• KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 85 - 90 of 137

Scandal on Khabar TV Raises Discussions About Domestic Violence in Kazakhstan

A scandal which erupted on Kazakhstan's state television channel, Khabar, has caused huge public outrage. At the center of events was a woman named Gulmira, who had suffered years of abuse at the hands of her husband. Her story became the subject of discussion on the talk show, Birak, which is dedicated to family relations. On Khabar, Gulmira spoke about the eighteen years of beatings and violence she had suffered in her marriage. She ran away from her hard drinking husband with her six children, but he found her in Astana, and arranged another humiliation, with the talk show hosts secretly and without any warning bringing her husband to the studio, which caused Gulmira to break down live on air. The shows hosts even tried to reconcile the spouses, which only served to aggravate the already extremely strained situation. On social networks, the public actively discussed the abhorrent behavior of the presenters and espoused their support for Gulmira. Videos were created which commented on the show, and many media outlets spoke out in defense of the woman, emphasizing the fact that such things should not be staged on national television. As a result of the wave of indignation, the state television channel Khabar decided to stop airing the talk show Birak. The Minister of Culture and Information of Kazakhstan, Aida Balayeva, promised to shut down the talk show, stating that the problem of family violence requires serious attention. This event took place against the background of huge public attention on the trial of former Minister of the National Economy, Kuandyk Bishembayev, who is accused of murdering his wife. In such an environment, any justification for the actions of an aggressor on state TV was deemed hugely inappropriate and only served to highlight the issue of domestic violence.

Starting Over: Central Asian Countries Celebrate the Arrival of Spring

It’s time for renewal in Central Asia. Spring is arriving and it’s time to tidy up the home. Time for traditional music, cuisine and brightly colored costumes. An occasion to reflect and renew, give thanks for the past and build toward the future. Or set aside bad things that happened and start over. One of the world’s oldest holidays happens on the spring equinox, which is March 20 (Central Asia time) this year. Known as Nowruz, Navruz, Nauryz and other variations, it means “New Day” in Farsi and traces its roots to the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. This year, it coincides with the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan. The holiday is also celebrated in the Caucasus, the Middle East and other regions. A view  of the shanyrak, the central part of the upper dome of the yurt that is shown to guests as an art object during Nauryz festivities. A shanyrak design, containing blue that represents the sky, is the national emblem of Kazakhstan. Photo: TCA   Celebrations are already in full swing. This year, Kazakhstan introduced a new format for Nauryz, with events running from March 14-23. In 2009, UNESCO included the day on its list of “intangible cultural heritage of humanity.” In many parts of Central Asia, people decorate houses with branches of fruit trees to ensure a prosperous year. On the night before the spring equinox, people fill vessels with water from springs, milk and grain. It is believed that such a ritual will bring abundant rains and a successful harvest in the coming year. Holiday concerts feature traditional instruments. There are the karnai and surnai (wind instruments) and dutar (stringed) in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, or the dombra and kobyz (both stringed) in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Baursak, a fried bread, and Nauryz kozhe, a cool, hearty drink that symbolizes good luck, are shown during Nauryz celebrations in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2023. Ingredients of Nauryz kozhe can include water, meat, salt, milk or yoghurt and grain. Photo: TCA   A beautifully set table is another Nauryz tradition. The central place on the table in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan is occupied by sumanak, a dessert. It is made of germinated wheat and cooked in a metal pot for about 12 hours. According to legend, you should make a wish while stirring the sumanak. It is said that if you make a wish from a pure heart, it will definitely come true. In Kazakhstan, a special place on the table is occupied by Nauryz kozhe, a hearty soup of milk, meat, butter, two kinds of millet, rice and corn, symbolizing the seven principles of life: growth, luck, happiness, wealth, health, wisdom and heavenly protection. At home, it is poured into seven bowls and placed before seven wise elders, known as aksakals. The number has a special meaning in many aspects of the celebration. Traditionally, everyone should invite seven guests to their home and visit seven houses themselves. Nauryz is also a time of moral education and mutual...

