The Corner

The Consonant Coup

Derb, I’m also being told that Tajik prime minister Okil Ghaybulloyevich Okilov and Uzbek prime minister Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoyev are safe for the moment.

But seriously, the most common reaction to the apparent Kyrgyz coup has been “. . . .”

As good a summary as there is of the current troubles comes from the introduction of the CIA World Factbook entry:

Nationwide demonstrations in the spring of 2005 resulted in the ouster of President Askar AKAEV, who had run the country since 1990. Subsequent presidential elections in July 2005 were won overwhelmingly by former prime minister Kurmanbek BAKIEV. The political opposition organized demonstrations in Bishkek in April, May, and November 2006 resulting in the adoption of a new constitution that transferred some of the president’s powers to parliament and the government. In December 2006, the Kyrgyzstani parliament voted to adopt new amendments, restoring some of the presidential powers lost in the November 2006 constitutional change. By late-September 2007, both previous versions of the constitution were declared illegal, and the country reverted to the AKAEV-era 2003 constitution, which was subsequently modified in a flawed referendum initiated by BAKIEV. The president then dissolved parliament, called for early elections, and gained control of the new parliament through his newly-created political party, Ak Jol, in December 2007 elections. In July 2009, after months of harassment against his opponents and media critics, BAKIEV won re-election in a presidential campaign that the international community deemed flawed. Just a few months later in October, BAKIEV engineered changes in the government structure that further consolidated his already considerable hold on power. Current concerns include: privatization of state-owned enterprises, negative trends in democracy and political freedoms, endemic corruption, improving interethnic relations, electricity generation, and combating terrorism.

So yeah, it’s that kind of country. But it is also a strategic U.S. ally (in the vague sense of “ally” that falls somewhere in the vast gulf between, say, Pakistan and France) in the war in Afghanistan. Both the United States and Russia operate air bases out of Kyrgyzstan.

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