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Turkmenistan

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Taliban denied responsibility for 26 Feb killing of 3 Turkmen border guards, said it was a set-up by Afghan govt. Turkmenistan reportedly stepped up patrols in border towns, sent reservists for training on border at Serhetabat, important outpost for Russian logistics during Soviet-Afghan war. Govt refrained from commenting on Russian actions in Ukraine.

Tajikistan

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Chair of Federation Council of Russia Valentina Matvienko visited Dushanbe 12-13 March, reportedly discussed migration, political-military cooperation and border issues with President Rahmon. Matvienko reiterated Russia will help Tajikistan strengthen borders ahead of Afghan presidential elections and NATO troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan. Russian FM Lavrov early March praised Tajikistan for hosting Russia’s 201st military base. Govt refrained from commenting on Russian actions in Ukraine. Parliament considering changing legislative basis of how Tajikistan is governed by doing away with regions, re-organising country as a single unit.

Kazakhstan

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Amid uncertainty over regional response to Russian actions in Ukraine, President Nazarbayev fielded series of phone calls with U.S., Russian, German, UK leaders 10-14 March. Foreign ministry initially voiced respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and international law, but govt 18 March recognised as legitimate results of 16 March referendum in Crimea, regarded Russian actions “with understanding”. EU decided to discontinue post of Special Representative for Central Asia as of 28 Feb.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Govt coalition collapsed 18 March when Ata-Meken pulled out; President’s Social Democratic Party, Ar-Namys and Ata-Meken 31 March agreed to form new coalition. Opposition grouping pulled together by pro-Western independent MP Ravshan Jeenbekov held first conference; leading opposition figures former mayor of Osh Melis Myrzakmatov and Ata-Jurt leader Kamchybek Tashiev did not attend. Former FM Alikbek Jekshenkulov denied involvement in Jeenbekov’s movement. Jeenbekov denied allegations he obtained funds from U.S. govt. Govt late Feb set up new force under interior ministry to deal with pubic unrest. Bishkek police early March outlined formation of local militias to guarantee law and order in event of public unrest. Kyrgyz and Tajik govts reportedly discussing possible land exchanges to resolve longstanding border disputes; following Jan closures, some border checkpoints reportedly reopening. Govt ended right to sit final school exams in Uzbek language, contradicting positive rhetoric on seeking to improve relations with 14% ethnic minority population. Govt 11 March said ousted Ukrainian President Yanukovych not Ukrainian president, 20 March recognised as legitimate results of 16 March referendum in Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Uzbekistan

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Uzbekistan 4 and 28 March urged Ukraine’s territorial integrity to be respected. Govt made changes to constitution seemingly devolving more powers to PM’s office and creating more reporting procedures between regional and central govt; observers dismissed changes as window dressing that will not impact govt practices. In interview with U.S. Central Command-funded news website, Uzbek security official claimed there are 5,000 IMU members in Afghanistan, group still aims to penetrate Uzbek borders; said some 7,000 people detained or under surveillance because of suspected links to IMU. Socio-economic conditions continue to worsen with inflation running high on food items and gas, electricity price hikes due 1 April.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

Following Jan tensions along Kyrgyz-Tajik border, countries attempted to resolve border demarcation issues around Tajik enclave Vorukh diplomatically with 2 rounds of talks 31 Jan and 14 Feb, but with little progress. Tajik side announced land corridor joining Vorukh to Tajikistan would be created, Kyrgyz side denied; next high-level meeting due March. Points of contention reportedly include disagreement over what Soviet era agreements and maps should be used as basis of negotiation. CSTO head 20 Feb said situation along Tajik-Kyrgyz border had improved, however intercommunal violence simmering around Vorukh enclave with series of incidents ratcheting up tensions between ethnic Tajiks and Kyrgyz in area. Border troops 23 Jan killed 11 alleged Uighur separatists in remote valley in east. Men reportedly entered from China’s Xinjiang province, armed with knives and rifle but no ammunition, said to have murdered Kyrgyz national who apprehended them; authorities claim they were planning to carry out terror attacks in Karakol or Bishkek, refused to surrender. New opposition coalition formed with aim of overthrowing President Atambayev, bridging north-south divide: includes Ata-Jurt and former Osh mayor. MPs early Feb approved memo on new ownership structure of Kumtor gold mine, proposing equal stake by Kyrgyzstan and Canadian partner in new joint company until 2026. Russia and Kyrgystan 19 Feb signed preliminary agreement for Russia to take control of Manas airport. Authorities 17 Feb announced 6 alleged members of terrorist ring, some trained in Syria, arrested in Osh.

