In the first episode of our new podcast: When Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin visited Central Asia this week, it was clear the Chinese president held the upper hand. Xi made a strong statement of support for Kazakh territorial integrity and sovereignty, while Russia's leader struggled to explain his faltering war in Ukraine. It was a watershed movement in the region's independent history, as the countries draw closer to China and further from Russia.
Also, the worst violence yet between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan flared as their leaders were sitting alongside the Russian and Chinese presidents at a regional security summit. The violence made the Shanghai Cooperation Organization look like just another toothless talk shop.
Plus: Goodbye Nur-Sultan. Snap elections. And more.