This is a copy of our newsletter dated 1 February 2021. Sign up here to receive it directly in your inbox every Monday.
This newsletter is dedicated to post-Soviet Central Asia. Each week, we let you know the latest from the region. Question, comments, suggestions? Write to us at [email protected].
Above: “I confidently declare that there is no COVID-19 in Tajikistan,” the president of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, said last week.
In the news
Another Monday, another newsletter from Novastan! Thank you for sticking with us in January, our first month writing in English 🎉. This week, we look at Covid in Tajikistan (or, maybe, lack thereof?), a presidential inauguration in Kyrgyzstan and more…
Officially, Tajikistan is Covid-free. In an address to parliament, President Emomali Rahmon announced that his country had defeated Covid-19. However, researchers and local sources interviewed by Novastan France (FR, paywall) say it is “possible” but “very unlikely” that the number of cases has fallen to zero in the past two weeks.
Last year, Tajikistan did not officially declare any cases until the very end of April. Then, as now, there were doubts about the authorities’ version of events.
The new president of Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Japarov, took office last Thursday, 28 January. The perfect occasion to look back on his eventful political career, which started just before the first Kyrgyz revolution in 2005.
Sadyr Japarov has already signed several decrees. The very first one concerns “spiritual and moral development and physical education” and sets out plans for the government to work on a “new conception” of these two ideas. As the Kyrgyz media outlet Kloop.kg reports (RU), the government will then revise existing documents to align them with its new definitions.
Another decree includes a ban on foreign companies participating in future large mining projects. This does not affect current license holders.
Finally, in a previous newsletter, we wrote about a controversial comedy show in Kyrgyzstan. Our article about it is now available in English.
Covid-19 in Central Asia
|As of 1 February 2021, there have been 364,621 cases, 4,599 deaths and 340,194 recoveries. In more detail:|
– Kazakhstan : 187,970 cases, 2,476 deaths, 168,768 recovered
– Kyrgyzstan: 84,588 cases, 1,412 deaths, 80,987 recovered
– Uzbekistan: 78,755 cases, 621 deaths, 77,221 recovered
– Tajikistan: 13,308 cases, 90 deaths, 13,218 recovered (no new cases according to official figures)
– Turkmenistan: 0 cases, 0 deaths, 0 recovered
Turkmenistan maintains Covid-19 is not present in the country, hence the statistics above.
Mass vaccination starts today, 1 February, in Kazakhstan, using the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. A domestic vaccine is being tested. Registration is expected on 15 February (RU).
Our photo of the week
Portrait of Tariel, whose brother Ruslan is a renowned kok boru player, by Théo Saffroy. Click on the picture for more information.
Every day, we publish a photo from Central Asia. You can find it on our website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
We had a great time talking about popular music in Central Asia. On 27 January, Novastan organised an online conference bringing together four experts on the subject. Rewatch our conversation here.
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