The race brings international attention to Azerbaijan. But for ordinary Bakuvians it offers mostly headaches.

By Austin Clayton

The official slogan of the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix is “Ignite the City.” But many Baku residents are less than fired up about the race, believing that the international exposure it brings to the country isn’t worth the many inconveniences to locals.

This year’s race, to be held April 26–28, is the fourth iteration of the event. It’s part of a multi-pronged effort to attract international mega events to Baku, and by some measures it has been a success. The last two years, Baku has been chosen as the by the official F1 fan community webpage…

A cultish religious figure in Tbilisi is one of the many manifestations of Georgia’s often unorthodox faith.

By Giorgi Lomsadze

A monastery in Telavi (Eurasianet)

Holding icons and candles, whispering prayers and making the sign of the cross, they stared at the building day and night.

Passers-by would try to work out what was so special about the building — to most, indistinguishable from any of the other surrounding gray, Soviet-built apartment blocks. When this reporter worked up the courage last December to ask what was going on inside, one of the women in the group — like most of the others, headscarved in the manner of Orthodox Christian nuns — responded with beatific certitude: “God lives there.”

In his earthly form…

Kazakhs who cannot afford the expense of a wedding often take loans. Banks even advertise special wedding-themed credit.

By Almaz Kumenov

Nurzhan Atash emceeing at a wedding in Almaty. (courtesy photo)

The bride’s relatives glowed with satisfaction at the scene.

Dozens of guests filed into a huge banquet hall in Almaty teeming with snow-white tables festooned with food, flowers and balloons. The party, or toi as it is known in Kazakh, was a roaring success.

“A good place was chosen, well done,” one satisfied guest said at the wedding party last year.

The master of ceremonies kept people entertained with a barrage of chatter and jokes and coordinated the speeches, games and competitions.

“I’m the life of the party here. I have to organize the event in a…

The dead president’s long shadow is fading. But he’s still Instagramable.

By David Trilling

(All photos by David Trilling)

“You’re American!?” exclaimed Mohammedjon, a stocky, 50-something distributing prayer mats at Kokand’s Norbutabiy Mosque. Mohammedjon hugged me and began to describe his love for Donald Rumsfeld: “The Taliban killed Uzbeks [in Afghanistan]. Locked them in shipping containers. Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of state [sic], a smart man, he saved our cousins. We love him. We love him so much. Uzbekistan loves Donald Rumsfeld.”

Mohammedjon enquired about my family. We discussed American politics. Then he pulled a loop of black prayer beads from his pocket, stuffed them into my hand and wrapped me into another bear hug — declaring that I was welcome at the mosque, welcome in Uzbekistan, welcome to photograph anything.

Старшая дочь лидера нации Дарига Назарбаева дала понять, что не собирается баллотироваться.

Питер Леонард

Токаев примеряет образ президента (официальная страница президентской администрации в Facebook)

Объявив о досрочных президентских выборах в Казахстане 9 апреля, президент Касым-Жомарт Токаев не сказал, будет ли он баллотироваться.

Но, исполняя обязанности президента на протяжении всего лишь трех недель, он уже начинает выглядеть лидером, избрание которого всего лишь вопрос времени.

65-летний Токаев совершил поездку по регионам, где пообщался с населением, заехал в Россию, чтобы встретиться с ее президентом Владимиром Путиным, и объявил о принятии популистских решений. Уже начали появляться рекламные щиты с его изображением.

В списке кандидатов в президенты на предстоящих 9 июня выборах вариантов будет совсем немного. Впрочем, как и всегда. На выборах в апреле 2015 года единственными…

The leader of the nation’s eldest daughter, Dariga Nazarbayeva, indicated she has no intention to run.

By Peter Leonard

Tokayev looking presidential (Presidential administration Facebook page)

While announcing Kazakhstan’s snap presidential election on April 9, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev omitted to say whether he would run.

But in just three weeks in charge, he has already begun to look like the leader-in-waiting.

Tokayev, 65, has toured the provinces to glad-hand people, popped over to Russia to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and announced populist decisions. Billboards with his image have already begun appearing.

When Kazakhstan goes to the polls on June 9, the list of options will be very short. It always is. When Nursultan Nazarbayev got 97.5 …


Critical perspectives and on-the-ground reporting from and about Eurasia

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