Kazakhstan

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

National bank 11 Feb unexpectedly devalued currency 19%, prompting series of small protests with some arrests, panic buying, run on 3 banks, expectations of price increases. Move generated much public criticism; govt blocked internet petition calling for President Nazarbayev to resign. Column of military vehicles including armoured personal carriers appeared in Almaty 13 Feb; defence ministry said it was test drive. SMS messaging services and apps unavailable same day, observers speculated test of blocking equipment. In 13 Feb media interview Nazarbayev did not rule out seeking presidency again in 2016. In parliament 14 Feb Nazarbayev defended currency devaluation, ordered govt to monitor and control prices for consumer goods and exchange bureaus; threatened to dismiss govt if they fail to attract foreign investment; said pensions and student stipends will be increased by 14% and 10% as of April; also called on 3 major firms to increase salaries 10%.

Turkmenistan

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

Media reported deputy FM met with Afghan clerics linked to Taliban, suggesting Ashgabat may be seeking to rekindle accord it had with Afghanistan during 1990s. 3 border guards reportedly killed by Taliban in NW province Baghdis 26 Feb.

“The Achilles heel of Central Asian security”, RFE/RL, 16 Feb. 2014. 

Uzbekistan

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

In ongoing public battle between President Karimov’s daughter Gulnara Karimova and powerful head of National Security Service (SNB) Rustam Inoyatov, president’s chief of security Muidjon Tokhiri 17 Feb led raid on Karimova’s apartment, arrested 3 close associates. 10 close associates reportedly being investigated including for involvement in forgery, illegal business activities, money laundering, tax evasion and concealment of foreign currency. Karimova and her daughter, a U.S. citizen, were in apartment when raid happened; Karimova claims she is under house arrest. Umbrella organisation of opposition groups in exile calling for armed struggle against Karimov.

“Birdamlik leader on the split in power in Uzbekistan and Gulnara Karimova”, Uznews, 26 Feb. 2014. 

Tajikistan

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

Govt in talks with Kyrgyzstan over border tensions that erupted Jan (see Kyrgyzstan). Tajik and Russian FMs 6 Feb signed protocol on Russian 201st military base in Tajikistan, following over a year of negotiations. Amid continued Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) attempts to reinforce Tajik-Afghan border with military equipment transfers, CSTO head in Dushanbe for talks with President Rahmon 19 Feb. Senior U.S. diplomat visited Tajikistan late Feb to discuss bilateral cooperation, Afghanistan. 4 men in northern district Istaravshan, Sughd province, reportedly arrested late Jan on suspicion of being members of outlawed religious extremist group Jamaat Ansarullah.

“Tajiks claim travel to Kyrgyzstan hindered”, IWPR, 4 Feb. 2014. 

Kazakhstan

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

French court 9 Jan approved extradition of fugitive Kazakh banker and opposition figure Mukhtar Ablyazov to Russia or Ukraine; Ablyzov, accused of embezzling $6bn from BTA Bank, said accusations politically motivated. Human Rights Watch 9 Jan warned Ablyazov “at serious risk of ill-treatment”, likely to be denied fair trial if returned to Kazakhstan. FM 20 Jan said Kazakhstan to step up financial, political commitments to Afghanistan to counter security threats after withdrawal of NATO troops.

Tajikistan

  |  1 Feb 2014

Deteriorated

Sharp deterioration in relations with Kyrgyzstan following violent clashes at border (see Kyrgyzstan).   

