Registan’s Kyrgyzstan News & Analysis Archive

Once called the “Switzerland of Central Asia,” Kyrgyzstan began independence with the most liberal and democratic government in Central Asia. The country’s first president, Askar Akayev, was overthrown after protracted public protests in 2005, and his successor, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, followed suit in 2010. A provisional government led by Roza Otunbayeva drafted a new, parliamentary constitution and survived serious challenges from political elites left out of the new order and the outbreak of ethnic violence in the country’s south in June 2010. The country remains the most democratic in the region and has been attractive for foreign investors and development organizations. While President Almazbek Atambayev’s government has managed to maintain peace in the country, it still faces great challenges to moving the country forward from rising nationalism and deep socio-economic and geographic divisions in society.

Registan’s analysts have lived, worked, and studied in Kyrgyzstan and have between them decades of experience in academia, government, and private industry dealing with topics related to Kyrgyzstan. We use that experience and expertise to report on, contextualize, and analyze current events in Kyrgyzstan. Registan puts that experience to work to offer research, analysis, and training services tailored to your individual needs. For more information on how we can help you and your organization better understand Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia, visit our services page.

Understanding the Implications of the Ukraine Crisis

by Nathan Barrick

I’m disturbed by the short-sightedness of media analysis of the events in Ukraine, even as they begin to explore deeper – they are trapped by their own previous reporting and I hope they feel guilty enough about it to start getting it right…not likely. I am also annoyed at the U.S. government’s public analysis and [...]

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Kyrgyzstan: What Does New Opposition Coalition Mean for Atambaev?

by Alisher Abdug'ofurov

On February 12, several Kyrgyz opposition parties and leaders announced the creation of a united opposition coalition. Former mayor of Osh Melis Myrzakmatov and his party “Uluttar birimdigi”, former MP and leader of the “Ata Jurt” party Kamchybek Tashiev, former attorney general Azimbek Beknazarov, former Interior Minister Omurbek Suvanaliev and others become founding members of [...]

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Is Moscow’s Power always Misaligned with Local Interests?

by David Levy
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An article appeared on Registan last week that presented Kyrgyzstan’s bid to enter the Russian-led customs union as an inevitable capitulation of the weaker state to the whims of the stronger. The author, Reid Standish, follows a familiar line of analysis whereby Russia continues to use “great power” strategies to reconstitute its sphere of influence, [...]

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The Illusion of Choice: Kyrgyzstan and the Customs Union

by Reid Standish
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Kyrgyzstan’s accession into the Customs Union is being hotly debated as the “Accession to the Customs Union: advantages and disadvantages” business forum convened in Bishkek on January 29. At the moment, three states are members of the union: Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The goal of the Customs Union is to create a common market that [...]

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Domestic Violence in Kyrgyzstan, Part I: Married Women (In Their Own Words)

by Tricia Ryan
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Asel* was a young woman, perhaps 22 or 23, with three children. The children were staying with her sister when we met in Asel’s hospital room. Asel had heard through the gossip networks of Osh, Kyrgyzstan, that there was a foreign woman in town who was asking about violence in the home. Asel was in [...]

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Checking in on Eurasian Union Struggles

by Casey_Michel

In late October, while meeting with other heads involved in the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Minsk, Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev turned to the topic of the forthcoming Eurasian Union. There had been hints and drops of Kazakhstani discontent with the EAU’s formulation – talk of business concerns, rumblings of ethno-based discontent. Nazarbayev decided to focus [...]

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Influence: The Bogeyman of Simplified Strategic Understanding

by Nathan Barrick

Many times I have been asked to assess whether one nation or another is “increasing influence,” usually to categorize as “good” or “bad” developing events for someone with little time or understanding of the situation. Frequently, the right answer – “It depends…” – has to be discarded due to an enforced sense of urgency that [...]

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The Gold Rush: Kyrgyz version [Updated]

by Alisher Abdug'ofurov
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Last week seven demonstrations took place in Kyrgyzstan. Five of them were related to the Kumtor gold mine. The events in Karakol attracted the most attention. The riots began in Karakol during a demonstration on October 7, when protesters took hostage Emilbek Kaptagaev, the Governor of the Issyk-Kul region. The participants of the demonstration demanded [...]

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Women in Osh after the June Conflict: Between Abandonment and Activism
Part 1: The Silenced Survivors

by Elina Schroder
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In June 2010, the south of Kyrgyzstan went through the bloody so-called “inter-ethnic war” between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks. The conflict took the lives of hundreds of people and paralyzed the livelihoods of thousands of others, leaving them with no shelter, food or protection. Though much has been written about the clash, the central role of [...]

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Echo Rossii, Part 2

by Alisher Abdug'ofurov

As I have already written previously, the influence of Russia is still strong in the Central Asian republics despite their independence. Many laws adopted in Russia are quickly adopted in Central Asian countries, too, with so few changes that the main one is changing the title of the legislation from “Russian Federation…” to “…Kyrgyz Republic” [...]

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