I need to leave the bivouac for a midnight pee.”

The article “The Siren Call of Central Asia” on the Wall Street Journal was making the rounds this week, revealing that while Westerners go to Tajikistan to hike, Afghans go there for ‘the girls’ – Dushanbe is the ‘sin city’ of Central Asia. If you can’t access the WSJ article, Registan’s Alex Metz did a summary and added some thoughts of his own.

Finally, an interesting podcast from RFE/RL on the Kremlin’s crackdown, what it means for the opposition and how society might react to more obvious, agressive action against opposition groups.

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