Strategic Concessions

by Nathan Hamm on 6/8/2005

At Blogrel, Onnik posts that while oil will flow down the BTC pipeline, there’s a strong interest to protect the investment by pushing democracy upstream. In it, he notes that there has so far not been any reports of a crackdown after last weekend’s protest.

RFE/RL’s Liz Fuller discusses why the government may have eased up in the first place.

Opposition spokesmen attributed that U-turn to pressure from the international community. It seems more probable, however, that the authorities intended all along to permit the planned rally, but gave permission only at the last minute in order to wrongfoot the opposition and limit the number of participants. Such tactics would be in line with the inconsistency that has for years been one of the hallmarks of Azerbaijani domestic policy.

Additionally, the rally revealed some disunity among opposition groups.

Like I said the other day, opening up rather than clamping down can do wonders for the longevity of authoritarian leaders like Aliyev (as it likely would for Karimov, would for Nazarbayev, and probably would have for Akayev).

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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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