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In the past few months Kazakhstan, once the quietest country in Central Asia, has turned into a hotbed of extremism. On December 16th when Kazakhstan marked its Independence Day, violent clashes took place in the western town of Zhanaozen in Mangistau district.

This September was marked with a recurrence of pipeline disputes between Russia and the EU. On September 16, Russian premier V. Putin blessed in Sochi an agreement on the construction of the marine section of South Stream, the pipeline intended to rid Russia of the dependence on Ukraine for gas transit to Europe.

The present list of top 10 developments in Central Asia in 2010 was compiled on the basis of the author's assessment of their impact on the region's political and socioeconomic landscape. In any case, the developments surveyed below will likely have enduring repercussions for Central Asia.

The water dispute between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan stemming from the Rogun hydroelectric plant project and the related problem of water volumes availability intensified this fall. One of the causes behind the escalation is that Tajikistan is about to face the traditional seasonal electricity rationing, another – that Russia's involvement in Tajikistan's hydroelectric projects meant to lift the republic out of chronic energy poverty is going to be under the spotlight during prime minister V. Putin's November 25 visit to Dushanbe.

Unrest has lingered in the southern part of Kyrgyzstan since the April 7 coup. Recently, local Kyrgyz and Uzbek populations clashed in the Jalal-Abad province, the displaced Kyrgyz President K. Bakiev being widely suspected of organizing the riots.
Early on May 19, up to 3,000 people rallied at the city`s horse racetrack in Jalal-Abad. The protesters expressed discontent with regional governor Bektur Asanov and demanded the arrest of local Uzbek minority leader Kadyrzhan Batyrov, accusing him of stirring up ethnic tensions in the region. Later the crowd marched towards the downtown Jalal-Abad.