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Uzbekistan’s Educational Challenge: Scaling up for a Booming Population

“My children go to school just for the sake of it,” said Saodat, a 42-year-old mother of three from Tashkent who prefers to go by her first name only. “We paid for private tutoring for four years before my eldest could enroll at a university. My second child is in the same situation – besides school, he still needs private tutoring.” Saodat is dissatisfied with the quality of public education. Classes are overcrowded, she said, with 35-38 students per group. Teachers are primarily preoccupied with 35-38 students per group. Teachers are primarily preoccupied with paperwork rather than teaching. Saodat’s worries about public school education resonate with thousands of parents across Uzbekistan.

Migrants in Russia Are Terrified as Racism Grows After Deadly Attack

In the days since the March 22 terrorist attack on a concert at the Crocus City Hall near Moscow, there has been a growing wave of threats, physical abuse, and harassment from law enforcement and ordinary citizens against Central Asian diasporas across Russia.The attack, which claimed at least 144 lives and was allegedly conducted by four Tajik nationals with ties to the Islamic State- Khorasan, has resulted in a vicious spike in the xenophobia and discrimination that have defined the lives of migrants in Russia for decades. Both the government and law enforcement have been actively fanning the flames of this hatred, in ways that ultimately serve Russia’s narratives around its invasion of Ukraine.

Naturalized and mobilized: Russia’s covert effort to conscript its new citizens sends a chill through migrant communities

Since mid-August, police across Russia have rounded up hundreds of migrant workers from Central Asia in a wave of raids that appear to mainly target men who recently received Russian citizenship but didn’t complete their compulsory military registration. According to media reports, police have handed out military summonses on the spot and forcibly taken men to enlistment offices.

Dogged and determined: How journalism persists in Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan ranks at the bottom of the most prominent democracy, corruption, and press freedom indexes. Elections are rigged, the Berdimuhamedov family dominates political and economic institutions, corruption is systemic, and there is zero tolerance for political dissent. The government also maintains tight control over the information space; major media outlets, including the news agency TDH, the newspapers Turkmenistan and Neytralny Turkmenistan, and the TV channel Altyn Asyr, are state-owned and broadcast government propaganda. Criticism of the president and other government officials is strictly prohibited. Journalists who defy the rules are prosecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and even killed.

‘I get shamed for absolutely nothing’ In Tajikistan, social media, patriarchy, and labor migration are fueling a doxxing problem — Meduza

Even in Tajikistan's repressive information environment, social media has become a space where people (particularly young people) can make their voices heard and challenge social norms. That said, the reverse is also true. While some use social networks to tackle taboos, others use the very same platforms to reinforce conservative norms, particularly when it comes to gender and sexuality. Men police and humiliate Tajikistani women by leaking their private photos and personal information online. Social media platforms, patriarchal culture, and labor migration enable this trend.

A violent Central Asia border conflict reveals authoritarianism’s communication paralysis

Fighting on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is not a new phenomenon. Previous clashes mostly involved citizens throwing rocks at their neighbors across the border. Given that half of the 600-mile border between the two countries remains undelimited, it is difficult to manage scarce water sources. While locals have frequently sparred over springs and access to pastureland, political elites on both sides have leveraged nationalist resentment to bolster the legitimacy of their rule. However, September’s spasm of violence marks a steep jump not only in the intensity of violence but the asymmetry in digital information campaigns.

How Western Media Framed Kazakhstan’s Protests

Harrowing images of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have shocked the public—but also raised tough questions about whose lives matter in the West. Critics have focused on the telling contrast in coverage between the welcome given to Ukrainian refugees and the cold shoulder given to those from countries like Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan as well as the lack of assistance provided to African and South Asian students trying to leave Ukraine. Before the Russian invasion, however, another country in Eurasia elicited similar questions.

Central Asians in Russia Pressured to Join Moscow's Fight in Ukraine

Russia’s three-week war in Ukraine has had a shockingly high death toll, although Russian and Ukrainian authorities dispute the number of troops killed on both sides. The fog of war makes it difficult to discern not only how many soldiers have died, but also who those soldiers are and where they came from. Central Asian nationals residing in Russia are being pressured to fight in Ukraine as Moscow's military incurs heavier-than-expected losses, evidence suggests and migrants' rights activists say.

The Struggle to Power Tajikistan

Every fall, Muhibahon, a 30-year-old master’s student who lives in Hisor, a small town 30 minutes outside of Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe, is forced to drastically change her daily routine. As October sets in, she wakes up at 6 a.m. every day to iron clothes for all five members of her family, make everyone breakfast, prepare some food for dinner, and charge everyone’s phones before local authorities cut off the electricity in her town at 8 a.m.

When Kazakhstan Turned Off the Internet

This was no ordinary internet blackout. For five days, the ninth largest country in the world was a black box. On the evening of Jan. 5, we set our respective alarms for 5:30 a.m. We wanted to get the earliest possible updates from our colleagues in Kazakhstan, who had been chronicling three days of demonstrations as they spread from the western oil-producing city of Zhanaozen to other urban centers across the Central Asian nation. Early morning on the East Coast was already late afternoon in Kazakhstan, yet when we woke up, nothing seemed to have changed. Our friends’ Instagram stories were 12 hours old; the single checkmarks next to our WhatsApp and Telegram messages to activists and journalists we know signaled that they hadn’t been delivered. A sinking feeling of worry set in.

When Kazakhstan Turned Off the Internet

This was no ordinary internet blackout. For five days, the ninth largest country in the world was a black box. On the evening of January 5, 2022, we set our respective alarms for 5:30 a.m. We wanted to get the earliest possible updates from our colleagues in Kazakhstan, who had been chronicling three days of demonstrations as they spread from the western oil-producing city of Zhanaozen to other urban centers across the Central Asian nation. Early morning on the East Coast was already late afternoon in Kazakhstan, yet when we woke up, nothing seemed to have changed.

Kazakhstan’s Alternative Media Is Thriving—and in Danger

Today, Kazakhstan has only a handful of independent traditional media outlets left, which lack the ability to cover the country’s vibrant sociopolitical life, something that has thrived despite authoritarianism. The gap, however, is now being filled by alternative media: Scores of bloggers are using YouTube, Telegram, and Instagram to report on events and to contradict the narrative served by pro-government traditional media. Alternative journalism is blooming, raising questions about how far it can go before the Kazakh government pulls the plug.

Young People, Social Media, and Urban Transformation of Dushanbe

Although there are no meaningful mechanisms for Dushanbe’s young people to claim their right to the city, they are finding informal ways to do so, from documenting the changes to challenging and negotiating the narratives surrounding Dushanbe’s post-Soviet transformation on their social media profiles. Urban development has thus become one of many important social issues dissected via digital methods of storytelling.
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