APRIL 2010 IN KYRGYZSTAN: AS SEEN FROM KAZAKHSTAN

Murat LAUMULIN


Murat Laumulin, D.Sc. (Political Science), Research Fellow at the Kazakhstan Institute of Strategic Studies (Almaty, Kazakhstan)


Introduction

In April 2010, the political crisis that has been simmering in Kyrgyzstan over the past few years developed into an armed confrontation between the government and the people, as well as among the various clan and regional groups at the very top of the republics political pyramid.

President Bakiev, deprived of his power (at first in part), legitimacy, and control over the country, tried to regain what he had lost by tapping the political resource of the countrys South. The events that occurred in May made it abundantly clear that a large-scale political conflict, a civil war, and a split in the republic were only a step away.

The 2005 events, which toppled Akaevs regime, demonstrated that for its continued political development, the republic must acquire a strong vertical of power and move toward a strong presidential government, which alone could pull the country out of the crisis and set it on the path of sustainable development. The compromise reached (which, albeit, proved incomplete) gave rise to the hope that the new president would be able to cope with this historic mission.

The objective factors and subjective circumstances, however, complicated the republics political, social, and economic context still more. Most of the political actors (the main parties, the parliament, the business community, and the regional leaders) were dead set against any real reforms of the countrys political system.

President Bakievs political and economic blunders (legitimized corruption and the never-ending property redistribution in favor of his close relatives and supporters) added a subjective dimension to the objective factor.

More than that: some of the regional, mainly northern, clans refused to accept Kurmanbek Bakiev as the head of state (the position he gained and fortified in 2005-2006); this and widespread disaffection with his economic policies impaired his legitimacy. Disagreements among the main political forces made the crisis a permanent feature of the republics political landscape exacerbated by a crisis in the social and economic spheres.

Bakievs downfall was brought about by his political rivals who disagreed with his policies; the discontent of the wide masses; the acute social and economic crisis; the presidents failed attempt to strengthen his power; corruption and nepotism; regionalism and the clan nature of power; the low level of political culture of the ruling elite and the ruled masses; criminalization of political life; and the acute shortage of economic resources. Some of the external players, into the bargain, did not like Bakievs foreign policies.

Economy in 2005-2010

The regime change in 2005 triggered property redistribution; a new political elite arrived from the republics South to install itself in the republic, while the new government busied itself with looking for.


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