September 30, 2023

The man that might have saved North Korea and Afghanistan

Aleksandr Puzanov was Moscow’s diplomat in Pyongyang and Kabul as both countries tipped over the precipice

The world has looked on in shock and sorrow this week as Afghanistan fell to the Taliban after the United States’ 20-year nation-building experiment. Progress made toward women’s rights, press freedoms and secularism appears to be collapsing in a matter of days. 

Thousands of kilometers away, millions live under the rule of Kim Jong Un and cannot imagine anything different. With its draconian COVID-19 border lockdowns likely to remain in place for some years, the North Korean state has reinserted itself into an economy that had grown progressively more open, derailing free market principles in what appears to be a return to greater centralized control.