One of the things that the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro were marked by is a large-scale disqualification of Russia’s sportsmen. From a sports event it has changed into a political scandal, and it is the first big scandal in the history of the Olympics of the 21st century. But even under the unprecedentedly high international pressure sports officials managed to refrain from a complete disqualification of Russia’s sportsmen. (The strength of this pressure became obvious when the International Paralympic Committee completely disqualified Russia). Russia’s sportsmen show

The death of Islam Karimov sparked discussions, not only on the future of Uzbekistan, but also on the geopolitical meaning of Central Asia. One thing is clear: despite the region’s importance, the major outside powers encounter significant difficulties when attempting to improve their standing there. The West, Russia, China, India, Turkey, the Gulf states and Iran all have reasons to engage with Central Asian republics, and all need to expend a great deal of effort to secure sustainable results for their policies. In this game, Russia might be proving itself to be the strongest player.