Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kyrgyzstan: Forward from Revolution?

Former Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev has declared victory in the Kyrgyzstan’s’ presidential election. His first task will be to attempt to bring some stability to the Central Asian nation that has been rocked by two revolutions in the last decade.

This task in itself will prove difficult as the nations politics are still largely based on who belongs to what clan. Indeed, some groups in the southern portion of Kyrgyzstan are already questioning the validity of the results.  Western observers have declared the polling "mostly fai"r though there were flaws with the voting lists and ballot counting.

Why should Americans care about Kyrgyzstan? The United States military has a base located there, which is key to its operations in Afghanistan. Furthermore, Kyrgyzstan could be a prime candidate to join the proposed Eurasian Union.

 This victory by Atambayev is largely seen as a victory for both the U.S. and Russia because while he favors closer ties to Moscow, he’s unlikely to gun for a marked change in relations with the United States either.

 His first task will be to stabilize a country ripped apart by ethnic riots, drug abuse, and corruption. I wish him luck in his efforts, but I’m less than hopeful.

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