Table of contents
“There’s simply no excuse for the EU’s deafening silence on the tenth anniversary of Andijan”, interview with Steve Swerdlow
“Offshore Central Asia: Switzerland as a Site for Political Struggles between Kazakh Elites” by Edward Lemon and Damian Rosset
P. 14 “The status of the Caspian Sea and its legal implications: a basic understanding” by Stylianos A. Sotiriou P. 19 “Seven Secrets of Istaravshan” by Edward Schipke P. 32 “ ‘Uncertain Light’, A Novel that Explores the ‘Floating World’ of Development Workers”, interview with Marion Molteno
Eurasian Dialogue is delighted to introduce the seventh issue of Perspectives on Central Asia . In this issue, we have included interviews and articles on topics ranging from Caspian geopolitics to literature and Uzbek human rights. Uzbekistan has one of the worst human rights records on the planet. Ten years ago this month, soldiers fired on unarmed protestors in the town of Andijan killing over 500 civilians. Eurasian Dialogue spoke with Steve Swerdlow, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch, about the anniversary and the current situation in Uzbekistan. The European Union enforced sanctions against Tashkent after Andijan, but has subsequently softened its stance, Swerdlow argues. A tougher stance towards the Uzbek government, Swerdlow says, can help stimulate positive change in the Central Asian republic. According to Swerdlow, external actors need to put pressure on Tashkent to change its policy. But this process works in reverse as well. In our second article, Edward Lem on and D am ian Rosset, examine how Central Asian regimes project their power abroad. Rather than using force, Central Asian governments use a range of PR firms and lobbyists to play out political struggles offshore. Rosset and Lemon examine how Switzerland has become a key site for Kazakh offshore politics. Kazakh actors are attempting to use Swiss institutions to pursue their critics abroad. Such offshore developments should be taken more !! seriously by policymakers, the public and academics, they argue. In his article, Stylianos Sotiriou examines a different political struggle: the Caspian sea dispute.
Despite many attempts by the littoral states to reach an agreement over how to classify the water basin, no multilateral agreement has been signed. The self-interested policies of these states are to blame for this indeterminacy, according to Sotiriou. Stronger actors such as Russia, Sotiriou argues, actually benefit from this ongoing dispute. It gives Russia a chance to pursue its goals unilaterally and capitalise on its position as regional hegemon. From geopolitics to local politics, Edward Schipke transports the reader to the dusty streets of Istaravshan in his article. Despite being Tajikistan’s fifth largest city, it is frequently overlooked by passers-by. Schipke traces the city’s history from the time of Alexander the Great, through the Russian conquest, Soviet era and independence. Its Timurid splendours and sleepy appearance mask a darker side; a brutally repressive regime tries to stamp out the signs of religiosity in its own War on Terror. M arion M olteno also explores fear and insecurity in her novel Uncertain Light, which is set in the last months of the Tajik civil war. Marion spoke with Eurasian Dialogue about her experiences as an international development worker, visiting Tajikistan in 1997 and why she decided that Central Asia would be an interesting place to set a novel. We hope you enjoy reading this issue!
“T HERE ’ S SIMPLY NO EXCUSE FOR THE EU’ S DEAFENING SILENCE ON THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF
A NDIJAN ”
INTERVIEW WITH STEVE SWERDLOW 13 May 2015 saw the tenth anniversary of the Andijan massacre, in which Uzbek soldiers killed over 500 unarmed protestors. Despite limited efforts by external actors to put pressure on the regime, Uzbekistan continues to have one of the worst human rights records in the world. In the