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Central Asia Geopolitical Watch – From April 30 to May 6, 2022

Central Asia Watch Team : Mathieu Bailly et Denis Lavaud

05/03/2022 : Central Asia ranking on the 2022 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters without Borders – Mathieu Bailly   – 

On May 3rd, for the International Press Freedom Day, was published the annual World Press Freedom Index by Reporters without Borders. This index ranks 180 countries based on their freedom of press. Central Asia countries ranked as followed:

Kazakhstan ranked 72, while it ranked 79 last year;

The Republic of Kirgiz was assigned on the 72 position, compared to 2021 79 position;

Uzbekistan put themselves on the 133 place, up 24 places from last year 147 position;

Tajikistan ranked 152 against its 162 from 2021;

Turkmenistan is up one place, from 178 in 2021 to 177 in 2022.

05/05/2022: Kazakhstan wants to withdraw death penalty from the Constitution – Denis Lavaud –

The President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev adressed to the nation on May 5 about the modifications that the Republic of Kazakhstan wishes to make to its Constitution. On June 5, a referendum will be held in the country, in order to lead the country towards the “Second Republic”, according to the president.

The country, although no longer applying the death penalty since the moratorium introduced by former President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2003, now wants its Constitution to mention it.

The amendments will also propose to delete from the Constitution the status of Nursultan Nazarbayev, his historical role being “of public knowledge, and does not require a mention in the Constitution“, according to the words of the president, quoted by the daily gazeta.ru.

05/06/2022: Three kirghiz men shot by uzbek border guards at Dobo-Korgon checkpoint – Denis Lavaud –

Uzbek border guards injured Kyrgyz citizens on May 6 at the border post in the village of Dobo-Korgon, in the Oblast of Jalal-Abad. The three injured succumbed to their injuries on arrival at the Ala-Buka district hospital.

This incident, the causes of which remain unknown, led the Kyrgyz representative of the Ala-Buka district to meet his Uzbek counterpart in order to clarify the situation.

“The parties have agreed on the need to meet on May 6 following the events that have taken place. An investigation is underway to shed light on this story,” said the spokesman for the district of Jalal-Abad oblast.

This meeting took place at the end of the evening, on May 6, and the press service of the Uzbek republic reported that “the border guards were forced to take up arms in order to enforce the established order. Three men were injured and brought back to Kyrgyz territory by their accomplices”.

The Uzbek Republic press service reported that the three victims were smugglers, who allegedly tried to seize weapons from soldiers stationed at the border.

05/06/2022: Kazakhstan to reinforce border controls in order to restrain contraband from Kyrgyzstan  Denis Lavaud

The Kazakh government has announced on may 6 that it will have to tighten its controls on its border with Kyrgyzstan, following a significant increase in smuggling since the end of April, when the country had eased controls on trucks coming from the neighboring country.

“It should be emphasized that such actions from economic partner countries pose a threat to the member countries of the Eurasian Economic Union, and that is why we will strengthen controls,” said the Minister of Finance of Kazakhstan.

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