KYRGYZSTAN AT A CROSSROADS: FACING THE ECONOMIC CAUSES OF THE TULIP REVOLUTION

Lasha TCHANTOURIDZE


Lasha Tchantouridze, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, Department of Political Studies, Research Associate, Center for Defense and Security Studies, The University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)


Introduction

The 24 March, 2005 Tulip Revolution has pointed out some of the most pressing problems that Kyrgyzstan currently faces. The Akaev administration was brought down by a popular uprising, which was occasioned more by economic hardship and deprivation than by political oppression. As a consequence, the post-revolutionary Kyrgyz leadership has inherited very acute economic and financial problems that they will have to address in order to avoid future public outbursts of fury.

Kyrgyzstans stability and future development, however, does not solely depend on its leadership. The countrys relationship with powerful international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) has no less significance for its future economic prospects, and political maturity. So far, these two organizations did nothing but damage in Kyrgyzstan, as they have undermined economic and social fabric of the country, and effectively prepared a fertile ground for the March 2005 crisis.

The Central Asian region is politically volatile, and economically remote. Kyrgyzstan faces potentially very violent political challenges from Islamic extremists and criminal groups. After the Tulip Revolution, these challenges continued to be magnified by economic hardship and deprivation of its population. Unless the new Kyrgyz leadership exercises caution, and


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