This is a copy of our newsletter dated 5 April 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.
In the news
Hello from Novastan! A very happy Easter Monday to those who celebrated yesterday. This week, we’re looking at flights between Russia and Central Asia, new laws in Uzbekistan, Turkmen contracts, and more…
Regular direct flights from Russia to several countries including Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have officially resumed (ENG). Passengers will have to follow strict measures to minimise transmission of Covid-19.
Uzbekistan has made “insult and slander” of the president a criminal offense punishable by up to five years in prison. The changes to the criminal code also include up to five years in prison for public calls for mass disorder and violence and up to 10 years for doing so in groups using media, telecommunication networks, or the Internet, RFE/RL reports (ENG). This comes in an election year for Uzbekistan: President Shavkat Mirziyoyev is expected to run for a second term this October.
The Franco-Italian aerospace maufacturer Thales Alenia Space is currently the only company in the running (FR, paywall) to build a second Turkmen communication satellite. It also wants to design two observation satellites.
The railway line connecting the Uzbek cities of Bekobod and Qo‘qon (Kokand) via Tajikistan should be electrified (FR) by the end of 2021.
Izzat Amon, an activist for migrants’ rights in Russia, has been deported to Tajikistan (RU).
Covid-19 in Central Asia
As of 5 April 2021, there have officially been 440,539 cases, 5,337 deaths and 404,826 recoveries. In more detail:
– Kazakhstan : 255,028 cases, 3,110 deaths, 225,256 recovered
– Kyrgyzstan: 89,153 cases, 1,507 deaths, 85,217 recovered
– Uzbekistan: 83,050 cases, 630 deaths, 81,135 recovered
– Tajikistan: 13,308 cases, 90 deaths, 13,218 recovered (no new cases according to official figures)
– Turkmenistan: 0 cases, 0 deaths, 0 recovered (no cases according to official figures)
Uzbekistan’s vaccination programme has started (ENG) in Tashkent, Nukus and 12 regions across the country. In the first stage, vaccines are free and prioritised for clinically vulnerable groups and medical professionals.
Adventure travel in Kyrgyzstan
Who hasn’t dreamt of travelling across Central Asia in the footsteps of the Silk Road’s explorers and caravanners? Olivia and Victor are the team behind OunTravela, a publisher of guidebooks for travellers looking for adventure. Their books will give you all the tools you need to travel independently, as well as information to discover, understand and explore Central Asia.
Their latest publication is the road book EXPLORE KYRGYZSTAN, a selection of 24 van, motorbike and cycling off-road routes to discover the country. Every route is a chance to admire grandiose landscapes and experience life among the Kyrgyz nomads!
Click here to learn more
Our photo of the week
In the summer, Alisa, 15, helps her mother to run a little yard restaurant where they serve homemade dishes. By Irina Unruh. 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.
Novastan is looking for freelance journalists based in Central Asia. Click here for more information.
The team is still completely made up of volunteers and we’re looking for help! Here is how you can join us: Contribute.
That’s it for this week!
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.