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[Newsletter] Uzbekistan’s Erk party wants to take part in presidential election

This is a copy of our newsletter dated 19 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! This week we’re looking at Uzbek politics, further developments in the Matraimov case in Kyrgyzstan, protected species in Kazakhstan, and more…

The Uzbek party Erk intends to field a candidate at the presidential election (ENG) this October. The opposition party was banned in the 1990s and its leader fled the country.

The former deputy head of Kyrgyzstan’s customs service Raimbek Matraimov, who was implicated in a scheme (ENG) funneling hundreds of millions of dollars out of the country, has been released from custody and his case closed (RU).

Also in Kyrgyzstan, the political analyst Marat Kazakpaev was detained on suspicion of treason (ENG) on 14 April. The details of the case are still unknown.

The Kazakh ministry of ecology has announced that the tiger, Persian leopard and Przewalski horse are now listed in Kazakhstan’s “red book” of protected species (RU). These species are subject to increased surveillance to prevent their extinction.

On 8 March, hundreds of women marched in Almaty, Kazakhstan, for International Women’s Day. In response, on 31 March, MP Bekbolat Tleuhan asked the government (ENG) to consider the march and the demands of the protestors “an attack on spiritual values”.

On 15 April, campaigners held a rally against gender-based violence in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyz media outlet Kloop reports (RU) that participants of a concurrent rally against NGOs and LGBTQ rights interfered, accusing women’s rights activists of using the recent murder of a young woman (ENG) to promote their interests. 

Covid-19 in Central Asia

As of 19 April 2021, there have officially been 482,105 cases, 5,689 deaths et 432,677 recoveries. In more detail:

– Kazakhstan: 289,720 cases, 3,406 deaths, 248,096 recovered
– Kyrgyzstan: 92,095 cases,  1,555 deaths, 87,056 recovered
– Uzbekistan: 86,982 cases, 638 deaths, 84,307 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)

Kyrgyzstan’s president Sadyr Japarov recommended a brew made out of a toxic root as a coronavirus cure.“A drug that has not undergone clinical trials cannot be registered and recommended for widespread use by the population,” the World Health Organization warned (ENG)

In Kazakhstan, 679,700 people have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine (3.6% of the population) and 118,500 both doses (0.6%), Vlast.kz reported (RU) yesterday. In addition, 50,000 doses of the QazVac vaccine should be distributed (RU) by the end of the month. 

Uzbekistan is expected to receive 300,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine by the end of April, Ozodlik, the Uzbek branch of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, reports (RU). Quarantine restrictions have been tightened (RU) on 18 April due to the increase in the number of infections. 

Our photo of the week

Song Kul Lake Kyrgyzstan Swing

Song-Köl swing, by Simon Massicotte. 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 news

On 28 April, Novastan will host a panel discussion on Central Asian migrants and Covid-19, with Sherzod Eraliev, member of Kone-funded research project “Migrants, Shadow Economy and Parallel Legal Orders in Russia”and Sandra Pellet, postdoctoral researcher at INED specialised in Central Asian migrations.

To access our Zoom call, please sign up here: https://forms.gle/MoAvctViaMV6zJPi6. The talk will also be streamed on our Facebook page.

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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