On the Collapse of the Kyrgyz Kleptocracy

Alex Cooley writes on events in Kyrgyzstan.

“The revolution in Kyrgyzstan not only represents a new opportunity for the Kyrgyz people, but also for Western governments that have failed to support true democratization in post-Soviet Central Asia.

The West must abandon its support for regional strongmen who merely profess to be Western-oriented, and should set the same expectations of democratic governance for them as it has for other post-Communist states.

In fact, the United States and European governments share some responsibility for the Kyrgyz regime’s years of incompetent and corrupt rule. Immediately after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan stood out as the only Central Asian country that appeared willing to break from its Communist past.

Its new president, Askar Akayev, was a charismatic former scientist who promised to enact Western-style democratization and pursue economic liberalization, hailing his small country as the ‘Switzerland of Central Asia.'”