Each week, host Bruce Pannier welcomes a panel of expert guests to discuss significant political developments and pressing social issues affecting the nations of Central Asia.
Life Along The Kyrgyz-Tajik Border - September 25, 2022
War broke out between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on September 14-17 and that follows the war the two countries fought in late April 2021. There have been reports about the tensions along the Kyrgyz-Tajik border for years now, and the damage done to lives and property. In this week's Majlis Podcast, we look at the people who live in this area, how they make a living, and how the outbreaks of violence have been changing their communities.
SCO Summit In Samarkand: What Did And Did Not Happen - September 18, 2022
The leaders of China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan met in the ancient Silk Route city of Samarkand on September 16 for a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The leaders of SCO observer countries Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia were there along with special guests, the leaders of Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan. This week's Majlis podcast looks at what was accomplished and what opportunities were missed in Samarkand, and what sort of the organization the SCO has become as it marks 21 years of existence.
Podcast: The Rise Of Decolonial Thinking In Central Asia - September 11, 2022
Russia completed its colonization of Central Asia in the late 19th century, and all that territory became part of the Soviet Union after 1917. The people of Central Asia were forced to change centuries-old habits and live as Moscow dictated, including using Russian as their first language. Russia’s war on Ukraine, and chauvinistic statements from Russian officials about historic Russian lands, have stirred debate and introspection among Central Asians about Russia’s legacy in their region and in their own lives.
Kumtor Gold Mine Controversies Continue Under Kyrgyz Ownership - September 04, 2022
Kyrgyzstan has finally taken control of the Kumtor gold mine, the country’s most lucrative business, after nearly 30 years of majority ownership by Canadian companies. Kumtor was an endless source of problems and accusations. The mining operation caused ecological damage, Kyrgyz authorities signed deals that were disadvantageous to the country, and there were constant rumors of corruption. Now the gold mine is under Kyrgyz ownership, but that has not stopped the controversies.
Central Asia Looks To Open Trans-Caspian Trade Routes - August 28, 2022
Central Asia’s traditional trade routes with Europe through Russia have been disrupted by EU sanctions on Russia for the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine. Now, the Central Asian states are looking to open or expand alternate links to Europe across the Caspian Sea and through the Caucasus. This week’s Majlis podcast looks at the infrastructure already in place and what obstacles still remain for Central Asia to open up non-Russian trade routes with Europe.
Tajik Government Clearing The Political Field Of Potential Opposition - August 21, 2022
The Tajik government has a reputation for repression and has launched several crackdowns on perceived opponents in recent years. But the Tajik regime’s current campaign to silence or eliminate any potential challenge to its authority is the country’s most sweeping yet. Targets have been detained, imprisoned, and in some cases killed, and have included residents of the eastern Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, journalists, bloggers, activists, lawyers, poets, and even a clergyman.