Tales from KZ

Kazakhstan. Perry. A New Community.

Appropriate it’s based in Turkmenistan

Courtesy of The United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (http://unrcca.unmissions.org/Default.aspx?tabid=1996)

Q1. How large is UNRCCA?


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Q2. When was UNRCCA created?


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Q3. What were the circumstances surrounding the creation of UNRCCA?

Q4. How long is its mandate?


UNRCCA created on XX/YY/YYYY.

Q5. What is its main function?


United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplimacy for Central Asia.


June 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Better Late…

*WPD101   06/14/2010

U.S. Aids Victims of Ethnic Violence in Kyrgyzstan

() (511)

By Stephen Kaufman

Staff Writer

Washington — The Obama administration wants a coordinated international response to address the ongoing ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan and is providing humanitarian assistance for the victims, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.

Speaking to reporters June 14, Crowley said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke earlier in the day about the situation with the foreign minister of Kazakhstan, which borders Kyrgyzstan, and Crowley affirmed that U.S. officials are maintaining “very close touch” with the Kyrgyz Republic’s provisional government over the situation.

“We, along with other international donors, are in the process of providing humanitarian aid, and we are in discussions with the provisional government regarding their humanitarian requirements,” Crowley said. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake has also reached out to Kyrgyz authorities to determine if they need any nonhumanitarian assistance.

The United States is looking at how it can work within the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and with countries in the region “to provide assistance and help the provisional government stabilize the situation,” Crowley said.

Violence between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks, who constitute nearly 1 million of Kyrgyzstan’s 5.5 million people, has raged since June 10 in southern Kyrgyzstan. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), more than 100 people have been killed and more than 1,200 injured since then, and an estimated 80,000 have fled their homes seeking to cross into neighboring Uzbekistan.

The ICRC launched a preliminary emergency appeal June 14 for funding to enable it to help 100,000 victims, according to a June 14 statement by the organization.

ICRC spokesman Pierre-Emmanuel Ducruet said that while the situation in the city of Osh had grown “a little calmer,” nearby Jalal-Abad has grown “very dangerous.” Osh, the second-largest city in Kyrgyzstan, is located in the southern portion of the country; many supporters of former president Kurmanbek Bakiev are concentrated in the area. Bakiev was ousted during civil unrest in April ( http://www.america.gov/st/peacesec-english/2010/April/20100408154911dmslahrellek0.4479792.html ) and the interim provisional government took over.

In southern Kyrgyzstan, “some areas are deserted and we believe many people are staying in their homes because they are too scared to leave,” Ducruet said.

At the OSCE’s Annual Security Review Conference in Vienna, Nancy McEldowney, the State Department’s principal deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in Kyrgyzstan and offered condolences to the victims.

“This tragedy is a powerful reminder of the fact that we, the participating states of the OSCE have a responsibility to take all possible action to prevent these types of conflict, and to help resolve them once they occur,” she said.

McEldowney reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the OSCE, and said she hopes delegates to the security review conference will use the occasion to “discuss, debate and decide upon practical ways to improve and expand the capacity of the OSCE to solve problems and enhance the lives of those who live throughout the OSCE space.”

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.  Web site: http://www.america.gov)


QUESTION:  P.J., do you have a comment on the situation in Kyrgyzstan, which was turning in a rather (inaudible)?  Do you keep in touch with the authorities in Bishkek over that?  And what is the latest status of the Manas Transit Center?

MR. CROWLEY:  Well, let’s see.  Let’s start with the – we are concerned about reports of loss of life and injuries.  And there were reports of serious Kyrgyz and Uzbek clashes in the city of Osh that began overnight.  We have been in touch with the Kyrgyz Government about the violence.  We have done our own checking and report no American injuries or casualties at this point.  We are obviously staying on top of that situation.  Meanwhile, we do continue to talk to the Kyrgyz Government about the transit center at Manas.

June 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Good Job US Embassy in Kazakhstan

June 14 2010


It’s horrible to follow a horrible situation and know that there should, at a minimum, be greater awareness of what’s going on, if not calls for action to protect innocent people from further slaughter.  At least there’s some coverage in American newspapers and on blogs.

Especially given that state of facts, it’s amazing that the US Embassy in Kazakhstan’s weekly e-mail update (in both English and Russian), sent out Monday morning, KZ time, includes absolutely no mention of the violence/unrest in Southern Kyrgyzstan.

