• KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 26

Is Kazakhstan’s Parliament About to Ban Religious Clothing?

The Kazakh authorities are once again trying to restrict the wearing of religious clothing -- hijabs and niqabs -- in public places. There have been heated discussions on social media, and Muslim women have appealed to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev himself. The hijab (headscarf) has long become an everyday accessory, and today, the secular part of society is trying to prevent its wearing in schools. However, women wearing niqabs -- a long, usually black cape that covers the face -- are increasingly common on the streets. Many Kazakhs consider the niqab categorically unacceptable. The issue of wearing religious clothing in public places may be considered in Kazakhstan's parliament, said Yermurat Bapi, a member of the Majilis (lower house of parliament). "Now, the most important issue for us is to preserve our country's national interests, traditions, and culture. And if we look at the current situation, more Kazakhs are dressed in black in society. This situation seriously harms our future national interests," Bapi said. "That is why we, a group of deputies, have prepared such a bill. It will be submitted to the Parliament at the fall session. I think that the issue of hijab, niqab, and other religious clothing in society will be solved after its adoption. Then we will be able to regulate the issues of religious dress in some way," he added. In May this year, President Tokayev spoke sharply about covered faces. "Dressing in all black contradicts the worldview of our people, is thoughtless copying of foreign norms, conditioned by religious fanaticism. We must not break away from our spiritual roots and erode our national identity," he said. Also, in October 2023, Minister of Culture and Information Aida Balayeva said that the new law on religion will prohibit wearing religious clothing in public places. Kazakhstan has been trying to solve the problem of wearing religious clothing in schools, universities, courts, and other organizations for years. In the past, the ban on wearing hijabs to school repeatedly caused clashes between school administrations, akimats (mayor's offices), and parents of female students. For example, in Atyrau region in 2023, more than 150 girls refused to attend classes without a hijab. As the Ministry of Education explained, the parents were spoken with, after which the children returned to classes. Experts believe the hijab and niqab have become fashion elements imposed by foreign influences alien to Kazakhstanis. However, local theologians are virtually unanimous: Kazakh women have never covered their faces. "After gaining independence, our youth began to study in foreign educational institutions and began to instill in our people certain clothes and dress codes, which were abroad: in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other Muslim countries. These are their customs, especially about covering the face. Popularly it is called a burqa -- a headscarf with slits for the eyes -- but in Arabic it is called a niqab. The niqab, which completely covers the face, is generally unacceptable for our people, and our people do not use it. Today, in some regions of our...

Threat of Cholera Prompts Tajikistan to Test Its Water

Due to reported cholera cases in Afghanistan, Tajikistan's health ministry has taken strict control of water quality in the border areas of the Panj River and some districts of the Khatlon region. The deputy head of Tajikistan's sanitary surveillance service, Navruz Jafarov, said that a large-scale inspection of open water sources in the border areas of Khatlon region has been underway since June 3rd. Specialists are taking water samples and conducting tests to prevent the possible spread of infection. The main reason for the inspections is the cholera outbreak in Afghanistan, which reached dangerous levels last year. "The disease has spread to the districts of Balkh, Kunduz, Tahor, and Badakhshon, as well as areas bordering Tajikistan. In this regard, the water in the Panj River in the border areas is under strict control of specialists of the Republican Center for Quarantine Disease Control of the Ministry of Health," Jafarov said. He said five rivers in Tajikistan cross the border with Afghanistan. The disease may come to Tajikistan if floods or sewage from Afghan villages enter the rivers.

Kazakhstan in 80th Place in New Global Ranking of Average Wages

In a new ranking of the gross average salary in 196 countries recently published by CEO World Magazine, Kazakhstan is in 80th place. The average wage in the country amounts to $673 per month. Salaries are highest in the oil-producing western Atyrau and Mangystau regions, followed by the capital city Astana, and business capital Almaty. Wages are lowest in the southern regions of Zhambyl, Zhetysu and Turkestan, as well as in the North Kazakhstan region. Gross wages are the total sum of wages before taxes and other deductions, such as contributions to pension funds, health insurance, and others. Kazakhstan has the highest average salaries in Central Asia, followed by Turkmenistan ($654 per month), Uzbekistan ($351), Kyrgyzstan ($228) and Tajikistan ($169). The CEO World ranking states that in the first quarter of 2024, the average monthly nominal salary of workers in Kazakhstan amounted to 382,000 tenge ($844), which is 12.2% more in value terms than a year earlier. The index of real wages amounted to 102.7%, which shows an increase in purchasing power of 2.7%.

Protecting Women and Children Helps Preserve, Not Contradict, Traditional Family Values in Kazakhstan

