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.
Powerful Tashkent Mayor Suddenly Fired - January 22, 2023
On January 16, Tashkent mayor Jahongir Ortikhojaev was abruptly fired for failing to prepare the Uzbek capital city for the unusually harsh winter. In office since 2018, he was often the subject of controversy, once threatening to “disappear” a journalist. But Artikhojaev was close to Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev, and therefore seemed untouchable. Joining host Bruce Pannier to discuss what went wrong for Artikhojaev are Dilmira Matyakubowa, a Ph.D researcher in criminology and co-director of UzInvestigations; Navbahor Imamova, a veteran correspondent for the Uzbek Service at Voice of America; and Sirojiddin Tolibov, managing editor of RFERL’s Tajik Service, known locally as Ozodi, who has also been closely following events in Uzbekistan for many years.
The Terrible Rights Situation In Turkmenistan - January 15, 2023
Turkmenistan has long had a poor reputation for human rights. But recently, two activists whose cases received international attention were freed. This episode of the Majlis podcast looks at some of activists who have languished in Turkmen prisons and examines whether anything has changed since a new president took over in March 2022. Joining host Bruce Pannier to discuss these topics are Rachel Denber, deputy director of HRW's Europe and Central Asia division; Ivar Dale, senior policy adviser at the Norwegian Helsinki Committee; and Farruh Yusupov, director of RFE/RL’s Turkmen service, known locally as Azatlyk.
The Year Since 'Bloody January' In Kazakhstan - January 08, 2023
This week, Kazakhstan marked the first anniversary of what some call, in Kazakh, “Qandy Qantar,” or “Bloody January.” At least 238 people were killed in a crackdown on nationwide protests. One year later, there are still many questions about what happened and who was responsible. There are also questions about whether Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev’s government has made the necessary adjustments to prevent a repeat of the January 2022 violence. Joining host Bruce Pannier to discuss these topics are William Courtney, former U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan; Vyacheslav Arbamov, founder of the Vlast.kz news outlet in Kazakhstan; and Aigerim Toleukhanova, a freelance journalist from Kazakhstan and co-host of Eurasianet’s EurasiaChat podcast.
2022: A Raucous Year For Central Asia - January 01, 2023
The Central Asian states have never experienced anything like the year 2022. There were protests that turned deadly in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; fighting between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan that left more than 100 people dead; political and economic fallout from Russia's war on Ukraine that affected all five Central Asian countries; presidential elections in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan; and much more. Joining host Bruce Pannier to look back at a year that in many ways reshaped and redirected the course of Central Asia are Luca Anceschi, professor of Central Asian studies at Glasgow University; Catherine Putz, managing editor at The Diplomat magazine; and Temur Umarov, a fellow at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and at the OSCE Academy.
A Big Year For Turkish-Central Asian Relations - December 25, 2022
Turkey has been noticeably active in Central Asia this year. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Uzbekistan twice, Kazakhstan, and most recently Turkmenistan in mid-December. Erdogan is pushing for the Organization of Turkic States, which includes four Central Asian states, to move from a talk shop about cultural affinities into a political and economic bloc with international clout. Central Asia is expanding its trade networks to Turkey and increasingly turning to Ankara for security needs. Joining host Bruce Pannier to discuss the topic are Assel Tutumlu, a lecturer at the Department of International Relations and Political Science at the Near East University in Nicosia; and Mukhtar Senggirbay, managing editor at RFE/RL’s Kazakh service, known locally as Azattyq.
A Talk About Tajikistan With The UN's Special Rapporteur For Human Rights Defenders - December 18, 2022
This year will be remembered as one of the worst for human rights in Tajikistan. Authorities imprisoned activists, journalists, bloggers, lawyers, and members of the Shi'ite Pamiri community in the country’s eastern Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast. Mary Lawlor, the UN's special rapporteur for human rights defenders, visited Tajikistan from November 28 to December 9. On this week's Majlis, she joins host Bruce Pannier to discuss her concerns about the situation there.
I wait each week for the newest podcast. Topics are fresh and timely. Guests are outstanding. I often follow up episodes by obtaining books and articles from discussants.
Excellent insights on a region with few quality sources of information
Great insightful discussions, audio quality could be improved though. Great podcast!