Kyrgyzstan’s Ethnic Violence Unravels Previous Gains

When Roza Otunbayeva came to power at the head of the Kyrgyz interim government in April, she knew that the road ahead was going to be tough. Her program of constitutional reform, new elections, and a jump-start for the country's stagnating economy would have been difficult even in less uncertain times.

But since the spring, Otunbayeva has been faced with a spate of riots, murders, violent clashes and burning villages in the south of the country, culminating in the flight of an estimated 400,000 Uzbeks and the death of more than 2,000 Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in violent riots over the past few weeks. And it might not be over yet: There are rumors that violence may soon explode in Tokmok and Bishkek in the north.

The potential for destabilizing blowback from April's transfer of power had been evident since Otunbayeva took over from ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. The economy has taken a hit, with key industries and sectors directly affected. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayaev banned shipments of uranium from his country -- the world's largest uranium producer -- to a processing factory in Kara Balta. A mining contract between Kentor Gold and Kyrgyzstan-based Aurum Mining has also been frozen until the unrest has subsided. Meanwhile, the tourism industry, frequently identified as a target sector for development, has been reduced to a trickle during the usually busy summer season.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review