ICG on Kyrgyz Revolution

by Nathan Hamm on 5/5/2005

The International Crisis Group has a large report on the Kyrgyz revolution and the post-transition priorities for the new government. I have not gotten a chance to read much, but a quick scan reveals that there’s plenty worth reading, incluing this interesting paragraph on the Western role during the protests:

Following Akaev’s fall there were the usual ill-informed accusations of a U.S. hand. Much of this was in the Russian press but some Western commentators indulged in the same speculation. President Akaev accused Washington, but only a small proportion of the protestors were connected to Western-oriented NGOs or even students. Most of those on the streets were as far as could be imagined from the English-speaking younger generation. They were poor, badly educated and predominantly southern. They had almost no geopolitical agenda but rather a feeling of having been cheated by a corrupt and autocratic regime. The U.S. has funded electoral programs and for years given grants to media and civil society. But in many ways, Western-funded civil society was sidelined by the March events; there was certainly no evidence of foreign funding for the opposition. An opposition leader, who himself provided some money for organising demonstrations, insisted later: “This was the cheapest revolution ever. There was no American money, not a single cent!”

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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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