In today's rapidly evolving world, traditional values can sometimes clash with progressive movements advocating for inclusivity and modern perspectives in many areas of life. While these values are often seen as barriers, they can instead serve as a source of stability and continuity when thoughtfully upheld. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is aligning legislative reforms with Kazakhstan's family values while integrating them with the society's progressive aspirations. At a recent meeting with young scientists in Almaty, President Tokayev took aim at domestic violence calling it “a manifestation of backwardness and moral degradation.”  He added that “only a society that values ​​and respects women can be considered truly civilized and cultured.”  Regulatory actions In his speech, Tokayev placed “strengthening of the institution of the family” at the center of modernizing Kazakhstani society. “After all, comprehensive protection of the rights of women and children does not at all contradict the preservation of traditional family values ​​and, on the contrary, contributes to their further strengthening”, he said. “From the first days of my presidency, I have been paying great attention to protecting the rights of women and children. We are consistently taking legislative and institutional measures in this direction,” he noted.  This is not a new issue for the President, who in his September 2022 address, had already ordered stricter penalties for domestic violence. His agenda to strengthen protective measures sped up following the high-profile murder of Saltanat Nukenova in November 2023 by her husband, an influential former minister.  The events following this tragedy helped bring about new laws, inspired a culture of zero tolerance for any form of violence, and perhaps even opened the way for further reforms. On April 15, 2024, Tokayev signed a landmark law criminalizing violence against women and children, reversing a 2017 decriminalization. In two weeks, these amendments will be put into effect. The government’s response to the death of Nukenova and to the events following it, including the public reaction, has garnered international praise.  Promoting a values-based society Tokayev in his Almaty speech expressed that “not all problems can be solved by passing or tightening the law,” and adding that “everyone must start with themselves changing for the better”. “Family values ​​should be established in every home”, he said, highlighting the key role of women in raising the new generation.  Tokayev also prescribed enforcing good values in educational institutions while acknowledging that the country’s education system still had shortcomings. This is another example of how the leadership’s rhetoric matters in advancing a society. Tokayev continues to set the tone for his country on women’s rights. As the Washington Post wrote on May 13, 2024, “Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has repeatedly spoken about strengthening protections for women.”  Tokayev’s messaging of values has indeed been consistent – with a focus on rule of law as a basis for the protection of rights of all citizens.  The future The President’s actions have already begun inculcating a culture of no tolerance for aggression against women. “Today, the problem of domestic violence is widely...

Kazakhstan’s Bolashak Program: More Trouble Than It’s Worth?

In 1993, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first president of Kazakhstan, established the Bolashak ('Future' in Kazakh) International Scholarship. Its goal was to help gifted Kazakhstani youth obtain a high-quality foreign education. However, the program is currently mired in scandals with alarming regularity. Of course, most of these clickbait stories are minor — such as a 2022 incident with the famous singer Dimash Qudaibergen. He was selected for the Bolashak Program and went abroad before changing his mind. He tried to transfer the scholarship to someone else but was forced to return the money to the state. Still, several cases indicate that behind the scenes at the Center for International Programs, which administers the scholarship, something is not right. So far, no one has intervened – the program is still running – but the latest scandal could attract the attention of Kazakhstan's president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. And he has already expressed dissatisfaction with some of the conditions of the scholarship. Getting the president’s attention Let’s unpack the current scandal, which has to be extinguished by a senior official such as the minister of education and science. Kazakhstani Natalya Vorobyova recorded a video message to Tokayev, saying that in 2016, she and her colleague Makpal Daribaeva acted as debt guarantors for her former colleague Valeria Gavrilenko, who had completed the Bolashak Program. According to Vorobyova, Gavrilenko “in 2019, conspiring with the center’s employees… illegally withdrew two apartments [that had been pledged to the center] as collateral and went off to live in the UK.” Now, her debt – graduates of the program are required to work in Kazakhstani government agencies for 3-5 years (depending on the region) – has to be repaid by the guarantors, i.e., by Vorobyova and Daribaeva. They owe about KZT30 million ($60,000). The press service of the Center for International Programs explained that since Gavrilenko evaded paying off the debt, the agreement transferred it to the guarantors. Just days later, on May 30, Sayasat Nurbek, who heads Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Education and Science, intervened, saying that an agreement had been reached with Gavrilenko whereby she would pay off her debt, with a corresponding agreement already signed by her. “Since Gavrilenko took it upon herself to fully return the money, an agreement was signed with her, and she has begun to pay back the money. Accordingly, the claims against the guarantors are withdrawn. Nevertheless, we were forced to initiate a case against all three obligation-bearers. We were forced to do this because they are jointly liable under the law. If Gavrilenko pays the full amount, the claims against the guarantors will be dropped. Unfortunately, they seem to have been advised incorrectly. They felt threatened that they would be forced to pay full damages. Today, we are concentrating all claims on Gavrilenko,” Nurbek said in the Senate as he was answering questions from journalists. As for the third party in this scandal – which, according to the minister, is also responsible – it is the former president of the Center for International...

Turkmenistan Restricts Women From Obtaining Driving Licenses

It is becoming more and more difficult for women to drive in Turkmenistan, with requirements for obtaining a driver's license often oppressively strict. Turkmenistan has restricted women's rights for many years, including their freedom to drive a car. In 2017 Turkmen police began revoking women's driving licenses and refusing to issue them with new ones. From the beginning of 2023 women had to be over the age of 41 to learn to drive, and even then driving schools would only accept them if they provided marriage certificates and character references. It is reported that in the country's Mary region it is now almost impossible for women to drive a car. Women who already have a license can only renew it when it expires if they have a vehicle registered in their name. “Often, the cars driven by women are not registered in their name, and they use vehicles registered in the name of their brothers or husbands by power of attorney. Now they have to transfer the cars to their name or buy a new car to get a driver's license; otherwise, they will not be issued a new document,” Radio Azatlyk wrote. According to local sources, police officers are refusing to issue licenses to women under the age of 35. One resident added: “You also need a medical certificate from a psychiatric dispensary to renew your license. They are obtained in local medical institutions. The cost of renewing a driver's license will cost 200 to 400 manats ($57-$114). Mary residents said using a bribe is the easiest way to solve the problem. “Men can get a driver's license by paying a bribe of 4,000 manat ($1141), while a woman will have to pay 6,000 to 7,000 manat ($1712 to $1997),” the resident said. Turkmen officials deny any discrimination against women, and maintain that gender equality is fully respected in the country.