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Feb 2014

Deteriorated

Tensions at Kyrgyz-Tajik border escalated as 11 Jan clashes between border forces left several guards on both sides injured, prompted both countries to send additional troops to area. Clashes reportedly broke out over Kyrgyzstan’s construction of new road through disputed border territory in Ferghana Valley that would bypass Tajik enclave Vorukh. Kygyzstan reported Tajik border troops fired mortars, rocket-propelled grenades to hit transformer station, water pump inside Kyrgyz territory, claimed attack premeditated; Tajikistan alleged Kyrgyz border guards fired first. Kyrgyzstan reportedly closed all border crossing points to Tajikistan, 14 Jan withdrew ambassador. Folllowing talks countries agreed to withdraw additional troops from disputed area late Jan; vice PMs met in Bishkek 30 Jan. Former Osh mayor Melis Myrzakmatov 15 Jan lost ballot in Osh city council against pro-presidential candidate Aitmamat Kadyrbaev. Myrzakmatov said elections “held completely unfairly, completely unlawfully”; addressing 15 Jan mass rally of supporters vowed to start “real political struggle” soon. Close ally of President Atambayev appointed mayor of Bishkek 15 Jan; was only candidate in elections.

Uzbekistan

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

President Karimov 14 Jan pledged to boost defence capabilities in response to increasing regional tensions, particularly after withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan; said drawdown posed serious threat to Uzbekistan and region.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Ata Jurt supporters 2 Dec stormed regional govt HQ in Osh demanding release of Ata Jurt MP Akhmatbek Keldibekov, arrested 22 Nov. Osh mayor Melis Myrzakmatov, ally of former president Bakiev, offered support to protesters; summoned to Bishkek and sacked 5 Dec. Myrzakmatov called dismissal “political decision”; around 3,000 supporters 7 Dec demanded his return to mayoral office. Bishkek mayor Isa Omurkulov, under investigation for alleged abuse of office, resigned 4 Dec. Protests calling for nationalisation of country’s largest gold mine Kumtor continued: protesters 10 Dec declared state of emergency, curfew in Saruu. Parliament 11 Dec finally approved sale of natural gas company Kyrgyzgaz to Russia’s Gazprom. Sporadic violence continued on Kyrgyz-Tajik border: several roads closed after alleged arson attack 17 Dec. Deputy PM for Security warned Afghan Taliban has Kyrgyz, Tajik and Uzbek wings.

Uzbekistan

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Speculation over power struggle within govt fuelled by 16 Dec appointment of Adkham Akhmedbayev as interior minister, interpreted as boost for Tashkent political clan over rivals from Samarkand, Jizzakh regions. FM visited U.S. 9-11 Dec for talks on regional stability, rights, economic development. Row continued between President Karimov’s daughter Gulnara and her family, as Gulnara in interview said she was pushed out of country. Power and gas shortages continued across country. 

Turkmenistan

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Democratic Party re-elected in 15 Dec parliamentary elections, winning 47 out of 125 seats; newly-formed Party of Industrialists, loyal to President Berdymukhamedov, won 14 seats. Turnout reportedly 91%. Rights groups said polls marked by complete lack of opposition. 

Tajikistan

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) prosecutor’s office 6 Dec opened criminal case into 29 Nov clashes between security forces and some 20 gunmen in provincial capital Khorog, prompted by attempt to arrest drug control official accused of weapons smuggling. Incident perceived as move by recently re-elected President Rahmon to assert control over restive GBAO. Russian ambassador in 10 Dec media interview said Russian troops from 201st military base ready to help Tajikistan defend border with Afghanistan should situation deteriorate following NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan. 5 students sentenced to 2 years’ jail for fighting alongside rebels in Syria. 

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Facing continued opposition protests demanding bigger Kyrgyz share in Kumtor goldmine run by Canadian-listed Centerra Gold, President Atambayev 7 Nov in media interview said nationalization remained option, but warned of economic consequences. Prosecutor General early Nov announced 10 criminal cases against former govt officials related to 2004 Kumtor restructuring. Opposition Ata Jurt MP Akhmatbek Keldibekov detained 20 Nov on corruption charges; protesters 21 Nov demanded release, blocked highway in Osh.

