Kyrgyzstan will certainly be discussed in various side meetings during today’s Nuclear Security Summit in Washington. When the issue is raised, the United States must be careful not to engage in any backroom deals over the country’s fate. Such an approach would damage the U.S. position in the region, while at best creating only the illusion of stability in Kyrgyzstan and more generally in Central Asia. Both Russia and the U.S. have a real stake in the outcome of the current political standoff in the Kyrgyz Republic. The U.S. transit center at Manas Airport is the major military transfer point […]

Less than a week after a small, provincial protest snowballed into a national revolution, Kyrgyzstan sits in a holding pattern. While opposition leaders now apparently occupy all the key offices in the capital, Bishkek, the country’s incumbent president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, has refused to step down, and is said to be gathering supporters in his native Jalal-abad in the south. After having spoken cordially with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as with Russian diplomats, Roza Otunbayeva, leader of the interim coalition, has assumed an air of legitimacy that will be hard for Bakiyev to displace. Nevertheless, though Bakiyev […]

Kyrgyz President Refuses to Resign

RussiaToday reports on the 2 days of violence in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capitol. Reports have surfaced that now deposed Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev has fled to the south of the country, possibly to the city of Osh. From hiding, Bakiyev has said that he refuses to resign, though he recognizes that he has lost control of the country. In his absence, the opposition has created an interim government that is working to rectify the poor security situation and to reassure citizens. Protests are a result of the rising price of fuel in the energy-poor nation, a problem the opposition government is […]

Violence in Kyrgyzstan Could Upset U.S. Regional Plans

As the violent suppression of protests in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, makes international headlines, the rest of the country is bracing itself for further outbursts. An observer on the ground in southern Kyrgyzstan tells World Politics Review that since the escalation of protests that began yesterday, there has been an increased security presence in town centers and people have been advised to stay indoors. The last straw for already disgruntled citizens may have been when the government of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev increased the price of electricity, the observer tells World Politics Review. But this opposition did not grow overnight. Tensions have […]