Central Asia: Where the Soviet Union Survives


October 29, 2005: In Tajikistan, the government is trying to stop the spread of Islamic radicalism by forbidding those under 16 years of age from visiting mosques, unless they have written permission from their parents. The mosques have become centers for those upset with the corruption and bad government, and teenage boys are indoctrinated and organized by Islamic radicals via meetings at some mosques. Some of the clergy are willing to go along with this, but most are not. The governments in most Central Asian nations are beefing up their internal security (secret police) forces so that they can keep a lid on good government and Islamic radical groups. But, since these governments are corrupt, they can do little for economic performance, and this poverty feeds the widespread unrest. For these Central Asian nations, the Cold War is not really over, there having been little local reform of politics or the economy since the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991.

October 26, 2005: The BBC is shutting down its operations in Uzbekistan, because of threats to its staff. The government is trying to control all media operations in the country, using illegal means, if legal ones don't work.

October 24, 2005: For the last three days, hundreds of demonstrators have rallied in the capital, to protest the death of member of parliament Tynychbek Akmatbayev. Two other members of parliament have been killed recently, but those deaths are believed to be the result of business disputes. The country is still split by factional rivalries and corruption, despite the overthrow of the Soviet style dictatorship last March.

In Uzbekistan, police continue to arrest actual, or suspected, leaders of groups that oppose the government.

October 20, 2005: In Kyrgyzstan, member of parliament Tynychbek Akmatbayev was killed by prisoners when he went to a prison to help negotiate with rebellious prisoners who had taken over the place. Akmatbayev's death triggered unrest among his supporters, who believe that the killing was somehow organized by the government. The nations 30 prisons are often controlled by gangs. Criminal gangs are powerful in Kyrgyzstan, and when members of a gang get caught and sent to prison, they organize themselves and intimidate the guards (often with some help from gang members who are still free.)


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