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.

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
Thumbnail image for Women in Osh after the June Conflict: Between Abandonment and Activism <br /><em>Part 1: The Silenced Survivors </em>

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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Touring Central Asia with Xi Jinping

by Kendrick Kuo
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A new episode of the China Pivots West podcast features Alexander Cooley, Professor of Political Science at Barnard College. Cooley is a well-known Central Asia and Russia expert whose most recent book, Great Games, Local Rules, quickly became a must read for Central Asia watcher. He came on to the show to briefly discuss the [...]

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Uzbek Extremism in Context, Part 1: The Uzbek Jihad and the Problem of Religious Freedom

by Noah Tucker
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The IMU and IJU make a great deal of information about themselves easily available to the public. As organizations, they don’t hide their beliefs, their willingness to use violence to advance religio-political goals (or in some cases their clear preference for violence because they believe this will result in martyrdom) and their support for al [...]

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Central Asia and the Syria Crisis: Assessing the Value of Strategic Partnership with the U.S

by Nathan Barrick

With world attention justifiably focused on the potential for U.S.-led punitive strikes against Syria for President Asad’s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians, it is worth a momentary glance to survey Central Asia’s equities in the issue.  For many world governments, including in Central Asia, the issue is less about Syrian civilians dying by [...]

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Who wants to come to Kyrgyzstan? Prospects for the tourism industry

by Guest
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With the main beaches and resort areas of the Soviet Union thousand of kilometers away on the shores of the Baltic and the Black Sea, Soviet authorities after the Second World War were looking for a suitable spot to relax workers living in Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan’s Issyk-Kul lake, blessed with glorious mountain views, sandy beaches [...]

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Citius, Altius, Fortius: Kazakhstan’s Winter Olympics Bid

by Nathan Barrick

Does Kazakhstan stand a chance of winning its bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games?  President Nazarbayev recently approved the Kazakhstan National Olympic Committee’s proposal to launch a bid for hosting the Winter Olympic Games in 2022 and the city of Almaty formally filed its application on 16 August, according to Chairman of the [...]

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Why Central Asia Matters

by Nathan Barrick

The “Great Game” is the term commonly used to describe the competition by the great 19th Century Empires for influence and control of Central Asia, especially Afghanistan.  There are many observers who would prefer to leave the “Great Game” in the annals of 19th Century history and interpret current events in Central Asia and Afghanistan [...]

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