See below for the weekly update.

from info@usembassy.kz <info@usembassy.kz>
date Sun, Jun 13, 2010 at 11:15 PM
subject Washington File – Monday, June 14, 2010




English (public-domain) Edition

Friday, 11 June 2010

(Send your requests and complaints to wffeedback@state.gov)


501  Open Skies Treaty Fulfills Arms Control Needs

()  (746)


502  Expanding U.S. Economic Opportunities with China

()  (651)


503  American Soccer Star Shares Love of Sport from Cairo to Cape Town

(Lorrie Fair explores power of soccer on way to FIFA World Cup)  (803)

504  Pakistan’s Economy Seen as Resilient, Despite Challenges

(Governance, security issues closely tied to economic growth)  (1062)


505  South China: Networking for Climate Change Solutions

()  (827)


506  Iraq Takes Control of Web-Based Library for Its Scientists

(U.S. agencies support low-cost access to online educational materials)  (755)

507  Algerian-American Groups Celebrate Through Science, Culture

(Regional and online organizations support strong Algeria-U.S. ties)  (883)


508  New Voices in Fiction: 20 Under 40

(The New Yorker magazine hails promising young writers)  (1033)

509  Participation in Art and Entertainment Empowers Arab Americans

(Playwright Betty Shamieh outlines keys to success for Arab-American artists)


510  Americans Devoted to Arab Causes Receive Recognition

(Academic, journalist and culture guardians honored at convention luncheon)



511  Transcript: White House Press Briefing, June 10

(Press secretary Robert Gibbs briefs reporters on a range of topics)  (9133)

512  Transcript: State Department Daily Press Briefing, June 10

(Assistant Secretary Philip Crowley briefs reporters on range of topics)


513  Text: Statement on Escape of Sudanese Convicted of Killing Aid Workers

(U.S. expects Sudanese authorities to apprehend convicted murderers)  (237)

514  Text: Statement by Secretary Clinton on Day of Russia

(Reaffirms U.S. commitment to strengthen, renewed relationship with Russia)


515  Text: Statement on Visit of Russian President Medvedev to White House

(Obama looks forward to discussing bilateral relations with Russia)  (398)

516  Text: President Obama on Philippine Independence Day

(Obama sends best wishes to people of Philippines on their 112th anniversary)


517  Transcript: Secretary Geithner’s Remarks at Senate Finance Hearing on


(Testifies on policy actions to strengthen U.S.-China economic

relationship)  (2756)

518  Text: Ambassador Marantis at Foreign Trade University in Vietnam

(USTR official urges Vietnam to take part in Trans-Pacific Partnership)  (1808)

519  Text: Treasury Official on Global Recovery, Asia, Financial Landscape

(Brainard’s speech at Federal Reserve Bank Conference in San Francisco)  (2173)

520  Transcript: Remarks by Clinton, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Spencer

(Diplomats answers questions on security, BP oil spill, Iran, trade and more)


521  Transcript: U.S. Statement on May 30 Municipal Elections in Georgia

(U.S. congratulates Georgia on progress toward meeting OSCE standards)  (398)

Word Count Total:  33979


June 14, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Wednesday, June 9 2010
Pinckney, MI, USA
It’s already been 6 months since I was last in Kyrgyzstan.  As everyone who spent even one day on the road with me learned, I take a lot of pictures while traveling.  When I returned home, unfortunately, that has resulted in countless hours reviewing and deleting photos.  In my four months around Central Asia and the Caucuses, I took around 30,000 pictures.  I’m still deleting.
Like its neighbors, Kyrgyzstan had a case of Presidential Billboard Syndrome (PBS).  PBS manifests itself in poorly photoshopped pictures of the country’s president hanging over roads across main cities, provincial capitals, rural towns, and middle-of-nowhere roads.  Clearly, more billboards equals greater respect and appreciation of the President.  A main diagnostic factor in PBS is multitudes of children.  Everyone loves children, no one more than the President of any country, particularly when he is embracing a faintly smiling crowd in a stadium or a field of cotton.

