Friday, March 25, 2005

Kyrgyzstan's Future

Once protests really got started, the government of president Askar Akayev fell with amazing speed. Protestors stormed government buildings in Bishkek, and then it was all over. A figure with the International Crisis Group just said on the Democracy Now TV network that Kyrgyzstan had weak government institutions compared to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and that might be the reason. Via Nathan Hamm, I see that Osh is calm, though looting continues in the capital. Restoring order in Bishkek will be a top order of business as the opposition moves to control the country.

Speaking of the opposition, however, who are they? There was no single opposition leader, which makes the success of the revolution all the more interesting. The Supreme Court voided the elections, and Parliament named Kurmanbek Bakiev as Prime Minister, which according to the constitution makes him interim President, as well. Meanwhile Feliks Kulov, newly freed from prison, takes over security responsibilities. Are these opposition leaders really on the same team? If they're not, can they form a power-sharing arrangement that prevents further conflict and sets the country on the path to democracy?

The situation in Kyrgyzstan somewhat resembles that in Iraq sans the insurgency, as you have these different factions which need to work out a government among themselves when I don't think they had any clear plans in place beyond ousting Akayev. Of course, they don't have to write a constitution from scratch and deal with the status of Kirkuk, but they do have regional issues to resolve, as well. Finally, historically it is not uncommon for revolutions to be followed by wars - my junior year in college I took an honors class called "Revolution, War and Peace" because that was the order in which they occurred. This hasn't happened in Ukraine, and Georgia already had issues, but if the new government is slow out of the gate, you could see those who would seek to impose their own agenda in the country - perhaps an Islamist faction - take up arms in a low-level insurgency. These are often the fruits of chaos, and a revolution does not a democracy make.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home