The only English-language newspaper available in Kyrgyzstan is called The Times of Central Asia. It’s an interesting little paper; you never know what you’re going to get. We picked one up yesterday.
The lead story was a report of Vladimir Zhirinovsky's, the deputy speaker of the Duma, visit to Turkmenistan. I don’t know how a person could have written it without laughing- my husband and I certainly didn’t. It talked about how Zhirinovsky believes Turkmenistan is a model for other FSRs in its deveolpment of democracy and a market economy. I think they’re a little confused on deomcracy. Niyazov, the president, has been in for 14 years, and the main legislative body is not elected.
Niyazov also regretfully accepted his country’s refusal to allow him to retire in 2009. "We are happy with you!" This about the man who closed all medical facilities and libraries outside the capital, prohibited all recorded music, proposed building an ice palace in a country that reaches 122 degrees in the summer, wrote a book that everyone in the country must read, and more.
There are interesting little tidbits too. A week or two ago one article said the goal of the US is to bring down Islam Karimov, the president of Uzbekistan so that Uzbekistan can be parceled out among Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. I am sure that is high on the US’s list of foreign policy goals.
There are things worth reading though, at least because I can go to the internet for more information about those things and see some different points of view (or at least to find out where the newspaper got its information!). See here and here for more information about the first women’s shelter in Tajikistan.