KURMANBEK BAKIEV AS ASKAR AKAEV’S POLITICAL SUCCESSOR: FAILURE TO CONSOLIDATE THE POLITICAL REGIME IN KYRGYZSTAN
Nilolai Borisov, Ph.D. (Political Science), Senior Lecturer at the Chair of Theoretical and Applied Political Science, Department of History, Political Science, and Law, Russian State University for the Humanities (Moscow, Russian Federation)
The consolidation of political regimes is a popular topic of discussion among experts in various theories of political transformation. Such debates focus on defining the point at which a particular transformation process has come to complete fruition or at least reached a temporary halt. The “minimalistic” definition of consolidation offered by J. Linz can be used to determine this transition point. Linz believes that democratic consolidation occurs when there are no significant actors to act as a veto group with respect to democratic institutions. If we disengage ourselves from the teleological understanding of transformation as a transition exclusively toward democracy, the concept of consolidation can be formulated as follows: a political regime can be considered consolidated (stable for a relatively long time) in which there are no significant actors capable of changing the regime as a whole without the consent of other significant actors. Note that since we are not talking about democratic consolidation here, but about the consolidation of a political regime, this definition is universal and applies equally to all cases of transition. In addition to “fighting by the rules” (consolidated democracy), other scenarios of consolidation can fall under such concepts as “a community of elites” and “the winner takes all.”
The consolidation of political regimes in the post-Soviet expanse has been a little-studied topic so far. Several factors make it difficult to research this phenomenon. First, political transformation has not resulted in democratic consolidation in any of the CIS states. Second, the unresolved conflicts and absence of a common citizen identity in several of the states have also caused significant difficulties in authoritarian consolidation, which has led to the formation of hybrid regimes and, in some cases, to the collapse of non-consolidated semi-authoritarian forms of rule, as the political processes of the 2000s in Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova have shown. In these countries, a so-called transition within the transition has occurred, which also makes it difficult to study the results of the transformation.
A closer analysis, however, shows a common logic in the transformation processes in each of the countries mentioned within the framework of the political tradition that exists in them. This article will take a look at the political process in Kyrgyzstan, after the forced change in the political elite in March 2005, from the viewpoint of the ruling elite’s attempts to consolidate it. The analysis will focus on President Kurmanbek Bakiev’s strategies using official and unofficial institutions to consolidate the political regime. As Samuel Huntington noted, “men [in transition societies] may, of course, have order without liberty, but they cannot have liberty without order,” justifiably emphasizing the need for consolidation of the regime (not necessarily democratic) as…………………