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Keeping Up With Kyrgyzstan

47 minutes
Keeping Up With Kyrgyzstan

On October 5, thousands of opposition demonstrators took to the streets of Bishkek to protest the official results of Kyrgyzstan’s parliamentary elections. About a dozen different opposition parties had failed to overcome the seven percent threshold needed to get into parliament and two pro-government parties had won nearly half the seats. The protesters demanded a repeat vote and on October 6 elections officials relented and invalidated the results. 

Since then, Kyrgyzstan’s population has seen a lot more turmoil than the opposition protesters bargained for: parliament appointed a new prime minister, the president stepped down, and election officials scheduled a repeat parliamentary vote only to see it postponed indefinitely. Meanwhile, lawmakers have been pushing through legislation on changing the constitution and the country is planning to hold presidential elections in January.

So how did all of this happen in such a short period of time? “The Naked Pravda” invited three experts on the show to speak about the lead up to the vote, the ensuing political crisis, and whether or not Russia has anything to do with it:

  • (2:35) Bektour Iskender, journalist and co-founder of Kloop — an independent media organization based in Kyrgyzstan, recalls how the post-election protests escalated into an unexpected political crisis.
  • (5:36) Dr. Erica Marat — an associate professor at the National Defense University’s College of International Affairs in Washington D.C., whose research focuses on violence, mobilization, and security institutions in Eurasiaexplains why Sadyr Japarov’s lightning-fast rise to power can be considered a coup. 
  • (15:30) Colleen Wood — a doctoral candidate in political science at Columbia University, who researches civil society and identity in Central Asia — discusses what social media reveals about social and political cleavages in Kyrgyzstan.
  • (39:02) All three guests share their take on the Kremlin’s response to Kyrgyzstan’s political upheaval.

“The Naked Pravda” comes out on Fridays (or sometimes Saturdays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at [email protected] with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”

Producer, sound editing, and mixing — Eilish Hart and Kevin Rothrock

Send any questions or comments to [email protected]

Executive producer — Alexandr Sadikov

Music — Victor Davydov

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Kevin MacLeod / Link / License

Comfortable Mystery 2 by Kevin MacLeod / Link / License

The Bandit by Kevin MacLeod / Link / License

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