Tajikistan

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

President Rahmon, in power since 1992, re-elected for another 7 years in 6 Nov elections with 83.1% of votes. Most significant rival candidate barred from running; OSCE 7 Nov reported elections “lacked genuine choice and meaningful pluralism”. Rahmon 20 Nov replaced defence minister Sherali Hairulloev, 23 Nov dismissed PM Akil Akilov. Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) Sec Gen Nikolai Bordyuzha expressed concern over instability on Afghan-Tajik border, announced strengthening of border through CSTO forces by late Dec. Russia’s special envoy Zamir Kabulov 20 Nov expressed concern over security challenges in region from Islamist groups, said Russian military presence in Tajikistan would increase in significance.

Turkmenistan

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

President Berdymukhamedov 9 Nov called for “open and transparent” parliamentary elections scheduled for 15 Dec, however only opposition is party set up under his orders. Afghan media 20 Nov reported Pakistani Taliban fighting alongside and providing arms to Taliban fighters near Turkmen border, displacing hundreds of ethnic Turkmen families. Berdymukhamedov 25-27 Nov visited Uzbek President Karimov, signed 8 agreements on bilateral cooperation.

Uzbekistan

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Month saw confrontation between President’s daughter Gulnara Karimova and her family and state as Gulnara accused head of National Security Services of attempting to murder her and seize power; reported 2 of her bodyguards arrested and tortured; 2 business associates detained; and alleged individuals associated with her charity in Uzbekistan being held/harassed by security services; 21 Nov deleted twitter account through which she had documented accusations. Electricity, gasoline shortages reported in Tashkent and other cities. Workers clashed with police at day labour market in Tashkent 8 Nov. UN Committee Against Torture 22 Nov called on Uzbekistan to end “systematic” use of torture, citing “numerous, ongoing and consistent allegations” that detainees were tortured, including beatings, rape, sexual violence. Chairman of Uzbekistan National Human Rights Center Akmal Saidov 23 Nov said charges “unfounded”, “biased”.

Kazakhstan

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Govt expressed concern over Kazakh citizens fighting alongside Syrian rebels following Oct release of video purporting to show 150 Kazakh jihadists in Syria. President Nazarbayev 1 Nov met Russian President Putin in Astana, signed cooperation treaty.    

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Violent protests demanding nationalisation of mines continued, with 3 attacks on British-, Chinese- and Australian-held mines. During 7 Oct protests at Kumtor gold mine, local governor kidnapped for several hours; 400 protesters 8 Oct barricaded highway; 10 charged with hostage-taking. President Atambayev described protests as “banditry”, “terrorism”. Parliament 23 Oct rejected Sept deal between govt and Canada-listed Centerra Gold, demanded new deal to raise Kyrgyz ownership to 67%. U.S. confirmed it will vacate Manas airbase July 2014, shifting logistical hub for Afghanistan withdrawal to airbase in Romania.

Tajikistan

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Main opposition candidate Oynihol Bobonazarova 11 Oct dropped out of 6 Nov presidential elections after narrowly missing 210,000 signatures required to register as candidate; said campaign subject to pressure, harassment from authorities, police, media. Parliament 1 Oct ratified agreement with Russia to extend Russia’s 201st military base until 2042, in return for duty-free oil imports from Russia, preferential treatment for Tajik migrant workers, military assistance. Govt also began negotiations with Russia on use of Ayni airbase. Rakhmon 21 Oct held talks with Afghan President Karzai on security, energy cooperation, creating Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Turkmenistan railway line.

Turkmenistan

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Rights groups 2 Oct called on govt to release information about prisoners arrested for alleged participation in 2002 coup attempt against former President Niyazov, including former FM Shikhmuradov; campaign supported by U.S.. Govt 5 Oct announced start of campaign for Dec parliamentary elections; elections will for first time feature 2 parties, but 2nd party set up under orders of President Berdymukhamedov. Media report OSCE, EU and CIS to send observers. EU Special Envoy Patricia Flor 3 Oct met Berdymukhamedov during Central Asia Border Security Initiative conference, said EU continues to support security, energy, trade cooperation.