Former Kyrgyzstan President Kurmanbek Bakiyev

I expected the pictures I took of President Bakiev’s smiling face would be up for a long time to come.  5 months later, I imagine these non-environmentally friendly huge sheets of plastic are protecting someone’s home from rain, or is still laying along the side of the road.
With the focus on democratic change, I imagine the interim government has so far avoided PBS.  That’s too bad for the advertising companies.
I’m told, however, it’s like the flu.  As soon as election season and a new administration arrives, I would not be surprised if it’s back.  The election may be all about the people and democracy, but the billboards will likely not stay away for long in some form.

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev

President Imomali Rakhmonov of Tajikistan and President Dmitry Medvedev adorning a Tajik-Russian school in Dushanbe

President Berdymuhamedov of Turkmenistan and the entire nation

While no longer the President of Azerbaijan, his picture is everywhere, unlike that of his son, Ilham Aliyev, the current President

June 9, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jews in the Steppe: An American Jew in Kazakhstan and Ukraine

Originally posted at http://www.jdcinservice.org/jdcnextgeneration/jews-in-the-steppe-an-american-jew-in-kazakhstan-and-ukraine

JDC Short-Term Service welcomes past participants to share reflections on their service with jdcinservice.org. Today, Perry Teicher, 25, reflects on his time serving throughout the Former Soviet Union.

When I traveled to Ukraine with JDC Short-Term Service and University of Michigan Hillel in 2005, it was (surprisingly for me as I thought back on it) my third time in the sphere of influence of the Former Soviet Union. In 2000 and 2002, I had been to Bulgaria on earlier Jewish service learning trips. While not officially a part of the Soviet Union, Bulgaria’s Jewish community suffered a similar identity loss as the other countries behind the Iron Curtain.

With each trip, the reality of the Jewish communities we spoke with, built community centers with, drank with, danced with, sang with, and ate with became more real. In Ukraine, our 15 UM students worked side-by-side 15 Jewish Ukrainian youth for 10 days, tearing down an old building, constructing a new community center and picking potatoes in Konotop, a small village in the eastern part of the country. I thought this would be the last of my few and far between trips to the FSU.

Как страна. How strange. After graduating from the University of Michigan, I found myself living and working in Kazakhstan as a Peace Corps Volunteer for over two years. I had no inkling that, through this experience, I would connect with the Jewish community in my adopted country. Fortunately, Peace Corps was open to the idea, and through my connection to JDC – and JDC’s connection to the community – the Jewish community welcomed me with open arms. My JDC Short-Term Service trip opened my eyes to the vivacity of the Jewish communities of the FSU.  Peace Corps gave me the opportunity to connect and engage with a unique Jewish community in a deeper manner. 10 days working with a Jewish community is a great introduction to communal life and challenges; living in a community gives you an understanding of daily life, history, and potential.

During my Peace Corps service, I celebrated the holidays with the Jewish community in Aktobe (my site) and Almaty (the economic center). Within a few weeks of arriving in Aktobe, I was invited to a community Hannukah dinner, with about 25 other members of the Jewish community. Although a mostly older crowd, there were a few younger couples around the table. Even though I spoke Russian like a 6-year-old, I was welcomed with open arms. After eating more than my stomach could handle, I started to feel a part of the community, leading to more dinners, Shabbat services, and Hesed events over the next two years.

In 2008, JDC invited me to participate in two JDC Short-Term Service trips that were working with the Jewish community in Almaty. In Summer 2008, a group of Tufts students came to Kazakhstan, followed by an NYU group in Summer 2009. Both groups spent 10 days cleaning the houses of elderly Jews in Almaty, weeding their overgrown gardens, playing with kids at Jewish summer camp, and renovating the Jewish community center.

And while the experience definitely had a clear impact on the American students, the impact on the Kazakhstani Jewish community has also been far-reaching. Spending more time with the Kazakhstani Jewish community months later, the impact of these groups is very clear – perspectives of the Jewish community widened and needed help was performed, in a manner that created new ideas, new understandings, new programs, and lasting positive impressions.

My experience over the last two years reminded me that participation on a JDC Short-Term Service trip, or living among a Jewish community abroad, you are only seeing part of the community, that the experience is a segment of a bigger canvas of Jewish life.

Intense experiences such as these often make it difficult to reengage with what used to be “everyday life”.  It would be easy to segment my experiences with the Jewish communities of the FSU as a one-time experience; as something that happened and is done. But that is not the case. These experiences are not just memories to be filed away and pulled-out when useful.  Rather, these last two years, and the earlier trips, built real bonds and inspired new ideas that influence everything I do.

June 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment