KelKel Keeps Fighting

by Nathan Hamm on 3/31/2005 · 7 comments

RFE/RL has a superb article on KelKel:

Moreover, KelKel — which has 1,000 members and claims to be growing — warns it will keep the country’s new leaders under a watchful eye.

Mamasaliev says KelKel already has questions regarding the composition of the new government and an attempt by the country’s new leadership to impose control over national television. He says his group has a responsibility to “defend the achievements” of the revolution.

“If the policy conducted by [prime minister and interim president Kurmanbek] Bakiev runs counter to our expectations — and this is not only my personal opinion, I think this is also the opinion of all the members of our organization — we will remain an alternative for civil society,” he says. “We would like to exert control on the government and, if we are unhappy [with political developments], we will again stage rallies.”

What’s happening in Kyrgyz politics remains a pretty mixed bag. It’s good to see that there is a growing group that is committed to responsive government rather than particular personalities.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Laurence March 31, 2005 at 1:34 pm

Nathan, I’m always skeptical of RFE/RL, and checked this story on the Kel Kel Website. Contrary to your blurb, Kel Kel is indeed tied to a specific personality:

KelKel (Path to Revival) was founded in mid-January following protests earlier in the month in support of Atajurt co-head Roza Otunbaeva.

To my eye, the former professor of dialectical materialism at Kyrgyz State University may have set up her own personal Pioneers or Komsomol or Red Guard. But, of course, I could be wrong…

Laurence March 31, 2005 at 1:35 pm

BTW Let’s see how whether Kel Kel now deletes this link, will they cover up their own history? Luckily, it is saved on my hard disk…

Laurence March 31, 2005 at 1:37 pm

PS Here’s the permalink to the original site, so you can see if anyone ever tampers with it:

Nathan March 31, 2005 at 1:59 pm

Crap, I had a comment but it got eaten.

Marching in support of Otunbayeva’s candidacy is not the same as saying it’s her group. They respect her, sure, but she’s not calling the shots. Discussions between members that I’ve been privy to suggest that either they’ve got one hell of a deep conspiracy going on or they really are independent.

BTW, don’t worry about the link. That’s an IWPR story and you can find it in their archives.

Laurence March 31, 2005 at 2:08 pm

OK, maybe you are right, yet “youth groups” are often fronts, here in the US, there in the old USSR, and everywhere around the world (the head of the official Uzbek “youth group” was a middle-aged appartchik, as I recall).

Why don’t you ask your contacts in Kel Kel what their relationship with Otunbayeva is? Do they take sides re: Bakiyev and Kulov? Etc.

The website looks a little too slick, to be real “grassroots.” More like “astroturf”…

As I said, I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

Nathan March 31, 2005 at 2:12 pm

Their website is looking better than it was, but it’s pretty easy design. With hosting as cheap as it is, all it really takes is some fairly simple to learn skills. Are you saying this site doesn’t look slick? 🙂

A lot of this stuff comes out of a box.

Laurence March 31, 2005 at 2:17 pm

Registan looks like a personality does it–Nathan Hamm! For good or ill. Kel Kel looks like it was put together by Gray International or Edelman Worldwide with USAID or National Endowment for Democracy funding… (Even Eurasianet has more personality).

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