Central Asia Geopolitical Watch – From May 21 to May 27, 2022

Central Asia Watch Team :  Amandine Paillette, Sophie Marc, Mathieu Bailly et Denis Lavaud

05/23/2022: Visit of United States delegation to central Asia for 4 days. – Mathieu Bailly

Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu led an U.S. delegation, from May 23 and for 4 days to the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan. The delegation was composed of 4 other members: Eric Green, National Security Council’s Senior Director for Russia and Central Asia, Rebecca Zimmerman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia, Anjali Kaur, U.S. Agency for International Development Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Asia, and Naz El-Khatib, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation’s Deputy Chief of Staff

The delegation first arrived in Bishkek, the capital of the Kyrgyz Republic, were they met government officials, before going to Tashkent in Uzbekistan were they also met government officials, as well as business members and civil society. They were able to discuss shared values and economical ties. They then traveled to Tajikistan for the Annual Bilateral Consultations. Finally, they met with Kazakhstani officials to discuss Kazakhstan’s reform agenda, human rights protection, and women’s empowerment. 

05/24/2022: Tadijik authorities keep detaining protesters in Gorno-Badakhshan – Denis Lavaud –

The Fergana news agency reported on May 24 that Tajik law enforcement agencies arrested 27 people in connection with violent protests that erupted in the Gorno-Badakhshan region from May 15-18. Most of those detained belong to three groups called “criminals” by the government. These groups, led by three personalities (Kholbash Kholbashev, Edgor Gulomkhaïdarov and Kulmamad Pallaev) surrendered to the authorities.

Peaceful demonstrations have since been held in the region, in order to demand the release of the leaders of the demonstrations supported by the international partnership for human rights. The organization has officially asked the government to put an end to abusive detentions and the use of force, and asks the authorities to authorize the passage of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

05/25/2022 : Kyrgyz police investigate over a Ukrainian flag placed on a Kyrgyzstan peak named “PUTIN” – Amandine Paillette –

On May 25, a publication on social networks showing a Ukrainian flag overhanging a peak named in honor of Russian President Vladimir Putin, led the police of Kyrgyzstan to investigate. A climber who went to the site on Thursday has immortalized the scene where is side by side a Ukrainian flag and a plate “Putin Peak” in reference to the name of the summit. Perched at nearly 4446 meters above sea level, the summit had been named so in 2011 on the occasion of a consolidation of relations between Russia and Kyrgyzstan. This peak located 56 kilometers from Bishkek, is located on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in a mountain range called Tian Shan. Vladimir Putin is not the only Russian leader to have given his name to a summit in Kyrgyzstan. Indeed, one of the highest peaks in the region rising to 7,134 meters above sea level is named after the former head of the government of the Soviet Union, Lenin.

The police of the capital Bishkek announced that they had interrogated several suspected climbers. The spokesman for the police said that the suspects, once identified, could receive a fine for hooliganism. As for the Internet user who posted the photo, she was questioned by the local police in order to give the indications necessary to find the flag with the intention of removing it without further delay. 

05/25/2022 : Binance CEO visits Kazakhstan – Sophie Marc – 

The founder and CEO of Binance, one of the world’s leading crypto-currency exchanges, Changpeng Zhao, was visiting Nur-Sultan in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, May 25. 

Changpeng Zhao was able to meet with Kazakh President, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as well as Kazakh Minister for Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry, Bagdat Mussin. 

The two parties signed a memorandum of understanding: Binance will help the Kazakh government in the future to develop a legislative framework to regulate crypto-currencies in the country and will support the Astana International Financial Centre and the Astana Hub International Technopark of IT Startups. The possibility of creating a venture capital fund focused on blockchain as well as an academy has been raised. The Kazakh government will also seek a way to integrate the country’s banking system into the crypto-currency market.

05/26/2022: First official visit of the kazakh president to Kyrgyzstan – Denis Lavaud –

The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, made his first official visit to Kyrgyzstan on May 26. The Kazakh President and his Kyrgyz counterpart, Sadyr Japarov, have signed several cooperation decrees between the two countries.

The discussions focused on cooperation in different areas such as justice, the environment and mutual aid concerning natural disasters in their respective border areas, industry, education, as well as the problem of truck traffic. goods at the border between the two countries.

05/26/2022 : The Kyrgyz capital hosts the first ever Eurasian economic forum – Amandine Paillette – 

On May 26 was organized in Bishkek for the first time an economic forum dedicated to the countries located in Eurasia. Bringing together no less than 2,500 participants, the issue was the signing of various documents concerning the cooperation of Eurasian countries in various sectors. The theme of the forum was “Eurasian economic integration in the era of global changes – new investment opportunities“. The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is composed of five member states, which are: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. 

Akylbek Japarov, the Kyrgyz Prime Minister, opened the forum stating that “the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) is able to transform itself into a major topic of the world economy and help remove the distortions and imbalances in global economic relations in recent decades”. The program included 30 events, including the organization of a plenary session in which the various heads of state of the Eurasian Economic Union were present via video conference. 

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