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Joanna Lillis

Kazakhstan: Terrorist Plot — or Concocted Conspiracy?

Three men in plain white face masks gaze into the camera as...

Kazakhstan: Businessman a Hostage in Astana-Ablyazov Feud?

Without warning one evening in November, agents from Kazakhstan’s security services mobbed...

Uzbekistan: Without Forced Labor, Who’ll Pick the Cotton?

Uzbekistan’s government has traditionally characterized cotton-picking as hashar, a term for voluntary...

Tashkent City: Is ‘Progress’ Worth the Price Being Paid in Uzbekistan?

The silver skyscrapers of Tashkent City are intended to declare Uzbekistan’s capital...

Kazakhstan: Space for Civil Society Shrinking?

First, there was a media report hinting at shadowy links between foreign-funded...

Kazakhstan: A Tale of Famine and Flight

When Nurziya Kazhibayeva was six years old, a famine swept across Kazakhstan....

Kazakhstan: Campaigners Appeal to Nazarbayev Over Journalist’s Case

International freedom of speech campaigners have penned an appeal to Kazakhstan’s President...

Kazakhstan: Memories of the Chechen Exodus Don’t Fade

Polina Ibrayeva is now a frail old lady with sparkling brown eyes....

Kazakhstan: Zhanaozen Wounds Heal, but Sense of Injustice Remains

The oil workers were shocked to see that the city would try...

Watchdog Accuses Kazakhstan of Flouting Labor Rights

Kazakhstan is flouting the rights of its workers to organize in trade...

Kazakhstan: Oil Strike Over in Zhanaozen

An oil strike that started in late September in the western Kazakhstan...

Kazakhstan: New Labor Unrest in Zhanaozen

Disgruntled oil workers crowded into an apartment inside one of the prefabricated...

Uzbekistan: The Life and Legacy of Islam Karimov

Following days of uncertainty surrounding the fate of the septuagenarian strongman who...

Uzbekistan: President Karimov's Illness Forces Decision on Succession

Only a few crumbs of information have been provided so far about...

Kazakhstan: Living with Semipalatinsk’s Nuclear Fallout

In the village of Znamenka in northeastern Kazakhstan, adults have vivid memories...

Kazakhstan: Libel Fine Deals Another Blow to Independent Media

One of Kazakhstan’s last remaining independent newspapers has been ordered to pay...

Kazakhstan: Businessman Accused of Stoking Land Protests As Coup Plot

Kazakhstan’s intelligence agency has named a Kazakh businessman as one of the...

Kazakhstan: Mud-Slinging at Protesters Highlights Apparent Media Double Standards

Aimira Shaukentayeva reads her news bulletins with a stony and ferocious demeanor....

Kazakhstan: Land Commission Trudges On Amid Arrests

A public commission set up in Kazakhstan as an attempt to defuse...

Kazakhstan: Land Issue Fueling Social Discontent

Kazakhstan is taking stock after the worst social unrest in years erupted...

Kazakhstan: Activists Walk as Nazarbayev Talks in Brussels

President Nursultan Nazarbayev has been courting European Union officials in Brussels in...

Kazakhstan: Cafe Dispels Disability Stereotypes

Zhuldyz Abdykarimova is catching her breath after the lunchtime rush, wiping down...

Kazakhstan: More Arrests in Media Graft Case

Six more arrests have been made in a high-profile corruption case involving...

Kazakhstan Parliament: Players Change, Music Stays the Same

When Kazakhstan’s ruling party unveiled its candidate list for the March 20...

Kazakhstan Votes for More of the Same

Kazakhstan is voting in a snap parliamentary election expected to return a...

Kazakhstan: Rare Protest in Almaty Ahead of Election

A handful of civil society campaigners staged a rare picket in Almaty...

Kazakhstan: Parliamentary Election Campaign Limps to Finish Line

Many in Kazakhstan are not even sure what parties are contesting the...

Kazakhstan: Ex-PM’s Graft Sentence Cut on Appeal

A former prime minister of Kazakhstan who was jailed last year in...

Uzbekistan: World Bank Urged To Act Over Forced Labor Concerns

Campaigners have handed a petition to the World Bank urging it to...

Kazakhstan: Election Business Settled Before Crisis Worsens

In many democratic systems, holding legislative elections amid spiraling inflation, a rapidly...

Kazakhstan: Big Western Brands Braving Economic Downturn

Big Western brands are on the march into Kazakhstan, entering the market...

Kazakhstan: Central Bank Explains Pre-Election Currency Rally

(A previous version of this report incorrectly stated that the central bank...

Kazakhstan: Amnesty Urges Action on Torture

When Vasily Maklakov reported a robbery to the police a decade ago,...

