Sunday, October 30, 2005

Kyrgyz Mafia

In the wake of the assassination of Kyrgyz MP Tynychbek Akmatbaev, attention has turned to the connections between organized crime the Kyrgyz political leaders which many believe led to the violence. The IWPR, RFE-RL, and Registan both have coverage of protests calling for the assassination of Prime Minister Feliks Kulov, who came to power through a pre-election deal with President Kurmanbek Bakiev. While the articles don't address it directly, I'm not sure if Bakiev could conceivably oust Kulov given the circumstances, or if the Parliament really wants to make corruption grounds for removal from office. While I'm not a Central Asia expert, it seems like all Kyrgyz political groups are linked to powerful criminal elements, and that the Tulip Revolution may have simply opened up the field of play for these groups to compete more among themselves. It's also noteworthy that one of the anti-Kulov leaders, Roza Otunbaeva, also played a leading role in the anti-Akayev movement early this year.

On an unrelated note, Damian Wampler has an outstanding post on Islam in Kyrgyzstan after the Soviet Union.


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