Uzbekistan

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Amid discussions over President Karimov’s succession after Dec 2014 elections, president’s daughters Lola and Gulnara Karimova engaged in public spat. Karimov’s nephew Akbarali Abdullaev arrested for tax fraud, corruption, organised crime. Tashkent reportedly in talks with Taliban to allow them to open office in country. Local media reported Uzbekistan secured $1bn in cotton sales this year; Walk Free Foundation index on slavery ranked Uzbekistan as having second highest prevalence of slavery in world during cotton harvesting season. UN Committee Against Torture 30 Oct expressed concern over reports of widespread torture in Uzbekistan.

Kazakhstan

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

President Nazarbayev 16 Oct appointed longstanding ally and former director-general of UN Geneva office Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as Senate chairman, sparking discussion on Nazarbayev’s still undisclosed succession plan. Nazarbayev 2 Oct approved new counter-terrorism strategy, focused on domestic prevention.

Turkmenistan

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

In wide-ranging reshuffle of security and law-enforcement agencies, President Berdymukhamedov 1 Sept dismissed prosecutor-general and top govt officials over accusations of corruption. During 3 Sept visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping signed deals with govt to triple gas exports to China by 2020 via new pipeline, construction to start 2016.

Kazakhstan

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

During 6-8 Sept visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, countries signed agreements worth $30bn, including Chinese purchase of 8.4% stake in Kashagan oil field. Almaty court suspended 2 independent newspapers.

Tajikistan

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Opposition parties 10 Sept announced lawyer and rights activist Oynihol Bobonazarova as their candidate in presidential elections set for 6 Nov; joins 2 other candidates running against incumbent President Rahkmon, current favourite to win. During 23 Sept meeting in Sochi, Russia, Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) agreed to increase assistance to Tajik security forces to protect country’s border with Afghanistan.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Opposition leaders summoned to questioning 3 Sept after airing on state broadcaster of videos allegedly showing opposition activists planning to extort $3mn from Kumtor gold-mining corporation, and overthrow govt, including by poisoning Naryn River and putting blame on mining company, with help of Hizb ut-Tahrir. Alleged extortionists arrested. Govt and Canada-listed Centerra Gold signed non-binding agreement on restructuring ownership of Kumtor mine, with govt swapping current shares and $100m future profits for 50% holding in new joint venture. Authorities 16 Sept announced 3 people arrested including 1 Kazakh and 2 Kyrgyz citizens in southern city Osh, reportedly members of Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) returning from Syria to conduct attacks in Bishkek. Chinese President Xi Jinping signed $3bn deal with govt to boost Kyrgyz section of gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to China. During 13 Sept Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Bishkek, Xi announced Chinese funding of civilian transit hub at Manas airport after U.S. air force vacates it in 2014. After talks with President Atambayev in Brussels 17 Sept, European Commission President Barroso announced increase of EU financial support: $40.5mn macroeconomic aid, $18.2mn to support rule of law. Kyrgyz and Uzbek officials met late month to discuss disputed section of border in Osh province.

Uzbekistan

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

President Karimov and Chinese President Xi Jinping 8 Sept signed agreements worth $15bn in oil, gas, gold sectors. Activist Bobomurad Razzakov jailed for 4 years 24 Sept for human trafficking; rights groups condemned case as fabricated. Human Rights Watch expressed concern over independent journalist Sergey Naumov, missing since 21 Sept.

Uzbekistan

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

Recent spate of incidents, some deadly, along Kyrgyz-Uzbek border descended into war of words, with usually reticent, state-controlled Uzbek media unusually launching tirade of articles criticising Kyrgyz Border Service and several high profile figures. Kyrgyz press rebutted coverage with equal vigour.

Tajikistan

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

President Rahmon visited Moscow 1 Aug: promised stalled agreement on extending lease for Russian base would be ratified by parliament this autumn; also reportedly secured tacit support of Kremlin in upcoming presidential elections. Harassment of opposition figures continues ahead of elections set for 6 Nov.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

3 Ata-Jurt MPs deprived of seats 20 Aug after Supreme Court found them guilty of attempting to overthrow govt Oct 2012. Collection of political parties with power base in south, including Ata-Jurt, continuing attempts to forge bloc to challenge central govt; President Atambayev reportedly trying to consolidate position in north. 2 people wounded in local council election-related clash in south 18 Aug. Kyrgyzstan and China held combined anti-terrorism drill along border 11 Aug within framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO); approximately 460 armed police from both countries participated. Results of negotiations over Kumtor gold mine scheduled to be revealed 10 Sept; many predicting significant cabinet reshuffle soon after.

