Saturday, March 26, 2005

Effects of Kyrgyz revolution?

Central Asia falls outside the remit of this blog, and I know very little about Kyrgyzstan.

It would be pleasant though to think that a popular uprising in Asia just across the border from China's Xinjiang region might encourage grassroots movements across East Asia, just as the revolutions in the Ukraine and Georgia seem to have been a factor in the Kyrgyz revolution. I doubt that this will be the case, except perhaps in Xinjiang.

I think Putin has more to worry about than China's rulers do.

From a Guardian article:
Akayev's departure made Kyrgyzstan the third former Soviet republic in the past 18 months - after Georgia and Ukraine - to see popular protests bring down long-entrenched leaders widely accused of corruption.

Putin, speaking during a visit to Armenia on Friday, said "it's unfortunate that yet again in the post-Soviet space, political problems in a country are resolved illegally and are accompanied by pogroms and human victims."

He ought to know about illegal resolution of political problems, of course, but I doubt he sees the irony...

Putin has also said that he thinks the situation in Kyrgyzstan arose because the government there was not authoritarian enough--and he has a point, since the ousted Kyrgyz government was probably less awful than the Uzbek, Tajik and Turkmen regimes.

Kyrgzstan is considered strategically important by the regional powers--for its location rather than any resources or as a geopolitical player. Both Russia and the US have bases there (in the US case, set up in late 2001) and I'd be surprised if the US had to withdraw whatever the new government in Bishkek.

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