Qassym-Jomart Toqaev addresses Kazakhstan's parliament

[Newsletter] A new government in Kazakhstan, a hello from Novastan

This is a copy of our 18 January 2021 newsletter. Sign up here to receive it directly in your inbox every Monday. Happy reading!

This newsletter is dedicated to post-Soviet Central Asia. Each week, we let you know the latest from the region. Question, comments, suggestions? Reply to this newsletter or write to us at [email protected]

In the news

Hello and welcome to Novastan’s English newsletter! Thank you for subscribing. We’re very grateful for the support we’ve received since the English website’s launch two weeks ago.

After the parliamentary election on 10 January, Kazakhstan has a new government. This doesn’t imply change, however: Asqar Mamin, who has been prime minister since February 2019, has been reappointed to the same position. As the Kazakhstani outlet Vlast.kz notes (RU), almost all of the members of the previous government have retained their post.

Vlast.kz also looked at the composition of the Majilis (RU), or lower house: the same three parties are in parliament, but 70% of current deputies are newcomers.

After a controversial comedy show on YouTube, Kyrgyzstan’s culture minister is considering stronger state control of musicians. After just two episodes, the show “V pi#du zvezdu”, hosted by the pop singer Kural Chokoev, became a controversial topic on social media. Obscene language and off-colour jokes led some internet users to call for a boycott of the show’s sponsors.

Coronavirus, border clashes, a political crisis in Kyrgyzstan… need to catch up? Last week, we looked back at 2020 in Central Asia.

Covid-19 in Central Asia

As of 18 January 2021, there have been 343,621 case, 4,445 deaths and 322,363 recoveries. In more detail:

– Kazakhstan : 169,099 cases, 2,349 deaths, 153,503 recovered
– Kyrgyzstan: 83,178 cases,  1,387 deaths, 79,104 recovered
– Uzbekistan: 78,036 cases, 619 deaths, 76,538 recovered
– Tajikistan: 13,308 cases, 90 deaths, 13,218 recovered
– Turkmenistan: 0 cases, 0 deaths, 0 recovered

Turkmenistan maintains Covid-19 is not present in the country, despite measures such as extending school holidays this month. Tajikistan, which only officially recorded its first case in May 2020, has not reported new cases since 1st January. [ERRATUM: Tajikistan has not reported new cases since 10 January, not 1st. There have officially been 12 new cases since the start of the year]

Last week, the vice prime minister of Kyrgyzstan, Elvira Jyrgalbekova, said the difference between the official count and the real number of deaths due to Covid-19 in the country was “in the thousands”.

Our photo of the week

Central Khujand (Tajikistan) by Gina Bates. Click here for more information.

Every day, we publish a photo of the day from Central Asia. You can find it on our website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Novastan news

New year, new events. On 27 January at 4pm GMT (5pm in Paris and Berlin, 10pm in Bishkek), Novastan France is organising an online conference on popular music in Central Asia. This event will be in English. More information here.

What/Who/Where/Why is Novastan? Good question. All the details are here.

Help Novastan grow. Click here for more information about how to contribute. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions!

Thank you for reading! See you next week for more information and analysis from Central Asia. For daily updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram.

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