Kyrgyzstan’s Unfinished Revolution

by Nathan Hamm on 6/17/2005 · 4 comments

The demands of many of the protesters who helped sweep Askar Akayev from power have yet to be met. No surprise really since for many protesters, the apparent goal was not to eliminate corruption or strengthen democracy, but to get their favored candidate onto ballots or into office. That’s not to say that democracy and corruption were not concerns, but that they did not seem to be the highest priority for many, especially those from outside Bishkek.

It should come as little surprise that tensions remain after Kyrgyzstan’s accidental* revolution. They’ve started to boil over this week. First was the violence in Osh and then the seizure of the White House in Bishkek by protesters. Police recaptured the building shortly thereafter.

The protesters were demanding that Urmatbek Baryktabasov, a businessman, be allowed onto the ballot for the July 10 presidential election. Mosnews reports that he is not allowed to run because he is a Kazakh citizen.

The tension in Kyrgyzstan still remains and it’s certainly too soon to call the country a liberal democracy. There is still quite a way to go.

More photos are available here

* I say “accidental” because I don’t think anyone had expected Akayev to fall so quickly and there seemed to be little planning for such an eventuality.

Update: RFE/RL has more on the story and its aftermath.

They also have something that inspires ever-so-much confidence in Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Bakiev said that today’s protests were financed from Kazakhstan by persons close to Akaev. He said authorities are ready to use force to maintain law and order.

I don’t want to be too hard on the guy, but I can’t help but think of “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

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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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RighteousBiche June 17, 2005 at 10:49 pm

Bakiev said something like, “I have a gun! I know how to use a gun!” We think his ego is hurt by people saying what a man Kulov is.

Baryktabosov is a mafioso. He paid people to come. Supposedly, he was granted Kazakh citizenship in 2003.

Kazakhstan seems to be playing some weird role in a lot of this.

david l June 18, 2005 at 5:49 pm

Baryktabosov is apparently very friendly with Nazarbaev. The gossipers claim that he gave the Kazak Pres a 1-million dollar yacht. Anyway, he made loads of money in Dubai, and now is trying to spend it. His campaign looked a lot like Alga Kyrgystan’s – rock concerts, smart young people running around, etc. but he should have learned from their failure. Anyway, he’s bad news, so a good thing someone sold them teargas eh?

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