President Almazbek Atambayev, after completing a tour of his neighboring countries in Central Asia, announced a deal on Tuesday with neighboring Kazakhstan that would supply some 1,400 kilowatt hours of electricity to power-starved Kyrgyzstan. Atambayev has been on a tour around Central Asia courting power agreements, and has been able to ink key agreements with Turkmenistan who has also promised to transport 1,000 kilowatt hours to Kyrgyzstan.
However, additional considerations abound. Atambayev has stated the next step to receive Turkmen power comes from Uzbekistan, the way station for any transportation between the two countries. Relations between the two countries are extremely strained due to an ongoing water dispute, which ironically is also the source of Kyrgyzstan’s current power outages. Hydroelectric dams outside of Bishkek have been suffering from much lower water levels, which the Uzbek government has blamed on Kyrgyz rationing. Additionally this limits irrigation for the crucial Uzbek cotton industry, which is its main source of revenue.
With water levels in Kyrgyzstan’s major reservoir down by 25% this year, Kyrgyzstan is facing a deficit this winter expected to total at around 2/5 billion kilowatt hours.
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- Courts in Xinjiang province convicted another 22 ethnic Uighurs to prison on charges of “illegal religious activities.” The convicts, most of whom labeled “underground imams,” had been detained for supporting Islam, the province’s historic language, throughout Xinjiang. Jail terms ranging from 5 to 16 years in prison were handed down to the 22.
- Russia and China inked another historically significant gas deal that will see Russia supply an additional $400 billion in gas over the next 30 years. The move draws Moscow closer to Beijing and relieves some of the pressure on Moscow to find another outlet for its wealth of gas reserves now that European markets have begun to look to other sources to meet their energy needs.
- Iran and Russia came to terms on a deal that will see Russia lead the construction of two nuclear reactors inside of Iran. Russia’s state owned nuclear giant Rosatom will head up the projects, which will see the installation of two new plants near the Bushehr nuclear plant in southwestern Iran. Iranian cooperation with Russia has increased, with the two sides using their common position as Western anathema states to bolster relations.
- CNN announced that it will cease the broadcast of news on Russian cable and satellite television. The announcement came after CNN executives criticized the Russian government for alleged censoring of CNN-affiliated broadcasts within the country. CNN’s parent company, Turner International, released a statement declaring the “end of existing distribution relationships” throughout the country.