Uzbekistan: Tashkent Stifles Art of Debate With Terror Charges

Uzbekistan has never been a fan of free speech — but Tashkent...

Kazakhstan: Reporter Drug Case Acquittal Marks Rare Reprieve

In a surprising precedent, the trial of an independent journalist in Kazakhstan...

Kazakhstan: Warm Welcome For Egypt’s Visiting President

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has paid a rare visit to Kazakhstan,...

Kazakhstan: Astana Comes Clean on Economic Rout

Kazakhstan has slashed its growth forecast for this year, finally acknowledging the...

Kazakhstan: Graft Probe Targets Prominent Media Figures

Free speech campaigners are crying foul over a criminal investigation in Kazakhstan...

Kazakhstan: Movie-Crushing Stunt Opens Communist Election Campaign

Kazakhstan’s pro-government communist party has kicked off its parliamentary election campaign with...

Uzbekistan: Wage Arrears Hint at Economic Troubles

Companies in Uzbekistan have shelled out around half a billion dollars in...

Uzbekistan: Telecoms Giant Pays $835 Million Fine For Bribery

Russian-owned telecommunications giant VimpelCom is to shell out $835 million in fines...

International Telecoms Firm Admits To Graft in Uzbekistan

An international telecoms company has admitted engaging in corrupt practices in Uzbekistan,...

Child’s Murder Sparks Ethnic Tensions in South Kazakhstan

Ethnic tensions are bubbling in southern Kazakhstan, where local authorities have stepped...

Uzbekistan: Bank’s Currency Ban Hints at Financial Sector Woes

Hot on the heels of a corruption scandal in Uzbekistan’s financial sector...

Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev Says No More Golden Times, Raids Pensions

The time for showers of gold is over, President Nursultan Nazarbayev warned...

Kazakhstan: Astana Opera Hits Cultural High Notes

On a recent snowy winter’s evening in Kazakhstan’s capital, arts buffs flocked...

Uzbekistan: Top Banker Arrested Over Black Market Machinations

A top banker has been arrested in Uzbekistan on suspicion of making...

Kazakhstan: Economic Woes Prompting Pot-Bangers to Target Banks

Mortgage protests in Kazakhstan are becoming a familiar sight. In attention-grabbing demonstrations...

Kazakhstan: Activist Released Pending Appeal Hearing

A political activist recently jailed on charges of inciting ethnic strife has...

Kazakhstan: Ruling Party Plumps for Populism

Kazakhstan’s president could hardly be expected to run for parliament, so the...

Uzbekistan: Parents Named and Shamed Over Militant Offspring

In its eagerness to counteract Islamic extremism, Uzbekistan has embraced a Cultural...

Kazakhstan: Cash-Strapped Astana Cuts Funds for Flagship Exhibition

Hot on the heels of a graft scandal that has blighted a...

Kazakhstan: TV Epic Promises Game of Thrones-Style Thrills

Armor-clad warriors surge out from behind a rocky outcrop and gallop across...

Kazakhstan: New Forecast Predicts Shrinking Economy For 2016

As bad as things may have got for Kazakhstan, authorities have tended...

Kazakhstan: Authorities Jail Two More Activists

Two political activists have been jailed in Kazakhstan on charges of inciting...

Kazakhstan: Video of Vodka-Drinking Children Goes Viral

A man faces a possible jail sentence after a video of him...

Kazakhstan: Security Service Shake-Up Sets Off Succession Speculation

A shake-up at the top of Kazakhstan’s intelligence agency has watchers of...

Uzbekistan: Frozen Millions on Agenda as Minister Holds Talks in U.S.?

Uzbekistan’s foreign minister has begun a round of annual consultations in Washington...

Kazakhstan: Campaigners Urge Legal Reform To Protect Free Speech

Human rights campaigners in Kazakhstan are calling for the abolition of two...

Kazakhstan: Oil Output Downturn Deepens Gloom

Oil production is entering a new year of decline this year in...

Kazakhstan: Snap Election Called to Soothe Moods

Kazakhstan’s lower house of parliament called for a snap election on January...

Kazakhstan: Authorities Make Martyrs of Political Nobodies

Authorities in Kazakhstan have flexed their muscles in an attempt to rattle...

Kazakhstan: Activists’ Trial Derailed After Uproar in Court

The controversial trial in Kazakhstan of two prominent civil society campaigners accused...

Uzbekistan: A Passion for Printing

In a small, mud-walled workshop on a winding street in the labyrinth...

Kazakhstan: Instagram Mayor Strives to Fashion New Style of Government

A few days after reports surfaced online of filthy conditions in a...

Kazakhstan: Jailed Opposition Leader Refused Parole

A jailed opposition leader in Kazakhstan whose case has drawn expressions of...