Kazakhstan

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

During UK PM Cameron’s visit to Kazakhstan, first ever visit by serving UK PM, leaders 1 July signed partnership agreement. Amnesty International accused govt of concealing evidence of police torture of prisoners, called for independent international investigation into Dec 2011 violence in Janaozen. Opposition politician and activist arrested ahead of opposition meeting 12 July.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

Following mid-June release of Ata-Jurt leader Kamchybek Tashiev and 2 other opposition MPs, the three embarked on tour of south, drawing large numbers of supporters including up to 13,000 in Jalalabad. Supreme Court 16 July began review of their case. Former Bishkek mayor and Ata-Jurt MP Nariman Tulayev sentenced to 11 years’ jail for corruption 30 July. Osh court 16 July banned Uzbek language news website Harakat.net on basis it aimed to cause inter-ethnic strife, promoted separatism. Clash between police and crowd of ethnic Uzbeks in southern city Uzgen 17 July after police stopped car; 2 officers and police station attacked. Fears of clash with rival crowd of ethnic Kyrgyz, prevented by show of police from Osh city; Uzgen remains tense. Guards protecting former deputy head of ousted President Bakiyev’s Body Guard, standing trial for role in April 2010 unrest, attacked 17 July by protesters with stones, who also trashed courtroom; several guards, defendant injured. In interview with UK newspaper President Atambayev berated UK authorities for harboring Maxim Bakiyev, son of former president; 19 July warned of potential coup by “regional potentates” who seek to split country. Kyrgyz border guards 23 July killed two Uzbek border guards in Jalalabad-Namagan area; sides gave conflicting accounts of incident. Bishkek daily Vercherniy Bishkek published controversial article lamenting demise of Bishkek city since arrival of internal migrants mostly from south.

Tajikistan

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

President Rahmon expressed concern over growing religious extremism. Authorities suspended 5 out of country’s 6 legally-run madrasahs in northern province Sughd over lack of documentation. Zayd Saidov, former industry minister who faced corruption charges after he formed political party earlier this year, additionally charged with rape of a minor.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Jul 2013

Deteriorated

Anti-govt protests continued, challenging power of central govt and exposing its political, security and administrative weakness. Protests in south that began with 31 May storming of administrative building in Jalalabad continued, with about 1,000 supporters of nationalist Ata-Jurt party 2 June blocking main Osh-Bishkek road for 4 days. Demands initially included nationalisation of Kumtor goldmine, scaled back to release of Ata-Jurt leader Kamchybek Tashiev, imprisoned following attempted power-grab Oct 2012. Authorities arrested local leader Medet Usenov 2 June, prompting further protests in Jalalabad. Unrest broke out at appeals court hearing of jailed Ata-Jurt leaders including Tashiev 17 June, as Ata-Jurt supporters threw shoes and plastic bottles at judge and prosecutor and demanded immediate acquittal; judge acquitted defendants after initially saying he would announce decision on 24 June. Judge reportedly went into hiding following incident, which further cast doubt on credibility of judicial system. Rallies in south continued, including 27 June protest in Talas. As calm returned to northern Jety-Oguz district, site of violent anti-mine protests late May, govt lifted state of emergency there 3 June; protests broke out again 27 June demanding closure of gold mine. Parliament 4 June adopted resolution giving govt another 4 months to renegotiate terms of 2009 agreement on Kumtor goldmine with mining company. Series of skirmishes on Uzbek and Tajik borders in Batken province, Ferghana Valley: confrontations between ethnic Kyrgyz and Tajiks; Uzbek border guards 20 June shot dead alleged Kyrgyz smuggler, prompting hundreds of protesters to mass on Kyrgyz side of border near his village. Parliament 20 June set date for closure of U.S. airbase at Manas of 11 July 2014.

