Anna Matveeva

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As donors pledge $1.1bn to Kyrgyzstan, and its president promises to use their advice as a road map, it has become clear that the country needs more than international money.

The problems gripping Kyrgyzstan have not gone away. The "7 April events", as they have become known and inter-ethnic violence in the south were links in the same chain. A change in government deepened regional divisions and alienated many southern Kyrgyz who felt that "their" president Kurmanbek Bakiyev had been unlawfully removed by northern rivals. A taboo on violence was broken.

The fall of the Bakiyev regime gave the Uzbek minority hope that their grievances would be addressed by new authorities.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last week, 12 May, marked 16 years since Russia mediated a ceasefire agreement that ended the Armenian-Azerbaijani war over Nagorno-Karabakh and started a long period of "no war, no peace" stagnation. Presently, there is a sense that things might be changing.

The territory of Karabakh is essentially a backwater for both countries. It had certain significance for Soviet military planners because of its proximity to Turkey, but otherwise has no prize assets. It is agricultural land, now sparsely populated because of the exodus of ethnic Azerbaijanis who fled the war, with roads leading to closed borders. Remote from Armenia's better-off areas around Yerevan, development in Nagorno-Karabakh is being propped up by the Armenian diaspora.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Russian parliamentary elections are over. Party strategists, local officials, factory managers and university lecturers, all drafted to get people into polling stations and vote for United Russia, can now enjoy a well-deserved break. But the job of explaining what happened on Sunday has just begun.Why, for example, did the Kremlin resort to such extraordinary measures to harass the opposition, intimidate voters and manipulate the elections, given that the president and his programme are genuinely popular? Living standards are rising, and there is no obvious cause for discontent. Vladimir Putin dominates the Russian political Olympus. His party won 64% of the votes, which perhaps reflects its standing in the country.…  Seguir leyendo »