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.

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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A New Eurasian Epoch, But No One Really Noticed

by Casey_Michel

Unless you’ve been watching the post-Soviet space with a keen eye, you likely missed the world’s-biggest-round-table signing last week. The meeting, held in Astana, heralded what Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed as a new “epoch” – the official founding of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), set to come into force on Jan. 1, 2015. But [...]

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Are We Witnessing The Demise of Kazakhstan’s Multi-Vectored Foreign Policy?

by Reid Standish
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Despite the slow progression and many obstacles, it appears that the Eurasian Union (Eurasian Economic Union/ EEC) is on course to come into existence. But even with general agreement among the Customs Union’s big three (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan), there are some unresolved issues that could plague the union’s future and alter the region’s political [...]

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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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