Thousands of migrant workers from Uzbekistan have been stranded for weeks at the Russia-Kazakhstan border. Left without work in Russia amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they sought to make their way home by land through Kazakhstan—only to find the border closed by Kazakh authorities. The migrants have set up a makeshift camp in an open field, where they are struggling without adequate food, water or supplies in severe summer heat.
The camp is in the locality of Mashtakov, on the border between Orenburg and Samara oblasts. It is being watched over by a detachment of the Russian Guards paramilitary border police. Water is brought in by truck twice a day by local authorities in Samara’s Bolshechernigovsky district, but little other aid is being provided. (Meduza)
Fears of COVID-19 were heightened in Kazakhstan with the news that the country’s “First President” Nursultan Nazarbayev, 80, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, as acknowledged by his own press service. Known as “Elbasy”—Leader of the Nation—Nazarbayev resigned from the presidency in March 2019, but retained not only his formal titles, including First President, but significant positions of power. Nazarbayev, who ruled for 29 years, is lifetime chair of Kazakhstan’s Security Council, giving him effective control of the armed forces. Upon his resignation, the capital, Astana, was formally renamed Nur-Sultan in his honor. (The Diplomat, Astana Times)