16 February 2006

Revolution in Kyrgyzstan

I asked the law students yesterday whether they thought another revolution in March was possible, and nearly all agreed that it was very likely. This article from EurasiaNet argues that it's not going to happen, but unless something changes in the next few weeks, I think there's a reasonable possibility. The students said they thought that if there is one, Bakiev wouldn't go quite as quietly as Akaev did.

I also asked about the recent troubles in Iskra between the Dungans and the Kyrgyz; they said it wasn't a big deal. The Kyrgyz and Dungan aqsikals (white beards= city elders) agreed that the troublemakers should leave (apparently, they also agreed that all the troublemakers were Dungan?). This brought up ethnic relations again, and they students nearly all agreed that ethnic relations are fine here in Kyrgyzstan.

So I asked about the possibility of a civil war, and they again thought it could happen. They clearly worry about it. I asked how they thought people would take sides, and most thought it would be ethnic.

In my opinion, ethnic relations in Kyrgyzstan are fine on the surface, but there are plenty of problems that don't need a lot of provocation. I'd hate to see this country divide along ethnic lines. But I'm not inclined to think a civil war is imminent. Possible? Maybe. But we're not there yet.

I also asked if there is a person in Kyrgyzstan who could be the kind of leader they really want to see, and they said there isn't one. This is often true in the US, but our system of government makes that one leader, the president, much less important than the president is in Kyrgyzstan. Finding a good leader is much more important here.

One more interesting article- wolves are on the rise in Central Asia. Maybe they ought to take a few to Yellowstone?


  1. Just came accross your blog. Interesting. You might want to check out the blog we did during January - visiting some of the most poverty stricken people in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.


    All the best

  2. Thanks, Steven. Your blog was fascinating.