Chronology: Central Asia and the Caucasus

The Middle East Journal, Spring 2010 | Go to article overview

Chronology: Central Asia and the Caucasus


Oct. 20: The Cabinet and Prime Minister Igor Chudinov resigned after Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev instituted sweeping administrative reforms. The reforms would do away with several state institutions and, according to critics, give President Bakiev and his youngest son unfettered control over many aspects of the government. [RFE-RL, 10/20]

A new investigation into the suspicious death of Georgia's first democratically elected President, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, was ordered by Parliament. According to official sources, Zviad died in 1993 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. However, some of his supporters claimed that he was murdered. [Reuters, 10/20]

Oct. 21: Daniyar Usenov, former Chief of Staff to President Kurmanbek Bakiev, was nominated to be the next Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan. The ruling Ak Jol party gave their support to the nomination shortly after it was announced. [RFE-RL, 10/21]

Oct. 22: Gevorg Airapetian, a former Lieutenant Colonel in the Armenian Army, was accused of spying for Azerbaijan and was to be tried for "treason in the form of espionage." If found guilty, Airapetian could have been sentenced to 10-15 years in jail. Airapetian had been discharged from the military in 2007 for "violations of military and service regulations and discipline." [RFE-RL, 10/22]

Oct. 27: The EU lifted its arms embargo on Uzbekistan - the last of the sanctions imposed on the country following an incident in 2005 in which government troops reportedly killed hundreds of protesters. [RFE-RL, 10/27]

Oct. 29: Turkmen environmental activist Andrei Zatoka was sentenced to five years in prison for attacking a man nine days prior. His supporters said that the charges were politically motivated. Zatoka had run an environmental protection group before it was shut down by the Turkmen government in 2003. [RFE-RL, 10/29]

Oct. 30: Maksim Bakiev, Kyrgyz President Kumanbek Bakiev's youngest son, was appointed the Director of the Central Agency for Development, Investment, and Innovations. Bakiev had been involved in Kyrgyz politics since 2005, when his father was elected. However, members of opposition groups criticized the appointment, saying Bakiev's was an attempt to concentrate power in his family. [RFE-RL, 10/30]

Nov. 1: Tsotne Gamsakhurdia, the son of the late Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Georgia's first democratically elected President, was charged with attempted murder for shooting and wounding his neighbor, David Bazhelidze. Gamsakhurdia's supporters said that the charge was politically motivated and had staged a protest outside of the Georgia State Chancellery on October 30 demanding his release. [RFE-RL, 11/1]

Nov. 5: Tajik President Emomali Rahmon issued a directive that would pardon approximately 10,000 prisoners. Foreign nationals, individuals over the age of 55, and convicts who were under the age of 18 when they committed their crimes were the most likely candidates for pardons. It was not announced when the prisoners would be released. [RFE-RL, 11/5]

Nov. 7: Uzbekistan released Sanjar Umarov, an opposition leader who was jailed in 2005 after a brief fraud trial. Umarov reportedly was tortured and denied medical treatment and consistent legal representation while in prison. [EurasiaNet, 11/20]

Nov. 9: Senior NATO official Robert Simmons announced that Armenia planned to send a contingent of 30 soldiers to Afghanistan in 2010. At the time of the announcement, Armenia did not have troops in Afghanistan; this contingent would be the first to be deployed to the country. A request was sent to Parliament for final approval. [RFE-RL, 11/9]

Nov. 11: Azerbaijani youth activists and bloggers Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli were charged with hooliganism and violence and sentenced to two and two and a half years in prison, respectively. The trial and verdict were criticized as an attempt to stifle free speech by international observers, including the US State Department. …

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