Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Report #13: Pickpockets in Bishkek

So far I have had two bad experiences with pickpockets in Bishkek marshrutkas (vans used as public transportation). And both of the times it ended with fist fights inside or outside the marshrutka. In fact, the second time about a week ago, three pickpockets followed me into a drugstore in one of the liveliest intersections of Moskovskaya and Logvinenko streets, the brawl continued until the drugstore vendor threatened to call the police.
Speaking of police, I am really angry at Mr. Sutalinov, Minister of Interior (MVD). The police, reportedly, is a part of whole scheme, where pickpockets share the “profit” with the policemen who in their turn close their eyes on this “petty crime.” And readers, if you want to see how pickpockets work, please stand on the intersection of Kievskaya and Beyshenalieva streets where marshrutkas stop and after 15 minutes you will see that this problem has gotten WAY out of control. Not only in marshrutkas, but on the street, stores, etc. Everywhere!!!

Marshrutka drivers can at least put up warning signs inside their marshrutkas. The police could put up signs on intersections and bus stops, stations, and in stores (ZUM?).

P.S. I found these two relevant signs. One from Estonia, another from Belgium.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Report #12: We Are Not Soviets Anymore!

Thanks to Edil, I came across a test for potential immigrants to Russia, whose government is trying to introduce tougher migration regulations for newcomers from around the world (mostly from the ex-Soviet republic).

Many of the questions on the test are culturally-specific. Unless you have seen the Soviet films, listened to the Soviet songs, and read the Soviet books, you will definitely fail the test. Many of my friends of my age (the generation that went to elementary school in the Soviet Union, but went to secondary school after 1991) failed the tests. I hope this is an indicator of how the younger people are breaking away from the Soviet past (and way of thinking, of course).

By the way, I did 15 out of 47 in Level 1. For the first time in my life, I am glad I failed a test.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Report #11: Boys Gone Wild or What are "Alternative Interrogation Techniques"?

Ted Rall, a political columnis and cartoonist, whose works on Central Asia appear on EurasiaNet, came out with an interesting article on current "debate" in the U.S. on homoerotic torture tactics.

He also just finished his book titled Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East? Would be great to have a copy of his book.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Report #10: Politization of Islam? Stupidy!!!

Who in the hell is Ulugbek Orozaliev? What kind of an Arab Studies expert is he? I have serious doubts about his credentials. He presented himself as an expert working for the National Democratic Insitute (NDI), which has already announced he has nothing to do with the organization. If he lied about his credentials, I doubt about his knowledge of Arabic language or Arabic issues. A week ago he was elected as the co-chair of the Kairan El Party. He is 22.

However, this touches an important issue - politization of Islam. Up-and-coming politicians, like Mr. Orozaliev, who have questionable credentials, might want to use Islam for political needs.

Here are some of the articles about Mr. Orozaliev, who according to some people is in fact only 18.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Report #9: Kurultay

I was in Bospiek (near Kerben, Aksy, Jalalabad) for a Kurultay over the weekends. Here are some of the pictures.
These are the people (every single of them) who want to lead Kyrgyzstan.
I saw this lady (center) at the rally in Bishkek on May 29. She was in Bospiek as one of the leaders of the OBON (отряд баб особого назначения), which is reportedly used by the authorities to provoke participants of anti-government demonstrations.

Report #8: The Stories of Giant Swastika in Kyrgyzstan

A week or two ago I met a New York Times journalist, who then was working on a story about the giant man-made sylvan swastika in Tash-Bashat, Naryn. You can read his article here