Glance at the parking lot outside parliament, at the fleet of Lexus SUVs kitted out with chrome, and you might think Bishkek is the capital of a wealthy country. A block down Chui Avenue, a shiny new Range Rover is parked on the sidewalk. Police drive their own BMWs.
As officials in Kyrgyzstan prepare to negotiate with their country’s largest investor in Bishkek this week, new details are emerging about how the Kyrgyz government wants to restructure the agreement covering operations at the country’s flagship gold mine.
An authoritative Central Asia-focused news website has defeated attempts to silence it in Kyrgyzstan: authorities have unblocked it. Yet under the prevailing interpretation of a parliamentary resolution, the website, Fergana News, still appears to be banned in the Central Asian nation.
Authorities at Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Culture want to ban a play that discusses domestic abuse and sexual violence because it “promotes scenes that destroy moral and ethical standards and national traditions of the peoples of Kyrgyzstan.”
China is financing the construction of Kyrgyzstan’s first major oil refinery, and excitement is building in Bishkek that the facility could enable the Central Asian nation to break Russia’s fuel-supply monopoly.
If bacon, lobster tail and Chicago-style steaks are your thing, the last few months have been a good time to dine out in Kyrgyzstan’s capital.
Like most residents of her children’s home in Osh, Nargiza is a part-time orphan. Her father disappeared when she was born and her mother works long spells in Russia. Nargiza has no siblings and doesn’t know her grandparents. But she does see her mother from time to time.
A surge of economic nationalism is making life uncomfortable for Chinese companies working in Kyrgyzstan.
One morning last year in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Dilnoza awoke to find her brand-new Toyota Corolla missing. She knew immediately whom to call, and it wasn’t her local police precinct.
When nationalist MP Kamchybek Tashiev led his supporters over a fence surrounding parliament in early October, both foreign and local executives working in Kyrgyzstan’s mining industry braced for the worst.
During the day, when Uzbek border guards patrol its streets, Mingdon is a sleepy Ferghana Valley town. But after night falls, Mingdon, a hamlet of 10,000 on Uzbekistan’s frontier with Kyrgyzstan, turns into a smugglers’ paradise.
Allegations that a member of Kyrgyzstan's KGB-successor agency organised the brutal rape of his wife have outraged women’s rights activists in Bishkek. But what rights defenders call an ordinary crime is having an extraordinary effect because of the victim’s response: she pressed charges.