It was difficult to pick great stories this week out of Central Asia and Caucasus coverage – there were so many fascinating and important articles. Here were the three I was most interested in for today:
The Pamir Has a History – The Tuquay: This article is extremely short, and frankly ends rather abruptly for my taste – only because the author began to paint such a rich tapestry of the Pamir and all the entities and history that have passed through (Buddhists, snipers, etc) and then the piece ends. I found myself searching for the rest of it, wondering if I was crazy and just couldn’t find the rest of the article. But worth the 3 minutes it’ll take to read it, to get an idea of just how layered the Pamir is in terms of colliding cultures and history. Bonus: great pictures.
Russia Boots USAID in a Big Blow to Obama’s ‘Reset’ Policy – PRI’s The World: Since Egypt kicked out US NGOs (and detained a number of US citizens) in 2011, it’s become fairly common to hear reporting on countries accusing NGOs of being agencies of the government. This accusation has been around for much longer, but the Egypt crisis really raised public awareness on the issue. Now Russia has followed suite, saying that “USAID-funded NGOs, or non-governmental organizations, had crossed certain “red lines.”” NGOs, as the article points out, often promote democracy and civil governance/society. Putin, who has a habit of consolidating powers, is likely to see NGOs, particularly foreign funded ones, as agents of change, and more pointedly, regime change. With the protests and international attention on Russian opposition lately, chances are he’s loathe to encourage groups that may undercut his agenda in Moscow, especially ones from the US or funded by the US. Sadly, this new initiative also includes health organizations, which are badly needed.
China Deepens Central Asia Role – Zabikhulla S Saipov, Central Asia Times: More great game chess moves.
“In particular, Beijing succeeded in rapidly building and launching the Kazakhstan-China oil pipeline and the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-China gas pipeline. In all of these projects, China achieved its goals incrementally by inviting Uzbekistan only after nearing completing of the construction of its Central Asia-China gas pipeline, having built the necessary infrastructure first in Kazakhstan and then in Turkmenistan.”