09 October 2006

Some context

For those of who didn't know that I am in Biskhkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet Republic, allow me to provide a little (overdue) context. I'm teaching in the Department of Amercian Studies at the American University of Central Asia, which is considered one of the best in the region. I teach in English and the dominant languages here are Russian and Kyrgyz. The Kyrgyz Republic, which just celebrated 15 years of independence from the the fomer Soviet Union, is very poor and riddled with corruption. The average monthly income is about $65, and much lower in the rural areas. The nation had its "Tulip Revolution" about a year and half ago in which the first post-Soviet adminstration was booted from power for being corrrupt and ineffective. The current regime doesn't appear to be much of an improvement. A couple of weeks ago the president's brother lost his position in the government after apparently planting narcotics in the the bags of one of the major oppostion leaders. I live just a few blocks from the university and each day walk by the national executive offices, dubbed the "White House," though I haven't crossed paths with President Bakiyev yet. Stay tuned...

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