Kazakhstan

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

President Nazarbayev visited Uzbekistan mid-June, issued call with Uzbek President Karimov for dialogue and agreement over upstream hydropower projects in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.


Kazakhstan

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

Aqtobe city court sentenced 2 men to jail for religious extremism, illegal weapon possession. Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan opened new railway connection between countries. Authorities freed 6 men convicted for role in Dec 2011 Janaozen unrest.

Tajikistan

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

Former industry minister Zaid Saidov, who in April announced he would create opposition party, charged with theft, polygamy; claimed allegations politically motivated. Supreme Court sentenced Islamic Renaissance Party (HINT) official Sherik Karamkhudoev to 14 years’ prison for founding organised criminal group, organising mass disorders, illegal weapons possession. Authorities reported 2 Tajiks killed while fighting with rebels in Syria. France informed authorities that French troops in Dushanbe supporting NATO in Afghanistan would withdraw by 1 July.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Jun 2013

Deteriorated

Amid ongoing demands for nationalisation of country’s largest gold mine, anti-mine protests escalated late month and turned violent. Protesters near mine demanding nationalisation of mine, social benefits and compensation from mining company for alleged environmental pollution, 28 May blocked road to mine, 30 May cut off power. Disruption of mine, one of country’s biggest sources of foreign earnings, could cause massive damage to faltering economy. Govt declared state of emergency after police 31 May clashed with some 3,000 protesters who were attempting to storm mining company offices. In southern city Jalal-Abad protesters seized govt buildings demanding release of 3 jailed Ata Jurt opposition politicians. Earlier in month protesters opposed to presence of foreign companies in mineral sector blocked operations of Chinese gold mining company Kaidi, Chon-Alai district 16 May. Despite environmental theme to demonstrations, much of unrest appeared to be organised by Ata Jurt party. U.S. court dropped extradition case against Maxim Bakiyev, son of former president, scheduled to face charges of securities fraud; U.S. ambassador to Kyrgyzstan cited lack of evidence. U.S. military refuelling plane crashed near Kyrgyz border with Kazakhstan 2 May, killing all 3 crew members. Govt 21 May drafted bill to cancel deal with U.S. on use of Manas airbase effective 11 July 2014; parliament yet to approve bill.

Kazakhstan

  |  1 May 2013

Unchanged

Almaty 5-7 April hosted fresh round of international talks on Iranian nuclear program. European Parliament adopted resolution criticising Kazakh govt for failure to respect political, media, religious freedoms, called for release of Algha party leader.

Uzbekistan

  |  1 May 2013

Unchanged

President’s daughter Gulnara Karimova attacked Deputy PM Azimov alleging he had embezzled money. ICRC announced it would stop visiting Uzbek jails in absence of meaningful humanitarian impact, dialogue with authorities. Govt criticised for repression at UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review.

Tajikistan

  |  1 May 2013

Unchanged

President Rakhmon met with EU leaders in Brussels 10 April. In annual address to parliament 26 April Rakhmon promised Nov presidential elections will be fair, transparent. Mukhamadal Khayit, leader of opposition Islamic Renaissance Party, beaten 19 April.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 May 2013

Unchanged

Hundreds of opposition El Unu movement supporters rallied in Bishkek 24 April demanding nationalisation of Kumtor gold mine, resignation of govt, release of 3 opposition MPs jailed in March. MP Dastanbek Dzhumabekov 17 April called for investigation into alleged recruitment of Kyrgyz youths in South to fight in Syrian conflict. Editor of Uzbek language newspaper in Osh put under house arrest end-March in connection with missing person case dating from June 2010 unrest; arrest prompted small protest.

Turkmenistan

  |  1 May 2013

Unchanged

Govt criticised for systematic repression at UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review. See article “West ramps up accusations of systemic repression in Turkmenistan”, Reuters, 22 April 2013, here.

Kazakhstan

  |  1 Apr 2013

Unchanged

General Prosecutor proposed new police unit to deal with public unrest; citing Dec 2011 unrest in Janaozen, said police unprepared to protect citizens or themselves. Amid dispute with Russia over gas price, oil and gas minister 7 March said Kazakh gas could be redirected to China if pricing agreement with Russia not reached.

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