Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer

This week, four stories that at first glance appear quite different... The UK's Telegraph has featured a number of articles on Central Asia recently, and  the report I'd like to bring to your attention now is about the opening of a new British Embassy in Kyrgyzstan. This is, as the newspaper notes, 'despite budget cutbacks'. …

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Straws on a camel’s back

The "aeroplane affair" between Russia and Tajikistan, as I suspected, shows no sign of landing (excuse the pun) anytime soon. Konstantin Parshin has - again - written an excellent article summarising what's happened over the last few days, so if you're not following this story elsewhere (and even if you are), do read what he has to …

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Russian pilots and Tajik workers, or How to lose friends and alienate people

For the last few weeks, I haven't had any interesting stories to report under my favourite 'bureaucratic madness' category. Central Asia seems to have been a pretty sensible place of late. However, I'm pleased to report that the Tajik government is back on form with a new episode of red tape craziness. As I've suggested …

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Developments in Central Asian higher education, part 1

This is the first part of what I plan to be a monthly update on developments in higher education in Central Asia. As I mentioned in my first post on this blog, there is very little research into higher education in Central Asia, and what exists is often commissioned by external donors such as international …

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Hillary Clinton’s visit to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan

A slightly light-hearted post today as I've spent the last few days unwell and my mind is not in serious analysis mode right now! As anyone in Central Asia will know, the American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid a short visit to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan over the weekend. This post is a round-up of …

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Some thoughts on violence in Central Asia

Several conversations I've had and articles I've read recently have been about violence in Central Asia. This isn't just about physical violence - although this seems to loom large - but political and economic violence too. First, on physical violence. I heard that a friend of a friend was beaten up after leaving a wedding …

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