I am Kyrgyz, hear me roar.
March 29, 2005 4:56 PM   Subscribe

What's going on in Kyrgyzstan? Remember what happened in Georgia and Ukraine? Now it's Kyrgyzstan's turn. Unimpressed with February's Parliamentary election, Kyrgyz stormed across the country and drove President Askar Akayev and his buddies into exile. Can Kyrgyzstan's heretofore weak and divided opposition hold together enough to make real improvements? And who's next?
posted by thirteenkiller (18 comments total)
..and a Babelfish translation of the Russian text at the LiveJournal link:

My city died today at night. My city is dead. You be cursed those, who planned, yes! yes! PLANNED night maraud. I hate you.
posted by thirteenkiller at 4:59 PM on March 29, 2005

Mongolia, perhaps.
posted by edgeways at 5:01 PM on March 29, 2005

Certainty not the... uh... US
posted by edgeways at 5:02 PM on March 29, 2005

I love it when people mention Mongolia - I'm a grad student in Mongolian studies. I wrote my undergraduate thesis on the history of the opposition in post-1990 Mongolia and opposition coalition preparations for the most recent election. Most observers think Mongolia has a much more open and democratic than the Central Asian republics, and I agree, but some really wild stuff has been going on lately. Namely, a large number of parliamentarians from the opposition coalition (which won partial control of government in last summer's election) defected to the formerly Communist and perpetually strong Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party. Strange and disconcerting stuff.
posted by thirteenkiller at 5:09 PM on March 29, 2005

Billmon provides us with some excellent analysis.
posted by panoptican at 5:32 PM on March 29, 2005

I don't expect anyone to believe me but just a few months ago, a friend of mine befriended the wife of the ambassador to Kyrgyzstan at a social function here in San Francisco. She invited my friend to come visit them. So, my friend was all set, making plans to go to a country nobody had heard of when suddenly....all this.
posted by vacapinta at 6:06 PM on March 29, 2005

Coincidentally, I just read some good entries on this subject on Surreal Chaos. Good discussion and links to some other pertinent newspaper articles.
posted by superfem at 6:13 PM on March 29, 2005

Planning a trip there myself. Some great photos of the region.
posted by iamck at 6:22 PM on March 29, 2005

School-mate of mine is an international student from Kyrgyzstan. Has a big sign on the door saying "Yes, I've heard the news."
posted by Lord Chancellor at 8:01 PM on March 29, 2005

Alternate reading of the revolution.

What happens when a democracy is majority 3rd-gen Islamist?
posted by wah at 8:09 PM on March 29, 2005

My foreign service brother was posted there. He says the former President is basically an academic who sort of fell into the political thing and doesn't have a clue.
posted by Peach at 8:10 PM on March 29, 2005

Oh my god, thank you for posting this. I heard word of this a few days ago and had a wretched time finding any news on it.

Shut up, Kyrgyzstan is hard to spell.
posted by honeydew at 9:33 PM on March 29, 2005

Pretty much any time men in dress shirts are beating on riot-geared state police with homemade clubs while women in babushkas are leading protest marches, good things are happening, nation-wise.
posted by juggernautco at 9:40 PM on March 29, 2005

What happens when a democracy is majority 3rd-gen Islamist?

I believe if you scratch below the surface you'll find some Moonie influence here as well. Seriously.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:37 AM on March 30, 2005

This is what will be happening in the USA within our lifetimes.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:16 AM on March 30, 2005

A pessimistic take on it:
If you want a short and snappy explanation of Bishkek, here it is: A showcase city, surrounded by desolate, desperate, hungry, angry countryside...

According to some shopkeepers who watched helplessly as their shops were broken into, displays were smashed with iron rods, goods were stolen and what was left was drenched with gasoline and put on fire, it was the work of angry mobs from the countryside. There was nothing political in the arson and plunder that visited Bishkek...

The rioters started their long journey from Osh and Jalalabad, two regions that are part of the Ferghana Valley and for them Bishkek is only a dimly felt reality; remote, distant and alien...

According to some estimates, the Hizb-ut-Tahrir, the IMU and other groups with Islamist stripes can easily muster more than 20000 persons at short notice in Jalalabad and Osh regions.

If they have some political acumen, they would not send this potential group on a break and burn mission to Bishkek. It would be best for them to use this opportunity to enter the mainstream political life in Kyrgyzstan by trying to send their own candidates to the parliament. This could be their chance to start a process that may result in the possibility of appointing their own governors in Osh and Jalalabad regions.
posted by languagehat at 5:15 PM on March 30, 2005

I was there - the revolution took place about a block from my apartment. In my pocket I have a ripped picture of Akaev that I picked up from the front steps of the white house. I stood on an armoured car. Lots of fun.

Remember the burning car you saw on CNN? I went home just as some older folk were trying to convince the young jumpy types to not torch it, it was a very nice new Mercedes... There's something very strange about seeing YOUR bit of the world on the news, live...

I honestly don't know where I'm going to do my grocery shopping now that Beta Stores is a smoking shell.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:35 AM on April 1, 2005

So tell us more! Is this a genuine revolution, or just have-nots blowing off steam while basically the same old ex-Soviet types take over where Akaev left off? And what's the mood now?
posted by languagehat at 11:09 AM on April 1, 2005

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