“You’re Afraid I’m Not Beautiful; I’m Afraid You’ll Kill Me” – Women Rally in Bishkek

On International Women's Day on March 8th, hundreds of people took to the streets of Bishkek to participate in the annual march for women's rights. Under the slogan "A woman's life is a mirror of the time," the march started from the monument to revolutionary fighters on Chui Avenue and ended in Gorky Square on Isanov Street. The marchers carried placards and made calls for an end to violence against women, to ensure their freedom and protect freedom of speech. One of the speakers was Asel Nogoibayeva, who said she had first-hand experience of domestic violence. Her words left a lasting impression, as did her call for the police to address the problems of domestic violence. Marches on March 8th in support of women's rights have become an annual tradition in Bishkek, with the main theme always for the authorities to pay attention to women's issues. "I went with a double-sided poster that said: ‘You’re afraid I’m not beautiful; I’m afraid you’ll kill me’ and on the other side, ‘Only a human being can give birth to a human being,’” Saraya, a participant at the rally told TCA. “I also printed out some posters that I handed out." Saraya said that the march went exactly as planned with no deviations and expressed her joy at the increase in the number of participants, including girls with their boyfriends, which is a testament to the expanded audience and impact of the event. "Of course, marching is not the only way to influence people,” she said. “It doesn't work if once a year you walk around with placards and then forget about it. Businesses, for example, have different ways of attracting customers - social media, word of mouth, banners, etc. A march is like an advertising campaign, periodically loudly and announcing itself so that people don't forget it. Only women’s rights are not a business – they’re a struggle for justice."

“Your Life is Your Freedom” – Women Rally in Almaty

A rally in support of women's rights was held in Almaty on March 7th. The event, which was approved by the city administration, was organized by Bibinur Sheralieva, an activist from the regional council for family and social protection under the Amanat Party. The gathering took place in Mahatma Gandhi Park, a place usually reserved for such events. Sheraliyeva, the organizer of the rally, put forward demands to protect the rights of divorced women, proposing that alimony laws be amended to offer a fixed amount, regardless of the fathers' income. She also advocated the introduction of mandatory marriage contracts to take into account the property interests of women and children during divorce proceedings. In addition to the organizers, a woman took the stage to share her experience of facing domestic violence and told of the tragedy of losing her home due to systematic beatings by her father-in-law. Her story highlighted the problem of impunity for aggressors. The rally also called for the repeal of the amendment on reconciliation of parties under the new law on domestic violence, as well as a legal ban on the practice of tokal (second wife) and polygamy. The rally was not without controversy, however, with one attendee demanding a ban on "feminist and LGBT propaganda," which drew disapproval from the majority of the crowd. Another organizer of the rally, Dilnar Insenova, declared her support for the need to "protect family values," expressing doubts about the impact of European standards on society in Kazakhstan. The rally briefly descended into absurdity when, instead of delivering her planned speech, Insenova began to dance to the song "Chyna" by the Kazakh artist, Irina Kairatovna, provoking laughter from those filming clips against a backdrop of portraits of domestic violence victims, their videos going viral on social media. Most continued to draw attention to important issues, however; raising placards and chanting slogans such as "Your life is your freedom" and "We demand the protection of women's rights," and demonstrating their commitment to positive change in the area of women's rights.

