30 september 2020

Central Asia news

Experts talk the first anniversary of another Kyrgyz revolution

07.04.2011 09:23 msk


Analytics Kyrgyzstan

It’s been a year since the deposition of the former Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiev. Fergana has sought opinions of experts on Central Asian matters as to the outcomes of the 2nd Kyrgyz revolution, also referred to as “popular” and ‘great” revolution by people in the country. Some experts, however, believe it is too early to draw any conclusions yet since the state system of Kyrgyzstan is still undergoing changes and no quick success should be expected from this process. Others point to the “sad” state of the Kyrgyz political elite and the crisis of the public administration. Fergana’s respondents are: Artem Ulunyan, Ajdar Kurtov, Arkadiy Dubnov, Dmitriy Furman, Alexey Vlasov.

Artem Ulunyan, leading expert of the Institute of universal history, Russian Science Academy, director of the Center for Balkan, Caucasian and Central Asian studies:

First of all, the “April” revolution has been truly popular. Secondly, and importantly, it has opened up opportunities for the democratic development in Kyrgyzstan for the new Constitution provides the parliament (Jogorku Kenesh) with much stronger powers so that it can truly represent the interests of the whole population.

Speaking about the mechanisms of the state’s development at his stage – admittedly, it is a problem; however, one should not forget that Kyrgyzstan is still a young 20 year old post-Soviet country. In the last 20 years it has been building a system totally opposite to the current one, and so it is impossible to change a lot just overnight. Thirdly, political forces within Kyrgyzstan are not as developed as, say in Eastern Europe. And there is no saying about a well-developed political system as such.

I therefore would not deny the fact that it has been truly “popular” and to an extent – “great” revolution as it has triggered the shift in a system of approaches to formation of powers and, importantly, has given an opportunity for the development of such system contrast to the previous system which had not had any opportunity at all.

Arkadiy Dubnov, international observer at “Moskovskie Novosti” newspaper:

The state of the current Kyrgyz political elite on the eve of the 1st anniversary of the 2nd revolution is an indication of underachieved goals of the revolution, meaning the aspiration towards consolidation of the people and the power. Populism remains the most typical feature of the current political life. The new power promises quick solutions, such as, for instance, the ultimate war on crime, but it appears as unserious as a promise to eradicate corruption. Meanwhile, people pretends to believe such promises and prepares to hold the new power accountable soon, which may bring the people out in the streets again and present the risk of a new revolution. It is a vicious circle the Kyrgyzstan can break away from.

Another eloquent feature of the country’s current condition is the fear to face itself, I mean continual postponement of disclosure of findings of the international investigation, hiding report on April events… It is alarming rather than saddening.

Ajdar Kurtov, editor-in-chief “National strategy problems” journal, Russian Strategic Studies Institute:

To celebrate or not to celebrate is up to the Kyrgyz government and the Kyrgyz people. Essentially, it has not been a pivotal moment for the Kyrgyz history. Indeed, one may only talk greatness or pivotality upon passage of significant time, whereas often, events deemed pivotal or “great” at the moment of occurrence or immediately after cease to be such years or decades later.

Making a note on the historical significance of the April revolution, the Kyrgyz president Roza Otunbayeva referred to the Kyrgyz revolutions as a global phenomenon:” less than a year after the Kyrgyz revolution, popular unrests have started in the northern Africa and Middle East. Our revolution has been praised and followed” – she said at the official celebration of the 2010 April events.
Still, I would not call it pivotal. One may recall the 2005 events, the first revolution: many talked about the great significance of Akaev’s deposition, and it took a year for newspapers to discuss the Kyrgyzstan embarking on the path of democracy and progress. It mirrored the situation immediately after independence when local politicians and media eagerly discussed apparent opportunities for democratic development in this Central Asian republic.

From scientific point of view, one needs solid factors to confirm the greatness of the last year’s April revolution. But you don’t find many of them. Even though some claim that the previous corrupted regime has been ended, in reality, that regime had been created by the same politicians who still have the power now. One can see today that the new power has not gotten rid of the vicious malignant propensities, including corruption, nepotism, neglect of the law and people’s rights, seize of other people’s property and ignoration of international commitments, which seem to be true both in case of Roza Otunbayeva and of the current government.

To say that greatness is about switching from presidential to parliamentarian republic is laughable for me, as a jurist. There is no saying that a parliamentary republic is better or more democratic than presidential, semi-parliamentary or even monarchic. This experiment is still underway but Kyrgyz newspapers are filled with indications that this choice has been immature. Once again, the country has been forced to take a constitutional referendum and cast their vote for less than the best solution imposed by politicians.

Speaking about the Kyrgyz prospects, you keep on getting evidence that Kyrgyz politicians run an economic experiment confined to redistribution of assets: instead of creating the new country’s economy they try to change the rules of the game. Indeed, they use beautiful ideas of nationalization, disguising their own greed (which can not be denied) and lack of understanding that the country may not survive under such political, legal and economical framework. It means that the current economic practices in Kyrgyzstan are leading to a civil war that Kyrgyzstan may not avoid.

«This situation today presents extreme danger for Kyrgyzstan. The country lacks a “project of future”, for political groups and their leaders who have the power do not care about the country’s problems or development and focus on having the power as such, along with getting access to the public resources for their own personal or corporate benefit. They do not manifest any responsibility for what is going on, for their own actions, the country itself or the future. Sadly, the political competition today is a competition among these forces rather than between the responsible and irresponsible elites, both within the parliament and beyond, in context of the upcoming presidential election», said Valentin Bogatyryov, an expert at the Public Policy Institute of Kyrgyzstan.
Dmitriy Furman, senior expert at the Institute of Europe:

The meaning of the April revolution is about an attempt to build a democracy based on a parliamentarian republic’s Constitution. You can depose a president in a day, but can’t build a democracy overnight. Kyrgyzstan has already made serious steps, including the constitutional referendum, parliamentarian election and is facing important presidential election. If it can pass this stage without declining into chaos as usual and survive for at least few years under the new Constitution, thus letting it get stronger, then it has a chance to find a way towards a stable regular democratic political development.

Alexei Vlasov, director-general of Informational-analytical center at Moscow State University:

It is too early to draw any conclusions for the process launched by last year’s April events is not over. It is not possible to predict what shape it can take in the 3-4 months to come either. Nor one can exclude an opportunity for another revolution of tulips. Overall, the process of internal division of the political class in Kyrgyzstan is in progress. It is likely that the process may get out of control and lead to the country’s division; at the very least, Bishkek may lose control of a situation in the provinces.