International News

Violence in Kyrgyzstan

A few years ago, there was what could metaphorically be called an island in the heart of Asia. This island was Kyrgyzstan, which unlike its neighbours in the region, enjoyed some degree of stability and a plural political system that respected democratic norms. Unfortunately, the situation has gradually deteriorated since the promising rise to power of Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was forced to resign from the presidency last April. An interim government headed by Roza Otunbayeva has run the country since then, and aims to approve a new constitution and hold presidential elections within six months. However, violent clashes took place in May between supporters of ex-president Bakiyev and those of the interim government. In addition to these clashes, ethnic tensions arose due to the southern-based opposition being mostly Uzbek, while the supporters of the interim government are from the Kyrgyz majority.

The outlook could be less uncertain, but the powers with interests in the region do not consider the consolidation of democracy a priority, either because they do not use that political system themselves (China, Russia and Iran), or because they are more concerned with stability, albeit at the expense of freedom (USA, European Union). The country's multi-ethnic composition should not in itself be a source of instability, but can be a central factor in destabilising the government, even if this is by means of the use of force.

More information at: Link to the special feature on Kyrgyzstan at the Cidob website