Friday, October 27, 2006

Report #21: My Alma Mater Going Down?

Today I came across an AUCA announcement in a local newspaper - vacancy announcement for deans of four departments: Economics, Business Administration, Software Programming, and Journalism. FOUR departments have no deans!!! How could this happen? In fact, as an alumnus and a brother of two other AUCA students, I have other questions: how is President Hurwitz dealing with the lack of faculty in other departments, at what stage is the issue with dormitory, where will AUCA be in 5, 10 years?

By the way, I saw another announcement from the Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University, which wants to build the second dorm, cafeteria, and a gym. They have over $12 million for it.

So the question is could AUCA lose the competition with Kyrgyz-Russian Slavonic University and Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University in preparing and more importantly in recruiting - the brightest young people of Kyrgyzstan? What AUCA is doing about it?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Report #20: Eid Prayer (Айт намаз) in Bishkek

On Tuesday, October 24, more then 50,000 people, including my father, my brother Nurbek, and myself, gathered at the old square in front of the Parliament building and the American University - Central Asia for the Eid prayer marking the end of Ramadan.

Muslims gathering together for a prayer

You could not see the end

15 years ago this would be unthinkable

Following the prayer, people shaking hands with the Mufti

The End: Going in Different Directions

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Report #19: Bazars in Kyrgyzstan

Google Earth is such a cool thing. Enjoy the satellite pictures of the two biggest bazars in Kyrgyzstan, and maybe even in Central Asia. Last week I was in Karasuu bazar. Although Dordoi looks bigger, the goods turnover in Karasuu is probably several times bigger as they trade in bulk and throughout Central Asia.

Karasuu Bazar (20 km from Osh)

Dordoi Bazar (outskirts of Bishkek)

Report #18: Hiking in Alaarcha

Two weeks ago went hiking in Alaarcha National Park and walked all the way to the Aksay Glacier. 3500-4000 meters. Proud of myself. Here are the pictures from there.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Report #17: What's Happening to Kyrgyzstan?

Lately, I have been feeling desparate and hopeless about the future of Kyrgyzstan. The whole system is rotten from within (especially because of the current/latest constitution) that even the most well-intentioned person will turn into a corrupt bureaucrat. The root of the problem is that we have two cabinet of ministers (President's Administration and the actual Cabinet) and two prime ministers (Head of President's Administration and the actual Prime Minister). And it will not matter what form we will have - presidential, parliamentary, or mixed - if underlying systems errors are not fixed. Untill then, we all will be asking this question "What's Happening to Kyrgyzstan?"

Friday, October 06, 2006

Report #16: Media Campaign Against the Parliament

Each of pro-governmental newspapers (Slovo Kyrgyzstana, MSN, Jangy Ordo) today has an article blaming the Parliament for all the bad things happening in Kyrgyzstan. They wrote that the majority of the Parliament is pro-Akaev because many of them came to the Parliament with the help of Alga, Kyrgyzstana Party. Therefore, as the newspapers argue, the Parliament is the only thing that is preventing President Bakiev to start reforms in Kyrgyzstan.

In fact, I think it is the people around Bakiev (окружение) who are doing everything to keep the current Constitution (everyone forgot that Askar Akaev wrote it for himself but did not get a chance to use it because of the March events in 2005) and to prevent any kind of reforms. They are different groups of power brokers in the White House that have clung to power with their claws.

Regarding the media campaign, I would say that throughout modern Kyrgyz history the government always blamed the Parliament for trouble, when in fact it was the people in the White House who have much more power than the Parliament, but receive absolutely no coverage in the media of their work. By contrast, the media reports which parliamentarian said what every day.

I am not defending the parliamentarians. In fact, I believe most of them are scumbags. But, blaming people who do not have much power in deciding what happens in Kyrgyzstan is cowardly.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Report #15: On The Economist and Bush-Nazarbaev Relations

For the last three years I have been a steady and regular reader of The Economist, which in my opinion offers the essentials (in addition to excellent writing) to anyone interested in the world politics and wants take part in “a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress,” as the newspaper puts it.

The recent visit of Kazakhstan President Nazarbaev visit to the U.S. and his meeting with U.S. President Bush received much coverage in the media. However, this cartoon which appeared in The Economist (Sept.16, 2006) drew my attention.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Report #14: Kyrgyz Tribal Map

On weekends I was visiting my hometown of Osh. Caught up with some of my childhood friends on Ibraimova 28, whom I had not seen in at least 8 years. Also, visited relatives in Osh/Nookat/Ozgon for iftars (evening meals on Ramadan to break the fast). Great weekend.

Plus, I visited the Great Silk Road Museum at the foothill of the Mount Suleiman in Osh. There, I saw the only existing comprehensive Pre-1917 Tribal Map (although Soviet-made) of the Kyrgyz people. I took some pictures of the map in sections and now I am presenting them to you (appologize for low quality). I am sure the map can help you to make some interesting discoveries. Please note that this map does not reflect the internal migration during the Soviet Union and last 15 years when it increased significantly, of which I am a part.

When you have a chance to visit Osh, please visit the museum to see the map and many other interesting things displayed there.

p.s. I tried to post maps of higher resolutions, but for some reason Blogger automatically shrank them. For more detailed maps, leave a message in the comments.

Talas and Jalalabad
Chui and Suusamyr
Central Kyrgyzstan (Naryn)
Osh and Jalabad (Center)
Osh and Batken