Kazakhstan: NGO Law Approved Amid Civil Society Resistance

President Nursultan Nazarbayev has signed off on a controversial law regulating the...

Syrians Find Asylum in Kazakhstan

When civil war broke out in Syria, Usama Nuraldin was a successful...

Kazakhstan Embraces Nazarbayev Naming Craze

What’s in a name? Plenty, for the 99 people who share a...

Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev Issues Rallying Cry To Fight Crisis

Kazakhstan may be experiencing its toughest economic times in years, but its...

Kazakhstan, EU Talk Rights While Social Media Comes Under Fire

Kazakhstan’s annual human rights consultations with the European Union took place this...

Kazakhstan Passes New Labor Law Without Consulting Workers

Hard times need hard labor laws. At least that is what Kazakhstan...

Kazakhstan Treads Diplomatic Tightrope In Turkey-Russia Row

Kazakhstan has issued a diplomatic call for restraint from its allies Russia...

Uzbekistan: World Bank Issues Mixed Scorecard on Cotton Harvest

The use of child labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton harvest is becoming rarer,...

Kazakhstan: Astana Hunts for Cost-Cutting Measures

As the economy sputters in Kazakhstan, the government has been forced into...

Terror Plot Foiled In Kazakhstan’s Capital – Mayor

Security services in Kazakhstan’s capital recently foiled a major terrorist conspiracy, city...

Kazakhstan: Man Jailed Over Separatism Sensitivities

A man has been jailed on charges of promoting separatism in Kazakhstan...

Nudity Craze Grips Kazakhstan

Members of the public in Kazakhstan have taken to stripping off and...

Kazakhstan: Aging President Urges Aging Public Servants to Retire

Kazakhstan’s septuagenarian leader Nursultan Nazarbayev has issued a heartfelt call for public...

Kazakhstan: Grassroots Movement Tilts Against Windmills of Injustice

Olesya Khalabuzar goes about her daily business under the formidable, blindfolded figure...

Uzbekistan: Political Activist Freed After Two Decades in Jail

For more than two decades, Murod Juraev languished behind bars in Uzbekistan...

Uzbekistan: Slower Growth Forecast As Currency Hits New Low

In a signal not all is well, Uzbekistan has posted a slightly...

Kazakhstan: Donkey Wrestler Puts Animal Abuse on Agenda

Cruelty to animals has hit the headlines in Kazakhstan following the arrest...

Kazakhstan: Era of Cheap Bread Comes to a Close

The era of cheap bread is coming to a close in Kazakhstan...

Kazakhstan: President’s Daughter to Star In Historical Epic

The youngest daughter of Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev is set to play...

Uzbekistan Touts Privatization Drive in Risky Climate

Uzbekistan is on a mission to woo foreign investors, touting a massive...

Kazakhstan: Consternation as Currency Hits New Low

Kazakhstan’s embattled currency has continued its downward slide to hit fresh lows...

Norwegian Businessman Arrested Over Uzbekistan Bribery Case

A top Norwegian business executive has been arrested in Oslo on corruption...

Britain Rolls Out Red Carpet for Nazarbayev

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev got the red carpet treatment at Buckingham Palace...

U.S. Gets Robust With Reporter on Central Asia's Rights Problems

Washington’s top diplomat traveled to Central Asia to kick-start a historic initiative...

Kazakhstan: Currency Woes Hasten Central Bank Boss Demise

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev has dismissed the head of the central bank...

Kazakhstan: Stiff Jail Sentences Raise Free Speech Concerns

Harsh prison sentences handed down this week in two separate cases involving...

Uzbekistan: Harvest Monitor’s Office Destroyed in Unexplained Fire

A leading campaigner in the effort to document Uzbekistan’s cotton harvest, which...

Watchdog Downgrades Kazakhstan Over Online Freedom

As ever more people in Kazakhstan get onto the Internet, the government...

Japan’s PM Talks Investment, Nuclear Cooperation in Kazakhstan

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wound up a five-nation tour of Central...

Kazakhstan: Alleged Injustice Provokes Self-Immolation Suicide

A young man in southern Kazakhstan has committed suicide by setting himself...

IMF: Central Asian Economic Outlook Bleak Amid Wave of Shocks

Central Asia faces a bleak economic outlook and policy-makers should prepare for...

Kazakhstan: Court Closes Embattled Magazine

A court has ordered the closure of one of Kazakhstan’s last independent...

Uzbekistan: US Embassy Dragged Into Forced Labor Row

Shifty U.S. envoys have been spotted lurking in the cotton fields of...

Uzbekistan: Cotton Harvest Monitors Face Intimidation

Uzbekistan has pledged more transparency in a cotton industry blighted by a...