Pressure on the Opposition

by Nathan Hamm on 6/27/2005

RFE/RL reports that Tajik opposition groups are under pressure and that this may be due to next year’s presidential election.

Russia’s policy of dealing with both the government and opposition in the CIS seems to be in evidence again as Sanjar Umarov travels to Russia at the invitation of “business and political circles.” Russia can be extremely helpful and much more effective than the US in spurring change in Uzbekistan. They probably would not shoot for as much reform as we might want, but do seem to realize that there must be some liberalization to keep the state from becoming too brittle. It’s worth remembering that Russia proved very helpful in getting both Shevardnadze and Abashidze to step down in Georgia and Ajaria. Their handling of the situation in Kyrgyzstan was on the whole helpful as well.

IHT has an interesting story on increasing restrictions on the opposition in Kazakhstan. Very odd and unnecessary given Nazarbayev’s popularity.

Time and again, Nazarbayev, whose popularity has never been low, has demonstrated that where power is concerned, he takes no chances and does what it takes to achieve eyebrow-raising results – like the election in 1991 when, after two years in power, he officially received 98.7 percent of the votes.

“It’s completely unnecessary because there is no crisis here,” said Valentina Sivryukova, president of the Kazakhstan Confederation of Nongovernmental Organizations and a supporter of Nazarbayev. “This will only turn people against him.”

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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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