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.

US DoS’s recognition of Uzbek rights advocate makes Bishkek so unhappy that…

by Elmurad Kasym

In early March 2011, the U.S. Department of State awarded then-Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva with the International Women of Courage Award. “So what?” an interested reader might ask. “She earned it,” was perhaps the thought in her administration, which included Temir Sariyev—then the deputy premier and finances minister. However, when the U.S. DoS awarded Azimjan [...]

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An Exile in Ukraine Recalls Fleeing his Native Kyrgyzstan

by Matthew Kupfer
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In March 2014, as Russia’s “little green men” were quietly seizing the Crimean peninsula, a well known liberal activist from Kyrgyzstan, Ilya Lukash, left his homeland for Ukraine. He was fleeing harassment and threats of violence after Kyrgyz nationalists publicly pilloried him as a “gay activist” and burnt his portrait during an anti-Western protest. My [...]

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The coming crisis in Kyrgyzstan: a mixture of politics and gold

by Max Hess

Kyrgyzstan is due to hold legislative elections in October and, once again, all that everybody can think about is the gold. While Kyrgyzstan fails to crack the top 25 global gold producers, gold nevertheless accounts for roughly 40 per cent of export earnings and the gold industry is responsible for some 20 per cent of [...]

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SCO Electoral Missions and Legitimization of Undemocratic Elections: “I’m gonna guild my own democracy with electoral fraud and fellow dictators”

by Aijan Sharshenova
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[After being kicked out of a theme park] “I’m gonna go build my own theme park, with blackjack and hookers. In fact, forget the park!” -Bender, Futurama, 1999, season 1, ep.2 Working on a large piece of research is more of a burden than fun, and that is why any chance to have a laugh [...]

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“Rumors of My Death”

by Nathan Barrick

Where is President Putin?  Will he show up on Monday the 16th to meet Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev in Saint Petersburg, or will that meeting be canceled too? Quite a bit of speculation abounds as to the whereabouts of Russia President Vladimir Putin.  The serious questions began to be posed after President Putin suddenly canceled [...]

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Ignorance, Incompetence, and the Islamic State on the Steppe

by Casey_Michel

There’s a peculiar belief currently coursing intellectual circles in Moscow. Combining the bubbling traits of nativism and Islamophobia, and playing squarely into the hands of those seeking to amp the region’s security structures, certain circles have begun pumping up the terror and tenor of the threat posed by the Islamic State. To be sure, these [...]

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Putin’s Words and Kazakh History

by Casey_Michel

Another summer passes, and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev grows that much closer to moving into his post-presidential period. Unfortunately, this summer moved us no closer toward identifying a successor to the 74-year-old Nazarbayev. We have candidates, from Timur Kulibayev to Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev to Dariga Nazarbayeva, but no figure has yet jumped to the fore. With [...]

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Road of Sorrow – Trafficking and Ethnicity on the Pamir Highway

by Stephen M. Bland
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Beginning in the Kyrgyz second city of Osh, the Pamir Highway – the second highest international road in the world – runs the length of Tajikistan and down through Uzbekistan before terminating in Afghanistan. Ninety tonnes of heroin is trafficked through Tajikistan each year, much of it passing through the poverty stricken, self-governing Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous [...]

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Marching Westward

by Casey_Michel

We always knew 2014 was going to be a year of Eurasian shift. The American withdrawal from Afghanistan, pegged to 2014, coincided with Washington’s pivot to East Asia – as well as the Americans’ unceremonious eviction from the Manas Transit Center, their most noteworthy placeholder in Central Asia. And as soon as Viktor Yanukovych made [...]

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Facebook Jihad: The IMU’s Digital Communication Strategy for the Karachi Airport Attack

by Noah Tucker
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We’re happy to announce that the Central Asia Digital Islam Project has released our first short policy paper with the The Central Eurasia – Religion in International Affairs (CERIA) program at George Washington University. Facebook Jihad: The IMU’s Digital Communication Strategy for the Karachi Airport Attack identifies the IMU’s social media tactics and strategies seen [...]

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