China (EAN) – China’s bid to expand its economic presence in Eurasia – embodied in its “Belt and Road” initiative – requires a major upgrade of railway capacity, especially in Central Asia. Planning and implementing the upgrade entails significant challenges involving…
Kazakhstan (EAN) – Kazakhstan’s lower house of parliament has hastily adopted amendments to the constitution following weeks of largely cursory public consultation. Following parliament’s adoption of the reforms on March 6, the amendments will have to be reviewed by the Constitutional…
The chief editor of a leading news website in Kazakhstan has announced that he has left the country out of concern that he may be targeted for prosecution.
Bekzhan Idrisov, who edits Radiotochka.kz, made the announcement on his Facebook page on December 26. The publisher of his website and editor of Central Asia Monitor newspaper, Bigeldy Gabdullin, was detained by the authorities in mid-November on suspicion of committing fraud.
Stories of reporters feeling compelled to flee Kazakhstan are a stark reminder of the problems face by independent media in the country as they negotiate financial constraints and pressure from the government to refrain from critical coverage.
Kazakhstan is flouting the rights of its workers to organize in trade unions and assert their labor rights, a damning new report published by an international human rights watchdog alleges.
The study, “We Are Not The Enemy: Violations of Workers’ Rights in Kazakhstan”, was published by Human Rights Watch on November 24, shortly ahead of the fifth anniversary of a bout of fatal violence that spiraled out of an oil strike in the town of Zhanaozen.
The report documents “harassment, surveillance, and, in some cases, spurious legal prosecution or dismissals in apparent retaliation for labor activism.”
Kazakhstan’s Interior Ministry has said it plans to create a national fingerprint database that would include details on all the country’s citizens by 2021. Deputy Interior Minister Rashid Zhakupov said on November 15 that the initiative will cost 36.8 billion tenge ($107 million).
Submitting fingerprints within the coming four years is to be made compulsory, news website Vlast.kz reported.
“Including fingerprints in identification documents will allow for 100 percent certainty in identification. This will facilitate passage through border controls,” said Serik Sayinov, head of the Interior Ministry’s migration department.
A military court in Kazakhstan has sentenced a brewery tycoon to 21 years on coup-plotting charges, bringing a close to an opaque two-month-long trial that shed little light on exactly what happened.
The fear now is that Tohtar Tuleshov’s conviction could have grave repercussions for small-time civil activists charged on related offenses.
The Astana Military Court on November 7 determined that Tuleshov had sought to provoke turmoil by financing a wave of anti-government protests, as well as financing a transnational criminal group.
With confidence in Kazakhstan’s national currency at an all-time low, some see an opening for the ascent of digital currencies, of which Bitcoin is perhaps the best known.
Daniyar Akishev, the youthful head of the National Bank of Kazakhstan, appeared to row against the tide of official wariness on the issue earlier this year, when he revealed that a working group had been created to study what he described as surrogate currencies.
“This is a reality with which we will come up against in the very near future, and ignoring it is not possible,” he said in June.