Land Cleared for Tourism next to Old Bukhara; UNESCO Urges Pause

Despite UNESCO’s concerns, Uzbekistan is pushing ahead with plans for a big tourist complex next to the historical center of Bukhara, a jewel of medieval architecture in Central Asia. Workers are already clearing areas for “Eternal Bukhara,” a tourist facility that will boast a museum, teahouses and restaurants offering national cuisine, craft stalls and workshops for gold and blacksmithing, embroidery, wood carving, pottery, and painting. The design intends to evoke the urban layout of past centuries, with traditional drainage systems and ponds. All this construction would happen in part of the buffer zone surrounding the old city, potentially increasing the flow of tourists, but also putting more pressure on the integrity of the ancient site. Bukhara, a destination on the Silk Route that is more than 2,000 years old, contains the tomb of the ruler Ismail Samani, an emblem of 10th century Muslim architecture, as well as many ancient madrasas, or Islamic schools, according to UNESCO. Traveler Veronika Karobitskaya looks toward the Kalyan Mosque in the ancient city of Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Karobitskaya, a Russian citizen, visited Bukhara in September 2022 and said she was “completely fascinated” by the city’s heritage. Photograph: Veronika Karobitskaya.   A view of the Kalon Minaret, a major landmark in Bukhara. Photograph: Veronika Karobitskaya.   The historical center of Bukhara, registered on the world heritage list of the U.N. cultural agency in 1993, comprises 216 hectares and its buffer zone comprises 339 hectares. Some demolition has begun on the 32.6 hectares earmarked for the tourist complex, including at a sports stadium. Last year, some Bukharan residents appealed to the government not to dismantle the stadium, saying 1,200 children and 50 coaches use the stadium every day. A total of 29 buildings and facilities are slated for demolition. They include the Bukhara government building, designed by Uzbek architect Richard Blaise and built in 1980, as well as secondary and music schools, and social centers. Local authorities have tried to reassure residents who say they wish the tourist complex could be built further from the historical center. “It should be noted that on the basis of this project, it is planned to create a green park for residents and guests of Bukhara to walk in two-thirds of the area planned. In this regard, the trees in the area established earlier in accordance with the ´Green Bukhara´ program in the project area will be fully preserved and will be enriched as a new garden landscape,” the regional administration said in a report. According to UNESCO, however, there are laws and urban planning codes that “provide protection of monuments of cultural heritage and their buffer zones.” Sara Noshadi, director of UNESCO’s office in Uzbekistan, said on X, formerly Twitter, on March 2 that the U.N. agency is closely monitoring the Bukhara’s ancient site and was aware of local concerns about “potential construction plans” in the buffer zone. Russian tourist Veronika Karobitskaya, who visited Bukhara in 2022, stands next to the carved wooden columns of the Bolo Haouz Mosque in the...

Religion in the Cities of Kazakhstan – Opinion by Gulmira Ileuova

The research discussed in this article was conducted in July-August 2023 by the Strategy Center for Sociological and Political Studies Public Foundation in collaboration with the office of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Central Asia. A total of 1,604 people were surveyed in six cities. Since the goal of the project was to study atheism and atheistic views, the choice of where to conduct the survey was made based on the latest census data, according to which the following regions/cities had the highest proportions of nonbelievers: Kostanay Region (4.84%), Mangystau Region (4.38%), Almaty (4.32%) and Shymkent (3.65%), versus an average across the whole country of 2.25%. Table 1. Religion of the population of Kazakhstan (%; census data)   Muslim Orthodox Refused to answer Nonbeliever Kazakhstan overall 69.31 17.04 11.01 2.25 In cities 64.45 20.45 11.84 2.81   Of course, the term “nonbeliever” is not necessarily equivalent to the concept of “atheist,” but nevertheless we decided to start with these statistics with the goal of understanding the religious identities of city residents in the given areas and identifying the reasons contributing to the increased share of nonbelievers, including atheists. This study was conducted in cities at three administrative-territorial levels: so-called “cities of republic significance” (Almaty and Shymkent); regional capitals (Kostanay and Aktau); small towns (Rudny and Zhanaozen). The survey in these six cities showed that 72% considered themselves Muslim, 10% Orthodox and 4% atheist (Rudny 5.6%, Almaty 4.7%, Zhanaozen 4.5%, Kostanay 3.0%), while about 1% named other denominations (“protestant movements,” “Baptists,” “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” “New Life”). Twelve percent refused to answer the question, while 1% could not answer. Analyzing the responses to this question by age, we see that there are more atheists in the youngest age group of 18-24 years old at almost 5%, while in this same cohort, as well as in the 31-49 age group there is a higher proportion of Muslims (77% each, versus 65% in the 50+ group). A higher share of people over 50 are Orthodox Christians, while in this oldest group more people also refused to the question (17%). Thus, 87% of city dwellers who took part in the survey reported that they were followers of one religion or another. However, if we use the Dawkins spectrum (of theistic probability) – which we slightly modified for the purposes of this study – we see that among those surveyed only 77% were believers. Overall, only 48% were strong theists, absolutely convinced that God exists. Another 29% were uncertain that God exists but still assume so. Twenty percent classified themselves as agnostics – lacking a clear position on whether God exists or not – while 3% are atheists, strong or uncertain.   Table 2. Which statement best reflects your position? (% of total respondents) Statement Share, % Decided theist (I am convinced that God exists) 47.9 Uncertain theist (I do not know for sure that God exists, but the probability is high, so I believe that he does) 29.4 Agnostic (I do not know whether God exists...

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