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Kyrgyz Jet Crash – a Miracle in Osh

Kyrgyz Jet Crash – a Miracle in Osh

It was a rough but lucky landing (both “rough and “lucky” are strong understatements here) when a Soviet-built Tupolev (Tu-134) crash landed in dense fog in the city of Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan. According to The Washington Post 82 passengers and 6 crew members were evacuated, 31 of them were ...

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Kazakhstan’s Clashes: Most Violent and Deadly Since the Country’s Independence

Kazakhstan’s Clashes: Most Violent and Deadly Since the Country’s Independence

Recent riots in Zhanaozen and Shetpe in the Mangystau province in western Kazakhstan have resulted in at least 16 deaths and over 100 injured. This information is according to the Kazakh authorities although unverified eye witness accounts and human rights groups put the death toll at more than 50. ...

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Central Asia in Review, 2011

Central Asia in Review, 2011

Another year is coming to a close. It’s time to look back, recap and rewind 2011 in Central Asia. Let’s start with elections: two Central Asian states, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, held elections this year. Kazakhstan’s presidential election took place on April 3, 2011. Guess who won? Not surprising to anybody who follows ...

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Blood Cotton From Uzbekistan

Blood Cotton From Uzbekistan

As I’ve written on the subject before, Uzbekistan is one of the worst human rights offenders out there. Recent news of child labor during this fall’s cotton harvesting season once again put the country into the international spotlight drawing sharp criticism by human rights activists. Meanwhile, in the ...

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Foreign News Ban at the Start of the Presidential Election Campaign in Kyrgyzstan

Foreign News Ban at the Start of the Presidential Election Campaign in Kyrgyzstan

Starting Sunday, September 25, the Kyrgyz government introduced a ban on all foreign news broadcasting for the duration of the presidential campaign – until election day on October 30, 2011. During the five week moratorium, Kyrgyzstan’s television stations and cable operators are barred from rebroadcasting foreign news bulletins, reports

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I Will Tear You Up! (For Putin)

I Will Tear You Up! (For Putin)

The mediasphere is abuzz with talk of a pro-Putin video starring young-sexy-busty Russian women (isn’t that what all women in Russia are like anyway?) I was struck by déjà vu. The video brings past mammaries I mean memories to the fore. Remember the “happy birthday Mr. President” ...

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Central Asia Hit By A Powerful Earthquake

Central Asia Hit By A Powerful Earthquake

At least 13 people have been killed and 86 injured in a 6.2-magnitude earthquake in the Fergana Valley region on the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake struck at 1:35 am (1935 GMT Tuesday) with the epicenter just inside Kyrgyzstan, but 42 km (25 miles) southwest ...

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The President Of Turkmenistan Celebrates His Birthday, Niyazov Style.

The President Of Turkmenistan Celebrates His Birthday, Niyazov Style.

One way to spot a dictatorship is by its leader’s personality cult. Central Asia is a region of more than 4 million square kilometers and a population of 62 million inhabitants rife with authoritarianism, despotism, and the cult of personality reminiscent of the Soviet times. Not too long ago,

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Kyrgyzstan Shores Up Its Southern Border

Kyrgyzstan Shores Up Its Southern Border

Kyrgyz Border Guard troops march in Osh June 15. They are part of the 500 reinforcements Kyrgyzstan moved to guard its southern border as the country tries to keep out drugs and terrorists. Bakyt Ibraimov Recently, the number of deadly cross border shootings has escalated on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border. ...

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The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Astana

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Astana

Last week the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional security body with a total population of 1.5 billion people, held a 10th anniversary summit in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana. The original “Shanghai Five” was formed in 1996 comprised of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. In 2001 when ...

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Cargo 200: Alexei Balabanov’s Message About the Soviet Union

Cargo 200: Alexei Balabanov’s Message About the Soviet Union

I recently watched the famous Russian director Alexei Balabanov’s 2007 movie Cargo 200 (or Gruz 200 in Russian). This blog entry is an attempt to explore and uncover the director’s message behind his artistic choice of making a visually, morally and emotionally poignant – if not shockingly ...

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The Dictators Of Central Asia On The Global Radar

The Dictators Of Central Asia On The Global Radar

Since the Arab Spring the global media seems to have found a new obsession – a preoccupation with the remaining ruling dictators, their powers, legitimacy, impending revolutions, and the viability of totalitarian regimes in general. By the “global media” here I mean the news media (TV, radio, newspapers) and the Internet ...

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TAPI Continues To Face Challenges

TAPI Continues To Face Challenges

I have recently written about TAPI, the 1,680 km (1,000 mile) $7.6 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India proposed pipeline scheduled for completion in 2016 with a capacity to transfer 90 million cubic meters of gas per day to energy starved South Asia. According to the TAPI agreement, Turkmenistan will supply 38 mmcmd ...

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International Commission On The Kyrgyz Violence in 2010

International Commission On The Kyrgyz Violence in 2010

On May 3, 2011, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry or the Kyrgyzstan Inquiry Commission (KIC) released its final report on the interethnic violence and clashes between the country’s ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbek communities last year. The KIC was formed based on an initiative from the Nordic countries ...

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Chernobyl, 25 Years Ago on April 26, 1986 (Part 1)

Chernobyl, 25 Years Ago on April 26, 1986 (Part 1)

Twenty five years separates us from the worst nuclear disaster in the history of mankind. I recently wrote about the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight and realized that a mere 25 years also separated April 1986 from Gagarin’s first human spaceflight in April 1961. On an early Saturday morning in ...

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About the Author

Christya Riedel
Christya Riedel

Christya Riedel graduated cum laude from UCLA with degrees in Political Science (Comparative Politics concentration) and International Development Studies and is currently a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin focusing on Central Asia and Russia. She has traveled, lived and worked in Ukraine, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Central Asia. She speaks fluent Ukrainian and Russian as well as intermediate-high Turkish.

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